Apple TV+’s ‘The Crowded Room’ follows the story of Danny Sullivan, who has dissociative identity disorder. He is arrested after a shooting incident at the Rockefeller Centre, following which his interviews with Rya Goodwin reveal the reality of his situation. As Rya dives into Danny’s story from the beginning, she identifies several alters that have been with him over the years. These alters have protected Danny when he needed them the most, but they have also become self-serving, which now puts Danny in trouble.
The key to figuring out how to treat Danny and help him lead a normal life is rooted in his childhood. Rya knows Danny lived with his stepdad, but what happened to his birth father? Who was he, and why was he never around? Here’s what we know. SPOILERS AHEAD
What Happened to Danny’s Real Father?
Danny’s biological father went out of the picture when Danny was too young to remember him. For all he knew, he and his mother, Candy, had always been alone. However, he did think about his father and why his parents separated. In his childhood, Danny created an alter called Adam, who he considered his twin. While Danny lived with his mother, Adam lived with their father, which is why he wasn’t around as often.
Danny believed their parents got divorced due to some mutual discourse and never gave much thought to it. However, when Marlin Reid came into their lives, married his mother and abused Adam, Danny started to think about his father again. After a while, Adam died, and Danny blamed Marlin for this. A few years later, Danny left home to live in a boarding house with Yitzhak and Ariana, who he didn’t realize were also his alters.
After the shooting at the Rockefeller Centre, Danny flew to London to find his father. He had no clue why he chose London, but Yitzhak told him to go there, so he went. He didn’t find his father, but he found Jack, a father-like figure he always needed. When Danny came back, was arrested, and interviewed by Rya, he discovered he had DID and realized Jack, Yitzhak, and Ariana, among others, had been alters all this while.
On the final day of his trial, Danny also realizes that Adam was also an alter. He came around at an early age and went away before other alters started to appear, which is why he never figured Adam was not real. But if Danny’s DID manifested following the sexual abuse he suffered from Marlin, how was Adam already there? What trauma did Danny experience before all this? It turns out his biological father had something to do with this.
Following Danny’s trial, where he is found not guilty and sent to a hospital to receive proper treatment, his mother visits him. She reveals that she has left Marlin and confesses she knew what her husband was doing to Danny all this time. She couldn’t accept this because she left her previous marriage to escape this situation and found herself landing back into the same thing.
Candy reveals that she got pregnant with Danny at a young age. Because she couldn’t take care of a child on her own, she got married to Danny’s father (who remains unnamed). When Danny was four years old, Candy discovered that her husband was sexually abusive to their son. She was horrified by this and decided to leave him immediately. She got a divorce and left town with Danny to start their life anew somewhere else.
Candy cut off all communication with her ex-husband as she didn’t want him anywhere near her son. This is why she never talked about him with Danny, who was too young to understand what had happened to him. To process all this, his brain created an alter, Adam, to distance Danny from the trauma so he could move on. His father was never seen or heard from again, and Candy kept it that way.
Read More: Is Danny Sullivan Based on a Real Person?