‘The Big Door Prize’ Season 2 Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: Is Mr. Johnson Okay?


Would I be going too far if I said episode 4 of season 2 of The Big Door Prize is kind of like episode 3 of The Last of Us? The themes of the shows are certainly different, but it just felt like the perfect way to categorize the episode. The Big Door Prize season 2, episode 4, is more heartwarming than most episodes we’ve seen thus far, if you can believe it. The show does a great job of tugging at our heartstrings despite its rather bleak and sci-fi storyline. Episode 4 is titled “Storytellers,” and though I understand that it refers to the actual group the ladies form, which is called “Storytellers”, I think it might be about the fact that everyone writes their own stories around the MORPHO. What I mean is that it gives off the feeling that “you wrote your destiny?” Ah, but I could simply be reading too much into it. Anyway, with all that said, let’s jump into season 2, episode 4 and see what comes of it.

Spoiler Alert

Why is Mr. Johnson lonely? 

The Big Door Prize episode 4 begins with a flashback to Mr. Johnson’s shop when Cass and Nat were tiny teens. At the time, the Burly Boy boxing machine was in the place of the MORPHO machine at the back of Johnson’s General. However, it was a machine that kept breaking down and giving Mr. Johnson some trouble. But one day, a special repairman came by the shop, and Mr. Johnson took a liking to him. Of course, this is the 1980s, so Mr. Johnson, aka Walter, isn’t openly gay; he is simply a lonely man. Soon, Mr. Johnson started to mess with the machine himself, so Ian would come by every so often and give Mr. Johnson some company. I guess he saw signs that Ian might like spending time with him a little bit, too. On one of these occasions, Mr. Johnson noticed the theremin in Ian’s truck. Yes, the same theremin everybody has been getting blue dots from. Mr. Johnson is prompted to tell Ian that he likes butterflies after seeing the butterfly pattern on the theremin. Since the theremin isn’t really working at the time, Walter asks Ian if he can keep it, and so he does. It seems, by this time, Mr. Johnson’s a little bit comfortable with Ian. Finally, Ian tells Walter that he wants to visit him even when there is nothing to repair, which is a thrilling prospect for Walter, and so he invites Ian over to have a “Burly Boy Meal” (they’re instant microwaveable meals for single men, apparently) with him. 

On the day of the dinner, Walter sets up candles and a beautiful table, preparing the two dinners for the both of them; however, Ian never shows up. In the present day, Mr. Johnson thanks Beau for having him over when he’s unwell, seeing as he doesn’t actually know anything about the man; however, Beau reminds Mr. Johnson that he’s been coming to his store practically his whole life. In truth, he doesn’t actually know much more about him than that he’s had a stroke and has run the store for many years. Beau makes a cute mini Walter face for breakfast and adds M&Ms as the blue dots on his neck, but Walter tells him that he’s a little bit self-conscious about them. Beau then tells the old man that many people in town have blue dots, and his son Kolton has them, too. Before they can dwell more on the subject, Jacob shows up. Walter tells him that he plans on keeping the shop shut for a little bit because it seems that in so many years, he’s never done so. In the meantime, he also notices the theremin in the room, and Jacob tells him that it stopped working after the next round of the MORPHO started, but he wants to keep it safe in case it is needed again. 

Mr. Johnson is quite skeptical about the MORPHO, and he wonders what the next step even means. On the other hand, the women of Deerfield catch up in Cass’ house to chit-chat, tell stories, and bond. However, Dusty keeps interrupting because he thinks the whole town is talking about his date and 40-second-long hug. To everyone’s surprise, even Hana showed up at the meeting. Back at Giorgio’s, Trina tells Jacob that they can’t be stuck to each other all the time, and maybe he should find something else to do, like “meet up with his boys.” We all know Jacob isn’t that kind of kid, but he makes an effort and meets a random guy who is reading Ulysses for the 7th time. 

How Did The Theremin Come into Cass’ Hands? 

On the day of Dusty’s 40th birthday, Cass realized that she didn’t have 40 gifts and needed one more. She then told Mr. Johnson that she wanted to give Dusty something special, and that’s when her eyes landed on the theremin. Somehow, Walter is okay with giving away the theremin since it doesn’t work at all, but Cass manages to turn it on. In the present day, Beau tries to bring the theremin back to life, but apparently, some parts are missing. Back at the Hubbard residence, Hana tells the ladies about her past and why she has no friends or room for romance. She was sent off to a boarding school as a kid, with money thrown at her by her parents, but she hated it there. She felt like she was abandoned by her dad, and so basically, she hated everyone, and everyone hated her, and so now she doesn’t care for relationships. Nat and Cass are uber-impressed by Hana’s story and want to hug her, but of course, she doesn’t allow that. She then asks them about their past, and it’s like a beautiful bonding exercise for the three of them. Hana finally has friends, but we also learn that she’s had the blue dots pretty much all her life. 

Trina realizes she made a mistake by telling Jacob to hang with his friends because he’s now spending more time with the dude than her. So, she offers Giorgio some help to put up a picture of him and Nat in the restaurant, and he’s so overjoyed by her kindness that he forgives her for breaking his sign and reinstates her to a paying position. Later, Cass visits Dusty in his man pad, i.e., his room in the basement, and they finally discuss his date. Cass tells Dusty that it wasn’t the hug that was the problem, but she was just surprised that he went on a date so soon after they decided to take a break when he took 10 days to play the theremin. He’s not a spontaneous type of guy, so it made her feel like he had had this on his mind for a really long time and maybe always liked this girl. 

At the end of episode 4 of The Big Door Prize season 2, Mr. Johnson goes into the MORPHO to see what’s next for him. It’s a vision of his time with Ian, but Ian shows up at the dinner in the vision. At that point, it becomes like an interactive game, and Ian asks Walter how he’s doing, and Walter can answer through the keypad. The machine gives Walter two answers as to why Ian didn’t show up, basically telling him that it could’ve been either of the two things. Maybe Ian got a new job, or maybe he didn’t want to see Walter, and he now has family and kids. Walter finally realizes that he’s been blaming himself for being an unlikeable person this whole time. Finally, Walter returns to Beau’s and tells him that he’s going to be staying by himself again; however, Beau tells him that he wants to be his new emergency contact because he likes the fellow. Basically, this proves that Walter was never an unlikeable guy; he was simply stuck in an Ian loop (give Mr. Johnson a hug!). Walter tells Beau that he’s been blaming himself for something that wasn’t his fault, and he just wants to share that with Beau, and somehow this miraculously erases the blue dots on him! 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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