Hotel Babylon: Season 4, Episode 4

Hotel Babylon
Season 4, episode 4
Aired: July 17, 2009 on BBC1

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SYNOPSIS

In this episode, Tony meets his doppelgänger in the form of American author Bobby Mack. The two end up trading places for the day, with Tony enjoying a steak dinner from room service then having a book reading and Q&A session, while Bobby tries his hand at being a concierge.

There is also a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament taking place in the hotel that afternoon, and one of the players – Emily’s father, hotel tycoon Damien Rushby – will be there. Lastly, shipping magnate Arianna Adams is scheduled to stay at Babylon, but the staff aren’t too worried – she normally books several rooms at different London hotels during her stay, and she’s booked and paid for a room at Babylon (but never actually stayed there) for three years now.

The staff normally would have Ms Adams’ truffles and saffron gin on hand, but they stopped bothering to carry them after she continually booked rooms but never actually stayed in the hotel. So when she does show up, James and Geno have to scramble to find them. Coming up empty, James doctors some more common mushrooms, hoping they’ll pass for the rare truffles. Geno takes some regular gin and adds a red dye, hoping that the color will mimic the saffron-infused gin. When Adams’ teeth turn red from the dye, she goes on the warpath, and the only thing that can save Babylon’s reputation is Bobby (acting as Tony acting as Bobby), who talks to her about his books. As luck would have it, Mack is Adams’ favorite author, and this is why she’s staying at Babylon in the first place.

Meanwhile, Emily brushes off her father every chance she gets, even giving to Juliet the expensive gold necklace he bought her. Sam (the new hotel owner) and Damien (the hotel tycoon) have been waving penises at each other since his arrival, and eventually Sam is goaded into putting the hotel up in a card game with Damien… which was Damien’s plan all along, as he wanted to give the hotel to Emily. Sam loses the hotel, but Damien offers a rematch for Sam’s watch – which was supposedly worn by one of the Apollo astronauts. The two face off in an elevator, which has been rigged to stop by the hotel staff. Sam wins back the hotel, but only after Damien has a heart attack in the “stuck” elevator. It seems that Damien had another heart attack four months ago, and he wanted to come to London to see Emily… but he knew she was so mad at him that she wouldn’t see him. Father and daughter then reunite.

Bobby Mack’s assistant is a pretty blonde girl, and he likes her very much… although he’s oblivious to the fact that she likes him too. Tony (acting as Bobby) tries to bridge the gap between them… only Bobby (as Tony) is busy smoothing it over with Arianna Adams. Thankfully, Bobby (as Tony) is able to get away and substitute himself  back just in time to find love with his assistant.

MY THOUGHTS

I believe the whole “character acting as someone that looks exactly like his or her main character” is an obvious sign of shark jumping. Don’t you agree? I knew this storyline was coming up two weeks ago, but I was gobsmacked when I actually saw it in action. It’s just a hackneyed, contrived thing, and I can’t believe that Babylon’s writers would stoop so low. I know this isn’t intellectual entertainment or anything, but can’t they do better than this?

Speaking of “can’t they do better?”, Nigel Harmon (the “actor” who plays Sam) is one of the most wooden actors I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen him in anything else, so for all I know he’s great in other things… but in Babylon he’s as stiff as a board.

What’s with Tony’s American accent in this episode? Didn’t he do a much better job in Band of Brothers? Or was the accent supposed to me some sort of meta-joke? It was stereotypically New York, but would often fade into that “Midwest bland” that newscasters here are so fond of. Perhaps it was supposed to be a joke and I just didn’t get it.

I did like Tony (as Bobby) tipping James a single £1 coin for bringing his room service meal. That made me giggle a bit, and think of all the ways I wished I could have gotten back at some of my former co-workers.

This show is going downhill… fast. I miss Anna already! With her eye candy… there’s just not a lot left to entertain me.

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