HBO’s Room 104
Season 1, Episode 4: “I Knew You Weren’t Dead”
Directed by So Yong Kim
Written by Mark Duplass
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Knockadoo” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Internet” – click here
Daniel (Jay Duplass) gets a message from Diane (Jennifer Lafleur) asking him not to text or call anymore. “You‘re a child and you‘re a broken person,” she says. They can’t be married anymore because of it. The guy’s attempts at throwing an empty chip bag in the garbage are almost like a microcosm of his own life, it seems. Failure all but hangs from his face.
Suddenly, Patrick (Will Tranfo) shows up. Daniel acts like he hasn’t seen him in a long time, yet Patrick reminds him he lives there. They’ve got tickets to see Soundgarden, The Melvins. There’s a strange atmosphere, something isn’t quite right.
Then Patrick’s face starts changing.
So Daniel wakes up still in his motel bed, no message on his phone from Diane. It’s clear that Patrick died, they were best friends for years and years. He talks as if Patrick can hear him, asking him to hang out and hoping he’ll get some advice. He’s in a bad place, needing that old, close buddy again.
Soon enough, Patrick’s back. It’s clear when they’re together why Daniel is still not grown up enough in Diane’s eyes. He was obviously traumatised by the loss of his friend. Also, his first son’s name is Patrick. So now he’s asking for his buddy’s advice, he had an affair with his boss and his wife found out. He fucked it all up. Diane doesn’t want him to come home. What does he do now? His dead friend has no answers, he’s only twenty-one, he doesn’t know a whole lot about the adult world.
“Just because I‘m dead doesn‘t mean I‘m like, this angel that can just see everything about your life, y‘know?”
Soon, they get into questions about Patrick’s death. He was out in the water. He wonders if Daniel could’ve saved him, or if he was out there too, would he have died? He’s mad that his friend didn’t do more, that he essentially let him die. He wishes Daniel had called him out, told him not to go out in the water. This leads to them fighting one another. When Daniel punches Patrick he shatters like glass onto the floor.
That night, the old Patrick (Frank Ashmore) arrives to tell Daniel: “We can‘t be friends anymore.” This is the last time they’ll see one another, he’s going away. He sees the brutally painful limbo his friend’s been caught in, all these years. Ignoring the rest of his life because of what happened.
Now, Daniel apologises, lamenting what he did letting his friend down. He misses and loves him. He’s reeled in the guilt all this time, wishing he could be with his friend; dead. Patrick relieves him of the guilt, asking him to come back in from the figurative beach shore where he’s stood ever since that day.
Daniel wakes the next day to an empty room. He sends Diane a text, trying to tell her he’s willing to change to make it work. Perhaps he’s gotten past his guilt, all he needed was the good advice of his friend, the last advice he’d ever need.
Beautiful episode. Love the mix of themes and stories on Room 104.
Next, “The Internet.” Should be interesting!