Welcome to The Night Manager on GingesBeCray! A little back-story, I used to LOVE Tom Hiddleston. As in maybe met people online solely for the purpose of meeting and getting pics with the man when he ventured into Canada. Then Twiddles happened and I know I’m a judgy bish but I cannot believe he would dive into that Tswizzle Publicity Machine with both feets and I am allll done. HOWEVER! I was asked to look at recapping this and I LOVE Hugh Laurie and was really impressed with Olivia Colman in Broadchurch, so Imma do it! Rolling part one of six of The Night Manager after the break.
We start with a speech by Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie – yay English accent as Thor intended!), subtitled as the CEO of IronLast. He’s talking up his Safe Haven project; it’s his way of “lifting up mankind.”
We flash forward to January 2011 with riots in Egypt, the people are demonstrating against their ruler while Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) moves his way through everyone quickly, not stopping at the gunshots or explosions going on around him. Seriously, he’s right next to a bunch of armed soldiers shooting everyone and he just keeps walking. He makes it to a secured gate, where his passport buys him entrance past all the dissidents trying to crash through.
He walks 10 steps (I may have noticed that his chambray shirt stretched tight across his chest as he was putting away his passport: I’m disillusioned, not BLIND) to walk into a posh hotel, several hours early for his shift. How did he get through that, asks Raymond (Jonathan Aris – who looks almost eerily like author Giles Blunt) in disbelief, gesturing at the unruly mob. Oh he walked, sure, yes, right, of course.
He’s all suited now and talking (oh and now I can’t stop thinking about his recording of “May I feel?” by t.s. eliot) on the phone about getting guests out when one of said guests stops him: WHEN are they getting out?? Just as he assures her that the hotel is the safest place ever, a loud explosion knocks them and everyone else to the floor. After they’ve recovered, he sends her to the bar, where cocktails are…*dat smile* complimentary and gets back on the phone.
He’s working with Raymond in the lobby later when Freddy Hamid’s mistress Sophie (Aure Atika) strolls by, cool as a cucumber and holding a Pomeranian. Jonathan watches her with a concerned expression (wow, getting over Hiddles is much harder when one can SEE and hear him) and then following her over to another station, where they have a chat that seems to indicate they know each other more than as hotel guest and Night Manager. She asks him to make her coffee.
She asks him to sit with her; he demurs at first (he has taxis to call for all the guests leaving the hotel about to be set on fire) but then sits when pressed by the intriguing and alluring Miss Alekan. He’s not leaving, so what does he know about her? Well, her name and which room she’s in, leaving out the bit about who’s paying and why. She brings it up, the protestors hate people exactly like her boyfriend, corrupt to the core.
She saw him before now, he was at the Yacht Club, and he deflects and calls himself a lucky guest. She interrogates, who was he a guest of? Simon Ogilvey, second man at the Embassy and yes, he trusts him, at least to not capsize a boat. They know each other from their Army days, IF YOU MUST KNOW and then she segues into a typical guest request: she wants him to copy personal documents for her. His overreaction is a bit much, yes, there is an executive services bureau, but you just made the lady a cuppa, you can photocopy some documents, Mr. Pine. She wants access to his office.
He reads the documents as he prepares to copy them; they’re all bills for weapons between the Hamids and the IronLast Corporation. He looks freaked out, even more so when she tells him to keep a copy in the safe, in case anything happens to her. She’s touched by his concern and seals the deal with personal compliments: it’s a shame he’s chosen (or it chose him) to be a Night Manager, he “look(s) fine by daylight.”
He heads down to the kitchen next to see Youssuf (Amir El-Masry) who he’s been practicing his linguistic skills with. Does Youssuf know Freddie Hamid? Only as a playboy and a gambler, so Jonathan tells him about the upcoming deal. Can Youssuf ask his friends in other kitchens and find out what’s shaking? Youssuf will check it out, but warns him to be careful; nobody wants to be on the wrong side of the Hamids.
Just then another worker bursts in; the Egyptian president has resigned and everyone is EXCITED!
Youssuf has indeed come through, and quickly! Freddie is staying at the Ramses Hilton (I know it’s most likely in reference to the Greek Myth, but I still snickered. Thanks Family Planning aisle!) and was at the bar at 7:30 pm.
