the night of chandra

The Night Of Recap: The Boy With the Knuckles Tattooed

Dear Naz,

Right from the opening moments of The Night Of, I’ve wanted to believe in your inherent goodness, to draw a correlation between your big, beautiful eyes and your inevitable innocence — and this week’s episode finally gave me a shred of hope.

Sure, last Sunday’s new contender for big-bad status, the hilariously named Duane Reade, gets as much attention this time around as Jeb Bush on the November ballot (more on that in a moment), but two other parties emerge as contenders for the role of Andrea Cornish’s Killer: Her skeevy Lothario stepdad and the stern, hearse driver whose path Naz and Andrea crossed at the gas station back on murder night.

So Naz, riddle me this: How come you’re tattooing the word “sin” on your knuckles and puffing away at illegal drugs with your mentor in the life illegal, disgraced former boxer/convicted murderer Freddy. When a dude smiles at your descent into the moral abyss like he’s witnessing a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, perhaps you ought to be secretly pumping the brakes on your trip down BFF Blvd., no?

While you ponder that thought, allow me to recap the action from Season 1, Episode 6, “Samson and Delilah,” an hour with a faster, more frantic vibe than the quintet of installments that preceded it:

BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU PUT ON FACEBOOK | Det. Box learns from a search of Naz’s Facebook page that the accused murderer transferred from a high school in his home borough of Queens to one in the Bronx — and that strikes him as odd. Turns out Naz threw a fellow student down a flight of stairs, precipitating the move. “Our golden boy lied to us again,” Stone sighs, but when Chandra grills him about the incident, it’s a mixed bag of answers. Turns out that in the wake of 9/11, Naz was being relentlessly bullied just for being Muslim, and the resultant act of violence had all the emotional impact of “pushing open a door. In the aftermath, Naz felt bad for his mom, but “other than that, I felt nothin’.”

THE CASE BEGINS | ADA Helen Weiss is the character I most want to follow if The Night Of gets a Season 2. She’s hard-charging, hard-boiled and damn foxy, too. “My real employer is a young woman who lies in a grave,” she tells the jury, before using witnesses and surveillance video to paint a damning portrait of Naz. Indeed, Naz kicking two men out of his cab before driving off with Andrea; Naz buying a beer for Andrea but water for himself; Naz asking the cops who picked him up on a traffic violation “Is she dead?”… none of it looks great. But Chandra, green as she may be, is no pushover. Would Naz have asked “Is she dead?” if he’d just stabbed Andrea 22 times, she wonders. Plus, she follows Stone’s advice and keeps her opening statement deceptively simple. “The burden is on the state” to prove guilt, after all. Still, streetwise Freddy contends Chandra is too young, and is less than impressed that she believes Naz is innocent. Does dude have a point?

HEART OF STONE | Stone can’t help but wonder (a la Carrie Bradshaw) what a “22-year-old drug-addled party girl” was doing living in a swank brownstone “like Eloise at the Plaza.” He does a property records search and learns that Andrea’s stepdad Don was fighting for half of Andrea’s inheritance — and the deceased woman’s CPA fills in the defense attorney about the personal trainer’s penchant for gray-haired ladies and history of restraining orders. When Andrea learned of the sketchy dude’s demands, she said he’d get the dough over her dead body — and it’s hard not to imagine the kind of reasonable doubt that soundbite might raise for a jury of 12 of Naz’s peers. As Stone ends the episode watching Don flirtily help a woman of a certain age with her arm exercises, I’m ready to call 911 to preemptively stop another lady-killing.

ONE MORE SUSPECT | Chandra finds an alternate theory of her own, after tracking down the hearse driver from the gas station surveillance video. Dude knows how to quote the Bible — and apply it to his own misogynistic philosophy (without ever mussing the manicure he’s performing on a dead body in his funeral home). “I saw her for the destroyer that she was, and I did not like that,” he tells Chandra about his encounter with Andrea, describing her as the kind of woman who thinks she’s “God’s gift, ’til [she] finds out otherwise.” Um, if dude is worried about looking guilty, he’s got a funny way of hiding it.

WHAT HAPPENED WITH DUANE READE? | I’m just asking about last week’s winner of Mr. Red Herring, since that story arc was unceremoniously dropped this time around.

(BEHIND) BARS ASSOCIATION | Naz turns down a plain white shirt from Freddy in favor of his mom’s more colorful selection, but Stone’s horrified response clues in our protagonist that his jail mentor actually knows best. I mean, dude took on potential suspicion for a second murder rap just to get sent back to Rikers and save his wife on commuting time for visitation. Naz, though, is falling more under the boxing champ’s spell than he ought to, sharing the steely dude’s drugs, getting tattoos on his knuckles and shoulder, and witnessing coerced fellatio from a Freddy cohort who winds up holding a shank to his throat and demanding his silence. In light of that, is it kind of understandable — or just plain upsetting — when Naz calls Chandra from his burner phone and declares, “I hope it doesn’t scare you if I say… goodnight.”

IN OTHER NEWS | Is any of the following pertinent to the case? We’ve only got two episodes left to find out. Andrea’s cat is living the good life in Stone’s spare bedroom, with plenty of food and toys and concern and clean litter (albeit a lack of direct human contact). Naz’s mom takes up a janitorial job to help pay the bills. Stone’s eczema (and his impotence) are cured through the wonders of Chinese medicine. And Stone gives the newly single Chandra a lesson in jury selection: No members of law enforcement, working-class whites, people with relatives killed on 9/11, golfers, bowlers, or sailors. But “young urban women” are ideal, because they don’t care about anyone’s opinion except their own. Alrighty then!

