I apologize for putting this up so late. My schedule went awry after Tuesday.
I found this episode fun to watch. I just love when teen shows are centered around preparing for some high school function. It just makes for some good character exploration and interactions, and we got some for Jo and Danny in this episode.
I’ll start with Jo, because she had a mini revelation about her status as a high-schooler. It started when Danny scoffed at the fact that she and Rico are always studying at the diner. Big up to the people who like to pretend that Jo doesn’t care what people think of her. Even before this episode, it was obvious that she does care. Her calling Lacey’s friends lame in the premier felt like she was overcompensating to me. I don’t think Jo’s desperate to be liked, but I think she’s as sensitive about being associated with negative things as Lacey is about being associated with negative people (Danny). So Danny’s jab about doing homework all the time quickly ate at her, maybe because it was a clue to Jo that if things had remained normal, Danny would have gone on to become one of the popular kids with Lacey instead of one of the kids who avoid parties and prefer to sit in the diner doing homework, like her and Rico. The reality though, in my opinion, is that Danny would fall in the middle. He’d be party, party, party, but it also wouldn’t be weird to see him surrounded by books and studying for two upcoming tests.
Jo was immediately pro-active after Danny’s jab, volunteering to partner up with two of the popular kids in school in chem lab (how hilarious was Jenna? At first I was like, “go Jenna!” when she aired her and Scott’s dirty laundry, but then she kept talking to anyone who would listen, and I kind of side-eyed) and later on volunteering to perform in the skit. Her attempts at making nice with Sarita completely failed, because Sarita is vicious when she doesn’t like you.
Sidebar on Sarita: like Jo, I did not see Sarita’s prank coming. The girl sure was quick on her feet. I do love Sarita, but my thing about her attitude is: we only got a short glimpse of Sarita before Regina died. I do think a lot of her hostility towards Jo stems from Jo hanging out with Danny, whom Sarita blames for Regina’s death. I’m open to being wrong, because I’m not dedicated to Sarita having a “reason” for being mean to Jo, but two instances of pre-Regina’s!death!Sarita that come to mind are her promise to protect Lacey from Danny should the need arise and her encouraging Jo to drink at the party (though she wasn’t as sincere as Regina, and there was the incident of her helping Scott try to force Jo’s clothes off). Sarita wasn’t bitch face all the time in the premier, especially when she was with Lacey and Regina. In short: I’d like to see how Sarita is towards Jo when it’s revealed that Danny did not kill Regina. Because we don’t see her going out of her way to terrorize the lame kids in school. I hope Sarita stays on the show long enough for me to see her reaction once Regina’s killer is revealed. I also wonder how her prank will affect her friendship with Lacey.
Speaking of Lacey’s friendships……Jo and Lacey….Specifically Jo’s reactions to Lacey. We’re all familiar with that little uncomfortable look she gets every time Lacey talks about her best friends/good friends. But I’ve seen one of the sneak peaks for Tuesday’s episode, and I wonder how much Jo actually likes Lacey. I know she has a low opinion of Lacey because Lacey won’t out herself as Danny’s alibi (no need to anymore, thanks to Karen), but I don’t know, I’m not getting that she misses Lacey. Outside of the hurt/uncomfortable looks, has she ever given Lacey a soft look? Because I’ve seen Lacey soften when she looks at her. For her part, Jo always looks stiff, like she’s on the defensive. Does she feel threatened by Lacey (because of Lacey’s status as a popular kid or maybe because in adjusting after the Danny fiasco, Lacey became someone everyone likes while Jo became kind of invisible and in the background)?
It doesn’t help that all of Lacey and Jo’s interactions are about Danny. If Jo’s disappointed or mad at Lacey, it’s because of Danny. If Lacey’s being defensive with Jo, it’s because of Danny. If they’re uncomfortable around each other, it’s because they’re on opposing sides where Danny’s considered. If Jo’s trying to bridge the gap with Lacey, it’s a by-product of Danny wanting to bridge the gap with Lacey by rewriting the script (that skit was about Danny and Lacey’s friendship; Jo was just support). There’s nothing about their friendship with each other, which is why I question how much Jo misses Lacey for Lacey’s sake. I know Danny misses Lacey in his life. Jo insists she doesn’t, and, three episodes in, I’m starting to take her at her word.