Jonathan calls the bar right away, but the Freddie has already left on Roper’s yacht. What’s this Night Manager up to? Looks as though his time in the Army wasn’t spent JUST pumping iron (although I see you, Mr. ArmVein). He pulls out the documents he photocopied for Sophia and asks the Egyptian Google who Roper is, associated with the IronLast logo on the invoices for mustard gas and the like. He gets that same speech we saw in the beginning, referencing Safe Haven and his lifting up his fellow men, I guess he means like in the air, after being ‘sploded.
Celebrations are happening all over Egypt as Jonathan and his visible nipple lay in bed and ponder what he’s learned.
The next day, he’s off to the American Embassy with the documents, to see Simon Ogilvey no doubt! Simon (Russell Tovey) has enormous ears and is just as shocked as Jonathan by the documents.
Simon says (heh) there are enough toys on this list to start a war, “or crush an uprising,” counters Jonathan. Hmmm. Jonathan doesn’t want to be on record, he asks Simon to call it an anonymous mailed in tip, and quickly. These people aren’t wasting any time.
We’re in Victoria, London now at the International Enforcement Agency, which sounds both menacing AND vague, but has Angela Burr (Olivia Colman!!) so I’ll assume it’s a Friendly. That’s where Simon mailed the documents and it’s Rob Singhal (Adeel Akhtar!! From River!!) who brought it in. He’s mad at the radiator but Angela just wants to him to stop kicking at it and come look at the documents Rex Mayhew (Douglas Hodge – who I just saw in Unforgiven! It’s Old Home Week in England, or there are only 100 good actors and actresses and they have a loaning agreement?) just sent. Oh and they know of IronLast and Richard Roper, he’s a recurring problem apparently! (Is he supposed to be like Tony Stark? Because this has IronMan all over it – charismatic weapons manufacturer, quick with a quip, has Iron in the name. I’m just saying) She wants all the documents on Richard Roper that Rob can put his (super hairy) hands on. He has to be careful, though, they don’t want to tip Riverhouse off that they’re looking at Roper, so Rob’s going to bury it among a bunch of other searches of similar persons. She thinks hiding behind the guise of amateurs will buy them some time.
I have to say, I was a Night Manager at a hotel once and nothing exciting like this ever happened, except for the time I saved someone’s life through sheer ineptitude. Remind me to share that one!
Jonathan is typing away at his gorgeous low desk when he gets a call from Sophia; she would like him to bring her a Scotch and soda to her room. She doesn’t want to call Room Service or look in her minibar, she wants him. He looks gutshot and runs on up.
She’s been beaten. And wants to know who he showed the papers to? I’m surprised she’s still alive then, to be honest. I knew the Hamids would immediately know it was her, as I assume Jonathan did, what did he think was going to happen? Roper called off the deal; he was warned off. “By who?” Jonathan wants to ask, but she stands and shows him the extent of the damage to her face, “you tell me, Mr. Pine.”
He rushes her down to another room where she can be safe, apologizing for putting her in danger, but she says she should have had the courage to do so as well. He assures her that they will take care of her, as her robe just HAPPENS to fall open just then she asks if that means him and the queen? He takes his leave with a “Madam.”
Jonathan calls Simon immediately, leaving a message as a furious Freddie Hamid (David Avery) attacks him at the desk: he can’t reach his friend in the Unpronounceable Suite. He asks Jonathan to try, but no answer makes Freddie even angrier, so he demands the key, which is against hotel policy. He leaps behind the desk, grabbing Jonathan by the back of the neck “don’t you know who I am??!!” and leading him in to the back room for the keys. It would probably be more convincingly menacing if he wasn’t a foot shorter than Jonathan.
Jonathan lets him into the empty room, listening to Freddie’s phone call with his family; he’ll find her and stop treating him like a kid! And heeey, does the erstwhile Mr. Pine speak Arabic? I’m sure he does! Freddie stomps out just as he gets another call, this time from Mr. Roper – he’s handling it! He strides away angrily, giving Jonathan his number for the minute he sees Sophia. Jonathan waits until he’s gone and then packs up all of Sophia’s things.
