Content warning: Sexual violence
Best line: “You will be no man of God after you see my big old tits” — Adrienne
Episode MVP: Adrienne (Mary Mouser)
“Prank Call” opens on a teenage girl named Adrienne (Mary Mouser) sitting cross-legged on the floor of Room 104. Behind her, her mom (Kristina Harrison) and dad (Carl De Gregorio) strut around the room getting ready to meet with a man named Bill, gurgling vulgar and sexual insults at one another as they do so. The audio reverberates hauntingly as the camera pushes in on Adrienne’s angry expression, until the sound of the door closing in the background breaks the synth.
Adrienne decides to spend her night making prank calls on the motel phone. First, she calls a woman named Barbara and insinuates that she has been having an affair with Barbara’s husband. After Barbara hangs up, Adrienne goes into the bathroom and admires herself in the mirror. She poses, tossing her hair to look more mature, narrating a fake scenario in which she is in a hot tub with Bill. But soon, a look of disgust and shame creeps across her face and she stops and exits the bathroom.
This episode is deeply concerned with the uncomfortable and haunting line between adolescence and adulthood. Adrienne is desperate to be an adult, and each scene shows her teetering on the brink of womanhood — only to be tempered by her juvenility. For example, following her make-believe in the bathroom, she puts her mother’s red dress on and tries to smoke, but ends up coughing aggressively and messing up her lipstick.
She turns off the children’s shows playing on the television behind her and makes another call on the phone. This time she gets a man named George (Macon Blair). They begin to talk, Adrienne posing as a confident and seductive woman named Lisa who sails through the flirtatious conversation with ease. But her naivete is still there, pressing its way through her words as she stumbles to find sexy phrases to whisper through the phone receiver, ultimately making George suspicious.
He tells her he knows that the phone call is a prank. Adrienne desperately tries to convince him it’s not, telling George her real name just to get him to believe her. It takes her a bit to regain George’s trust, but once she does, Adrienne begins to set the scene for a sexy rendezvous in — you guessed it — a hot tub. She becomes more and more committed to the narrative she is rattling off to him until suddenly, to her surprise, it has the desired effect on George. Adrienne is shocked and horrified at this, hanging up the phone quickly.
Where Adrienne has been dipping her toe into the pool of mature sexuality for the entire episode, she now reverts to her sweatshirt and kiddie pajama bottoms, to watching cartoons and eating Funyuns in bed. She once again exists as child, not seductress — until there is a knock at the door.
It’s George. He lets himself into her room and begins to threaten her, saying, “You promised it wasn’t a prank.” But he sheds this violent predator demeanor to be a man of God, a righteous and devout man just “teaching her a lesson.” He says that she is lucky some other creep didn’t answer her call and come to her room to do unspeakable things to her — Adrienne not realizing that this is essentially what he is doing right now.
George says that she should thank him, and when she doesn’t, he becomes a classic boomer — saying that her generation is so used to having things handed down to them that they don’t even know when they are learning an important lesson. Then, George pulls out a gun and says, “There could be a man in this room with a gun,” trying to force her to do what she said she would on the phone.
By bringing up the fantasy Adrienne created, she is brought back to her seductress alter ego. She changes her demeanor quickly and begins to bait George, saying he’s no man of God and wants to be with her — and that he likes that she’s a kid. He continues to say that isn’t true, but she presses him further and further, telling him to just look away if he doesn’t want to see her. He doesn’t look away, but he continues to tell her no until she finally pulls her shirt off and screams — to which George responds by putting the gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger.