For three seasons, Room 104 created some of the most captivating and unusual episodes on any television series.
What made this HBO series so unique is that it didn’t pigeonhole itself into a genre, but approached each episode with the intent of making it like nothing you had seen before on the show.
From horror to comedy to drama to thrillers to musical episodes, Room 104 did a little bit of everything.
Now, Room 104 is back for one final season, with the Season 4 premiere hitting on Friday night, July 24, and running for 12 weeks. This is also the end of the series, so did it match up to the brilliance that came before?
There are no spoilers in the following review.
To just get the reveal out of the way early, the fourth season of Room 104 not only lived up to the previous seasons but might be the best season of them all.
There wasn’t one single letdown in the 12 episodes in this entire final season.
Honestly, this might be the best anthology series on television, hands-down.
Like previous seasons, Room 104 chose not to repeat many motifs and left viewers off-balance throughout this final run of the HBO series.
There are a lot more musical episodes this season than in the past, but they were all so different that it never felt like a trope that the season fell into. In one episode, there is a musician playing his hit songs. In another, there are two warriors singing about their adventures before they battle. In another, there is almost like a techno dance party.
There is also a lot less horror this season, with only one of the episodes going full-on horror.
Instead, this is a season that will leave viewers thinking about what they just watched, realizing that each episode has something deep that it is saying and it just takes a little while in some cases to bring that issue to the surface.
It all starts with the first episode, which actually brings in the producer and the show’s creator Mark Duplass onto the screen as a long-lost musician named Graham Husker to perform his hit songs for some twentysomethings in the now-iconic motel room.
The episode seems like it is going to be a full-on horror tale, as the viewer knows the truth before all but one of the young adults do. However, as with the best episodes of this season, things take a crazy turn and it ends up with a lot more depth and emotion.
As a matter of fact, a lot of this season’s episodes bring the feels more than once.
Star Time is a touching tale of addiction, with a girl who has to finally stop and make the decision of whether she wants to live or die. Avalanche explores childhood trauma and how it affects a person when they are older and broken down.
The Hikers is a story of friendship and how one person’s feelings of inadequacy can affect how they treat those closest to them.
These stories are just brilliant tales.
There is also an animated episode (Fur) that approaches the Me Too movement in a creative way, written and directed by a female director in Mel Eslyn. The full-on musical episode is a story that actually takes the action outside the room but is a strong exploration of today’s racial problems, also directed by Eslyn.
Neither of these episodes slams you over the head with a message, but both leave you thinking about the world in a different way. That is the brilliance of Room 104.
Not everything is heavy, as Oh Harry! brings former Saturday Night Live star Kevin Neelon into the world of a sitcom where an accident makes his bumbling dad character realize his world isn’t real, but he has no way to get out. It is just as brilliant as the others, with a great lesson tucked away, but does it in a funny, comedic manner.
The actors this season were also great.
Dave Bautista was selected to play the older wrestler in Avalanche. Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Melissa Fumero was a woman distressed at her divorce party in Bangs. Gary Cole (Office Space) was fantastic in No Dice as the long-time game show host.
The two best episodes of the season for me were The Hikers and Generations, with the two at the bottom of the list being Bangs and Foam Party.
In The Hikers, the story was based around two friends, just graduated from college, talking. When one discovers that the other is trying to sabotage their hiking trip, they end up realizing that one of them is broken. The acting here, and the two young actors, were spectacular.
In Generations, the final episode of Room 104, we meet an older man who is preparing for his Generations Ceremony. This pretty much wraps up the series with a bow thanks to the dialogue by one of the characters when asked why it took place in a motel room.
A motel room is somewhere the people stay when they are on their way somewhere else. It is also normally a place to be with those they love.
For four seasons, Room 104 shows that it is not always a safe place and some of the people here are not with their loved ones. However, everyone in these four seasons is on their way somewhere and Room 104 is a stop on that journey, a stop that forces them to look at themselves.
In that aspect, this has been a brilliant series from the start and Season 4 is the icing on the cake. The best anthology on television is ending and you can’t miss this final season.
Every character you meet is on their way to their fate, and if you pay enough attention, you might change right along with them.
Room 104 Season 4: The episodes
Episode 1: The Murderer (July 24) – Twentysomething Logan gathers four friends for an intimate performance by the enigmatic, long-lost musician Graham Husker, per Graham’s very specific instructions.
Episode 2: Star Time (July 31) – An unlikely source spurs Sam to confront her history of addiction.
Episode 3: Avalanche (August 7) – With the help of therapeutic dolls, retired pro wrestler Raw Dog Avalanche taps into his memory of an epic bout gone wrong – along with other traumatic, repressed experiences.
Episode 4: Bangs (August 14) – At her divorce party, Eva overhauls her potentially life-changing decision to get bangs.
Episode 5: Oh Harry! (August 21) – A ’90s family is unwittingly stuck living in Room 104 until dad Harry tries to alter the script on their current reality.
Episode 6: The Hikers (August 28) – Megan and Casey, two college grads embarking on a three-month hike, confront irrevocable truths about their friendship.
Episode 7: Foam Party (September 4) – Hoping to impress his new housemates, perpetually-insecure Jack organizes an epic foam party in Room 104, but things get strange when the foam leaves the partners with a shocking side effect.
Episode 8: No Dice (September 11) – Slick gameshow host Chip Crawford wants nothing more than to keep his meet-and-greet with Enid, his eighty-something biggest fan, as short as possible, but Enid has other plans in store.
Episode 9: The Last Man (September 18) – After failing once again to win a battle against his mortal enemy Durkon, Kyran’s mentor Granada gives him a lesson in vanquishing his foe for good.
Episode 10: The Night Babby Died (September 25) – When childhood best friends Bruce and Abby meet for the first time in decades, Bruce’s eccentric plan to resurrect their friendship reopens old wounds.
Episode 11: Fur (October 2) – It’s 1987 and friends Finley and Grey crash Room 104 to celebrate their last summer before starting high school, but Grey’s insecurities flare up when popular jock John comes over.
Episode 12: Generations (October 9) – While Keir prepares for his Generations Ceremony, he reflects on his life and relives painful memories of the moments that shaped him.