“Generations” gets lofty in more ways than one as it touchingly says farewell to Room 104.
This recap of Room 104 season 4, episode 12, “Generations”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In its final episode, Room 104 goes into space. Really, though, it goes into itself, pondering the passing of time and the torch to the next generations – its title is no accident. It even ponders why a motel room, though admittedly that’s in the context of why a cabin on a spacecraft is modeled after one, not why the show itself is set in one. But the answer works either way. Motel rooms are places of transition, between one place and the next; commas in life’s long sentence. They’re always shelter but never home. All kinds of stories live in them.
This story is about Keir (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine), a passenger aboard some vague vessel idling through space, tended to by a Siri-like digital assistant named Agnes. Agnes is annoying. She reminds Keir constantly of an upcoming Generations Ceremony and offers him sleeping pills and platitudes. He repeats a mantra: “Generations upon generations have sacrificed, so that generations upon generations may prosper.” He doesn’t seem to believe it.
By visiting some key periods in Keir’s life, we learn why he is so melancholy about his life, especially now that this talked-about Generations Ceremony is close. When he was a young child, he believed his mother, Wendy, was simply a cleaner in a motel. But really she was the custodian of the room’s secret, which is that behind one of the walls was a high-tech panel that blazed with light. The motel room was no such thing. Their life was a lie, all in service to a mission that is, apparently, greater than them, greater than Keir’s friend Ryoko and her family.
Ryoko becomes Keir’s wife, the mother of his child, Imoko. At her Generation Ceremony, Wendy is offered a flower by Agnes, a white lily, and with that, she’s gone, out of the airlock. Later, Ryoko is given the same flower, after being scanned by a beam that reveals a pulsating red dot inside her, representative of something or other. She, too, leaves.
Keir is always left behind. He gets older. At various points, he questions his life and nurses the resentment he carries that his mother chose it for him. “How is this a life? We get no say in anything,” he says to Ryoko. When his daughter opens the hidden wall panel the windows open onto the vastness of space and the two float in the room, its gravity suddenly deactivated. When we see her next she’s grown-up and pregnant. To her, he says, “I knew my fate would only lead me to this moment, and I let that disappointment ruin most of my life.” With his own Generation Ceremony close, Keir doesn’t believe his life has amounted to anything. He doesn’t believe that his fate, whether it’s more time offered by a daffodil or an end offered by the white lily, matters either way. Imoko convinces him that it does.
The last thing on his mind is the question Agnes could never answer: Why the motel room? “I just assumed it was because back on earth they’d always stay in places like this on their way to somewhere else,” says Imoko. “They weren’t home, but at least they were safe. With people they loved, hopefully.” When Keir recognizes the truth of this theory, he seems ready to accept what comes next. In the end, it was all about love. Aren’t most things?
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