Apple TV+’s ‘The Crowded Room’ unfolds through a series of interviews between Danny Sullivan and Rya Goodwin. He is arrested for a crime he claims he didn’t commit, while Rya tries to understand what shaped his life and led him to the events that landed him in prison. After skirting around the reveal for half of the season, the show finally confirms the twist of Danny’s dissociative identity disorder. Its sixth episode takes place from the point of view of Rya, which clears up a lot of doubts about the identity and motives of certain characters. Here’s what the events of this episode mean for Danny and his defense in the upcoming trial. SPOILERS AHEAD
The Crowded Room Episode 6 Recap
Taking a break from Danny and his story, the episode shifts focus towards Rya and repeats the events of the past five episodes from her point of view. Before she met Danny Sullivan, Rya had been looking for something to help her land a tenure at the university. She is advised to find a topic that is so unique that it isn’t even remotely being worked on by anyone in the university. This is when the case of Danny Sullivan comes knocking at her door.
Due to her expertise in psychology and her brief romantic encounter with the detective in charge of the case, Rya is called upon to take a look at Danny and find out if he has a mental disorder or if he’s just a very good actor. His case file reveals that he has adopted different personalities over the course of his interrogation, which has left the detective baffled about what to do with him and how to approach his case. When Rya meets Danny, she realizes that this is what she should be working on.
Turning the spotlight towards Rya’s personal life, we discover she is in the middle of a divorce. She has a son who has been struggling with the separation of his parents. Working hard to provide for him, Ryan becomes distant from her son, Ezra. She works constantly, and in her absence, her mother takes care of Ezra. Rya knows that getting tenure is the only way to get out of the financial instability, which would create more balance in her life. So, when the opportunity arrives in the form of Danny Sullivan, she takes it.
The Crowded Room Episode 6 Ending
Before Rya talked to Danny, everyone thought he spoke in funny voices because he wanted to dupe them into believing he was not the person they were looking for. One detective thinks this might be a sign of psychopathy and that Danny might have killed more people, like Ariana and Yitzhak. Another detective thinks that Danny is simply playing with them. His lawyer, Stan Camisa, believes that the voices and the changing personalities will not help him in court, and the best thing he can do is take a plea deal.
Rya convinces the detectives and her lawyer that there is much more to Danny’s stories which can only be unveiled by going into his past. She tells Camisa that if they prove that Danny has dissociative identity disorder, they might keep him out of prison by pleading not guilty on the basis of insanity. While Camisa is not very optimistic about Danny’s chances, he decides to give Rya a shot, leading to the interviews we’ve seen for the past couple of episodes.
Before the interviews begin, Rya visits Danny’s house, where she meets his mother, Candy Sullivan. It turns out that Candy has no idea about Danny’s current state, and she is also unaware of what her husband, Marlin Reid, did to her son. In their first meeting, Rya meets Jack, who Danny thought he met in London. It also turns out that the personality she had met previously was not Danny, but Jonny, one of Danny’s only friends who had a way with illusion and magic. This confirms that there are at least two identities inside Danny’s head, but as the conversation between them unfolds, she realizes that his mind might be more fragmented than she imagined.
Rya knows that the key to helping Danny is to get him to realize the truth on his own. If she tells him about it out of the blue, he might collapse, unable to take in the reality of his situation. To tell him that half the people he knows and loves are not real would be a huge blow to Danny. Moreover, this would also dredge up all the trauma he has been suppressing with the help of his various personalities, which might worsen the situation.
The only way to go about it is for Danny to talk about his life and piece everything together on his own. This means he has to talk about the difficult things, as impossible as it might seem at the time. Eventually, Rya gets him to talk about Marlin and the abuse he suffered at his stepfather’s hands when he was a child. It is heartbreaking for her to hear about this and to keep pressing to talk about it in as much detail as possible. We can see the effect it has on Danny. He hasn’t talked about this with anyone his entire life, which explains his hesitation to talk about it with a stranger.
When Rya took Danny’s case, it was out of professional curiosity. Cases like Danny’s didn’t come around too often, so she was glad to have gotten this opportunity that might as well save her career. However, with each interview, the conversation takes a darker turn, which takes an emotional toll on Rya. The day Danny talks about the first time Marlin abused him and how his twin, Adam, decided to take his place instead, Rya breaks down into tears in her car and goes home to hug her mother and son. This shows that Rya has crossed the professional boundary and has become emotionally invested in the case, which will propel her further to help Danny.