At the beginning of the episode, Danny Kelly (Elias Anton) returns home and discovers he has made the Australian team. Dan shows off his new jacket. That night, he heads out to the club with Martin (Ben Kindon). Martin tells everyone about Dan making the team. Moments later, Martin meets with Lauren (Madeleine Vizard) and leaves Dan dancing alone. After the partying ends, Dan returns to the pool the following day. After a lap, he complains to Torma (Matt Nable) that he is getting slower. Dan refuses to speak about his true feelings. Dan swims another lap. On his way out of the school, he receives congratulations from the other students. Later that day, Dan tells his parents he is thinking about switching to the Victorian school. While his parents are hesitant, they eventually agree to let him make the switch.
Next, we jump over to the Victorian Institute Of Sport. Dan is given a tour of the facility by Ben Whitter (Damon Gameau). He is also given the chance to swim a lap and watch his own moves. Ben makes it clear he believes he can decrease a second or two off of Dan’s time. Dan returns to Torma and tells him about his decision. Dan admits he feels like he has been moving backwards under Torm’a guidance. Torma explains he has built Dan from nothing and that the boy needs to learn humility. Nonetheless, Dan begins training at the Vic under Ben’s supervision. In the middle of Dan’s training, he is stopped and given a sponsorship. He also learns he will need to start doing media interviews. The family sits down with a journalist moments later. They speak briefly about Dan’s upbringing, before turning the conversation to Theo.
After the interview ends, Dan pays a visit to the Taylor house. He speaks with Emma (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) momentarily, before consulting with Martin. Dan tells Martin and his family about his new training. Martin’s father quickly insists Dan should try to obtain more sponsorships. Mrs. Taylor (Rachel Griffiths) is quick to ridicule Torma and his inability to make her son a bigger success. Martin tells his parents to get over it, before rushing off. Martin returns to his room with Dan and begins drinking. He asks Dan about Emma and quickly becomes jealous. Nonetheless, Dan doesn’t delve into the fine details. After the visit concludes, Dan returns to the pool. Surprisingly, his times have continued to worsen. He returns home and tells his parents about his intention to drop school and focus on swimming full time. His father doesn’t like it. Nonetheless, Dan insists he can pay the extra expenses.
Dan returns to the pool again. His times are even worse. After he emerges from the water, he learns that Ben has brought an old comrade to the university. Dan isn’t happy to see Wilco (Andrew Creer) walk through the door. Dan returns home to discover his brother alone. That night, Dan hangs out with Demet (Nicole Gulasekharam). He lashes out at his friend and sends her home. The next day, Ben and Dan argue at the pool. Ben ponders whether or not the world record was a fluke. In the weight room, Wilco makes a similar comment. Dan and Wilco nearly come to blows, before Ben tells Dan he has been cut from the squad. When Danny returns home, he discovers the media interview. The journalist changed the story to make the family look dreadful.
Dan’s mother leaves for work. During this time, Neal ridicules his son and refers to him as selfish. They fight briefly, before Dan tells his father the truth. Neal drives his son to the university and urges him to make things right with Torma. Dan explains his situation to Torma and his old coach agrees to help him. However, he admits they’ll need to train outside of normal hours. They begin bright and early the following day. Torma is forced to retrain Dan from scratch, while forcing him to forget everything he learned in Victoria. Martin arrives moments later and swims with Dan. Danny seems to swim much better, thanks to Martin’s presence. In the locker room, Dan tries to coax Martin into traveling with him to the upcoming Commonwealth Games. It takes persistence, but Martin eventually agrees. Dan kisses Martin. They’re forced to stop when someone walks in.
Later, Dan places a call to the Taylor house. He gets Emma, who explains she is leaving for Africa soon. She convinces him to visit. They speak briefly about Martin and Lauren. Then, Dan sneaks off and enters Martin’s room. Emma tells him to be careful with his heart or he might get hurt. The next day, Dan prepares to leave for the games. Wilco speaks with Dan at the venue. He apologizes for his behavior and insists Dan is talented. Dan leaves seconds later. He calls the Taylor home and learns from Martin’s mom that he isn’t coming. Then, the games get underway. Everyone watches on as Dan stumbles and comes in 4th place. He breaks down and Torma is forced to drag him out of the pool.
The 3rd episode of Barracuda explores the downfall of Danny Kelly. While Ben Whitter was definitely unlikeable, he wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. In fact, a lot of swimmers would’ve probably thrived under his watch. Nonetheless, Dan is better with Torma. However, he has still been unable to excel due to more personal reasons. It is clear Danny wants to win more than anyone, but his personal relationships and turmoil have held him back.
The finale is right around the corner. Will it be an uplifting comeback or a dive into further bleakness? The 3rd episode deserves an 8 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of Barracuda right now!