‘Room 104’ returns to quietly supernatural form in episode 8 ‘No Hospital’

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Best line: “Una familia tan odiosa. Él tiene un tipo de odio por ti y un otro por mi. Me odias y te odio y sigue y sigue.” — Brother

Episode MVP: Dolores (Angie Cepeda)

Just as last week’s episode of “Room 104” was interested in how families stay together, this week’s episode examines how families fall apart.

Episode 8, entitled “No Hospital,” opens with an ailing old man named Mr. Bracamonte (Tony Plana) revising his last will and testament. He opens the door and welcomes a young lawyer (Timm Sharp) into a gray and diseased Room 104. This episode is quick to imply that something sinister is afoot as the lawyer immediately notices a syringe filled with a dark substance sitting on the dresser next to Mr. Bracamonte’s will.

Then, a knock at the door sounds quietly, and Mr. Bracamonte’s daughter Dolores (Angie Cepeda) enters to serve as the witness to the signing of his new will. As the lawyer begins to videotape the proceedings, Dolores and her father start speaking in Spanish, laying the foundation for viewers to understand the characters’ past. It is revealed through their conversation that Dolores has an estranged brother and that her father is disappointed in both of them for throwing the opportunities he gave them away. Nothing here is spelled out clearly, every string of dialogue reading with vague punchiness, the way intimate conversations with family members usually do.

Following this, Mr. Bracamonte instructs the lawyer to leave and mail his will. When the lawyer begins to question him, Mr. Bracamonte moves his hands slowly, controlling the lawyer and mysteriously constricting the lawyer’s breath. Dolores insists he lets the lawyer go, and when he does, he begins to fight with Dolores once again. She tells him that he took her light away and that he let her brother abuse her. He tells her he didn’t know that, but she says she will not “practice,” and that she would rather die.

Just then, a slow crawling and echoing knock at the door. Terrified, she opens the door and a tall looming man enters — Dolores’ brother (Julian Acosta). He wryly speaks of how hard it was to find his father and sister and asks Dolores, “You know he wants you to kill him?” He tells her that is what the syringe is for, that in “the Great Book of the Law” Mr. Bracamonte cannot kill himself.

Dolores’ brother continues to bait both of them verbally, casually strolling about the room as he calls his father weak. Soon it is no longer words, but their supernatural abilities that they begin to fight with. Dolores’ brother and father enter a standoff, holding their hands together as they begin to emit a green glow, both grimacing in pain. Mr. Bracamonte begins to scream “piece of s—” over and over, as his veins flex in the dark. His son crumbles to the floor in pain and stumbles out of the room as if his tail is between his legs.

Once he is gone, Dolores asks her father if it is true that he wants her to kill him. He says yes, that she has to, and begins to sing to her in English, a song of love. She cries softly, staring at him hopelessly. He stops singing and smiles back. But just as Dolores seems to be on board with the plan, the song continues from the bathroom. Mr. Bracamonte’s face freezes with deep and crippling fear. Dolores pulls a knife from her bag and walks slowly to the bathroom where her brother sits, eating a burger and flipping through his father’s will, the syringe sitting next to him.

Her father stands, unable to move as Dolores’ brother asks her if she remembers their father whipping them with his belt. He takes his belt off and begins to hit his father with it as Dolores stares, frozen, sorrowful until her father crumbles to the ground.

But he underestimates her. Just as he walks toward her, taunting her broodingly and plunging the syringe into her neck, she breaks her stillness and jams the knife into his stomach. The whole room turns green as her brother whispers, “Welcome to the practice,” and falls to the ground. Dolores begins to scream wildly, ripping her clothes off her body and wailing. As she breathes raggedly, an old woman appears, smiling at her softly. Dolores looks at her with deep relief and says “Mamí.”

Then, the screen turns to black.

Maisy Menzies covers television. Contact her at [email protected].