Apple TV+’s thriller series, ‘The Crowded Room,’ follows the story of Danny Sullivan, told over a series of interviews with Rya Goodwin. The show starts with a shooting at Rockefeller Centre, but over the course of their interviews, Rya turns the conversation towards Danny’s life, long before he ended up committing the crime which has led him here. The fifth episode goes back to the beginning as Danny talks about his childhood and the time with his twin, Adam. This brings a lot of things into perspective and answers quite a few questions, but some loose strings need to be tied up before Danny understands what’s happening to him. Here’s what the ending means. SPOILERS AHEAD
The Crowded Room Episode 5 Recap
In the previous episodes, Danny painted a picture of his teenage years and what led him to Ariana and Yitzhak. He talked about the aftermath of the crime, the search for his father, and meeting Jack. Now, however, Rya takes him further back. She makes him talk about his childhood and touch upon the issue he has been avoiding all this while.
Danny picks up the events after the departure of his father. He was separated from his twin, who lived with his father, which is why Danny and Adam couldn’t see each other as much. Danny spent his days at the house alone because his mother worked two jobs to keep them afloat. During the day, she worked at the hospital; in the evenings, she worked at the bar. At school, Danny is bullied. When a boy takes away his money, he throws a tantrum and is reprimanded by the principal, but he doesn’t tell any of this to his mother.
Not wanting to be alone at home, Danny implores his mother to take him with her to the bar. After some hesitation, she agrees. That night, a fight breaks out, and some blood falls on Danny’s face. He considers it the moment that marked him with misfortune that has followed him his entire life. Soon after this, Marlin came into their lives. He turned out to be everything Danny and his mother needed at the moment— the savior who would turn their lives around. However, things only got worse for Danny.
The Crowded Room Episode 5 Ending: Is Adam Real or Imaginary?
When Danny is called into the principal’s office at school, he is counseled by Mr. Jones. The teacher is kind and patient with Danny. However, it turns out to be a facade. It turns out that the teacher is a pedophile and sees Danny as an easy target. He knows that Danny’s father is not around, and his mother works too much to be around as much as Danny would like. They don’t have a telephone at home, and she has never shown up at the school, even after the principal reprimanded Danny. This means that Danny doesn’t tell his mother anything.
For Mr. Jones, Danny is easy prey. When he tries to make a move, Marlin shows up. This moment makes it look like Danny’s stepfather cares for him and wants to protect him from men like Mr. Jones. However, soon after, Danny discovers that Marlin is like Mr. Jones. While driving home with Danny, Marlin tells him that he is going to propose to Candy. He stops the car at a desolate place, and this is the first time he molests Danny. The abuse continues for months, even after Marlin and Candy get married.
Talking about all this is difficult for Danny, but she insists he tries to go as much further into it as he can, assuring him they can stop whenever he wants. One of the things that stands out to Rya about all this is how Adam comes into the picture. Danny reveals that Adam had been with them the day Marlin first revealed his true nature. He wanted Danny to go with him inside the barn. However, Adam offered himself instead. After this, the abuse was always directed towards Adam. He took the brunt of it all to save Danny, becoming his savior.
When Rya asks Danny what happened to Adam, he tries to dodge the question again. He asks how it connects to Ariana, but Rya doesn’t answer. She knows that unlocking the mystery of Adam is more important than anything else right now. In between their conversations, Rya also mentions that she met with Danny’s mother, and they talked about some stuff. Danny is glad to know that Candy is doing fine. This detail means that Rya might already know Candy’s version of events, which means she knows about Adam. But she wants Danny to talk about it and become aware of what’s going on with him.
By now, it’s clear that Adam never really existed. He was a figment of Danny’s imagination, which was created before Marlin came along. We still don’t know what exactly happened to Danny’s father, but his absence and the loneliness Danny dealt with after that could have led his personality to split up and create the illusion of a twin. Adam could be Danny’s best friend, his brother, the one in whom Danny could confide anything, the one who would save Danny from the monsters trying to harm him.
Danny believes that Adam died, but whenever he is asked to elaborate upon it and go into the details, he tries not to answer it. At first, it looked like too sensitive an issue for him to discuss his brother’s death. But now, it looks like this might be him trying not to confront the reality of his situation. If he acknowledges that Adam didn’t die because he was never real, he must admit harsher truths. He will have to accept that all those bad things happened to him, and this could break him.
At the end of the previous episode, Rya tells Jack that he needs to tell Danny everything, but Jack doesn’t seem so sure about it. This could be the reason why. However, despite his efforts to stay in the dark, Rya is adamant about making Danny accept reality because until he does that, he will not be able to move forward.
Read More: Is The Crowded Room Based on a True Story?