Tom Hiddleston’s Jonathan Pine plays an increasingly dangerous game in The Night Manager
Ben Dowell recaps another visit to John le Carre’s world of sex, glamour, arms dealing and death in episode four
What a dangerous game Jonathan Pine is playing.
As if it wasn’t dumb enough of Tom Hiddleston’s undercover operative to actually sleep with Richard Roper's girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki), he then ended the episode by tipping off Roper’s entourage that his MI6 spymasters were observing them... and fleeing with the criminal gang.
Could it be that he is in league with the evil arms dealers on some level? That he has somehow got used to the high life? Surely not. No, the sanest assumption is that what he told Olivia Colman’s Angela Burr was true – that he was her best hope with Roper and, if Burr and her team pulled him off the case, they would lose their only chance of nabbing Hugh Laurie's evil crime mastermind.
It was a breathlessly eventful episode tonight, one where we actually got a glimpse of the kind of booty Roper deals in thanks to a visit to the ship where the deadly cargo was inspected.
Even more poignantly, Burr revealed why she is so desperate to nail the arms dealer in a particularly moving scene. Late at night, exhausted by work, she recounted in detail a chemical attack on children she had witnessed earlier in her career. The memory made her want to catch people who deal with death but Roper had seen the event as a business opportunity; the harrowing massacre had convinced him to start trading in Sarin, the chemical that slayed the schoolchildren. Nice guy.
We also got to see author John Le Carré himself in a restaurant cameo where Tom Hollander’s Corky sunk lower still, hurling racist insults at the waiter and causing what the polite among us would describe as a “scene”.
Still, he’s no fool is Corky.
“To the victor... and to the blind man who can’t see the human bloody hand grenade in front of his bloody eyes,” he toasted in mock salute to Roper, Pine and the rest of the entourage before heading off in disgrace like a bad dog who'd done his business on the carpet. Meanwhile Roper has a new pet in Pine and he loves him.
The full extent of MI6 collusion in Roper’s activities was also unearthed by Burr who exposed Neil Morrissey’s Harry Palfrey as one of many spies behaving badly (see what I did there?).
And, elsewhere, an inevitably grisly fate befell Apostol, the Spanish former business partner who had reneged on Roper. He was missing all episode, a bit under the weather said the "Chief".
But Roper's interpretation of "under the weather" of course means dead in bed with your throat slit from ear to ear and your sheets soaked in blood.
Things, it seems, can only get grimmer from here on in.
The Night Manager continues on Sunday nights at 9pm