He escorts Sophia outside, she will be staying at the home of an archaeologist friend of Jonathan’s; she wants him to come with her. He stares into her eyes and holds her hand and…drives her out to the safe place where Youssuf is waiting.
They go inside; he sits quite a ways from her, out of respect he says at her query. She’s ready to pay the cab fare, though; she figures that’s why he drove her out there. But no, I think he feels guilty he hadn’t thought about protecting her before using those papers for the Greater Good. I am not getting their chemistry quite yet, maybe because he always looks a hairsbreadth from crying. (Why so sad, Tommy??) She asks if he treats all his women like this. But Miss Sophie, you aren’t one of his women, are you? Jonathan and I aren’t buying. She accuses him of having many faces, she thinks she touches one and then another takes its place and you COULD call that a number of things: multiple personality disorder, keeping your personality on lockdown away from prying eyes, but probably: CUSTOMER SERVICE in the Hospitality Industry. She calls it the Changing of the Guards.
She wants one of these personalities to sleep with her tonight, he can choose which, and he finally kisses her. They make love (with her visible nipples) and all her facial lacerations add a tang of bittersweet to a lovely moment. They’re bathed in light and talking about how she chose her name; it was in Paris and she wanted to be more Western. Her real name is Samira (like Poussey from Orange is the New Black!).
Rex Mathews is in to see Angela; he’s asking her to stand down. The Permanent Secretary is reviewing and there’s a sense that maybe the debbil they know (Roper) is better than the debbil they don’t (the religious uprising against the former President) and he doesn’t want the investigation of Roper to be conducted in her usual headstrong way. He’s off to his Men-Only Club; do they still have those in this day and age? I get it, there are loads of places I wish were women-only, but I’ve never been anywhere that men were expressly forbidden. We’re we stinking up the place with our baginas?
Jonathan’s making breakfast the next morning; has Sophie met Richard Roper? What’s he like? She’s called him the Worst Man In The World, because he sells destruction. Jonathan gets a text from Youssuf just then; Hamid is in the lobby looking for Sophie again. He agrees to take her to London to safety.
He runs right over to see Ears Ogilvie. Who warned Richard Roper? His source has her face bashed in by Freddie Hamid and ohhh the other penny drops for Ears. He’s just figured out that Jonathan’s source is “Freddie Hamid’s whore” which makes Jonathan look like he’s gonna cry again. Simon wants nothing to do with this kettle of fish. Jonathan’s plan to fly her to London won’t work because of the Hamid Family’s massive investment in Britain, and her leaving would be a tacit admission of guilt. Roper and Hamid would go ahead and execute her and nobody would lift a finger to help “Hamid’s tart.” He rejects Jonathan’s assertion that they have a Duty of Care, her only choice, Ears figures, is for her to convince Hamid that it wasn’t her. Should she also lie back and think of England? Come ON!
He sits in his office and thinks and thinks and thinks and THINKS and thinks; finally calling her and telling her London won’t work, he’s working on a new plan. She thinks he’s changed the guards on her again and hangs up.
We see her going back to the hotel that evening, all dressed up and angrily demanding her key. And her dog, FANKS! He watches her walk away.
Angela is frustrated; Rob’s come up with NUFFING on Richard Roper and then Mayhew’s office calls. The JIC meeting has been cancelled; looking into the Cairo Papers, as the bill of sale is being called, is on hold as it isn’t wise in the current political climate to go after Richard Roper. It’s not productive. She asks who sent the papers originally, she knows Ears! Get him on the phone.
She calls our Jonathan, directing him where to take Sophie to save her life. He runs up, to find he’s too late. She’s been murdered horribly, and he cries over her body but somehow the sight of her small dog, fur matted with her blood is more shocking.
Angela stares out onto the water as Jonathan pushes the police to investigate Freddie Hamid; surely he can’t be that naïve? So Sophie died for nothing, those papers weren’t even used.
