Airtime: Tuesdays at 10PM on AMC
Episode: Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E3)
Tweetable Takeaway: Pine gets drawn deeper into Roper’s web on #TheNightManager
We’re halfway through THE NIGHT MANAGER and though the plot is still unfolding at a slow, deliberate pace, we do get some exciting developments. Pine gets drawn deeper into Roper’s shady world, getting cornered into signing a contract and joining one of Roper’s shell companies, replacing poor Corcoran (or Corky, as Roper affectionately calls him). Roper’s sinister side bubbles up from underneath his cool, collected demeanor as he interrogates Pine in a thrilling scene, and Pine finds more evidence of Roper’s arms dealings, but not everything completed worked.
It was still a gorgeously shot, superbly acted episode, don’t get me wrong, but the story-telling relied too much on coincidence and the incompetence of Roper’s men. Pine gets detailed, confidential information about how Roper is planning an international arms deal, using a shell company as a fake intermediary from Caroline Langbourne, the wife of Roper’s friend Sandy. The way she just gives him the information, I thought she must have been working with Pine and I somehow missed it. But no, she’s just upset with her husband, who’s cheating on her with the nanny, something implied in episode two.
Pine relies this information to Angela Burr by stealing Danny’s phone and messaging her. Despite the fact that Roper made his no phone policy very clear, no one seems that concerned about the missing phone, even though they have a mysterious stranger in the midst. A mysterious stranger who they gave a conveniently secluded guest house instead of somewhere they could keep an eye on him.
Pine breaks into Roper’s secret study, working off information from Danny that the alarm is tested every day at 11. Poor, sweet Danny. He’s so cute and innocent, I can’t help but think that something bad is going to happen to him. There seem to be no cameras in Casa Roper, because Pine gets in and out without anyone noticing, taking pictures of contracts that he later sends to Burr. He does run into Jed while exiting the room, but he found a strand of her hair in the study. Pine knows that she too doesn’t trust Roper, as Caroline told her about the arms dealing on Pine’s suggestion.
Let’s get back to my favorite scene in the episode: Roper’s interrogation of Pine. Pine, once again on his feet, is called into his living room, where Roper is lounging on the couch with two dogs, looking every bit the relaxed British aristocrat. He begins asking innocent enough questions, but then delves into some of Ol’ Corky’s theories—that Pine was working with the kidnappers, but had a change of heart. He also questions what causes a seemingly content night manager to turn to theft, drugs, and murder. He drops his cajoling tone and threatens him, telling him, “I run a tight ship. If you step out of line, I will make you howl for your mother.” It was great fun to see the menace lurking underneath Roper’s affable businessman exterior, but they do seem to accept Pine’s answers too easily.
Meanwhile, Burr is doing her best to help the investigation, but Pine’s been sequestered in the Mallorca compound. When he finally gets to accompany Danny into town for some ice cream, he passes along the message that Corcoran is digging too deep into his past and his Cairo secret is in danger of coming out. She locates one of Roper’s business associates, who’s grieving over the suicide of his daughter in the opening scene. He puts the idea that Corcoran is loose-lipped, especially when he drinks, which is much too often, into Roper’s men’s head, a seed that was already planted there by Pine.
But Burr should be worried about what’s going on back in Britain. Burr got control of the Pine operation by convincing the government that it was a pointless, difficult project, but MI6 and the CIA have a feeling that they’re being played. They want back in. Good thing they aren’t involved yet, because there’s a spy in their midst. The spy dutifully trots back to Roper, letting them know that the government has made some connections between Roper’s associates, and they have an ongoing investigation into Roper. He only knows it by the code name and doesn’t know the operative, but I’d have to imagine that Pine, the only interloper at the compound, is going to be under more scrutiny going forward.
Luckily, Pine might have Jed as an ally. She’s completely disillusioned and disgusted by her husband’s illegal activates, but Roper reminds her that she’s been keeping secrets from him too. He knows that she has a son (the Billy mentioned in her phone call last episode?) and that she’s been using his money to support him. Jed will have to be careful too.
The episode ends with Roper summoning Pine. He got him a new identity and passport, but he just needs him to sign a contract joining the board of the company, taking over Corcoran’s old position. The company is the intermediary Roper is going to use to make the illegal weapons deal. The plot thickens! With only three episodes left, I can’t wait to see how this story concludes.
Jennifer Trofa lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA. When she’s not binge-watching her favorite shows, she’s reading any book she can get her hands on.
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Jennifer Trofa | Contributor