RECAP & REVIEW: The Night Manager – Episode 3

So what happened?

A party at one of Roper’s associate’s home turns sour when his daughter, whose birthday was being celebrated, hangs herself because of her involvement in her father’s dealings with the arms dealer. Putting a fly in the ointment in terms of the upcoming deal and sending her guilt-ridden father, Apostol, straight into the arms of his self-professed ‘guardian angel’ Burr, who observes his frequent trips to meet with his priest and orchestrates a meeting with him, spotting yet another chink in the businessman’s armour. In the meantime, Pine has recovered from his beating and is frogmarched to Roper to be interrogated about who he really is, what he was doing in Mallorca and why he just happened to be present when Daniel was about to be kidnapped by the robbers. Satisfied with his answers when he ‘confesses’ to killing the man in Devon because he crossed him and stealing the identity of the ex-partner of the woman he slept with, Roper decides to make him stay but gives him access to whatever he needs within the vicinity of his island fortress, openly threatening the younger man if he ever decides to step out of line.

Pine being marched to Roper by Frisky Ep 3
Pine (Tom Hiddleston) being marched by Frisky (Michael Nardone) to see Roper.

Cut off from communicating with his handler, Hiddleston’s character sets about ingratiating himself with his host’s/captor’s son and eventually asks if he can take the young boy into town for a day out, knowing full well movements to and from the mansion are being monitored and that they’ll be followed. Once there, in spite of Roper’s henchman being in tow, Pine manages to convey information to Burr, as she poses as a tourist, about an upcoming party by asking Daniel as nonchalantly as possible what he knows about it, and allowing her to hear as they queue for an ice cream. The undercover spy also manages to steal the youngster’s mobile phone and establish a direct link with the intelligence officer and her team through messages. Elsewhere, he starts to get a feel for Roper’s team and their weaknesses, specifically Corcoran, who continues to be the biggest thorn in his side in terms of keeping his cover, deciding to plant the seed in the arms dealer’s mind that his right hand man can’t be trusted because of his drink problem during a frank discussion on the beach; a seed that grows roots and bears fruit when he acts out with two young men at the aforementioned party and is consequently left behind at the house to entertain Jed during a subsequent business meeting. Langbourne (Alistair Petrie) also proves an easy target when his wife, Caroline (Natasha Little), freely admits to Pine that her husband tells her everything about what it is Roper does and that he’s having an affair with their young nanny. Asking the newcomer whether or not she should tell Jed, who is apparently completely in the dark about her boyfriend’s dealings, he non-committally says he doesn’t know, fully aware she’s already on the precipice of letting the cat out of the bag, which she duly does, driving a rift between herself and her husband as well as Roper and his trophy girlfriend.

Having been told by Daniel about the peppermints his father keeps in his room, Pine becomes suspicious and searches for their significance, soon finding the tins he keeps in his bedside cabinet and the key to what Roper describes as ‘The Citadel’, the secretive office where he files away the details of all of his dodgy dealings. Utilising the small window of time when the house alarm is regularly scheduled to be tested, he opens the door to his host’s office and locates the papers relating to his upcoming deal which is disguised as the sale of agricultural equipment through a seemingly innocuous company, sending pictures of the documents to Burr and her American colleague, Steadman. While he’s there he also discovers a blond hair on the desk, a fact he uses to stare Jed down with when she finds him in hers and Roper’s room to replace the key in the tin. With her and Pine becoming increasingly drawn to one another, Debicki’s character refuses to accept her boyfriend’s platitudes when he calls her from his business trip, even after he admits he knows about the son she’s kept from him and who he indirectly financially supports.

drumgoole mayhew ep 3
Dromgoole (Tobias Menzies) threatens Rex Mayhew (Douglas Hodge) over what he knows about Burr’s operation.

Back in London problems arise for Burr’s supportive friend from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Rex Mayhew (Douglas Hodge), when Drumgoole (Tobias Menzies), Palfrey (Neil Morrissey) and Galt (Jonathan Aris), the intelligence officers from The River House who Burr and Steadman previously duped over how advanced their operation was, attempt to turn the thumbscrews on what he knows by dragging him into the Permanent Secretary’s office. When he refuses to give anything up, Drumgoole makes a thinly veiled threat about what will happen if he doesn’t co-operate and it soon becomes clear why they’re so eager to find out what Burr is up to when Galt flies out to meet Roper: all three of them are involved in the huge arms deal that Roper is about to conduct and stand to gain from it. As the plot thickens in that respect, so it does in relation to Pine’s place in Roper’s outfit when the ultra-rich villain removes Corcoran as the CEO of one of his companies and replaces him with his new protégé, cementing his position in the organisation as his new right-hand man.

