Hi there, welcome back to The Night Manager, or How I Learned How To Get Over Hiddles in Six Parts. We set the stage last week and now we’re wading into the thick of it, what WILL Mr. Pine do to avenge his lost love what he totally got killed? Rolling part 2 after the break!
Side note, skip past if personal bits bore you and you’d like me TO GET TO THE POINT, TTM!! We’re on a marathon trip across Canada and juuuuust stupid enough to follow our GPS blindly: guess who’s in the United States right now? No, GUESS??!! Yes, we rolled up into Northwestern Michigan, hey Detroit! Thanks for not caring that one of our passports was expired! And now we’ve explored the top end of 4 states and I would really not like to ever have to go through Chicago again in a motorhome almost out of gas. Let’s not do that again.
We open watching Jed shower and dress while a slow song plays and we linger on every inch of her. I feel like a fcuking pervert and I’m not even in charge. Step up your game, Night Manager, or give me evensies with Hiddles.
She gets a call from a drunk woman, Imma guess mother and / or caregiver for her child. She asks about a Billy, to be taunted about the child no longer asking about her and called a “nothing but a dirty whore” which we KNOW isn’t true, since we just watched her take a bath in excruciating detail.
Hanging up, she hears a knock on the door, so she collects herself; it’s Dickie Roper’s child. He’s adorable, but I bet the point of that was so we’d contemplate that she’s raising this hooligan instead of her own.
They’re in Mallorca, Spain and the demon spawn seems really like a great kid. There’s a nice moment with Dickie, Jed and the wee one, I guess even death merchants can be good dads.
Sandy’s there with his kiddos too, it must be a family type party they’re racing off to in fancy speed boats. There’s a tussle over paella, which I love, but not the traditional type with mussels and the like that Dickie prefers. It gets in my mouth, see.
Corky asks for permission to “baptize the princeling in the ways of the grape” which leads to not exactly a Yes, but definitely not a No type of head tilt and Dickie Jr. gets his first fizzy bubbles at 7 or 8. Sigh. His name is Daniel (Noah Jupe) and he sucks half of it back in one long draught while Jed, Sandy, Dickie and Caroline discuss whether or not one should be okay with killing a stag if they like venison. First off, that argument is specious at best and if we had to go around killing what we ate I’d mostly have to chase chickens around and wrestle pigs. That’s quite one thing, but how exactly does one hunt a cow? At least the others put up a fight, you tell me you could shoot a cow and I’d call you a cow-murdering bastage. Sandy just wants the okay to hunt stags (monotones Jed while chewing with her mouth open).
Frisky (I JUST saw a much younger Michael Nardone in Rose and Maloney! He was all Scottish smolder with an unbuttoned shirt) watches the shenanigans with Daniel and the champagne with a frowny face from the side table. It could be that he doesn’t get to eat or drink with anyone, either, I’d frown too.
Dancing time! Jed cuts a rug with young Danny while Sandy dances with his daughters; oops! That might not be his daughter; Caroline’s glaring at them from the table. I FOUGHT her shorts were on the short side, but I also thought she was a kiddo and didn’t want to stare.
Jed’s a sheet or three to the wind, dancing on Ricardo’s lap and then with Corky. I’m surprised that Richard’s friends have all accepted Jed so fully, but I guess he’s paying, as Sandy said. Ahhh Sandy’s been dancing with the young au pair for their children; Caroline sends her kids to bed and shuns Sandy all at the same time.
Just then a pair of armed men burst in; I guess Frisky was too busy pouting to get the drop on them, so he and Tabby are useless. Unforch, the attackers are closest to Daniel, so they grab him as a hostage and realize toot sweet that holding him is tapping them into ALLLLLS the big money in the room. During, we seem to focus on Jed’s face most of the time (with a freshly applied red lip) and she jumps forward to offer herself as tribute, which makes me wonder if her son was taken forcibly from her.
The two men make off with young Daniel, stopping when they sense a presence watching them. Is that Mr. Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston)??
We cut to Six Months Earlier in Zermatt, Switzerland with Angela and Jonathan, discussing her marriage to Mr. Burr. The plan for Mr. Pine seems to be a cleaning of his past (he left Cairo off his CV, he “had to” *so much eye rolling*) followed by a spot of embezzlement, so he can be caught and turned to The Dark Side with Mr. Dickie Ricardo Roper (Hugh Laurie)?
