Here we go with another set of tales from Mark & Jay Duplass.
Episode #5 – Woman In The Wall
Catherine, a woman plagued by a host of ailments, is comforted by a disembodied woman’s voice.
Well, isn’t this a bit interesting? The title and tagline for this episode spell out the quirk that lies therein. If that is the case then, there has got to be something else beyond that premise that happens. Actually, there is and that causes a frustration because in my style of writing I won’t spoil that ending. In not spoiling the ending I can’t expound on my theory of what played out by episode’s end. That is disappointing, but I stick to my methods so no spoiler reveals here. But I can take the story up to that point.
Catherine, played by Dolly Wells (of DOLL & EM), has rented room 104 on a snowy evening. We see her entering the room, checking it out and setting down her meager belongings she brought with her. We learn throughout the course of the episode that she has suffered ailments and has traveled to get to a doctor appointment. She will lay over at the motel of the series before returning home the next day.
As she tries to settle in with a magazine, she hears a woman’s voice. A pleasant enough voice, but it is disturbing her as she tries to relax. Catherine thinks, as one automatically would, that the voice is just a loud person occupying the adjacent room. It is just one voice carrying on a one-sided conversation as if on a phone and Catherine speaks up to try to get the woman to tone it down. She politely tells the woman that she is too loud three times before she decides to take action. She calls the front desk and Larry (Jenny Leonhardt), who has been seen in ROOM 104 before, walks Catherine over to room 106 to prove that the room is vacant.
When Catherine returns to her room the voice continues. The pleasing voice is supplied by Leonora Pitts (TOGETHERNESS) and if you think about it a disembodied voice has got to come across just right for both Catherine and for the viewer and it does. Pitts’s voice is gentle, bubbly, friendly and sympathetic. She even breaks into a heartfelt tune more than once. The odd thing is the woman knows who Catherine is and connects with her and gets Catherine to relieve her stress and totally submit to complete relaxation.
Next, we know time has passed and Catherine is seen entering room 104 an older woman, a sicker woman. She arrives in a wheelchair and the voice is there waiting for her. But Catherine is angry. She blames the woman in the wall for filling her with false hope. She was filled with so much of it that she thought all would be well and she stopped seeing doctor’s and the result was being wheelchair bound. She lashes out and even wonders if she has been hallucinating this whole thing then & now. The encounter is terse and short. Time passes yet again and Catherine once again enters the room a new, healthier woman. She has sought treatment and is better and with no wheelchair in sight. She came back to room 104 to apologize to the voice and thank her for the unusual but rewarding friendship and then…
…a surprising twist at the end that you won’t learn through me. You got to watch Woman In the Wall for yourself. But I’m still itching to share my theory.
Episode #6 – Arnold
After waking up soaking wet and with no memory of the previous night, Arnold tries to piece together the events that got him to Room 104.
We have a mystery on our hands and it is told in an unexpected style. ROOM 104 is an anthology series with different directors taking varied approaches to tell their stories. For example, we have already seen an all-dancing episode (Voyeurs) and an all-fighting episode (The Fight) and now we get an all-singing one. “Arnold” is a mini-musical starring Brian Henry, who sang for Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon” but has also appeared in HBO’s VICE PRINCIPALS and BOARDWALK EMPIRE and Cinemax’s THE KNICK.
The episode opens with us hearing a slosh of water and Arnold exiting room 104’s bathroom soaking wet and completely dressed. He cases out the room, as though it is new territory to him and finally at one point, he ponders the words – “How did I get here” and thus starts the mystery and his song. Arnold sings trying to piece not only why he was in that motel room but what happened the night prior. His singing doesn’t really make sense until he actually listens to the lyrics. He sings of “going out for one beer,” a “yellow jacket” and “Kiki Alvarez.” But what does it all mean?
Luckily, Arnold has a cell phone and via texts and photos on it, he begins to figure out what happened the night before. Part of the record of events come s to fruition due to communication with a friend named P-Dawg. In one entertaining moment as Arnold sings his conversation with his friend pop up on the screen. It appears that Arnold, a homebody, decided to go out that night for a beer and while he was out, he met a woman sporting a yellow jacket; she is not Kiki Alvarez. That clue hasn’t manifested yet. But remembering that he met a girl and that they were hitting it off set Arnold soaring. He reenacts his encounter with a great musical number complete with special effect lighting appearing from nowhere. The picture above shows Arnold and his party partner.
The young lady, we learn, is Vicki played by Ginger Gonzaga who was in the Duplass’ Bros. TOGETHERNESS. Once Arnold discovers the pictures of her and remembers more & more of their time together his pillow prop suddenly becomes her and a beautiful duet begins under the party lights. We learn that they met when her ex-boyfriend was causing her grief and Arnold stepped in to defend her. As the evening winds on serious partying is going on. But the big party was down at a warehouse and the password to get inside – “Kiki Alvarez” of course. However, the situation goes bad fast when the ex-boyfriend shows up. The song all comes to an abrupt end when Arnold discovers a video on his phone that greatly changes his tune. The fight for Vicki picks up and the conclusion proves dangerous.
Just how do this story and this song end? What does this all reveal to Arnold? Well, by episode’s end we still have Arnold contemplating just how & why did he end up in room 104. Once you get to that conclusion you will certainly see that simple, innocent-looking motel room in a completely new light. It all started with a little ditty by Arnold.
Until next week.