The Night Manager Makes Nice Hotels Seem Terrifying
And bedbugs have nothing to do with it.
What do you know: it turns out Richard Roper is completely evil! Even until this week, it was easy to doubt it, given Hugh Laurie's sexy charm and Roper's tendency to appear in fantasy vacation locales where one assumes only angels drink rosé. Angela's horrifying recollection of Roper's day with melting children was somewhat softened by being a memory. Even watching him finish an illegal arms deal was more intellectual than visceral. Nothing quite had the impact of seeing something terrible for ourselves.
And then: war games. Watching from on high -- even calling himself an emperor -- Roper observes his horrible weapons in action. His face contorted with vicious glee, he oversees planes being shot from the sky and an entire village being firebombed. His enjoyment is chilling.
And that village? It was supposed to be empty, but it wasn't. An old woman was killed, and when her son and grandson bring her body to Roper's compound, demanding restitution, they're murdered. We hear the little boy's screams.
Naturally, this boosts our excitement when Pine is able to give Angela the exact location where Roper's ill-gotten arms will be smuggled out of Turkey. Now that we've seen Dicky's worst side, we can cheer as he goes down. Do we feel conflicted that Pine killed Corky to make this happen? Maybe not! The show clarifies that Corky is a murderous bastard who would've killed Pine anyway, so we can (if we want) excuse Pine's crime as serving the greater good. And what good is greater than stopping Roper?
Except Roper outwits the border patrol. When they search his trucks, they only find farm equipment inside. Tipped off by his moles in MI6, Roper was able to relocate the weapons.
That scene leaves me nauseated. It makes Roper seem all-powerful, which is why he forces Jed to come watch the whole thing go down. "This is what I do for a living," he tells her, and it might sound like he's saying, "See? You worried I was evil, but I provide farm equipment to the needy!" But what he's actually telling her is, "I run the world for a living, and if you had a fantasy about stopping me, then drop it right now."
All of which leads to the most stressful moment of the series. With a new plan in motion, Roper suddenly diverts to Egypt. To the VERY HOTEL where Pine used to work. OH MY GOD NO WHAT OH NO AHHHH VOMIT CHILLS.
Only after the show makes us fully aware of Roper's power does it truly threaten Pine's cover and his life. This return to Egypt wouldn't have been nearly as horrifying in Episode 3, but now we can understand Pine's terror as he saunters into the place where he used to work, just waiting for some stupid bellboy to give him a damning high five. Look how nervous he is!
Director Susanne Bier stokes the anxiety by making sure there's a bad guy in every shot. When Jed shoots Pine an anxious look, she does it under some bruiser's arm. When Pine realizes that Roper is staying in the very room where Sophie was murdered, Roper strolls in like the lord of hell.
Never before has a nice hotel seemed so terrifying, and I'm including the Overlook. I only hope that Pine's flair for room service somehow aids him in the series finale.