Angela (Olivia Colman) at Jonathan’s miniscule flat now, pawing through his things, starting with Lawrence of Arabia, which is where I FINK he had hidden her phone number, taken all those years ago. He snatches it back, it means a lot to him; the book was a gift from his father. His father was undercover in Belfast, which makes our Mr. Pine a Legacy, especially since he and his father were in the same regiment. His father must have died undercover, because they had to put his uniform back on him at bury time, which ALSO seems to be a sore spot for our erstwhile Night Manager. Get on with it, then!
Angela has an offer: she wants him to come work for her, to take down Richard Roper and it’s a pretty good pitch: “You’ll be in so deep you’ll worry that you’ll never get out of it. There’s not an hour that you won’t be scared, there won’t be a scrap of you that won’t be used. But you will nail him. You will nail him for Sophie Alekan. You will nail him for your country and you will nail him for the man that owned that book.”
Angela goes to work on Rex now; she needs him to give Pine a criminal backstory and all kinds of other sorts of details and to not let a whisper get to the Riverhouse.
For his part, Jonathan steals all the money at once from the hotel safe. That’s the worst embezzlement I’ve ever seen! Pace yourself!
Jonathan makes his way to see Angela and Rob in a nondescript hotel room; is he in? “Yes” he intones and our hearts sigh a little. She’s not one to let their shared serious looks hang in the air, has he anything else to say? “Do you want me to say no?” and my good LORD. That VOICE!! I should not have listened to that recording of May I Feel? so often.
She counsels him to be the second toughest, baddest boy out there, while he munches her homemade cookies (not a euphemism) and stares at her from the chair. There’s a big speech about taking what he wants and not thinking about anyone else and I laughed out loud at the end when she steps back and says “are you comfortable with that?” after practically spitting she was so excited.
We have a lovely young lady recounting how she found blood everywhere in the cottage; “did you kill him?” she asks an unseen questioner.
Jonathan’s in to see the lovely young lady speaking earlier; she’s holding a giant drooly baby and taking care of the cottage he’ll be staying in. He slams down a wad of cash; he’s from up country, yeah? He gives the name Jack Linden.
The cottage is in a state of disrepair, but that doesn’t bother the teenagers having sex innit. He throws them out and then sets about building his criminal background. He follows the male teen to a warehouse where he find a drug dealer that he strong-arms into accepting his terms, by forcing him to try drugs, which seems a bit much, yeah? I don’t know, perhaps that’s in the workbook for undercover spies breaking into new territory.
We see a bit more of Roper’s speech about Safe Haven, it’s sort of wonderful that he admits it’s all about protecting his business interests: he invests in communities that he wants to operate in, so those communities will look upon him fondly. The truth, which only he will admit is that “only by freeing capital do you free the world.” I don’t get it.
The freshly monikered Jack Linden bathes under a waterfall and I’m not complaining, just confused. Was he washing his sins free? Cleansing himself before the ritual of fire? They had a waterfall nearby and it was just an excuse to get some nekkid Hiddles on the screen? And if that's supposed to be my evensies, I call pfft on that. One shoulder?
Jack walks into the local pub, where the young mother who is Marilyn (Hannah Steele) and the male teen Jacob (Conor McCarry) watch his every move, okay, there’s just the one move: drinking a pint of Blue Anchor all at once.
Marilyn has come to see our Jack at the cottage; she wangles her way in with some mineral water. She was going to be a chef one day, but she married a loser, had a brat (I beg your pardon, any child under the age of one year old cannot be called a brat. They have to be at least two and walking for that designation. As you were) and messed up her life. She’s very forward, googling Jack, and he’s still far too much the Night Manager, all English reticence and lovely smiles.
Jack makes sure Charlie’s father Tom Quince is out of the picture before ending up in bed with the determined young miss. He sneaks out of bed to go through the pictures on her phone, scrolling back 3 (I MEAN. 3 pictures? The woman has a baby, she has 400 of the first time he rolled over, come on now) to find her with a sour-looking young man. Tom Quince?
At the Commonwealth office, Rex has brought in American Defense specialist Joel Steadman (David Harewood) to help them with how to approach the global arms trade. He’s self-deprecating and Hey!! That’s Tobias Menzies! What’s Lord Edmure doing in the Commonwealth offices?? Anyway, here’s what Joel knows: you can exploit or enforce. He likes enforce! Did I mention he was American? Prolly. The reason he doesn’t like to exploit is that it leads to blurred lines and mixed messages and he prefers to shoot his global arms traders right up front. In the face. He goes into the turn; what he needs from them today is a little help.
Geoffery Dromgoole (Tobias Menzies) is waiting in the hall for Joel, he loved the speech! And he’d like some open Middle East channels, fanks!
