HBO’s Room 104
Season 2, Episode 1: “FOMO”
Directed by Ross Partridge
Written by Mark Duplass
* For Season 1 recaps & reviews, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mr. Mulvahill” – click here
For those who don’t know, FOMO’s definition can be found here.
A bunch of friends are partying. Gracie (Charlyne Yi) laments being 30 and being “a fucking Lyft driver.” Her friends Matty and Tanya (Pia Shah) assure her things are better than she sees them. It’s Gracie’s birthday weekend, so they’re celebrating as much as possible. They get drunk, get high, and get silly. When Matty wants to post a picture of them it freaks Gracie out, she doesn’t want anybody posting anything on social media. How come? She says it’s because she never invited Karen (Jennifer Lafleur), her sister. Awkward. But the friends say Karen sucks, and they’re happy to just be a trio together. Apparently there was a divorce, which seems to be a reason for why she’s changed lately.
Except Karen came anyway, to the surprise of everybody. Gracie acts like she was invited all along. But it was their mother who told Karen about the getaway, prompting the sister to show up. The whole moment’s beyond uncomfortable, as the friends try to rally with a “junk folder” argument. “Fucking spam, man,” Gracie chuckles. Then they try to act normal and celebrate. Well, big sister breaks out a hearty rendition of “Happy Birthday” by herself, so it’s not entirely normal.
An insufferable night goes on, even after the pizza gets there. Karen can feel she’s not exactly wanted. She doesn’t fit in whatsoever, either. She gets weird about the weed smoking before getting even weirder about Matty’s sexual orientation. He takes slight offence about her view of being gay as “a choice.” The older sister becomes more aggressive as the conversation wears on. She gets physical, grabbing at her sister’s friends until Tanya tosses her to the floor as Karen keeps ranting and laughing like an absolute maniac.
While they get a second alone, Matty and Gracie talk about her sister. Karen was the original daughter of the family, then Gracie was adopted, so apparently the parents tried overcompensating and maybe left the older sister with a complex. After a few minutes, Karen comes back from outside with Tanya, apologising for crossing boundaries with them. She claims Tanya got a call about a sick aunt. At the same time, Matty’s “greening out” and needs to take a wake-up shower. Karen wants to make things more fun for her sister— snacks, a movie. She checks on Matty, claiming he passed out, so she gets him some pillows and makes sure he’s comfortable.
And still, no Tanya…
The sisters confront one another, as Gracie’s worried about her friends and starts to fall apart. Karen wants to know if she was genuinely invited to her party. This sends the adopted sister into a rage about their family issues, and it upsets Karen, who creepily suggests a few hypotheticals about what could’ve happened to Tanya or why Matty’s actually unconscious on the bathroom floor. Gracie’s finally grown to hate her sister, screaming in her face: “Get the fuck out of my fucking life.”
All this results in Gracie joining her friends, after Karen kills her. In a macabre juxtaposition with one of the earlier shots of the friends in sunglasses is now a perfect Instagram selfie of Karen alongside the dead sister and her friends.
What a killer ending, in so many ways! Great episode. It felt like things were headed this way, yet things were kept in suspense well enough and the payoff was darkly hilarious and gruesome at once.
“Mr. Mulvahill” is up next.