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The Night Manager episode 5 review

The Night Manager’s previous episode saw Jonathan Pine apparently going rogue when his intelligence handlers tried to pull him out of Roper’s operation, leaving Angela Burr unsure if Pine has been turned.

Vested and powerful interests in the British establishment want Roper’s arms deal to succeed – there is talk of ‘the national interest’ but really it comes down to people lining their pockets. Despite Burr’s efforts to keep the investigation secret, Roper knows there is a leak in his operation and suspects everyone. He reveals his suspicions to Pine, stating “anyone can betray anyone, Jonathan”. Is this an act of tactical stupidity on Roper’s part, or does he enjoy an atmosphere of misrule?

For four episodes we have seen only the glamour of the arms trade: Roper’s private island; his jet; Michelin starred restaurants; tailored suits; a trophy girlfriend with a wardrobe of diaphanous kaftans. Who wouldn’t be tempted by such a life? However, as Roper brings his prospective buyer to a remote area of Turkey near the border with Syria, we finally witness the brutal reality of both his trade and his personality. Posing for photo opportunities with refugee children, while trading in the very weapons that have displaced these people.

The Night Manager episode 5

With Pine serving as ringmaster, Roper stages a demonstration of his wares that is pure circus. Tracer bullets light up the night sky, drones are shot out of the air with missiles, cluster bombs turn a village into dust, and in a showstopper finale a napalm drop turns the landscape into a vision out of Dante. Later Pine will learn that the deserted village was recently inhabited, its denizens forcibly evicted to provide Roper with a sandcastle to kick over. However, not all the inhabitants were able to leave in time.

As Roper, Hugh Laurie has, until this point, been charming with a dash of sinister – but in The Night Manager episode 5 his mask slips to reveal something very ugly. He has his girlfriend Jed flown in and trotted out like a prize filly in front of mercenaries to humiliate her. In private he becomes abusive. His former right hand man Corky – whose role Pine supplanted – is on hand to further stoke suspicions. Knowing that Corkorian suspects him of having an affair with Jed, Pine desperately tries to get information to Burr and move Roper’s suspicions towards ‘good old Corky’.

The Night Manager episode 5

Back in London, Burr is increasingly politically isolated. MI-6 chief Dromgoole has her under conspicuous surveillance and arrives on her doorstep late at night to make vague threats. When Pine’s information that Roper is using an aid convoy to transport his arms across the Turkish border, Burr has a last chance to snare her quarry.

Director Susanne Bier switched out the the glossy sun drenched palate of earlier episodes for desert sand and khaki, taking The Night Manager into an uglier world of refugee camps and mercenaries. As the episode came to an end it found Roper smugly triumphant: “they didn’t watch the cups you see”, he tells Pine. Still with his cover apparently intact, Pine is horrified to find out their next destination is Cairo and the very hotel where he was once the night manager.

Did you watch The Night Manager episode 5? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Stuart Barr
Stuart Barr
Stuart Barr

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