Room 104 season 2, episode 1 review: FOMO


The Duplass Brothers’ anthology television series, Room 104, returns for a second season on HBO with a suspenseful and shocking episode.

Gracie (Charlyne Yi) is in Room 104 trying to celebrate her 30th birthday in the premiere of the second season of Room 104. Gracie’s friends Matty (Tom Lenk) and Tanya (Pia Shah) are vaping and partying, but she’s feeling bad about her age, even hiding her face in a mask.

To cheer her up, the three of them take countless selfies in goofy sunglasses. Just as Matty’s found the perfect one, Gracie stops him from sharing it on social media. Confused, Matty and Tanya ask her why.

‘Karen,’ Gracie replies. She had told her friends that her sister Karen couldn’t come, but in actuality, Gracie never even invited her. Gracie wanted her birthday in Room 104 to be ‘this’ – the three of them having fun and not being bogged down by Karen, who’s been ‘acting weird’ off late.

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Grateful for Gracie’s thoughtfulness, they get ready to party when there is a knock on the door. Oh no! It’s Karen (Jennifer Lafleur).

Stunned, Gracie stumbles over her words. She blatantly lies about having sent Karen an invite and Karen looks like she disbelieves her little sister. Turns out, Karen found out about Room 104 from their mother.

Matty tries to save the situation by rambling on about the invite ending up in junk mail. He and Tanya pretend that their invites ended up in the junk folder but only awkward silence follows. Have they convinced the party crasher? Karen unleashes a passionate rendition of Happy Birthday to the stunned audience. I guess she has!

The pizza arrives but all the life in this party has disappeared. Looks like Gracie, Matty and Tanya will be relying on a lot of ganja to get through this evening. Karen begins interrogating Matty about his love life; insinuating that he is promiscuous. ‘Because that’s what I do; because I’m gay,’ Matty retorts sarcastically.

And then, things get really weird. Karen begins bullying Matty about ‘choosing’ to be gay and coming onto him. In a panic, Tanya grabs Karen and knocks her to the ground. Karen tries to brush it off, saying she was just having a little fun, but Tanya’s having none of it. This is why Gracie didn’t invite you, Karen!

Karen follows Tanya out and Gracie talks to Matt about their plan of action. It’s evident Gracie feels some guilt about how Karen’s turned out. Their parents had Karen when they were very young and adopted Gracie much; she feels that’s what messed Karen up.

Out of guilt or familial connection, Gracie asks Matty to fake it through the whole weekend. He agrees.

Karen returns. Tanya apparently told her that she was really inappropriate, so she apologizes. Matty is reluctant to accept, but one look from Gracie means he goes in for Karen’s awaiting hug. When Gracie asks after Tanya, Karen tells her that Tanya’s father called about an aunt being ill. At this point, Matty gets up and heads to the shower. He looks really ill.

Karen tries to cheer Gracie up by putting on the TV loudly and asks her to stop worrying so much about her friends. Since Karen’s an EMT, she goes to check on Matty in the shower. While Gracie watches TV, we see Karen grab something and enter the bathroom. She parts the shower curtain and turns off the light. Matty looks horrified.

When Gracie checks in on them, she finds Karen standing over Matty who appears to be asleep on the floor. Surely something happened, why else would Karen have asked Gracie to turn on the TV?

Gracie tries calling Tanya, but it goes to voicemail. Karen sneaks up on her, happy it’s just the two of them. But Gracie isn’t ready to party. She’s freaking out about Tanya disappearing suddenly and Matty being in a weed coma.

Remaining calm, Karen asks Gracie about the invite. Gracie doesn’t give her a clear answer and instead yells at Karen about being too clingy, the way Gracie used to be when she first joined the family and ‘everything was perfect’. All Gracie sees Karen doing now is ostracising her friends.

Unphased, Karen hypothesizes what Gracie believes she’s done. Does Gracie think Karen followed Tanya out, killed her and dumped her body behind the vending machine? And did she strangle Matty and lay him on the bathroom floor? Scared, Gracie tries to call out to Matty, but Karen insists he’s asleep and stops her from heading to the bathroom.

Next. Room 104 season 2, episode 2 review. dark

Gracie loses it; using some very colorful language, she tells Karen to get out of her life and leaves Room 104. Once she’s alone, Karen breaks down. It takes her a while, but she finally composes herself enough to go after Gracie.

We hear screaming, thumping and eventually, Karen enters the frame, dragging her sister’s dead body into Room 104. She places Gracie alongside the dead bodies of Tanya and Matty. Karen positions them around her with the goofy sunglasses we saw them wearing earlier, and takes a cool selfie to post on social media.