Room 104 season 2, episode 11 recap: Shark


Pool shark Ollie and his ‘manager’ Franco should be celebrating their earnings, but when one doesn’t trust the other, emotions run high in the latest episode of HBO’s Room 104.

Ollie (James Earl) is in Room 104, listlessly watching television. He appears preoccupied, taking a moment to snoop through his cousin’s bag before parking himself in front of the screen again. Franco (Mahershala Ali) emerges from the shower complimenting the water pressure. He tries to inject some enthusiasm in Ollie, but Ollie doesn’t respond.

Franco begins counting the money they’ve made, complaining about one of their opponents, Larry, who had atrocious foot hygiene. He wishes he’d cleaned Larry out, by taking his house or his car, so that they could avoid taking buses everywhere.

Franco says they’ve made $94 in total from playing pool, which gives them $47 each, plus they have to pay $14 for Room 104. Ollie continues to look despondent because he ‘played a lot tonight’. They used to make a lot more money, but Franco explains that they’ve played out the big cities and big venues so now they have to hustle for small fry. Doesn’t matter how much Franco jokes around, Ollie is disheartened that after four years of being on the road as pool sharks, they are somehow doing worse than they used to.

Franco has a new plan for ‘Franco and Ollie’; a nine-ball tournament with a $250,000 cash prize. Even this doesn’t get Ollie excited. Now, Ollie is confused what Franco’s contribution is when he’s doing tournaments. Franco gets on his high horse, detailing everything that he as the manager has to organize while Ollie just plays pool. And, on top of all that, Franco then has to put up with Ollie’s moods, so not only is he a manager, he’s a shrink too, Franco declares. Mahershala Ali has brought his A-game to this role!

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Finally, Ollie divulges what’s really been bothering him all this time. He counted Franco’s share of the money and accuses Franco of cheating him. Ollie demands his cousin count out his earning right there, but Franco refuses, invoking their shared upbringing and being brothers. Ollie’s rage is indefatigable. Apparently, the two of them earned $95, but Franco has pocketed the extra dollar.

Franco bursts out laughing at this revelation. He claims he didn’t intentionally pocket the extra dollar, he simply didn’t have any change to split it, so he figured he would pay Ollie back the next time. Ollie still looks affronted because Franco lied to him and the entire situation is exacerbated by the fact that Franco keeps insinuating that Ollie’s not smart enough to handle the details.

Ollie explodes, screaming about how Franco has always acted like he is better than Ollie. But Franco does himself no favors by continuing to trade insults. Slowly he appears to be revealing more about his actions; especially the insinuation that he deserves more than the 50/50 arrangement they’ve got going. He has a shockingly low opinion of Ollie and his playing skills – I feel really sorry for Ollie at the moment. Franco believes he can easily drop his cousin and get another pool player out there who would appreciate him and all his hard work.

Angrily, Franco returns the dollar to Ollie, saying they are now officially over. However, Ollie can sleep in the room for the night. Ollie is grateful, especially since he paid half. They get into bed, but Franco’s not done yet. He asks for the dollar back, provoking Ollie to chew it instead.

The two begin brawling, grabbing every item in Room 104 – including the television – before they collapse on the floor in a bloody mess. Ollie’s hand has glass in it, and Franco’s face is torn up. While they don’t say anything out loud, it’s evident the cousins are dumbstruck that their shared pettiness has cost them both the tools of their trade, at least temporarily. No more pool for Ollie, and Franco’s not going to be a convincing hustler with a bandage on his face.

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Franco finds the ice bucket and hands Ollie the packet of ice. Ollie ices his hand for a moment, before emptying a packet of fries on the floor and dividing up the ice so they can both use it. The brothers fall back laughing about who gets the dollar.