At the beginning of the episode, we’re introduced to Danny Kelly (Elias Anton). Danny wakes up early and begins working out. Once he has finished, he gets dressed and prepares to for his first day at a new school. As soon as he arrives, he is given orders and directions to his class. Danny is quickly introduced to several colleagues, including Martin Taylor (Ben Kindon) and Scooter (Rhys Mitchell). Danny finds a new friend in Tran. After the class ends, Danny speaks with Tran about the swimming coach, Mr. Torma (Matt Nable). He is soon forced to speak with Taylor and his friends to learn about the coach. Danny compliments Martin’s performance at a recent swim meet. Once they return to class, Torma arrives and escorts Danny to the swim center.
Torma explains that the school as been at the top for over 100 years and that the best swimmers come there. Danny changes and shows off his skills. He is given a few pointers, before the other boys arrive. Once the other boys join in, they get feisty and begin making jokes. Torma lashes out at them and reminds them that they lost the relay race last year. Tsitsas (Joe Klocek) is reminded that only 4 will be allowed to join the relay team. Therefore, one of the boys will be left behind. The 5 boys race against one another. The current champion, Martin Taylor, wins with Danny coming in a close second. In the locker room, Torma tells Martin he was almost beaten, because he has been slacking off. Before Danny is allowed to shower, the other boys make jokes at his expense. After everyone else, Danny is confronted by the coach and told to take up for himself. He explains that the boys are afraid, because Danny is a threat to them.
Danny returns home to his mother, Stephanie (Victoria Haralabidou). He speaks with his brother, Theo (Imran Adams), who insists his work is too hard. Danny tries to convince him to never give up. Stephanie asks about her son’s day. He admits it was good and bad. Dan’s father, Neal (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor), arrives moments later. Neal attempts to credit himself for paying for his son’s schooling. Nonetheless, he is reminded that Danny won a scholarship. Danny tells his family about the pool and his face with Taylor. Later that night, Dan gets a visit from his girlfriend. He is invited to a party, but doesn’t seem too eager to go. The next day, Stephanie arrives at the pool to watch her son swim. She sits and speaks with Martin’s mother, Mrs. Taylor (Rachel Griffiths). It is obvious that the women aren’t too fond of Stephanie or her son. Nonetheless, Stephanie tries to get along with the women.
Meanwhile, the boys begin to heckle Danny, due to his mother. Danny makes a comment and Scooter responds. The argument leads to the coach ordering them to swim more laps. Later, the others continue to give Danny trouble about his mother. He insists she is a hairdresser, but the other boys continue their sexual advances. When Danny returns to his belongings, he discovers a nude picture and a comment about his mother. A fight breaks out. Dan hits Scooter, before Wilco (Andrew Creer) and Martin jump in. All of the blame is placed on Danny. He informs Torma about his detection and is told he will have to leave the team. He immediately leaves the school and meets up with his friends. His girlfriends tries to convince him not to screw up his opportunity. That night, Danny overhears his parents talking about him.
Dan’s father contemplates whether or not his son is good enough. The next day, Dan returns to school. During class, Torma arrives and escorts two of the swimmers outside. Daniel takes it upon himself to make things right. He approaches the coach and demands to be given one more chance. He insists he is faster than the others, so the coach gives him a chance to prove it. Dan chooses to race against Tsitsas and beats him easily. Later, Danny is invited over to the coach’s place. His mother sets out his best clothes and tells him that the night is very important. Dan arrives early and learns about Torma’s time as a swimmer. The coach admits he used to be hit with a cane, when his instructor thought he was being lazy. Torma makes a comment that he has never had an Olympian, but admits he now has hope. Eventually, the other boys arrive and everyone sits down for pizza.
During the meal, the group chats about the upcoming Atlanta Olympics. Dan admits he believes Kowalski will be able to pick off Perkins. The coach tries to give the boys a pep talk, while attempting to convince them that they need to work together. Martin plays along and offers a peace treaty to Dan. Torma reads them a story about a swimming, before the boys are told to go to bed. Martin quickly shows his true colors and begins ridiculing Danny once again. Martin tells Daniel he doesn’t belong and will be sent home when he is beat in Albury. After that, Danny and his family make the trip to Albury for the swim meet. Once they arrive, Stephanie shaves Danny and they watch the race at the Atlanta Olympics. Dan becomes upset when Perkins manages to win. Afterwards, Danny and his family head to the swimming championships. Dan tells his mother the truth about Martin’s parents. Dan heads to the locker room and discovers the others have tampered with his goggles.
Nonetheless, Danny gets his goggles fixed and prepares for the race. Danny manages to win the race. The coach tells him to get ready for the relay. Danny speaks with Martin and tells him he doesn’t care about the really. He heads to the locker room with intentions to quit. Martin is forced to follow in suit and talk him into returning. Martin admits he ridiculed his mother in hopes of getting him to quit. He also admits they need Danny to win. After a little back and forth, Danny agrees to race with the boys. Back at the school, the boys are rewarded for their win. Scooter makes a comment that Dan swam like a barracuda. Dan’s schoolmates cheer him on, as the episode ends.
I am not totally familiar with the history of Danny Kelly. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed the first episode of Barracuda. The story is a little cliché, but it was effective nonetheless. Danny’s achievements were very uplifting, while his rivals were perfect. I sense this is just the beginning for Kelly. Watching his rise to stardom should be very satisfying. A good episode, which deserves an 8.5 out of 10.