There is, it seems, no going back for Tom Hiddleston’s Jonathan Pine.
The hotel worker turned secret service operative has now fully taken on his new persona, in a clever plan orchestrated by Olivia Colman’s spy Angela Burr and her chum from the CIA Joel Steadman (David Harewood). “He’s crossed over,” she beamed.
OK, as the episode ended with him recuperating from a beating and lying vulnerable in the bed of arch nemesis Richard Roper the plan may not have entirely worked. But it started so well.
First there was a clever trap set by Pine and his secret service minders. He had to steal money from his Swiss employers to build up a new identity and then hole up in a Devon farmhouse where a clever ruse was established putting him beyond the law.
We then returned to the world of Richard Roper and the final piece of the jigsaw – where Pine saves Roper’s son (below) from some would-be kidnappers – in a bid to win his trust.
Neat stuff. But of course, it didn’t quite work out like that. Pine acted the kidnap part rather too well and insisted on giving the pretend kidnappers (who were really spies) a proper kicking. And if you kick a spy, it seems, you get a kicking back.
His face didn’t look good, a horrible shade of purple as Tom Hollander’s Corky put it later in the episode…
But even with his face a bloodied, puffed-up mess, it was a brilliant touch to have Roper capable of not only recognising Pine from their encounter four years before, but also recalling his name. You don’t become a super-rich international arms dealer by forgetting a face now do you?
So what to expect now?
Things are neatly set up with Pine on the inside of Roper’s operation – but still very much under suspicion. As Burr told him, he will spend most of his time on the job terrified as hell and she clearly wasn’t wrong. One of Roper’s goons threatened him with a particularly nasty torture treatment – a fizzy drink up the nose while his mouth is held shut.
Hiddleston also gave an impressive mini audition for James Bond once again with plenty of derring do. And if any viewers were perplexed at the way a mild mannered hotel night manager could turn so easily into Bruce Lee, let’s not forget that Pine did used to be in the army. He can handle himself, this one.
The Bond-like glamour also extended to the locations which were once again breathtaking. Sunny Majorca was shown in all its gorgeousness, but director Susanne Bier also managed to decorate her visual palette with some sumptuous views of the Devon coast during Pine’s stay by the sea.
The story too was beautifully written, brilliantly brought to screen, in an episode where loyalties and passions, both real and fake, jostled around.
Pine was playing on Roper’s genuine regard for his son. Roper’s girlfriend (Elizabeth Debicki’s Jed Marshal) seems genuinely grateful for the intervention, as was the boy Daniel (not surprisingly perhaps). But Corky is suspicious. His genuine love for Roper – or The Chief as the openly gay Corky calls him – seems to give him a particular nose for the truth behind Pine’s fakery…
If anyone is able to spot someone who doesn’t have a high regard for Roper it’s Corky. And Roper seems more than capable of rat smelling himself, his sharp intelligence and ruthless wickedness glowering out from his sun-tanned face. It’s going to be a fascinating, edge-of-the-seat watch.
Especially for the man who may be getting the fizzy drink up the nose treatment….
The Night Manager continues on Sunday nights on BBC1 at 9pm