The Night Of Review: The Season of the Witch

You got some secrets in you, don’t you? And some rage. I like it. – Freddy

It took a little while to get there, but John and Chandra are working on Naz’s behalf, and not a moment too soon, both for the series and in the story itself. We have spent an inordinate amount of time behind bars in The Night Of, but now we’re seeing multiple suspects and the attorneys are chasing down leads to try and find the solution to their client’s incarceration.

However, as the case moves to the forefront, things are getting strange at Rikers Island. Naz has shaved his head, he’s smoking weed, he’s practicing being a drug mule with grapes, and I get the idea of what prison can do to a man, but I’ve got a bit of a problem with how soon it’s happening. This is an eight-episode show, and we know Naz hasn’t been in jail all that long. It’s made worse because we haven’t been with the series for a length of time that would rearrange our internal viewing clocks, so time feels even slower. A man has to do what he has to do to survive, but how fast does he have to become the criminal he wasn’t before the arrest?

The byproduct of Naz’s shift is the audience (or at least me) slowly but surely losing sympathy for the character, because he’s behaving like a fool, maybe even more than he did when he made 1700 mistakes on the night of the murder. It’s all a bit unnatural and it bothers me, because it rings completely false. Riz Ahmed is still doing a great job, but I don’t care for what Nasir Khan has become. I realize homemade napalm wouldn’t be fun to deal with, but the beating in the showers revealed a side of Naz that might be capable of butchering a woman in her home. His reaction in that instance was far more justified, but some of the other stuff is just odd.

Trevor Williams revealed the name, Dwayne Reed, in the back-half of the episode, which took us to the biggest cliffhanger we’ve gotten from Zaillian and Price, although I expect episode six to open up on the following day, rather than in the spot we left John Stone last night. The fact that Reed ran is certainly interesting, although there are more suspects, including the Special K dealer, though his relevance may have ended with the ketamine and assorted pharmaceuticals. He’s not the type to be the killer, and, even after the chase, I’m still curious as to whether we’ve even met or ever seen the actual perpetrator yet.

Stone and Chandra working together is a nice development, and is giving both John Turturro and Amara Karan some scenes with one another. The chemistry works, and I’m hoping we get more of it in the final stretch of the series. The more we see of Box, the more likely he ends up being a key defense witness. His reaction as every piece of evidence backs up Naz’s story indicates a growing belief in the young man’s integrity, though it could be short-lived. His feelings and the look on his face as Helen Weiss sees premeditation is telling, and her theory was clearly a reach, even though she’s steadfast in those feelings.

Box’s retirement after 33 years is also a sign that this case is the one that finally broke him. He just doesn’t want to do this anymore, and I could see him helping Nasir before calling it quits. Still though, The Night Of with a happy ending seems unlikely, so where he will be as the story closes is anyone’s guess. My thinking may be overly wishful.

That toxicology screen was rough, wasn’t it? He had MDMA, ketamine, and amphetamines in him, while Andrea only had the first two. Still, for someone so inexperienced with substances, he jumped in with both feet and tied a cinderblock to them. I wonder if it’s even possible for someone under those specific influences to have even been capable of those crimes. The Special K is a horse tranquilizer that doubles as an aphrodisiac. The amphetamines balance it out somewhat, but good lord is that a boatload of dope for a league rookie.

As for the cadaver…I could have done without that. As could you. As could humanity. So say we all.

Salim Khan needs that cab back, because the partners aren’t feeling this whole, “You may never recover it,” thing. They’re pressuring him to press charges against Nasir for grand theft, in order to get the vehicle from the police. That situation is treacherous, to say the least, and I can’t even imagine that predicament for a father, especially one so stressed out and miserable because of the initial crime and the fear that an innocent son might never again be free to walk the streets.

The episode opened and closed with the ultraviolet light, and for different reasons. In the first scene, we have yet another John Stone eczema treatment, but at the end, we’ve got symbolism of turning the lights off and viewing something unseen under normal lighting conditions.

Less important were the Viagra and cat toys, but it was one of the few spots to laugh during the hour. Stone dealing with the feline is amusing, and also a little bit sad, because John can’t bring himself to open the door and play with his new roommate, because of allergies. At least the cat can occupy itself and took to one of the toys, which is never a given for an animal. For Stone, it’s the least of his problems, as he’s now beaten the grass and startled the snakes, and he still has his general ailment to try and curtail. Plus, the libido issue, but the blue pill may be the cure, although it wasn’t on his first night trying the medication out.

The story moved nicely, and when Stone and Chandra were playing sleuth, it was much better than when the focus was on the rapidly hardening Naz Khan, whose transformation is too fast to be believable. I hope it pays off in the end, but I think it’s there for effect, and it’s left a negative one on me. Interestingly enough, some portions of The Night Of need to speed up, and others need to slow down. Just three more episodes remain, and plenty of ground to get through, as the suspect list is growing and the trial set to begin.

As I ask every week, who did it? Have you changed your mind? Is it Mr. Reed? How does this story end?

I’m @GuyNamedJason. I need 30K. I need it in writing. I need it on Twitter…follow me.

 

Written by Jason Martin