At the end of the episode, Jo lets Rico, who honestly overreacted about Jo wanting a new lease on life, that she does still want to break the popular glass ceiling, but it doesn’t mean that she’s going to throw him out with the trash. I really like that Jo wanting more out of high school didn’t end with her turning her nose up at the suggestion by the end of the episode. Sarita’s prank didn’t break her. It hurt her, but part of being an outcast comes, in Jo’s case, with a sturdy spine. Jo already has a low opinion of Sarita, and Sarita’s prank just adds to that opinion. It’s not like she felt betrayed by what Sarita did. She was shocked, but, when it was all over and done, I’m sure she wasn’t surprised.
I’ll start Danny’s part by giving a shout-out to his gorgeous hair. Did you see it looking luscious, thick, and shiny in the first diner scene? I wanted to run my hands through it.
Danny’s still on his quest to win Lacey over, and Archie read him right when he said that he manipulates people into liking him so that he can get his way. I mean aesthetics aside, Lacey does want Danny to stay away from her. It’s not like he was falsely accused of killing his aunt. He did kill her. What Danny wants is for Lacey to accept that, and accept that he won’t tell her why, and not question why he did what he did, and take him back into her life. So what does he do to try and make that happen? He puts on a play overflowing with anvils about how sorry he is, and Lacey’s smack dab in the middle, reciting words that he wrote for her, because she doesn’t want to write the PSA essay.
Lacey saw through the skit, yes, but Danny’s attempts are starting to wear on her. We all saw that locker scene. Mmm-hmm. These two continue to be attractive with each other.
Anyways, the scene where Danny’s manipulation left me in awe and impressed with both him and the show is the scene where he was passionately talking to Karen about how he does not know where the necklace is and all he wants is a chance, and it’s hard to be in the town, and he needs her to believe him, and he’s just trying to survive. We all know he was lying about that necklace! The thing is that he lied so smoothly. It just flowed out of him; there was no stuttering, no shifty eyes; he actually ranted like someone who was fed up and barely keeping it together. And most of it was an act (because Danny’s not having as hard a time as he told Karen. Once Lacey gives in to him, everyone else in town can drop dead for all he cares).
He’s tired of Archie calling him “Freak,” but I don’t think it wears on him as much as he told Archie it does. First of all, he couldn’t even bother to say the guy’s name when he was talking to Lacey last episode :D. Second, he goes and joins the soccer team at the end of the episode, something he knows will only piss Archie off and give him reason to continue with the nicknames.
Plainly: there’s a lot of fucks that Danny Desai does not give, but in this episode he pretended like he gave a lot, and I find it interesting, and I wonder how far the show will take it. Jo keeps calling him charming, and she’s all smiley when she says it. Well next week she’s going to confront him about the necklace. I wonder what Danny’s silver tongue will spill when that happens.
On the last review, I said I had no idea who killed Regina. I still don’t, but the show is starting to point fingers. Archie suddenly looks very suspicious, because he lied about his whereabouts on the night Regina died. But do we really think the show’s going to go with the first suspect (I don’t think Danny counts as a first suspect because it’s obvious he didn’t do it)?
My speculation about Archie is that he walked in on Regina’s dead body the next day. That’s probably why he lied and why he was so upset last episode.
Danny in this episode + the trailer for next week makes me feel like that show is picking up, finding it’s groove, so I will definitely stick with it.
- I think Archie feeling that Danny’s into Lacey came out of nowhere. I know people ship Danny and Lacey, but I don’t know what Archie’s seen where he’d think that Danny’s intentions are more than him just wanting his friend back. I mean he got Jo back, why wouldn’t he want Lacey? Danny and Lacey’s shippiest moments happen when no one is looking. Archie’s overreacting, and he’s losing me.
- I’m so happy Phoebe was back! I think she has the potential to heal the Regina-sized hole in my soul. Her freakouts about the skit were great. I hope to see her again.
- Danny said Karen ruined his life. How? He ruined her life. He’s the one who killed someone, and it was up to Karen (and his dad, I guess) to try to salvage as much of him as possible after that happened. I wasn’t crazy about the manner in which he confronted Karen once he realized that she was the one who spilled about Lacey. He talked to her like he blamed her for something. Yeah, he verbally took the blame for his actions 5 years ago, but his tone said something different. I’m not ready to say there’s something deeper to Danny saying Karen ruined his life. I think the writers were going for him being a regular tv teenager, but he isn’t. He’s not Jo. He killed someone, and Karen went through hell because of that, or has he forgotten how Chief Masterson spoke to her last episode?