‘The Crowded Room’ Episode 5 Recap And Review: What Did Marlin Do To Adam?

Apple TV’s newest thriller series, The Crowded Room, starring Tom Holland and Amanda Seyfried, released the mid-season episode this week, and right off the bat, we’ve got to tell you, be careful as you watch it. It was bad enough that Danny Sullivan was almost sexually assaulted in Episode 3, but this episode really shows just how severely traumatic Danny’s life has actually been. Danny had just finished recounting his trip to London in the previous episode, and on the fifth, he begins talking about his childhood and how his mother, Candy, met his stepfather, Marlin. Although it’s not easy to present the events that transpire in this episode, here’s a brief look into this week’s The Crowded Room.

Spoilers Ahead


When Was The First Time Danny Witnessed A Fight?

The fifth episode opens with Adam going away to live with the twins’ dad, Pete, in London, while Danny stays back in America with their mother, Candy. At school, Danny used to have trouble with bullies, and Bill was already tormenting the kid when Adam wasn’t around. Adam used to be the wall that shielded Danny from harm, and in his absence, the timid kid often found himself in trouble. At least he had a helpful guidance counselor, Mr. Jones, who sat beside Danny while he was yelled at by the principal, Mr. Greer.

Candy was working two jobs, and her shift at the bar began in a few hours, when Danny started pleading with his mom to take him along. The ride to Candy’s workplace was so enjoyable that he casually threw away the note that the principal wanted him to hand to Candy, and even the bar manager agreed to have the kid over just for the day. A quiet murmur rose when four black men and women walked into the bar, and one of them was talking cheerfully with Danny when a stereotypical white boy picked a fight with them. It was the 60s, and racial violence was a common sight in the day, but it was Danny’s first time witnessing a fight so violent that one of the men’s blood splattered on his face.


How Did Candy Meet Marlin?

Candy was struggling to keep up the expenditure of Danny and Adam whenever her other son was over, and they were in desperate need of a savior.” That’s when Marlin showed up at Candy’s bar for a drink. Marlin was a counselor at a correctional facility, and he seemed kind and helpful. Marlin and Candy hit it off rather quickly, and soon he was going on drives with Danny and Candy. Danny was woken one night by noises coming from his mother’s room, and he witnessed Candy and Marlin making love, making Danny avoid his mother’s boyfriend. The kid was already missing his father, and on top of that, being replaced by another man who now claimed the maximum of Candy’s attention made Danny have rather mixed feelings. He kept quiet as a kid, and it was Adam who was always on the lookout for him. Even at this point in the episode, you have no way of knowing the horrors that await the kids, so consider this a trigger warning for the child abuse that’s to follow, of the most sickening kind.


What Did Mr. Jones Do To Danny?

At school, Danny’s show and tell by the substitute teacher, Mr. Jones, was not received well by the other students, but Mr. Jones cheered Danny on for doing a good job. When the bell rang, the children filed out, but Mr. Jones asked Danny to stay back, probably to discuss the latest behavioral issues the kid had experienced. However, once the classroom was empty except for Danny and the counselor, Jones pulled his chair dangerously close to Danny’s and placed his hands on the kid’s thighs. By now, you have probably paused the screen to register the sickening degeneracy that’s indicated, and you, as a member of the audience, might be backing deep into your chair to get away from the filth that Jones is about to unleash on the child. Jones leers closer and offers to be Danny’s friend and to be trusted, and we all know that’s how groomers operate, but before you can exit the show, Marlin walks in like a godsend and saves the child from being scarred forever. He can tell something is off and questions the degenerate Mr. Jones about what was going on, but he obviously doesn’t divulge. As it turns out, Adam had asked Marlin to go check in on Danny because he hadn’t come out. While starting his car with Danny riding shotgun and Adam on the backseat, Marlin questioned Dan if Jones had touched the kid. Danny denied it because kids at that age feel scared to admit anything lest they find themselves in further trouble.


What Did Marlin Do To Adam?

While driving, Marlin brought up the fact that he wishes to propose to Candy, and it did feel weird that he mentioned Candy was having trouble providing for the two boys. So, he’d be willing to help, but in exchange, Danny needs to make a pact with him, and it will be their little secret. Marlin drives the car around after Danny promises to make a pact and takes the car near a barn to invite Danny in. Adam forbids his brother to follow their mother’s boyfriend into the barn, but Danny gets out of the car, only to begin hesitating. Adam walks in and asks to be chosen instead of his brother for whatever Marlin could have had to show the boy. So, as Danny caught fireflies outside the barn, Adam went inside with Marlin, and he had peeped inside once. We don’t get to see what Marlin did to Adam, but we can most certainly assume Ariana wasn’t lying. Once more, reader, be warned: the next paragraph speaks of child abuse, which is arguably worse than what Jones tried doing with Danny.


‘The Crowded Room’ Episode 5 Ending Explained

While sitting opposite Rya, Danny admits that Adam had taken his brother’s place, and the evil deeds continued for a long time. Adam had once again saved Danny and taken the worst on himself because he was the savior of Danny. Candy never knew what a monster her new boyfriend was—this sweet man who seemed to be the light at the end of her tunnel. Things had certainly worsened between Marlin and Candy in the later years, but she had no idea that she had married a man who sexually assaulted her baby. Yes, that’s what Marlin had done to Adam, right until he died, although we don’t know how that came to pass yet. Ariana had told Danny that a friend of her father’s sexually assaulted her, and when Danny aimed the gun at Marlin, he froze. We could have guessed that Ariana had some other intentions, and even if Marlin was a horrid man, he was inherently good-hearted. However, this episode proves beyond doubt that Marlin was as much a monster as the thug Angelo who tried forcing Danny into providing him with sexual favors; in fact, Marlin was much, much worse.

Angelo was demanding an adult Danny provide a fellatio, whereas Marlin took a 9-year-old child into a barn and sexually assaulted the child. We can guess the reason the kids didn’t confide in their mom was because they knew she loved Marlin because she didn’t know what a monster he was, and she was unable to keep up the expenses. Adam was the most mature for his age, and he singlehandedly protected his mother as well as his twin. Candy’s financial wellbeing depended on the kids staying quiet, and Danny’s safety was once again assured by Adam, who took on all the diabolical things life threw at them to keep his family safe. We don’t know how he died yet, but if Marlin is killed, that’ll probably be a moment everyone unitedly celebrates.


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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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Apple TV's newest thriller series, The Crowded Room, starring Tom Holland and Amanda Seyfried, released the mid-season episode this week, and right off the bat, we've got to tell you, be careful as you watch it.'The Crowded Room' Episode 5 Recap And Review: What Did Marlin Do To Adam?