Say what you will about Room 104, the one thing you can’t fault the show for is its unpredictability. It’s genuinely impossible to figure out what’s coming next from HBO’s weird hit-and-miss anthology making it one of the more unusual and strangely endearing shows on TV right now. This latest episode really typifies that idea too and armed with a relatively simple premise, Room 104 delivers a weird but strangely compelling narrative.
As we pan the camera across the motel room, Allan scoops up clumps of faeces into a bag whilst screaming at a creature inside the bathroom. Telling it to be calm, he eventually heads in to calm it down himself, with a little help from bananas spelling out its name, “Elmer”.
A knock at the door brings Sharon into the room; a lady presumably interested in art. However there’s more going on here as they discuss Elmer, the creature currently hiding out in his bathroom who she wants to see. She tells him she has experience in this field before relaying a story about working with gorillas. She’s clearly interested in buying the animal too, as Allan goes on to confirm he hasn’t tampered with its food in any way, which is obviously a lie. She offers him ten grand in exchange for the creature which definitely raises some eyebrows for him.
Bringing the creature out, it’s here Sharon meets Elmer for the first time. After hearing her pleas for it to be put in a sanctuary and taken care of, he admits to sedating the animal with zanex and tells her the deal’s off. It’s here she reveals her badge that shows she’s working for the authorities. Unfortunately before she can move Elmer, the gorilla picks up a taser and begins playing with it, eventually getting angry and into the “Red Zone”, where he blasts Allan several times with the taser.
Showing him her breasts, Sharon manages to calm the gorilla down until she gets close enough to try and take the taser from him. Unfortunately Elmer tasers her too and heads out the front door, shooting Allan one final goodbye glance.
With a good pacing and a nice theme around man’s inability to tame nature, Room 104 delivers a pretty enjoyable episode, even if it is utterly weird and lacking in characterisation. The idea is certainly an interesting one although I was almost 100% convinced the creature wasn’t even going to be a gorilla and instead something more alien and maniacal instead.
Still, for all its positives the episode feels a little forgettable, especially surrounded by other shows that have depicted this struggle on a much more grandiose and compelling level. Room 104 does well to keep the good vibes going though, even if the episode itself lacks the cutting edge to stand out as much as it perhaps should.