Joel and Angela are old friends apparently, hmmm, is Angela pregnant? Is that what she meant by “first and last” re: children on the train? I didn’t even notice, but Joel sure did and seems quite put out. They go for a pint and tea and catch up; what was he doing in Spain two weeks ago? Oh just going after Richard Onslow Roper (are there a lot of drug dealers named Richard Roper? So many that we have to identify them for sure by using their middle names constantly?). She hands him a list of phone calls from Corky’s phone, she needs his money! And a friend. Hmm
Jack’s scaring the pants off the dealer as a check up, coming home to find Barry Harlow (Harry Atwell) in his kitchen with his new passport in the name of Tom Quince, who’s “never had a passport in his life.” I don’t know who the ginger-bearded fella is, but they seem to be friends. Right until Jack smashes a beer glass on his face and kicks the shit out of him at the pub. Surely he could bang about a local instead? Pfft, only thinking of himself, whatever. Nobody's going to work with you if you're just going to pick on them, Jack.
This is when Marilyn saw the cottage kitchen all bloody; she’s in to the police station, that’s who she was talking to. Jack’s given the appearance of having killed ginger-beard and the police even know he’s the artist formerly known as Jonathan Pine.
So we’re back in the present with now-Tom (previously Jack Linden, introduced to us as Jonathan Pine and as always: Tom Hiddleston) rescuing Danny from the armed men by breaking one’s arm and sending the young man back to his “mother,” which is a clever way to hide that he totally knew he’d go to his father. It was all a setup, though, and the main bad guy is pissed that Jonathan hurt the back-up bad guy, that wasn’t the plan! It had to look real, though, protests Tom and then it’s a free for all of punching and making yak faces. It gets much worse, though, they beat Tom’s face in with a small pot and it looks terrible but nothing appears to be broken.
Dickie and everyone find Daniel and then Tom Quince right after, all beaten and bloody. Dickie recognizes him right away, though, and even recalls his full name. Does that mean I can go back to calling him Pine again? Pine keeps whispering “no police. No police” and won’t give a name of a friend or person to call, so Dickie knows he’s still “all alone, eh?”
Joel and Angela are meeting; the whole thing was choreographed and the two men that beat up Jonathan were agents, which is why they were able to take him down so firmly. They don’t even know if he’s alive and come on. They’re agents and they might have maybe killed another agent because he broke one guy’s arm during the project? What kind of cut-rate agents are these?? That scene looked…staged. Angela and Joel listen as Corky calls in a background check on Mr. Pine; they call Rob right away to burn all those identities. He’s crossed the bridge now, Joel notes and Angela gleefully says that now they’re burning it.
Jonathan is in a hospital room, everything beeping as he heals away, unconscious. Then he’s in an ambulance, being driven to Dickie’s fortress-like house on the hill.
He awakes to find Jed at his bed, asking about the “Sophie” he talked about while sleeping, can they call anyone? During the days, Danny reads to him and he’s a really good kid, aww. He heals and he heals and he heals, finally upright and approached by Corky and guarded by Frisky. Jonathan wants to go, but not until the Chief gets back.
Corky’s been checking our man out, though, all the planted evidence has come to light and he thinks he’s such a tough guy. Whatever, dude. Slightly more menacing is Frisky, who wants to pour fizzy drinks up Jonthan’s nose: has anyone got a funnel?
Joel’s watching Sandy meet with someone other than Dickie Roper, hmm. Could that be a branching off?
Joel and Angela are in to explain Operation Limpet at Riverhouse, they offer up the Spanish Lawyer Sandy was meeting with, to be met with scorn. They don’t share the news about their inside player, but ask for money anyway, which seems ballsy and Jeffery concurs. He warns Joel about Angela’s obsession with Roper and patronizingly declines to spend any more money on her “catatonic” investigation of such. Joel and Angela take their leave.
Angela’s impressed, she had no idea an American could sound like such a loser!
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, Jonathan’s checking out the security when Dickie finally makes it back to the compound by helicopter: how is the patient?
Jonathan feigns sleep in the most unrealistic way possible, but it buys him another day anyway. Tomorrow, Richard intends to find out exactly who he is and we’re out.
So. I’m trying to immerse myself in this show, but I admit to struggling a bit with the predictable nature of the plot and the unrealistic set-ups given. It is a gorgeously shot, beautifully cast and stunningly derivative piece of work so far. It’s been nominated for loads of Emmys (AND HAPPY VALLEY WAS NOT – how is that even POSSIBLE???) so I have to assume it will get better as it goes along. That or I’m just a cynical old fecker who needs to chill the eff oot. Until next time! Cheers