“I’m Not Talking To You Anymore.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
The Night Of continues to be a visual treat. The ongoing story is obviously captivating in all regards, but the optical package it’s delivered in is distractingly beautiful.
It felt weird progressing past the first episode, as I watched the early premiere and re-watched “Part 1” when it aired proper. Whereas last week’s episode narrowly focused on Naz and the murder of Andrea, “Part 2,” titled “Subtle Beast,” worked to flesh out existing characters and even introduced new ones. This includes the subtle beast himself, Sgt. Dennis Box. When Naz dubbed him as the subtle beast, it was bit on the nose, but this episode affirmed that this was indeed true. We see Sgt. Box playing nice cop and seemingly having Naz in his best interests, but at the end of the day, we get hints that he has anger building in him and a strong will to solve this case no matter what.
John Turturro’s seasoned lawyer character John Stone was another standout in this world-building chapter. We get a couple confrontations with people reminding him that Naz’s case is a big one, and that he is playing in a territory much bigger than himself. I particularly enjoyed the judge asking if John is a friend of the family or rather if it was the right place and the right time, seeing as it is the latter makes John’s character one to sympathize with. We even got a glimpse into his lonely home life aside from his son.
Relating to the family, we got to see just how distraught this murder has made Naz’s parents. As instructed by John, Naz should just shut up. This wasn’t the case when he finally was allowed to see his parents. This would then turn out to be a calculated move disguised as kindness by Sgt. Box, hoping Naz would confess something. Little moments like Naz acknowledging the presence of a camera and pivoting to speaking to his parents in their native language shows that Naz isn’t an idiot. While the first episode gave us a deer caught in the headlights, Naz’s development in this episode shows he can be as strategic in his facade as Sgt. Box is, being a subtle beast himself.
In the pattern of fleshing out more characters, we got an introduction to Andrea’s stepfather Don Taylor, played by Paul Sparks (House of Cards). His relationship with Andrea was a strained one, but we now have him in the fold of major characters that will aid in solving the case. Lastly, we go introduced to the opposing lawyer, Helen Weiss, who Sgt. Box affirms to that this case is essentially closed. She doesn’t seem like someone who likes to lose, which should play up the intensity in the courtroom.
The Night Of zoomed out and gave us a look at the characters this murder also affects. This first episode showed us these aren’t one-note characters to fill screen space/time, and “Subtle Beast” sunk that nail in. While I’m rooting for Naz’s innocence to be proven, I’m now rooting for a win for John Stone and Naz’s family’s peace of mind in tandem. I was ever grateful for every shot in this episode, with the cinematography being nearly distracting at times. I loved the writing and subtleties in this episode, with small moments like Naz owning Maxims instead of something more vulgar to show how pure he was before this murder. In the end, we have more pieces on the board, and what a dangerous game this is becoming.
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