The Night Manager – Episode 2 (Review)

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

On the same night Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar, Hugh Laurie treated us to some of the greatest, intense eye acting you will ever see.

We open with Roper, his family and his entourage enjoying life on a beautiful Spanish island.  If you had not seen the previous episode, you would think that Roper is the loving family man that this opening scene portrayed. The contrast between Roper’s business and personal life is frightening, how can a man with so much love for his family, be capable of causing such travesties?
This scene allowed you to see the other side of the world’s most deadly arms dealer, a tender, caring side.

After a solid 10-13 minute build up, we are swap the idyllic family life for the cold severity of life as a gang of armed men take Roper’s son hostage in the restaurant. It’s now, that the mild-mannered Roper breaks, and the intensity in his eyes reveals his true, murderous nature.

We now see the characters, in the villain roles, on the receiving end of a heinous act, an act that threatens the life of their innocent son. Well done to all involved in this scene, as you really felt the sympathy for Roper and his family. Remember these are the bad guys!

Roper’s son Denny is taken hostage by the armed men and taken away, Roper is helpless. As the armed men take Denny away, they reach a small dock where they hear a noise from behind a door.

“Who’s there!?” asks the gang leader.

We cut to a slow zoom of a crack in the door, and we see the unmistakable eyes of Tom Hiddleston, looking through the crack with serious intent. What happens next? We cut to six months earlier…

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Hugh Laurie, Elizabeth Debicki and young Noah Jupe must take all the plaudits for this scene. It was a fantastic opener to the show, and was executed to perfection. This is how you make compelling TV!

Through a series of flashback scenes, Pine (Hiddleston) and Burr (Colman) begin to put their plan, to capture and expose Roper, in to action.
The plan is for Pine to infiltrate Roper’s inner circle, gain his trust and collect definitive evidence that will bring down Roper and his whole organisation.
The plan is to set Pine up as a thief, planting evidence that money was stolen from the hotel in Switzerland where he was first introduced to Roper. By setting Pine up as a rogue thief taking on the role of a hotel night manager, the hope is Roper can see that Pine plays by his own rules and answers to no one, just like he does.

We follow Pine in his quest to set his backstory as a master thief, and gaining a fake passport in the process. We are also introduced to another character, Joel Steadman played by the fantastic David Harewood.
We get to see him interacting with Burr, setting up a nice dynamic between the two which should lead to some fantastic scenes in future episodes. Given Roper has moles within the government and intelligence services, whose side is Steadman on? It all looks too friendly at the minute, is Steadman all that he appears to be? It’s going to be fascinating finding out.

We cut back to the opening scene, were we find out that the armed gang are actually spies working with Pine. While Pine manages to ‘save’ Ropers son, Pine has to take a convincing beating….and a beating it was.

As Roper and co reach the dock they find their son safe and well, and the beaten, bloody body of Pine lying motionless on the seafront.
As they go to call the police, Pine splutters out the words ‘no police’. Roper recognises Pine as the night manager from the hotel in Switzerland, so why is he wearing chefs clothing here? Why doesn’t he want no police involvement? Could it be, that like him, this night manager is not what he appears to be?

Sensing his criminal persona, Roper decides to take him off the island and help him recover so he can gain answers. He did just save his son after all.

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We are treated to a fantastic exchange between a bed-bound Hiddleston and a mistrusting Tom Hollander, who clearly believes there is more to Pine and the ‘rescue’ than meets the eye.
With Roper wanting answers, and Corcoran clearly not trusting his boss’s son’s would-be rescuer, the show ends with the hint that next week the web of lies will truly start to unfold.

This was a very strong second episode, and if this upward pattern continues, then The Night Manager is going to be one of the 2016’s best TV shows. Everything is right about this show, from the acting to the direction.

Star of The Episode: Hugh Laurie – The contrast he manages to show between the two sides of Roper was magnificent, and he performed some of the greatest eye acting that you will ever see. More please!

Best Scene: The opening exchange between Laurie, Debicki, Jupe and the armed gang. This was an exciting and compelling bit of TV.

This was another great showing by all involved, and we cannot wait to find out what happens to Pine as he falls deeper in to Roper’s world of lies and death.

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