Roar Episode 4 tackles every working mother’s guilt for never being enough at home or work. The most horror-focused episode of the series is also the strongest case for sympathy. Women make up over 50% of the workforce, with roughly 70% of those women being parents. Working parents, mothers, in particular, can’t be everything and everywhere for everyone. But, that doesn’t stop us from trying or beating ourselves up when we can’t. It is in that intersection between joy and guilt that we find Ambia.
The episode opens with Ambia(Cynthia Erivo) giving birth to her second child. Unfortunately, something goes terribly wrong, and she hemorrhages after delivering her son. The doctors and nurses don’t listen to her when she says something is wrong. Months later, her husband has taken paternity leave to stay with the baby so she can return to work. It is tough, though, as even though her coworkers are supportive and positive, there are harsh realities about being postpartum. Pumping her milk at work is hard and she is forced to pump in a supply closet. This is when she first finds bite marks on her breast in Roar Episode 4.
She returns home late from her first day back at work and apologizes for missing reading time. Her husband tells her their daughter struggled at school. Her daughter next accuses her of making things worse by coming home. That night she finds an even larger bite mark. Before she and her husband can connect as a couple, her daughter calls her from the other room. She sleeps with her daughter and wakes up to find another bite. She obsessively flips through stories on her phone about babies being injured while in a business meeting at work.
She packs for a trip the next day and says everyone else left the day before, but she didn’t want to leave the kids for more nights than she had to. Her husband suggests a date night. The trip goes well, and she goes to a bar with her coworker, who she is afraid is trying to steal her position. He denies it and says she needs to relax. When her phone begins ringing, he encourages her to ignore it. She tells him that is easy for him to say and do, though, because he has a wife and nanny at home, allowing him to concentrate solely on work.
When the rest of her team arrives with shots, she is finally able to relax and turn off her phone. In the restroom, she notices some of the bite marks have healed. She lays down to sleep but remembers to call home. Her son had a terrible fever, but the doctor said he was fine. Her husband cuts the call short because he doesn’t want to wake the baby. He is tired and angry that she didn’t answer the phone. She goes to sleep feeling bad about enjoying her time.
She has bite marks on her chest and face the following day, and everyone is freaked out. She doesn’t know how it happened. He thinks maybe she ate something weird. She wants to get her crying child, but her husband is worried she is contagious. There are wounds everywhere now.
Rodney and the rest of the team are trying to push her out by shifting deadlines at the office. She argues for her position but doubles over in pain and picks a tooth out of her hand. Ambia wakes up in the same hospital she almost died in. She wanders the nightmarish halls until she encounters a group of women who all have bite marks like hers. They are all working mothers who are literally letting guilt eat them alive. Their guilt manifests as an internal force that is eating them from the inside out.
Everyone has a different story. Ambia feels guilt for almost dying during childbirth and going back to work. Although she enjoys work, she feels guilty when she is there and guilty when at home. She feels she is not enough in any setting and that pain is destroying her. Her daughter is driving her crazy. She knows she is acting out because she misses her mother but that only makes matters worse. She begins to heal only after unburdening herself to the women in the support group. She wakes up to her loving husband the next day and finds her wounds are healing.
Being a mother is hard. Being a working mother is almost impossible sometimes. We hate our time away from both places and feel guilty for thinking that way. Being a parent isn’t always children’s books and baby lotion either. Sometimes we don’t like our kids. These things combine to make us feel immense guilt over everything we didn’t do right. It was only after sharing her burden with the group that she found peace. We need to listen to each other and extend kindness to ourselves. Most parents are just trying to do the best we can, and a little grace goes a long way. Roar Episode 4 highlights that struggle.
Find all our Roar coverage here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.