“The Night Babby Died” tells a tale of lost youth and lingering resentment as former friends dig up the bones of old and painful memories.
This recap of Room 104 season 4, episode 10, “The Night Babby Died”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
At the center of “The Night Babby Died” is a video game, an old 8-bit Nintendo title called Crowning Glory II. It’s made-up, but the episode shows a lot of it, and the resemblance to a thousand other games of the era is uncanny. The story isn’t really about this game, but the old bones it contains; the pixellated ones of a failed former character and the figurative ones of a childhood relationship left abandoned. The titular in-game character, Babby, is a composite of Bruce (Leonardo Nam) and Abby (Lily Gladstone), who grew up together as kids, lost touch, and have finally reunited in Room 104.
Bruce has arranged the meeting since he has found an old CRT TV and the original Nintendo on which they used to play Crowning Glory II; the same console on which Babby died. In the game’s narrative, a demon has made a ruler forever young at the expense of his kingdom, which has fallen into decay. The people prayed for a hero, and Babby was it until they died to the game’s hydra boss all those years ago.
Bruce is still something of a manchild; Abby is unimpressed by the game and reluctant to slip back into childish fantasy when she has a real life to live. But the idea that Babby could be brought back is compelling to her. Bruce explains how, if they can fight back to the hydra’s lair, they can recover Babby’s bones and deliver them with an offering to the monks, who can revive her. For this task, he has created another portmanteau character, Abbuce, and together they can save Babby from perma-death. They can get back some of the childhood they lost.
While Bruce and Abby play, they talk. Bruce’s mother died recently; his dad was emotionally cruel to him. The more they talk, the more they play, and the more they play, the more Abby gets into the game. She handles the puzzles, and Bruce fights the bosses. When they succeed in their first quest, they even break out their old celebratory handshake.
During the second quest, Abby and Bruce discuss Bruce’s pregnant 40-something girlfriend. In the process, Abby dies in the game, not paying enough attention, and Bruce flips his lid. He snaps at her to focus; she snaps back about having a real life. He screams at her about ruining everything “again”, and suddenly we’re listening to the long-held resentments of the child that still lives inside Bruce. He says Abby played that night without him, believing she could beat the hydra alone, but she couldn’t, and that was the night Babby died. She believes the opposite; that he played alone, and killed Babby intentionally because he was mad about what happened that night. That night, it turns out, was when his dad moved out, after his mother discovered that he had been having an affair with Abby’s single mom. This is news to Bruce. Abby assumed he knew the whole time, but he had no idea. In the aftermath of the revelation, he asks the obvious question — did she continue to see his dad after he left? When Abby revealed that he helped her with med school, Bruce locks himself in the bathroom.
What’s sad about all this is that nobody’s in the wrong here. Abby genuinely assumed Bruce knew, which she explains to him through the door; he believes she was the kid his dad always wanted because she was the smart one, which fits with what we already learned about his father earlier in the episode. Luckily, Abby knows how to get through to him. She picks up the controller and goes to save Babby by herself, loudly narrating her progress so he can hear. When she reaches the hydra’s lair, he emerges. They fight the beast together, and win — it’s easier than Bruce thought it would be.
Babby’s bones are still there. They take them to the resurrection temple, but the process fails. Babby hath become ash, according to the game. Both are shocked, but while Bruce eventually smiles, Abby is distraught. She sobs and apologizes, but Bruce says it’s okay — the trying was all he wanted. He comforts her (with help from the game’s dialogue), and they laugh together, perhaps for the first time in a long while. The game asks if they want to build a monument to the fallen hero, and of course, they do: Babby, 1991-2020. Passing the controller to and fro, they give a little speech in Babby’s memory, and in memory of the childhood friendship they laid to rest with her. Perhaps things can be brought back from the dead after all.
Thanks for reading our recap of Room 104 season 4, episode 10, “The Night Babby Died”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.