Room 104: Ranking the season 2 episodes

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Room 104 The Man and the Baby and the Man / Image by HBO

12. Hungry

The fourth episode of Room 104 started off as a meet-cute between Gene (Mark Proksch) and Dan (Kent Osborne). Heavily coded as their first, clandestine same-sex date, the story twists into the macabre pretty quickly when pills, surgical equipment and impromptu barbecues appeared.

Though showrunner and episode writer Mark Duplass has said the episode is based on a true story, it was a genuinely shocking tale that was hard to enjoy especially when viewers were made to sit through it during the witching hour. It felt like a ham-fisted attempt at boosting ratings through ‘edgy’ and ‘dark’ subject-matter.

The trouble is, the two actors were so convincingly genuine and casual that it made the proceedings especially unpalatable. In the end, I couldn’t help but wonder if the writer wanted to share an allegorical message about minority rights. But then again, is self-mutilation and cannibalism really the analogy one wants to use to highlight the lack of human rights in America?

11. The Man and the Baby and the Man

Writer-director duo Josephine Decker and Onur Tukel starred in what should have been a heartfelt study of a couple, Rosie and Erol, recording their attempts to conceive their first child. They have it all — a great sense of humor, a deep love for each other, as well as a mutual need to spice up their lives.

Unfortunately, the final product came off as ordinary and cliché. While the entire episode is shot through their recordings, the characterization of the two characters made it uncomfortable viewing.

Rosie seems really keen to have a child (how unique, #NOT), but Erol isn’t. He also comes across as manipulative, lustful and ignorant of her requests. If the couple in this episode ever showed their child the complete proceedings, the kid would call a counselor ASAP. This felt like another episode that wanted to be edgy but came across as passé.