What did you think of this week’s The Night Of? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Guest says:

    It happened so quick I couldn’t see clearly… does anyone know who was doing the coerced fellatio, it looked like a child? Another fabulous episode!…I was screaming at the T.V when Naz grabbed the drugs.

  2. Diane Barton says:

    What a great show… and another great episode! My son – who is not an avid TV watcher (like his mom) – got me hooked on this show and it is our Sunday night thing now. But, we were both confused when the episode started because they never really said what happened at the end of the fifth episode. (We checked to see if we missed one!) You saw Stone follow Duane into that dark and dreary place – and then there were flickering lights. What was that???

    • Starr says:

      I wondered about that, too (the flickering lights). If it is indeed something, then we didn’t get any follow-up or clues in tonight’s episode, or about Duane Reade either. It’s weird to think there’s only two more episodes, cuz it feels like there are so many things dangling out there…

  3. Max says:

    Season 2? I thought this was a one and done TV event. If this is heading toward a second season then I may as well stop watching it now.

  4. Johnny says:

    Did we ever find out what Naz’s friend thanked him for on his Facebook page? I imagine it’ll come into play since Box was curious and they had a name & picture for the friend (I think it was Amir?).
    I’m not buying Naz’s quick descent to hardcore convict. He’s way too comfortable around Freddy. Does he think he’s never getting out? How much time has he spent in Rikers so far?
    I’m really liking Chandra and John as a legal team. I’m sure the eczema will be back but the support group scene was funny.

    • aunthoolia says:

      I’m not sure, but I think those thanking him all had Arabic/Muslim names, so maybe it was “sticking up for them” by pushing the guy down the stairs. ??

  5. Rebecca Parker says:

    Naz had “sin” written on the fingers of one hand and “bad” on the fingers of the other – aka “Sinbad,” his prison nickname.

  6. Mary says:

    Starr, speaking of things left dangling, what are those things dangling in Naz’s frequent flashback from Andrea’s apartment?

  7. Hanna says:

    Why did the delivery man not wait for his tip from Chandra?

    • Diane Barton says:

      I had not realized it at first, but the delivery man was Naz’s father. (Someone else had to point it out to me. LOL.) He had not gotten the cab back, so he had to earn a living somehow. He probably paid for her food, knowing that she was working on his son’s case, which was scheduled to start the next day.

  8. aunthoolia says:

    So why didn’t they show jury selection after they spent a chunk of time on it. One scene they were prepping for that, and then they skipped right over it to opening statements.

  9. Guest100 says:

    It was the stepdad. I read this theory in another article somewhere after the 1st or 2nd episode and now I am convinced it must be him. Remember that the stepdad rides a motorcycle. We know this because when he comes in to identify Andrea’s body (and at first denys it is her!), he is holding his motorcycle helmet. Now, thinking back to the 1st episode, shortly after fleeing from Andrea’s apartment, Naz has an intense moment stopped at a red light next to a motorcyclist. The motorcyclists even seems to peer over at Naz. Naz then notices the bloody knife on the dashboard and as soon as the motorcycle speeds off, he grabs it. And there you go, the stepdad has a motive – money, and if that was him on the motorcycle, then he was spotted near the scene of the crime at the time of the crime. It is him!!!

    • Diane Barton says:

      I forgot about that guy on the motorcycle!!! And yes, he does look over at Naz – and we never saw his face. Wow… That’s a great theory!!!

  10. N says:

    Loving this show…..I thought it was the stepdad from the beginning. Hope it’s not

    • aunthoolia says:

      Plus, as someone pointed out, he’s a recognizable actor who otherwise doesn’t seem to have a reason to be on the show. Unfortunately, that kind of kills the suspense once you realize it. But yeah, great show!

      • Diane Barton says:

        I don’t understand your comment. What does his being a “recognizable actor” have to do with his involvement with the show? I am familiar with him from watching House of Cards, so I understand that he is recognizable, but John Turturro is a recognizable actor, as are Bill Camp and Michael Kenneth Williams.

        • aunthoolia says:

          Yes, but all those actors are playing main characters, and we’ve barely seen glimpses of Don Taylor since the first episode. I’m just saying that he’s very likely to play a more important role than what we’ve seen so far. He also played a regular character on Boardwalk Empire.

          • Diane Barton says:

            Thanks for explaining. And thank you for mentioning that he was in Boardwalk Empire – I had not realized that was him! (Thank goodness for Google Images. LOL.) Loved that show and recognized Michael Kenneth Williams immediately.
            There seem to be a handful of people from Boardwalk Empire in The Night Of – I also recognized Max Casella right away.
            (And two of the actors from Royal Pains were also featured – I will miss that show as well.) Nice to see that some of the actors from my other favorite (off-the-air) shows are still working!

          • aunthoolia says:

            Diane, do you not recognize Michael K W from The Wire? That was a truly iconic role, Omar Little. What he’s far and away best known for. A gay “Robin Hood” drug dealer.

          • Diane Barton says:

            Unfortunately, I never watched The Wire.
            I know…. I need to add it to my list!

  11. Mary Noel says:

    In Stone’s apartment, in this episode, there is a beautiful piece of classical music playing, maybe a lullaby? Does anyone know what this piece of music is?

  12. Karen says:

    Victim was 22 years old, stabbed 22 times. What was bible verse # quoted by hearse driver?