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September 4, 2015

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (Part 3)

If you just now began reading this review, I strongly suggest you read Parts 1 and 2 first. What's being discussed here won't make sense otherwise.

So, we’re still in Hotel Dusk, we learned some things about Louie’s past, we reassured a young girl about her mother, we got a guy who stole his friend’s story and profited off it to cry, and we told a rich brat to go home. That’s a good day in my book. And the day is not over yet; in fact, it’s barely 9:00. You know what that means? Time to get drunk. Louie’s bar just opened. But before that, a long talk with Ed from Red Crown. And now we can go.

You can tell Kyle liked that bourbon.
Ooh, this Seven Stars bar looks neat. And look, Louie’s the barman, too. That’s his favorite job in the entire hotel. Kyle orders a bourbon – wait, I just realized: Alcohol in a Nintendo DS game. Sweet mercy, finally a video game that doesn’t dance around the issue. And I think that’s the second time we see Kyle with a big smile on his face. This bar has quite a number of things, too; a jukebox (actually a Sound Test comprising all the tunes in this game) and a puzzle with matches made by Louie himself. I doubt drunk people can solve that sort of thing, but hey, it’s in the game, so Kyle will have to do them. Can’t escape it. Also, Louie says that the “Kyle Hyde” who stayed at the hotel six months prior did so at a moment where both Rosa and Louie were on vacation. Only Dunning saw that guy. Bizarre.

That’s when Helen Parker enters the bar. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but I can’t think of a punchline. “An ex-cop and an old woman with an eyepatch walk into a bar... The aristocrats?” Kyle gets a chance to speak with Helen, and learns that she stays at this hotel once every ten years, and that she’s alone at the moment, but she had a family. Also, she used to work as a magician in Las Vegas. You heard that right: a magician. Now that's one awesome elderly lady. But we don’t get more as Mrs. Parker decides to head back to her room, and Louie goes to help her. He leaves Kyle alone in the bar.

She sure is the more colorful character in this picture.

That’s when Iris and Martin Summer enter. Iris leaves quickly, and Martin says he thinks he’s seen her before, though he can’t remember where. Summer then tries to deduce Kyle’s past, and fails. What an author... Kyle tells him to piss off, and Martin leaves. Louie comes back, and Kyle leaves the Seven Stars. But there's still one unanswered question about this bar: Is there a legend to this place?

"Legend of the Seven Stars"... geddit?

He meets Rosa on his way to the second floor, and she tells him this bar was opened to celebrate the hotel’s tenth anniversary, in 1969. But she still dismissed the traumatizing event that took place at this hotel 10 years ago as merely a rumor, so if we want to know more, we need to ask Dunning. He’s in the restaurant at the moment, looking at pictures hung over the stage in the restaurant where there’s also a piano.

A chat with him teaches us that Dunning has been running this place for 5 years, but he refuses to say what he’s been doing before buying the hotel. Dunning says Jeff “found his ‘stolen’ stuff in his room” and won’t annoy them any longer.

I never heard of wine label collectors. Then again, I guess
there's a collector for anything.
Moments later, Kyle is stopped on the way by Rosa. Wow, I didn’t know this was “Stop Kyle Hyde On His Way To Somewhere Else And Ask Him A Favor" Day; surely, every guest around here is in the spirit of this obscure holiday. Rosa asks Kyle to deliver a wine bottle label to Mrs. Helen Parker. The maid also mentions that she feels Mrs. Parker may have come to the hotel with a son in the past. This encourages Rosa to tell us about her own son, who works on Wall Street and does well enough that she could quit her job. But she doesn’t because she just loves working. Hey, the world needs maids. Oh, and of course, there are actually three bottles of wine that were emptied tonight, but Rosa can’t remember which one was Helen Parker’s. Just great, huh?

Good thing we had adhesive remover in Kyle’s package from Red Crown. Such coincidences are miraculous. So, we ask around and deduce Mrs. Parker had red wine for dinner, so we peel off the label on the bottle and bring it to her. And you guessed it: Interrogation Time. The person she shared that wine with, ten years ago, was her only son, a certain... Alan Parker. And she betrayed him – Wait, wasn’t that the name on the pen we handed back to Martin Summer? Time to take a certain thing from a certain Summer, and then we head back to Helen Parker’s room. That's when we learn she gave her son that pen ten years ago, as a gift for their reunion. Kyle explains how Alan vanished about ten years ago.

Some scribbler I keep making fun of. He had it.
This shocks Helen, and brings her to reveal her past; she had a son, but quickly abandoned her family to do the magician gig in Las Vegas. But she began missing them. One day, she was performing at the grand opening of a certain hotel. Take a guess which one. You can't miss it. Alan forgave his mother for leaving him, and they met again ten years later. Sadly, not this time; and Kyle knows why. He explains what happened after Alan had his manuscript stolen. Thankfully, now Helen knows about her son’s disappearance. Thus ends Chapter 6. This one was longer to explain than I expected...