We are four years later now in Zermatt, Switzerland where Jonathan is taking his freshly shaved mug to work on a train, he looks even younger with no stubble. The hotel looks smaller, but even more impossible swanky, the other desk manager arranging jets, helicopters and the like for incoming guests. Ah, it’s Richard Roper and a parcel has arrived at the same time, see that he gets it, will you?
Roper is just as much of a wanker as expected, “so pleasing to wake up the Germans” while dragging his baby-girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki) into the lobby. He introduces himself to Jonathan as “Dickie Roper” and really? Like, really? He’s brought not just the baby-gf, but also Lance “ Corky” Corkoran (Tom Hollander – sexy AF in his ImdB photo, not sooo much in moving pictures).
Oh and there’s Frisky (Michael Nardone) too! What IS it with Dickie and his need to infantilize his crew with these nicknames? Anyway, Frisky doesn’t remember “English to the core” Pine either last time they were there, where did he work before that? Italy, and Tangier before that.
Corky coughs up the key, it took long due to “wanker’s colic” but Dickie thinks it’s more to do with a limp wrist. Jonathan takes them for the tour to their rooms while scoping out absolutely everything about Dickie’s entourage. The ghost of Sophie lingers while Jed strips for a bath.
Sandy (Alistair Petrie) gets called away by his wife, former professional skier Lady Langbourne (Natasha Little), but hell no, he won’t go. Dickie asks about the package Jonathan was eyeing up earlier, has he seen it? Nooo, not a whisker. Jed continues bathing in the tub in front of everyone, asking for moar champs. Dickie pretends to send Jonathan in to bring her more, then yells psyche and calls him back. Oooh Dickie, you so emotionally manipulative! Someone, I think Dickie, drops something in the champagne, and finally Jonathan excuses himself, running downstairs to projectile vomit in the toilet.
He sends the Fraulein away at the desk to do copies while he opens up the package for Roper; it’s got packages and he makes some notes on a pad. They looked like gift cards to me, but I am not master of espionage. He directs the head of Room Service to drop the parcel in Roper’s room and collect the garbage right away.
Jed’s bored and looking to entertain herself annoying the Night Manager, but when he comes around the corner into her view, he looks positively sinister. She would like the pool opened. He brings her towels and then sprints into the garbage collection area to go through Roper’s waste. He finds phones with no SIM cards, but broken SIM cards in the empty champagne bottles, I guess that’s what Roper was stashing in there.
Jonathan’s messing with the cards; startled by Frisky and Tabby (seriously – these names, Dickie!), then returning to his tiny room at the top of a mountain. He looks through a book to find Angela’s number he wrote down so many years before and calls.
Roper’s having a party; the fun really starts when the ladies are escorted out. Jonathan is directed by Corky to amuse them. He has a cigarette on the roof instead and is approached by Dickie, in fine form and still contemplating the mystery that is Mr. Pine. Question after question, then he gives Jonathan kudos for not tossing his cigarette aside when a paying customer approaches, Pine and I aren’t sure if that’s a backhanded compliment or not.
He takes a train to meet Angela, handing over the SIM cards and information he copied from the package. He doesn’t want to be involved, just to know Roper will be taken down. Angela wants to know why, though, he would risk his career to snitch on his guests? Twice now. He tries to dissemble, blaming it on the fact that Roper is English and about to sell weapons to an Egyptian crook that can cause a lot of pain, but she knows it has to do with Sophie, who she calls “his Sophie.”
She’s there to push him, what happened to Sophie shamed her and involved them all. She knows he doesn’t want Richard Roper to walk away from that, the question is: what is he willing to do about it?
And we’re oot
So. I liked it, better in the beginning than by the end, but it had great emoting by the singular Tom Hiddleston, good pacing, scoring and photography. It almost covers up the fact that it’s a story that’s been told a thousand times, this year alone, and that I couldn’t discern much actual chemistry between Jonathan and his Sophie but I am very interested to see where it will go. Lots of flash, gorgeous setting and people, unlimited wealth and ultimate evil: it’s essentially a fairy tale for men, but Hiddles takes it a bit deeper. I really want to take him out for a hot chocolate and head pat, the poor guy just needs a good cry and to sort out his personal life. Until next time, keep your stick on the ice and your dog with the concierge! You never know when you have to move fast.