Room 104 The Fight Review

(Each week, we’ll kick off discussion about Room 104 by answering one simple question: what’s the strangest thing in Room 104?)

“The Fight” reimagines Room 104 as something more than a place for trysts or cash-strapped travelers. This time, it’s an MMA arena. Two fighters are staying in the motel ahead of their big match the next night. They decide to team up, throw the fight, and get paid. But pride gets in the way. The actual fight starts in their motel room that same night. The episode lives up to its name with some brutal, bruising fight sequences. Both opponents know that it’s in their best interest to save the uppercuts for the next day. But they just can’t stop.

What’s the Strangest Thing in Room 104? The Brawling Women

It’s 11:03pm, and two women are beating the living hell out of each other. “The Fight” opens on precisely that, dropping us into an ugly match without any context. As time jumps from earlier that night reveal, these two fighters are Greta Gaines (Natalie Morgan) and Rayna Gold (Keta Meggett). They’re scheduled for a professional match the next day. So why are they throwing punches now? It all starts with Greta griping to her manager JR about the pay. She’s sure Rayna must be making more than her $6,000. She’s probably staying in a nicer hotel, too. But an exasperated JR lets it slip that Rayna is in the exact same hotel as Greta. So she makes a call to the front desk and moments later, Rayna is at her door.

Rayna confirms that she’s making the same pay as Greta. She knows it’s a crap rate, too, but doesn’t think there’s anything they can do about it. Until Greta suggests they call a woman named Martha Sims. They’re going to throw the fight.

But if they’re going to throw the fight, they need to tell Martha who to bet on. The odds are even. Greta and Rayna know it doesn’t ultimately matter who wins, but both are proud professionals. Neither is going to just give the win away. First they decide to settle it with arm wrestling. When that doesn’t work out, they decide to actually fight. The winner will get an even bigger cut of the profits.

They set parameters: three rounds, no face blows, keep it clean. But those quickly go out the window. Greta and Rayna treat their fight — for an audience of zero — as the real thing. They deal blows to the face, throw each other into walls and windows. Greta even spits in Rayna’s face. Ultimately, we don’t see how the fight ends. But neither woman will tap out, and it sounds like one of them breaks an arm over it.

fight

The Prizefight

The negotiation scenes between Greta and Rayna might be necessary for plotting, but this episode is all about the brawl. “The Fight” is actually structured a lot like an MMA match. The nonlinear structure breaks up the fight, giving rests between rounds in the form of backstory. The backstory provided also feels like player stats, the kind designed to give viewers just enough details to pick a favorite. We know Rayna is the more established fighter, the one with experience and a great record. She has kids. Greta is the fiery up-and-comer, eager to make a splash after a bad injury. She has tattoos. Choose your fighter, but don’t get too attached. Both of them are about to get beat up badly.

fight 2

Mutually Assured Destruction

Rayna and Greta’s ferocious determination to win leaves bruises and spills blood. It also literally destroys Room 104. The pair took precautions against a hefty hotel bill, moving the lamps and tables into the closet and pushing the mattresses against the wall. But it doesn’t matter. Greta kicks Rayna so hard in the stomach that she staggers into the window, cracking it with her head. Rayna beats Greta into the wall so brutally that it leaves behind a giant hole in the plaster. When a contractor shows up the next morning to assess the damage, he can’t believe his eyes. “Jesus,” he mutters at the hole in the wall. Seconds later, he hears a voice on the other side of the wall. It’s the guy next door, and he’s watching an unbelievable fight.

fight through window

The Final Bell

The match inside Room 104 cuts before the final outcome, but things do not look good. Greta and Rayna are on the floor, locked in an armbar. “Fucking tap!” Rayna gasps. “Tap, bitch, before I break your fucking arm!” Greta shoots back. Both grunt in anguish as the music swells and the scenes cuts to black.

That’s where the contactor comes in. When he first hears the man next door yell, he thinks he might be in pain. But he’s fine, just watching the “best fight ever, man.” He insists the contractor come next door to watch. As the contractor leaves the room to do just that, the camera zooms in on the hole in the wall. The commentator’s voice gets louder. “We won’t be forgetting the names of Rayna Gold and Greta Gaines any time soon,” he exclaims. The crowd gasps. “Oh, she just got the armbar,” he continues. “But she’s not tapping out. It’s like she wants her to break it!” There’s a beat. Then a crunch.

Did Greta and Rayna completely recreate their fight in the arena? It seems unlikely that either Greta and Rayna, two stubborn and prideful fighters who seem to hate each other, would ultimately surrender. Besides, we know this marquee fight scheduled for the evening. The ending is instead lending the private fight the showmanship it deserved. Rayna and Greta gave the fight of their lives, but they won’t reap the rewards because no one was there to see it. And neither of them could just tap out.

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