ROOM 104 Season Two Finale: “Shark” & “Josie & Me”

Here we go we’ve made it to Season Two’s final set of episodes. I think you might like how the season wraps up.  Room104

Episode 11 – “Shark”

A charismatic pool shark tries to convince his reluctant cousin to stay in the hustling game.  

Let me know how that works out for you. This episode is written & directed by Mark Duplass and stars Mahershala Ali, who we will see more of on HBO very soon in TRUE DETECTIVE. Going toe-to-toe with him in this episode is James Earl (Scream Queens) as Ollie.  

Ali, as Franco, plays the charismatic brains behind the pool hall hustle they’re into in order to eke out a living. Ollie wields the stick, calls the shots and sinks the balls every time. But, as we learn, they are not rolling in big bucks but they are eating fast foods, holing up in motels like this one and making a few $20s each. Such is the story of these cousins.  

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We learn how they grew up, how they learned to hustle early and just how close they are. But that is about to change in room 104. While Franco is in the bathroom Ollie riffles through an overnight bag that proves to be Franco’s. He quickly counts the night’s haul. The take of the night, minus the room’s rent, was $47 each. When Franco returns a discussion ensues that gets pretty heated. Ollie thinks that his skill at the billiard table is worth more than $47. Franco thinks his casing of the perspective joints and opponents, his smooth talk convincing all that want is going down is legit and the procurement of the dough is pretty damn important to the scheme and is worth more also. Then Ollie drops the bomb… 

Ollie says “I guess that’s why you took extra;” what was a debate of worthiness now has escalated to one of trust. A confession is made and Franco admits that he took one more dollar for himself. He took $48. To Ollie’s $47. A fight for the $1 ensues. They leap across beds, throw the TV and really go at it. It isn’t the first fight to happen in room 104.  Words are also barked out that cut deep. It is turning into a shattered and irreparable relationship. The whole episode ends with an ironic twist that doesn’t slap you as an obvious one. You might miss it if you don’t pay attention to what each player brings to the table as it were. Enough said; check it out.   

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Episode 12 – “Josie & Me”

A woman asks her slightly-younger self to recreate the events of one night at a college frat party.

We settle into room 104 to witness not only Josie (Mary Wiseman of Star Trek: Discovery) talking to herself but talking literally to her younger self as if it were a common thing that people engage in. Well, it’s common for this particular motel room. Younger Josie reminds me of Hannah Horvath of GIRLS; they both run out the mouth nauseatingly. But the device of older Josie one-on-one with the younger version is an effective one to get this story told.

The point of the episode is to discover just why the frat party is a crucial memory for Josie. She hangs out in room 104 to write a play as she has moved on from her college years to become a writer. A key scene of her play must count on her memories of that party be correct. Her reminiscences play out via the story younger Josie tells her about that night. One of the next rooms down the way seems to serve as the locale for the party and it is a wild one complete with karaoke, drunks, drugs, beer pong and guys looking to hook up.

It turns out in the end that both versions of Josie come to terms with what happened that night. Younger Josie, of course, is closer to the incident and takes a bit more convincing. Having some distance from the night in question is Older Josie. But she must struggle with the memory still because she is the one who instigated the reexamination to begin with. It is odd to dance around the core issue here, but I can’t spoil it. I want you to see “Josie & Me” for yourself to discover this strong and timely story.

And I want you to watch the other 11 episodes as well. Enjoy ROOM 104 Season Two. There is no word, at this time, that ROOM 104 returns; we’ll keep you informed.   

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