April 2, 2014

THE SKED Season Finale Review: “Twisted”


It was probably unwise for TWISTED to end its first season with a cliffhanger, since it seems to be doomed–the ratings were low even when it had Pretty Little Liars as a lead-in, and once that show finished its season, they became downright awful.  As much as one hates to see people lose their jobs, it would be hard to defend Twisted as even a guilty pleasure; mostly, it’s been a mess.  The ABCFamily order pattern, with summer episodes followed months later by a winter batch, allowed the series to reboot midway through, and it tried, supplementing series creator Adam Milch with new showrunner Charles Pratt, Jr, and abruptly resolving the original did-he-or-didn’t-he? storyline of whether teen Danny Desai (Avan Jogia) had killed his aunt–for which he’d been sentenced to time as a juvenile–and later a fellow student.  Unfortunately, it turned out that while Milch’s plotting had been slow and confusing, Pratt’s was wildly worse.

Pratt wrote the season finale, directed by Executive Producer Gavin Polone, and he piled on the melodramatic twists like there was no tomorrow (which there probably isn’t).  Pratt had quickly established in the midseason premiere that it was Danny’s father Vikram who had committed both murders, and then dispatched Vikram through an unintentional fall as he and Danny were fighting.  The central mystery became who had then moved Vikram’s body and (ineptly) made his death look like a car crash?  The finale revealed that it had been Vikram’s former employee Jack Taylor (Ivan Sergei), who’d been the lover of Danny’s mother Karen (Denise Richards)–but more than that, Jack turned out to be a master con artist who’d been playing Karen ever since for $10M in insurance money, working with his maybe-lesbian daughter Whitney (Brianne Howey), who had maybe fallen for Lacey (Kylie Bunbury), one of Danny’s two romantic interests on the show.

Meanwhile, Pratt’s other major contribution was introducing nutjob teen Charlie (Jack Falahee), who had known Danny in juvie and become obsessed, Single White Female-style, with his life–because, the finale revealed, Charlie believed himself to be the hidden son of Danny’s aunt (the one Vikram murdered), but actually he was the secret love child of Vikram and Tess (Kimberly Quinn), wife of Police Chief Kyle (Sam Robards), and mother of Jo (Maddie Hasson), Danny’s other romantic interest, with whom Charlie had fallen in loony love.  At season’s end, Charlie’s obsession had led him to taking Jo hostage, as everyone else showed up and Tess shouted the news that his captive and supposed soulmate was actually his secret sister.

So that happened.  It’s probably best at a time like this to look at the actors as being akin to members of a losing sports team whose contracts are up and who are heading for free agency, hoping to make the best possible impression on other teams.  In that light, Hasson fared the best of the teens, shouldering the increasingly far-fetched plot and ripe dialogue as though they made some sense, while one could only feel sorry for Falahee, who by the finale was practically in an SNL sketch.  For her part, Denise Richards may have done her career some good by being perfectly fine in a role that didn’t aim to stunt-cast her, and Robards was sturdy as always.

Twisted was far too twisted for its own good, and although one never knows when it comes to cable shows, where costs are low and sometimes minimal ratings are tolerated, it certainly appears as though it’s time for its talent to move on.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."