I can see why. You're one Hell of a talented barman,
Ooh, I wonder who we get to interrogate in Chapter 7? Time to get drunk again. Not shitfaced, though. Just feel that comfortable numbness described in that vinyl that came out last month. As he drinks, Kyle hears from Louie how being a barman is a dream he had ever since he left the streets. And that Kyle himself brought him to wishing this job, one day Louie had been caught by the police for pickpocketing again. He convinced the punk that doing time is worse than earning an honest salary. And hey, Louie does a mighty fine job at this bar. The ex-pickpocket invites Kyle to play bowling in one of the hotel's halls at 11. I smell the bad idea that hasn’t washed for weeks. It’s stinking like a horde of skunks. But hey, it's plot-relevant, so we have to play along.

That’s when Summer comes into the bar. After ordering a drink, he tells Kyle his plans to reveal his plagiarism to the media, in hopes it will help him retrieve Alan Parker. Kyle also reveals that he told the story to Alan’s mother, who’s staying in this hotel tonight. Needless to say, the author is shocked. Summer then says he remembered about Iris; he feels she resembles an actress, Cecily Lee.

For them, it's Christmas three days late.
For me, it's Christmas a few months too early.
Kyle leaves the bar and stumbles upon Melissa Woodward; her father is gone again, and she’s fed up with it. They didn’t even celebrate Christmas this year. Well, they’re catching up on “Stop Kyle Hyde On His Way To Somewhere Else And Ask Him A Favor" Day. Can’t say they’re not participating to that one. Then Melissa goes back to her room. On the way to the second floor, we meet Rosa again and explain how Melissa didn’t get a good Christmas (This is the late 70s. We have no place for the cultural sensitivity of saying “Happy Holidays” yet!). Rosa gets the idea to organize a mini-Christmas party for her. Guess who she tasks with retrieving the tree. Yep, Kyle Hyde, the one and only. We find the tree in the storage room, and when Melissa shows up, she helps decorate it. Then Mila comes in. Then Louie. Here goes our Christmas episode, everyone; in September. Clearly I didn’t plan all that wisely for this review.

Mila just looks at the tree like a kid in awe. Melissa gets sleepy, so Louie brings her back to her room. Aw, that’s such a sweet picture; for once, Kyle is not the one doing all the work! After Louie and Melissa leave, Kyle asks Mila who she spent the Holidays with. She writes in his notebook that she has no one. Oh great, now I’m sad. This game tugs at your heartstrings. However, Mila knows where her father works: Gallery May, in Santa Monica. That’s when Rosa comes in, admires the tree, and leaves with Mila again. When Kyle leaves, he sees the door to Dunning’s room is a bit open, so he sneaks in and finds a picture of a young girl. That’s when Dunning comes in, and luckily, while Kyle gets kicked out of the room, he doesn’t get kicked out of the hotel. Some luck, huh? We go back to the lobby and meet a very drunk Kevin Woodward.

...Shopping for apartments? I'm a salesman, I got
stuff for sale? There's no good reason, is it?

The best way to know what happened is to head back to the bar. Iris is leaving the place at that moment. Turns out Kevin was drinking with her, and Louie overheard them discuss some Gallery May in Santa Monica. Wait, again? Either way, we don’t get more info, so we have to talk to Iris and then to Kevin. When talking to Iris, she says someone snuck into her room and stole a small envelope given to her by a certain Grace, a friend of hers who works at – you guessed it – Gallery May. And Grace is Kevin's wife. I’d say it’s time to put the surgeon under the bistoury of our questions.

Interrogation time! Kevin blames himself for Grace leaving their household. Two years ago (so, in 1977), he lost a patient in the operating room, was sued for malpractice, and lost. The patient's family demanded an insane amount of money; Kevin’s first plan was to divorce from Grace, which she refused. After which she managed to pay off the debt, but kept the secret on how she got all that money. He’d keep asking, she’d keep her mouth shut. That’s when their relationship declined to such a degree. Until Grace left. Kevin still blames himself for asking. He found a matchbook from Hotel Dusk in Grace’s purse, so he came to the hotel in hopes of finding her. And he’s been absent around Melissa because he was searching for clues on where his wife may be. That’s all we need to know. This art gallery is taking more and more place in the story. Ends Chapter 7.

