There is a truly heartbreaking story in the second episode of Roar. While it’s not always enjoyable to watch dementia-focused shows/episodes, the use of eating photography brings a new way of telling the grief that family members are going through.
This recap of Roar season 1, episode 2, “The Woman Who Ate Photographs” contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking on these words.
Roar season 1, episode 2 recap
In the second episode of Roar, Nicole Kidman plays an Australian mother who begins the episode by helping her son, Todd, clear out his room as they force him to move rooms to make room for his mother Rosie’s arrival. Todd is quite upset that he has to change rooms now that his grandmother is moving in. He also dislikes the new alarm system, which is in place to protect Rosie, and Todd compares it to being in jail. Instead, Todd wants to move in with his girlfriend, Amy, where he can have tons of sex.
The next day, after renting an “awful van”, Nicole calls her mom, Rosie, before she enters the house so as not to scare her. Once inside, Nicole tries to motivate Rosie, who has dementia, to gather all the belongings she wants to take home. While alone, Nicole skims through some of the photographs and eats one, allowing herself to relive the memory of that photograph. After Rosie packs a suitcase, Nicole drives them home, which is when Rosie accuses Nicole of taking advantage of her. So, Nicole offers them to go on a road trip.
During this road trip, Rosie isn’t upset that Todd is more interested in Amy than in college. A strange reaction for Nicole, who states that Rosie was outraged when Nicole mentioned dropping out of college when she was younger. After going through the photo album, Nicole, once again, eats some of the photographs. When Nicole and Rosie pass by the coast, on a big detour, Nicole eats several more photographs.
The next morning, Nicole wakes up late and worries that Rosie is missing. But luckily Rosie is just taking a shower. When Nicole takes them to a place they visited years ago, Rosie has no memory of the place. When Nicole goes to grab her jacket, the wind carries away several photos. And in a moment of distraction, Nicole loses Rosie. She finds her near the edge of some trees, where Rosie is confused. When they finally arrive home, Rosie rejects help from Nicole’s husband, Adam. When Adam notices that several photographs are missing, Nicole tells him that she ate them.
She reveals she feels she has to hold on to everything, and dementia now means she’s no longer Rosie’s daughter, and also coming to the end of her journey of being a mother of Todd, and that, therefore, she is afraid to look ahead. She adds that she loves her mom, but at the same time she doesn’t. And although she doesn’t like spending time with her, she doesn’t want to lose her. As Nicole apologizes for being all over the place, Adam accepts everything he just heard. As the episode draws to a close, Nicole overhears Rosie having a loving moment with her two sons.
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