So what happened?
After staring down Roper when he accuses him of being the one who leaked the trade documents detailing his upcoming arms deal to Burr, Pine travels with him and Langbourne to a refugee camp where the billionaire is photographed handing out aid, thus mitigating his presence in Turkey near the Syrian border where the weapons he’s selling will be transported to. From there they head to their true destination, ‘The Haven’, a huge military camp packed with mercenary soldiers from all corners of the globe, which Sandy tells Pine is their boss’ very own ‘kingdom’. It’s in this base that the wheels on the arms sale continue to turn when Laurie’s character asks the former military man to conduct a ‘firework display’ for Barghati, the representative of his buyers, that showcases the large scale fire power of the weapons he’s just shipped into the country; a display which not only forces inhabitants of a nearby village to be pushed out of their homes, but also demonstrates Roper’s commitment to selling weapons banned by the Oslo convention when he proudly watches over the horrific carnage caused by an aerial napalm bombardment.
Impressed by their horrific demonstration and also Pine, Barghati shakes on the deal and heads back to his bosses, apparently with his haul of weapons following behind in aid trucks, but not before the former night manager makes a note of the registrations of the vehicles. With suspicion still permeating the air in the camp regarding the mole, Roper decides to have all of those he suspects in one place and flies Corky and Jed out to stay with them. With an already tense atmosphere, the arms dealer loses his temper when the others aren’t keen on toasting the deal they’ve just done, and when he walks away his sidelined, former right-hand man makes it clear to both Jed and Pine that he knows something is going on between them. Still cagey, later that night Roper begins to interrogate his girlfriend in their tent, assaulting her when he’s not satisfied with her answers. It’s then that the camps lights go out, distracting him from his line of questioning. We quickly realise Pine has been the culprit and is using the distraction it facilitates to visit Jed whilst her boyfriend has left her to investigate, his purpose being to tell her to implicate Corky, (which she duly does), and then to escape the base just long enough to give a taxi driver a note with the details of the deal and enough money for him to take it to one of Burr’s agents in a hotel room in Istanbul. On his way back, he encounters a man and his son wheeling their dead, elderly relative who was unable to evacuate the village that was bombed during ‘the firework display’ the night before, and who are intent on showing whoever is responsible what they’ve done. When they refuse his request for them to turn away from the camp for their own safety, he focuses on getting back within the base’s parameter, but is caught by Corky, who now has the proof he needs of the imposter’s guilt and starts to fight him. Initially Corcoran gains the upper hand, however the scuffle soon turns the other way, and realising that the other man needs to die if his cover is to stay in tact, Pine kills him just before Roper and his other henchman arrive at the scene. Telling them that he’d caught him trying to get back into the camp, and with the seed of doubt firmly planted in his boss’ mind by Jed, Hiddleston’s character seems to buy himself time and Roper’s trust for the time being.
Back in London meanwhile, things aren’t going well for Burr as she has no idea where her asset is, Rex Mayhew is pushed from his position at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Operation Limpet is wound down when their American funding dries up and Steadman is called back to Langley. She’s also paid a sinister home visit by Dromgoole, who tells her to stop pursuing Roper or there’ll be consequences, justifying his involvement with the arms dealer because it’s in the national interest. Circumstances change for the heavily pregnant agent, however, when she receives the information Pine sent her, and she strong-arms Mayhew into issuing her a warrant to search the trucks her mole told her about, putting in a call to Steadman to get the U.S. military to stop the vehicles at the Syrian border and go through them. With all eyes in London and Turkey watching the aid trucks approach their destination, the tension turns to fear and horror for Burr, Pine and Jed as the American troops stop them and only find the agricultural equipment detailed in the falsified documents, the weapons having stayed at the docks and then subsequently moved across the border in another convoy. As Burr returns home to find her house ransacked and her husband beaten about the head, Pine finds himself travelling back to Cairo and none other than the Nefertiti hotel, the place the series started, with the possibility of having to once again face Freddie Hamid, while Jed is whisked into the very room by Roper where Sophie was murdered.
Our Fezzy Score:
Danielle: For me, this was far and away the best episode so far, not least of all because Roper finally peeled back his mask of well-mannered menace, and revealed the out and out psychopath that’s lurking beneath the surface. His treatment of Jed was chilling, as was his nonchalant glee during the weapons display when he marvelled at the destruction before his eyes, immune to the death and mayhem his transaction will undoubtedly cause. He truly is the worst man in the World. The confrontation between Pine and Corky was also a highlight, even if it was always bound to happen. R.I.P. little guy. Your drinking may have lost you Roper’s ear, but you were right all along about the new kid on the block. Now you’re right, dead and buried in the desert, but then I suppose it serves you right for working for Satan. Burr’s storyline this week was fairly strong too, particularly when Dromgoole turned up on her doorstep and threatened her, which I imagine is closer to the reality of what secret service agents do to warn people off, rather than the elaborate coercion 007 has received in his time. Nevertheless, I am starting to wonder if she’s gestating a baby elephant. It seems like she’s been pregnant forever. In spite of all the positive points about this penultimate episode, there was one major niggle. It seemed so obvious that Roper was going to use a dummy convoy from about the halfway mark that I was practically screaming at Burr and Pine to not be so flipping stupid. We’ll just have to see what the fallout leads to in the finale.
Marieke: The Night Manager is an old story updated to these times. The serene and beautiful images of Istanbul demonstrate how behind the show is when it comes to current events. It is hard to adapt to whatever is happening and keep track, but to me it made the show feel even more stale. The scene with Roper showing his goodies was menacing and was the only thing that came across as realistic. Thinking about it after Brussels actually makes me queasy. This scene however took a bit too long, making it look like an advanced peeing contest. But this scene, along with his treatment of Jed, finally made us see why Roper is so dangerous. Yet he still doesn’t see who Pine really is? Yes, Corky had a short fuse, but it was hardly believable that he believed Pine and chose him over Corky. Not that the latter was able to protest… But he saw it all along. Also when Jed enters the tent and greets Pine, Roper doesn’t see how much Pine’s face lights up when he sees her? Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles could’ve written songs about that moment. I still hope Roper will pull the rug out from under his young protégé in the finale showing he knew it all along, proving he really is that scary mastermind. It would be the only thing to make it worth having watched the rest of the show. The weapons not being transported in the trucks heading to the border was all too predictable, as was Corky’s death. Frankly this episode has been rather boring. This is painting by numbers, the spy television show version. Perhaps the problem is that elements of this 20-odd year old story have been ‘borrowed’ too often by other writers? Without much spy novel/television experience I could imagine the gang going to Cairo would have been a jaw dropping moment, but to me it was the logical next step to bring everything to a big bang in the finale. How big this bang will be and if any jaws will drop after this series has ended remains to be seen. So far, The Night Manager has been a disappointment, being kept alive by Colman. It’s about time the show ended, because my Fezzy colleague rightly mentioned that her pregnancy is starting to become unique time wise. I’m starting to think it will be easier for her to deliver than the show to do so.
So what did you think? Let us know in the comments…