Though I guess having parents who were in their forties
in the 90s kinda helped when it came to me knowing
the old technologies.
Chapter 8, 11:00 PM. Time to retrieve Iris’ envelope, and then go bowling with Louie. Gotta get the priorities straight. We hear noise around the utility closet at the end of the hall, so Kyle looks in there and finds Iris’ envelope. It contained a tape cassette, though the tape is all unwound. Don’t know what a tape cassette is? Hmpf. Kids these days. I was born in 1992 and even I know what it is. Anyway, it might contain something of interest, so we need to wind the tape back in and then listen to the tape. Thankfully, Louie has a deck in his room, so we can use it, though he mentions Dunning, too, wanted to use it earlier. We wind the tape back in, then listen to the cassette; some shady thing about painting supplies and having to work faster, for some last oeuvre... Time to ask Iris some questions.

After Kyle slips up and admits to listening to the tape, Iris explains that Grace is the one who asked her to bring it to Hotel Dusk, and that’s why a Princess like her is staying in this Hotel Dust (heh, that joke never gets old). Iris is searching for Grace. Kyle explains the story with Kevin Woodward, the malpractice lawsuit, the money, and how they split up. Iris was supposed to give the tape to a man in the place... the “man who painted the angel”. We finally get a shocking swerve: Iris is Grace’s half-sister. Oh my God I didn’t see that coming. Their mother died in a plane crash in 1960. Due to their father at the moment being a total jackass, he took the money the girls received and then put them in separate orphanages. Wow. Congratulations, game, you make me want to use my service weapon on a man.

Years later, Iris and Grace met again; Grace was already museum curator at Gallery May. Iris didn’t stay near her sister and left again to pursue her dream of becoming an actress (which she seemed to achieve under the nickname Cecily Lee). Still, two years later, Grace found her and explained how she needed money, but Iris couldn’t help. Six months before the events in this game, she received a letter from Grace which asked her to bring the tape to this hotel after Christmas if Grace didn’t show up in the following six months. It appears Grace wants the tape to be given to a “man who paints angels”, as insurance, and that man is in the hotel.

Sorry to break it to you, Iris, but I doubt you'll find an artist here.
Well, we've got Martin Summer the bullshit artist, Louie the cocktail
artist, and Dunning the insult artist; but no painter.

Roll call, how many men around here? Kyle, Dunning, Louie, Martin Summer, Kevin Woodward and Jeff Damon. One of them would be the mystery painter? ...Impossible. Every one of them gets crossed off the list in no time.

We’ll think about this later, now’s time to play bowling with Louie. It starts well, but on the third game, Louie throws his bowling ball and breaks a potted plant; Dunning’s favorite potted plant. Gee, congrats, Genius. But we find a key hidden in the pot, something we would have never found has Louie not royally fucked up. Then Rosa comes in, doesn’t notice the plant, berates Louie, then says Mila left her room and didn’t come back. You know what that means; we gotta find her. It turns out she’s on the rooftop. Through Kyle’s notebook, Mila explains that Rosa asked her who she was looking for. Rosa said she knew Mila’s father. Odd. We bring the teenage girl back to Rosa and wait for a moment.

The hair doesn't lie; this is Rosa.
But her husband looks a lot
like Dunning Smith...
Kyle waits in the backroom and looks at the pictures; it’s Rosa on her wedding. We learn this when Rosa finally comes in to talk. She says her husband was a sailor, and she last saw him five years ago, when she started working at the hotel. Take a guess who we’re interrogating next. Yep, it’s Rosa’s turn. Looks like everybody in this hotel will get questions.

It takes quite a bit of convincing, but Rosa finally spills what she knows. The brochure Mila came to the hotel with was more than five years old; it predates Rosa becoming the maid at Dusk, it even predates Dunning becoming the owner. In fact, a similar brochure was in Dunning’s room. So, Mila was here a long time ago? We also learn from Rosa that Dunning has a family, including a daughter, so Rosa thought Dunning might be Mila’s father. The maid also mentions that Dunning might have stayed at this hotel in the past with his family. Kyle explains a bit to Rosa but doesn’t mention the guy’s name, Robert Evans. And Rosa adds that, for some odd reason, Dunning has been avoiding Mila like she’s a plague. He even instructed Rosa to bring Mila to the police!

When Kyle asks about an angel painting, Rosa says all she’s seen in here were five paintings of apples. That’s all we get. Kyle leaves, and his pager starts beeping, so it’s time to head back to Room 215 and call Red Crown. Ed explains to Kyle that Gallery May closed down seven years ago, that Robert Evans had inherited it from his grandfather, and that Evans vanished after the gallery closed down. The gallery made a lot of money thanks to Evans discovering plenty of great painters. Ed also drops that Robert Evans’ wife Mary died in a plane crash in 1960. They had one daughter: Mila. That’s all we get for now. It feels like every new Chapter has the plot thicken, and more questions have to be asked. More missing people, more unknown people, more pieces to this enormous puzzle... When will this end?

Oh yeah, I, too, contemplate the phone when thinking about other people's
children... though I can't help but think that the last pieces of the puzzle
lie in the existence of this new character.

In Part 4, next Monday.