A Flickering Blue Light In The Night Of Part 5, “Season Of The Witch”

Photo Courtesy of HBO.
We are officially more than halfway through the series and the show's pace is quickening. This means fewer montages and lingering shots that make the audience wonder, What does it all mean?, and more nitty-gritty scenes detailing what life is like for Naz as a Rikers inmate. We also get a glimpse into the life of John Stone, a man trying to defend a client who has everything stacked against him. The symbolism of this particular episode, "Season of The Witch," is dense. To start with, I'm guessing the title is, in part, referring to the 1966 Donovan psychedelic-rock classic, "Season Of The Witch." Released 50 years ago, the lyrics of the song refer to the singer looking over his shoulder, saying he sees a strange cat staring at him: "And he's strange / Sure he's strange." The cat, guys. Still not over the cat. The title is also spoken aloud by the jokester pharmacist when he tells Stone that all the pharmacies are out of Viagra, because it must be the "season of the witch." Then, there's the flickering blue light which opens and closes the episode, as well as the return of a familiar and haunting face, which we'll talk about. Naz has gone to the dark side. He's getting involved with prison politics, drug trafficking, and diving headfirst into Fred E. Night's tough crew. He's not only surviving, he's thriving. Meanwhile, outside the prison walls, Stone gets into some trouble and Helen Weiss, the district attorney, finds a few pieces of incriminating (and heavily manipulated) evidence against Naz that she thinks will win her the case. It's tempting to go through each moment with a fine-tooth comb, much like the hired crime-scene photographer does in Andrea Cornish's brownstone, but we're going to just hit on all the big moments from the episode, below. We're also posting all our crazy theories here (and some that you submitted!).

Spoilers ahead. Rikers Island

Everyone, meet the new Naz. The head-shaving, cocaine-smuggling, ass-kicking version of the boy we met five weeks ago. Naz’s place in prison is becoming more clear: He is filling the exact role that Freddy carved out for him. Freddy's intentions, on the other hand, are still a little murky — do we really accept the fact that he wants to help Naz? Naz realizes that, too, when he is asked to swallow baggies of cocaine to bring back to Freddy while at visitation with his new team, the quirky dynamic duo of Stone and Chandra. She is all book smart; Stone is street smart. Stone calls Naz out for pushing drugs and reminds him that if he gets caught, there's nothing he can do to help him. "Speed is speed; lies are lies," Stone harshly reminds him. Naz also finds out that he was given ketamine by Andrea, a horse tranquilizer that will mess someone up real good, real fast. But things get a little more complicated when the toxicology report also reveals that Naz took amphetamines — which looks really bad on his part. Naz insists it was just Adderall, but still. He lied. It's still unclear why — or when — he took it. This is the first time that Stone, and the audience, catches him in a lie. Naz also nearly beats Calvin Hart, the inmate that burned him, to death. In this one episode, Naz committed more offenses than he did the night of the murder (as far as we know). It's heartbreakingly ironic. P.S. My theory about Hart being a figment of Naz's imagination was totally debunked, as seen in the shower scene. I now absolutely think he is just a pawn set up by Freddy to get Naz in his corner. As Naz drifts deeper into the shady prison world, there is one sign of hope. When Naz shaves his head, it may feel like he's doing it to look tougher. But in Pakistani culture, families shave a baby's head after they have a full head of hair to ensure prosperous growth for the child. Naz's decision to shave his head may reflect back to this idea of karmic rebirth.
The Courthouse
Did anyone else catch Detective Box's very calm delivery of the fact that he would be retiring after Naz's trial was finished? To Helen's surprise, and skepticism, he says he is calling it quits after 33 years on the job. "Enough is enough," he tells her in the stairway of the court house. He wants to spend more time with his family. (We think; it's always hard to tell whether or not Box is being sarcastic.) Could Box be feeling guilty or doubtful of Naz's involvement in the crime? If he is, it's too late. They will be going to trial and Helen will be pulling strings to ensure that she wins the case. A young, white, rich girl stabbed to death in her own home? Someone will be found guilty of that type of heinous crime. In an odd scene at the coroner's office, we get to see Helen in action. She always seemed a bit sympathetic to Naz, but like Box and Stone, she has a job to do. She takes an image of Naz's cut-up hand to Harry the coroner and coaches him through the angle the prosecution wants him to take. On top of that, Helen obtains street-cam footage from Box that shows the two rude men getting in Naz's cab and him kicking them out. Then, it shows Andrea climbing in the back seat and the cab lingering before they both drive off together. "He chose her!" Helen says, confidently. The fact that Naz turned away two grown men, yet allowed a young woman in his car, will be the prosecution's evidence of "premeditation." Helen is also in the process of interviewing the only TWO witnesses. The first is Trevor, a.k.a. the racist guy. The other is the neighbor who called the police, whom we find out is named Eugene. Trevor announces he will voluntarily bomb his testimony and she crosses him off her list, leaving only the weird — and suspicious? — neighbor. The Streets Of New York
Stone decides to finally put on his thinking cap and get down and dirty with his quest for the truth. The show, as a whole, is more of an inside look at the judicial process from start to finish, rather than the whodunnit crime mystery many viewers thought it would be at first. He hires a crime-scene photographer to come to Andrea's brownstone. There are some important findings in this scene: 1. There is a third floor to the brownstone that we haven't seen before.
2. The back-door lock is completely broken and won't even shut properly.
3. If the killer walked in through the front door and headed immediately upstairs, they couldn't, from that angle, see if anyone was at the kitchen table, where Naz woke up. The photographer also finds blood on a leaf — "Could be squirrel blood, though." Most importantly, Chandra and Stone realize that Trevor is a lying liar and that he was not alone that night. Intrepid (or foolish) Stone goes out in search of the mysterious man (that many of you are convinced killed Andrea.) The man's name is Duane Reade, and he leads Stone into a deserted basement of a motor room. The episode ends with a flash of blue light, and the feeling that something bad is about to happen to Stone. Thoughts
Let's consider the possibility of Reade being our killer, since he has risen to the surface again as a suspect, which throws a wrench in the DA’s prosecution. We also meet one of Andrea's drug dealers, Cody, who seems like a pretty average guy, and obviously not the top of the drug-dealing food chain. Could Reade be connected to this guy? Ketamine is a not a common recreational party drug like coke or weed, so it shows that Andrea is in deep with a certain lifestyle. Selling drugs, however, was not one of Reade’s previous charges, so it’s unclear how he is connected as more than just a passerby with an attitude and a record.

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