I’ve now read two very excellent posts which question whether Danny is a sociopath.
Whether Danny is a sociopath is probably one of the most intriguing questions of the show, and as pointed out in the second article I listed, very important in figuring out whether or not he really killed his aunt given the fact that the show has made a point of telling us twice that sociopaths very seldom kill.
When the show started I was absolutely convinced there was no way Danny could be a sociopath, but now between great writing and great acting, I’m actually beginning to wonder. I’m definitely not convinced he is, but I am curious.
If Danny isn’t a sociopath, he’s still a guy with absolutely no regret over his actions (he may regret some of the consequences but not the actions themselves). While making out with Lacey on top of his aunt’s grave, Lacey ran away after looking at the gravestone. Left alone Danny glanced at the grave stone and then smirked. Whether he killed Tara or took the blame for someone else, the natural response would not be to smile. Looking at the gravestone of someone, let’s say, your father murdered, you’d still feel bad about it.
So either Danny is a sociopath or Tara was such a horrible person and/or was getting ready to do something so terrible to the Desai family, that Danny feels no remorse over her death. He has actually said to Jo ‘I don’t know if I regret what I did’. And so far the show has given hints that either of the options are possible.
Danny’s therapist described sociopaths as loving risk and not considering consequences. She said they find it easy to lie imitate human emotion. Danny showed an inclination for risk when breaking into the apartment. He’s also calmly and cleverly lied on several occasions about the necklace. He has also seemed to imitate human emotion when pretending to be upset and calling Karen ‘mom’ begging her to believe him, only to have his expression go curiously blank after she can no longer see his face. On top of it all the way every time someone confronts him he easily manages to manipulate the situation and turn it round against his interrogator shows an ability to manipulate.
However there have been hints that Tara was possibly a truly dislikable person:
1. Tess and Kyle mentioned that Tara always looked ‘pissed off’. Additionally in the photograph we saw from Danny’s fourth birthday that showed him with his aunt, he looked unhappy. Why would a four year old be so grumpy at his own birthday, unless he just wasn’t happy to be forced to take a photograph with his aunt? In the flashback that the show opened with Jo and Lacey also wondered if Danny was having ‘more family problems’. He seems to have gotten along well with his father, and while his mother and he have a somewhat strained relationship, it doesn’t seem from what we’ve been told that it was ever overly contentious. Did he have problems with his aunt?
2. His father and Tara always hated each other from something dating back to childhood. That’s a really long time to hold a grudge. What could have happened that was so terrible that they hadn’t gotten along since childhood? More curiously, why would his father would still let Tara babysit? And why Tara would still want to?
3. If Danny is to be believed Tara was going to do something really terrible to the Desai family and that was his motive for killing her. As I mentioned in a previous post, if Danny is telling the truth, whatever it was would have to be really terrible to have a worse impact on the family then Danny being convicted of murder.
Perhaps Tara was the sociopath?
So which is it? Is Danny a sociopath? Or was Tara such a dark person that Danny really can summon no emotion resembling regret over her passing?