The Verdict?

Our Fezzy Score: rsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fez

Danielle: There was definitely some improvement this week as we finally got to the meat of the action, and Pine and Roper squared off properly. Hiddleston and Laurie really do bounce nicely off each other, and things consistently kicked up a notch whenever they were in each other’s presence, even if Roper’s willingness to take the younger man under his wing so readily still baffles the hell out of me for a master criminal who’s supposedly so careful as a matter of course. As Colman sat mostly on the bench this week, Tom Hollander stepped up to the plate in her absence and gave a more than convincing turn as the increasingly sidelined Corcoran, a character who, out of everyone on the show, his motivations seem the most clear and believable. He’s probably one to watch in the coming weeks. Speaking of Burr and her limited screen time this week, I do wonder if the revelation about her and Steadman’s previous dalliances was just a throwaway thing, or if it will have some bearing on how the operation turns out. It could potentially compromise things. Elsewhere it was also great to get a glimpse of the fabulous Katherine Kelly as the Permanent Secretary. Hopefully we’ll see more of her as The Night Manager progresses and we’ll get a better feel for what her character is about.

In spite of the uptick in tension this week, Jed continues to disappoint as her character persists in being a walking, talking plot device. I can’t fault Elizabeth Debicki for this. She’s doing the best she can with the material she’s been given, but I can’t help but want more from her and I hope for some sort of twist in terms of what she represents which is currently merely a skinny-dipping complication for Pine and an all too clichéd, perilous love interest. There was a tiny glimmer of hope in her reluctance to back down with Roper when she found out what he does, nevertheless I’m not holding my breath. Either way, I’m a little more optimistic about where this show is going after this week’s instalment.

Has Pine really managed to worm his way into Roper’s (Hugh Laurie) confidence, or is he the one being played?

Marieke:  I’m afraid I’m not as positive as Danielle about the show. I find it hard to keep focused when I am watching as there are a few too many dull moments, a few clichéd ones and not enough scenes to save the day. Or episode in this case. Let’s start with the scenes I liked. Pine getting an ice cream with Dan whilst getting some information from the boy and informing Burr was great. No one would suspect a pregnant woman having such an important position so the bodyguards aren’t even paying that much attention. It was a more subtle spy moment. The room with the alarm scene was incredibly tense, but to be expected. As expected as the coming love scene between Pine and Jed which is overshadowing the entire show. That’s the one line Pine shouldn’t cross, which Roper and Corky told him explicitly, so he’s most likely going there. As we thought he would, he gained a lot of credit saving Danny and he even gets away with his ‘lousy’ criminal record. It must impress Roper so much that he hands him an important position at the end of the episode. Part of me hopes Roper sees Pine as a toy, to play tennis with and to see how criminal he really is. He can’t trust him just like that… Can he? The scenes between Hiddleston and Laurie are intriguing enough, it’s the rest which are a bit like loose sand at the moment. I read that le Carré writes beautiful sentences, which can make a writer get away with clichés. So far that is not working for this show yet. It still looks like an advertisement for a fantastic resort, but, for me, that is not enough. Also Danny lost his phone, yet no one is looking for its GPS signal? It’s these tiny things which make Roper and Co look like amateurs. Unless Roper is playing Pine. I really hope he is, because it would affirm the danger he’s supposed to be in and it would be more exciting. For now let’s see how Corky will react to the contract Pine signed.

What did you think? Let us know in the comments…

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2 thoughts on “RECAP & REVIEW: The Night Manager – Episode 3

  1. I’m with you: I find it highly unbelievable that a master criminal like Roper would leave so many holes in his operation. I had the exact problems with the plots that you do–esp. the very cliché impending hook-up between Pine and Jed. Just this once, I’d like to see Pine resist, but we know that’s not going to happen. The other clichéd plot? An intelligence officer…or two…or three…on the take. Brother. And, yeah, the smartphone has a GPS signal. I’m assuming that the little boy didn’t want to tell his father he’d lost it because “he’d get cross,” but the days are passing and 1) he still doesn’t have it / hasn’t found it, and 2) no one’s tried to call him on it? Frustrating, glaring problem. Couldn’t Burr have simply slipped him a phone when they were in such close proximity to each other? Only the ice cream scene left me wanting more…ice cream.

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    1. This is the problem we both had with the show as a whole. Everything was all too convenient. Things just fell into place to service the plot rather than the characters. I won’t spoil you by saying too much more.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Danielle

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