Room 104 returns this week with an artistic and surprisingly effective look at mental health in episode 3 of Season 4. With Dave Bautista in the driving seat, the entire episode revolves around a retired wrestler reliving painful memories from the past. All of this culminates in an ambiguous and well written ending that definitely serves as one of the better episodes in this anthology.
The wrestler in question here is Raw Dawg, a man who’s clearly been through a lot of punishment. His rival in the ring is Dr. Destruction, and as we soon learn the duo were competing for the championship. Using action figures to depict what happened, Raw Dawg and Dr Destruction both compete for the title and a suplex put Raw Dawg out on his back and down for the pin. Only…the therapist isn’t so sure this is really what happened.
As she replays audio logs from the past, they seem to contradict what he’s saying. However, Raw Dawg remains adamant that nothing happened. When they turn their attention back to the doll house, Raw Dawg’s memory starts to come back.
It’s here he’s transported inside the hotel room, with his wrestling gear on, infront of a “nerdy looking” kid. He gives the child his autograph before agreeing to show him the suplex. Only, something goes seriously wrong while the child is in the air. As Raw Dawg mumbles that he feels dizzy, we see shocking images of this child doll falling on his back after hitting a table.
It turns out there was no Dr Destruction; there never has been. He also didn’t knock this child through a table either. Instead, Doug lost his temper at a bar following an ill-timed joke about his father and suplexed him through a table. As he screams to the heavens, telling them all he’ll kill everyone, it becomes clear that he has some seriously painful, repressed memories of his Father.
As the screen fades to black, we cut to Raw Dawg again. This time, slightly older and with a cane. He walks back into the room and talks to the familiar voice of the therapist. Only… it appears she’s not actually there and as the dolls come and go from view, we’re left with an ambiguous ending that seems to hint that a lot of this was all a hallucination. Was it though?
The ending to Room 104 leaves the door open for us to piece together what really happened. Given Doug mentioned his “fuzzy” memory and misremembering facts, it seems obvious now that a lot of this repression is as a result of trauma as a child.
The “nerdy looking” kid could be interpreted as Doug himself, with Dr Destruction the manifestation of his Father. Did his Father sexually and physically abuse him as a child? There’s a few scenes that definitely seem to hint at that.
One is an extreme close-up on the doll wearing pants with 911 written on the back. This is also shown with the child sitting on the end of the bed. Doug’s nervous laughter at that moment, and his refusal to admit why he laughed, could also be a nervous tick.
Ultimately though the episode works really well to examine mental health. The interesting technique of cutting between the dolls and extreme close up of faces is a nice way of getting the best out of Dave Bautista’s raw acting too.
Overall then, Room 104 delivers one of its best episodes and the open ending leaves plenty of questions over what really happened.
Expect a Full Season Write Up When This Season Ends!