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Room 104 season 2, episode 4 review: Hungry

Room 104 hits a new low with an episode about cannibalism and self-mutilation. If they were trying to send a message, it didn’t work.

Room 104 continues its theme of authentic character interaction in the fourth episode of the second season. Apparently inspired by true events, we see a table being set by Gene (Mark Proksch).

He waits anxiously for his guest in Room 104, practicing how he’ll introduce himself once they arrive. It looks like a romantic evening, but the reality is furthest from it.

Finally, there’s a knock on the door, and Dan (Kent Osborne) has arrived. Gene awkwardly shakes Dan’s hand for too long before they bro hug.

Gene hopes Dan likes the setting and Dan seems impressed. They’re obviously nervous and quite genuine in their awkwardness.

This could easily be a meet-cute for two adult men on their first same-sex romantic rendezvous, but unfortunately, this is Room 104, so all is not as it seems.

Instead of commencing with dinner, Gene has a fanny pack with a bunch of pills, which he gives Dan. Dan chomps through all of them before they toast to “a perfect night.”

It isn’t long before Dan seems to be feeling the effects of all the pills he’s taken. They make consent recordings and then talk about how happy they are that “this night” has come and how people simply wouldn’t understand what they were doing. Is this a joint-suicide pact?

Gene takes out some surgical implements while Dan lays down on the bed. Dan removes his clothing while Gene performs a quick surgery on him. It’s relatively painless since Dan doesn’t even react.

Whatever Gene cut off Dan then goes into a frying pan Gene has set up on an electric stove. I guess we now know why this episode of Room 104 is called “Hungry.”

As Gene continues frying, he starts popping some pills. The two of them are just about to start eating when the police knock on the door. Gene hastily packs away the surgical equipment, before leading Dan into the bathroom. Dan insists on grabbing a bite of the “meat,” and so does Gene before letting officer Pankin (Michole Briana White) in.

The officer explains that she’s here on the behest of Dan Bender’s wife. Jill Bender found some cryptic messages on his computer and, worried for his safety, followed him to the motel and saw him enter Room 104. The officer continues to interrogate Gene, while he tries to deflect with the usual “you need a warrant” dialogue.

The officer is not swayed; she looks around the room and then breaks into the bathroom – except no one’s in there. Satisfied, the Officer moves to leave, but Gene, who is visibly upset at her intrusion, asks for her name and badge number so that he can go ahead and file a report.

This turns out to be a bad move. When the officer turns back to Gene, Dan emerges from the bathroom asking if she’s finally left.

Seeing Dan in a state of undress and bandaged up, the officer figures out what they were doing. She immediately calls for back up, who arrive surprisingly quickly.

Explaining the situation to her fellow officers — that the two gentlemen are engaged in cannibalism and self-mutilation — the three officers try to arrest Gene and Dan, but Gene and Dan insist that what they’re doing is not illegal.

The officers are horrified by what they see, but decide to double-check Gene’s claim. A quick search through what I can only assume is the police manual tells them that they do not, in fact, have a case. Resigned to this realization, they tell Dan to have himself checked at a hospital soon and leave.

Shaken by the police intrusion, Dan tries to calm Gene down as they decide to enjoy the rest of their evening. Now, it’s Gene’s turn. For an episode that had A+ acting and authentic character interactions, the premise is little more than an attempt to shock audiences. Not sure this is the direction Room 104 needs to take to remain relevant.