The Night Manager (Episode 2)
The Varnished Culture‘s verdict is already in regarding the first instalment of this mini-series. Hence we settled-down for the next chapter with all the zest of one summonsed for tax evasion. It ran pretty much to script: nasty Mr. Roper’s girl whispers enigmatically, and then we see Roper and his gang settle down to a nice meal on the sea in Mallorca. A family affair – Roper – his girl – his tousle-haired boy – his goons – a few hangers-on and sycophants – the usual retinue.
Suddenly there’s an incident – robbery and kidnapping, yet. Roper is serious, calm, but concerned, especially when they spirit sonny away as collateral till his cheque clears. But wait! It seems this is staged so our friend Night Manager, now chief cook and bottle-washer, can conveniently come to the rescue, best the brigands and return golden boy, thus ingratiating himself with Roper and his crew. It’s a plant made all the more authentic by Night Manager’s fake name and dodgy recent past, bearing all the hallmarks of a con, recalling a similar plant made a long time ago…let’s see, when was that…? Oh yes, when Alec Leamas thumped the grocery-store man and did a little time, in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
Night Manager (Mr Pine, or Mr Quint, whatever) is lapping this up. He got to vomit in episode 1. Now he gets to be beaten up, which actors love simulating – it appeals to their inherent narcissistic masochism. As David Niven might say, “What a bonanza!”
So Roper lets (nay, insists that) Night Man convalesce at his Spanish Palace, giving him the chance to exchange smoldering looks with Roper’s missus (who saw that coming? let’s not see the usual hands), and receive a combination of insinuating threats and free information (exposition?) from Roper’s security guy, “Corky” – yes, you heard right – “Corky” (played by Tom Hollander). Spymaster ‘Connie’ (actually, Angela Burr, played by Olivia Colman – ‘Colman, not Goldman’) is now hovering, and worrying about Night Man’s state of health and wellness (“Bloody hell, I hate this bit”) and they stage a little ice-cream rendezvous to exchange information under Corky’s allegedly watchful eye, in a scene reminiscent of Cary Grant meeting Ingrid Bergman at the track in Notorious, only not so.
Just as we see Night Man gazing at Mrs Roper (no, not Yootha Joyce) at the pool of infinity, and getting a no-trespassing warning from Corky, we’re into the credits. Oh well. TVC is not undertaking to keep watching, or reviewing – we think you get the gist. This is either your cup of tea or your cup of cold sick.