I Am The Night Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: Creature Features

Photo: Courtesy of TNT.
Chris Pine is going to save the world! Or, at the very least, he is going to unveil the truth. He’ll also rescue a broken sex worker from her fate and he’ll put the broken newspaper he hurt back in its rightful trajectory. That’s a lot to place on Pine’s burly shoulders, but if anyone can handle it, it’s Jay Singletary, I Am the Night’s protagonist. Remember: Jay lost everything when George Hodel filed a libel case against him. This has forced him to throw pens, yell at editors, and drink a lot. Our tragic blonde hero.
“I was gonna be this big hotshot hot shit,” he complains. But that didn't come to pass, and he brought disgrace to both himself and the L.A. Times. This seriously gums up his plans to figure out the truth about Hodel, especially because his reluctant editor Peter is dead set against getting involved.
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“I am jumping into a bag of snakes with you, Jay,” Peter reproaches him. “You ain’t a kid anymore, Jay. You know, that stunt you pulled, you didn’t just screw yourself. You know that? Decent guys got shitcanned because of that.”
I Am the Night once again does some tricky footwork this episode, comparing Pat’s plight to Jay’s. They’re both confused figures whose fate is in the hands of George Hodel. Both are desperate to find out the truth, and, in the meantime, the world is pretty angry at them. Jay is battling with editors, and Pat is struggling to fit in with the upper-class L.A. family she now believes she belongs to.
The real secret-keeper, though, is Tamar, Pat’s supposedly late birth mother. Pat discovers in this episode that her mother was believed to be mentally ill. She was the “goddess of deceit,” and everyone Pat meets insists Tamar wasn't a reliable source. Of course, this is where Jay’s spidey senses are handy. Jay knew Tamar, and ostensibly used her to write his ruinous story. She was a reliable source at one point. But then she rescinded her testimony and disappeared into thin air.
Pat pursues the truth via Tamar’s sister, an aloof woman named Corinna (Connie Nielsen) a racist who speaks in a vaguely mid-Atlantic accent. It’s with Corinna that Pat’s liminal status (her race, her class) is on full display. Hanging with her aunt, Pat looks like she could be a Hodel. But she doesn’t know which fork to use, and she doesn’t have the sense to put her napkin in her lap. She’s cagey, too, enough to suggest that maybe Tamar isn’t dead, even though everyone else says so. Game of Thrones has taught me that I must see the body before I can assume that someone is dead, so, mark my words: Tamar Hodel will arrive soon, and she’ll have plenty of information to share.
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In her search, though, Pat runs into her scary grandfather, George Hodel, once more. He spots her at an art museum, making direct eye contact with her. And Pat’s no idiot: She knows this is the same man who met her at the bus stop days earlier. She’s being followed by Dr. George Hodel himself.
Corinna Hodel is at least useful in one regard: She’s the first person in the show to say that Pat (who, a reminder, is actually Fauna Hodel) is not Black. She reminds her niece that Tamar was a liar, adding that Pat/Fauna’s late father was white; he was apparently also a ballet dancer. Pat’s father’s identity is also a known unknown, here, even with this information. He could be anyone, and given that his identity is up in the air, he’s likely one of the cast of characters already floating around this show.
Meanwhile, Jay pursues the truth about Janice Brewster, the body in the morgue that he investigated in the series premiere. Brewster’s mysterious death — she was mutilated and left for dead — has been blamed on a Black man named Brody Stiles. Stiles is a “pigeon,” though, a guy who shares jailhouse confessions in exchange for cash. He’s arthritic, too, so much so that he’s not strong enough to kill and mutilate a young woman.
Jay’s research, which involves contact with a sex worker named Wendy (Mickey O'Hagan) points to...George Hodel. Who else?
A bit more about George: He once worked in the public health department, focusing on STIs. He had a massive IQ, and was a child prodigy on piano. Seems like a pretty good guy, right? Except everything about his portrayal on the show is creepy. Mays, a veteran Broadway actor, chews the scenery in the role, sweeping his inchworm-like mustache through every frame. While not exactly menacing, he clearly harbors ill intentions. In this episode, during a conversation with an old army buddy (Jay Paulson), Jay reveals that his big story involved an illegal abortion clinic supposedly run by Dr. Hodel.
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The Chris Pine Shrine
Each week, as Chris Pine digs deeper into his role as Jay Singletary, we’ll catalog his best moments here.
Jay punching a security guard.
Jay: “I didn’t stick a needle into your arm. That is your creature feature, sweetheart.”
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