Macho, stylish, and in love with himself... Pine proved Tom Hiddleston would be the perfect Bond in the finale of The Night Manager, by Jim Shelley
Tom Hiddleston completed his personal audition to be the next 007 in triumphant fashion as The Night Manager ended where it started - with Jonathan Pine back at the Nefertiti Hotel in Cairo.
While he may have been immaculate in his old job there on Reception, he proved that he was an even better spy.
The finale saw Pine get revenge, get the bad guy, and get the girl, not to mention getting away with murder and £300million. Pretty good for a beginner...
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It's over, for now: The Night Manager finished in spectacular style on Sunday night, with Tom Hiddleston all but set for the role of James Bond thanks to his impressive performance as a spy
Yes surprisingly for a story by John Le Carre, there were happy endings all round – except for arms dealer Richard Roper. 'The worst man in the world' failed to live up to his reputation as untouchably Evil and perished miserably/violently, which still constituted a happy ending for the rest of us.
Elsewhere, Pine's lovely co-handler Angela Burr (Saint Olivia Colman) was vindicated for her faith in Pine and her mistrust of MI6.
Her ally Joel Steadman turned out to be genuine and not to have double-crossed her, despite David Harewood's dubious American accent.
Roper's girlfriend Jed escaped the multi-millionaire's nefarious – but luxurious – clutches and returned home to her son.
Back where it started: Jonathan returned to the Nefertiti Hotel in Cairo, where Joel Steadman (David Harewood - dodgy American accent) turned out to be genuine and had not double-crossed Angela Burr (Olivia Colman)
And thousands of innocent civilians and children were spared the effects of Roper's trade when Pine blew up truckloads of weapons he had just sold. (Hopefully without the napalm.)
It was just a shame Pine had not been so ruthlessly, stylishly, efficient at the start of the series and been able to save Sophie Alekan.
Sophie had been the highly paid mistress of Cairo playboy Freddie Hamid and Pine's love for her and her murder his motivation for the meticulous, dangerous, plan to infiltrate Roper's world.
Never mind that Pine had actually only spent one night with the sultry Sophie, or that he seemed to have got over her death just as he finally had the chance to avenge it – when he fell for Jed instead.
But for a while it didn't look as if it was going to work out so seamlessly.
Drama: Thousands of innocent civilians and children were spared the effects of Roper's trade when Pine blew up truckloads of weapons he had just sold
Roper appeared to be one step ahead of Pine's attempts to scupper his arms deal.
When a search of Roper's trucks by the American army proved fruitless and politically embarrassing, Pine's information was discredited and Angela Burr's operation shut down.
'Just a cowboy and a pregnant woman, that's just army!' mocked Steadman.
Unsurprisingly, given that he had made no effort to disguise himself, Pine was recognised by Freddie Hamid, albeit belatedly.
'I know you!' Freddie cried, more observant when he was drunk than sober. 'You are the night manager!'
Pine was probably going to kill him anyway – out of revenge for what he'd done to Sophie – but had no choice except to strangle him and drown him (taking no chances).
Rumbled: Jed (Elizabeth Debicki) was found out when Roper cunningly changed the combination of his room safe, having realised that Pine had been leaking information
Torture: Jed was pushed into the water and tortured by Roper's aide 'Frisky'
Jed was also rumbled when Roper cunningly changed the combination of his room safe, having realised that Pine had been leaking information not Lance 'Corky' Corcoran, that Pine had killed old Corky to silence him, and Jed was Pine's accomplice. And not just his accomplice...
'Oh dear. Oh Jemima,' he muttered finally explaining her strange name.
He dispatched 'Frisky' to water-board Jed, who stopped only to go and eliminate Angela Burr who, as luck would have it, was staying in the same hotel. It transpired that, like Roper himself, Frisky's reputation for ruthless efficiency wasn't all it was cracked up to be. When Frisky tried that hoary old trick of knocking on Angela's door and calling 'Room Service', it (unsurprisingly) didn't fool her and she shot him in the leg. Not so frisky now...
Meanwhile Pine had also been tied up and was facing the wrath of Roper.
'I got you so wrong,' he murmured, a bit late. 'It's a very rare thing for me to trust a person. But you were special.'
In truth, this was debatable. Pine hardly ever spoke, responding to every question or remark Roper made with just his dry, joyless, laugh and smooth smile.
'Corks was a good man. For his sake and for mine, I can promise you your death is going to be a hundred times worse.'
This was one of the rare moments of malevolence Hugh Laurie managed to give Roper. Whereas Le Carre showed he could do Bond just as well as Ian Fleming, Hiddleston triumphed as 007 and Olivia Colman sealed her status as the new Judi Dench, Laurie could not play the villain without entirely escaping echoes of Bertie Wooster, House, or George in Blackadder.
No go: Angela's brilliance saw no let-up as she apprehended Frisky... and shot him in the leg
Real malevolence? Hugh could not play the villain without entirely escaping echoes of Bertie Wooster, House, or George in Blackadder
'Jed is in a very bad way,' purred Roper, showing Pine a photo of her battered, bloody, face to make him co-operate in playing his part in the deal. 'Her life depends on the quality of your performance in the next half hour. So smile!'
He was almost impressed by the scale of Pine's deception, sighing 'oh you beauty!' when Sandy Langbourne checked their online banking and uttered the immortal words: 'Dicky, where's the first payment? There should be £300million in there!'
Don't you just hate it when that happens?
The game looked up when Roper pulled a gun on him, until Pine offered him the money back in exchange for Jed.
'You'd buy that girl for £300m?' Roper frowned. Even for someone as preposterously romantic as Pine it seemed a bit excessive. I mean, I know she clearly had her price.
Blackmail: 'Jed is in a very bad way,' Roper told Pine, showing him a photo of her battered, bloody, face to make him co-operate in playing his part in the deal.
Doing what he's told: Roper continued ''Her life depends on the quality of your performance in the next half hour. So smile!'
Angela Burr was about to pounce though, telling him she'd been waiting for that moment ever since that deadly sports day in Kurdistan when she had seen Roper realise the fortune he could make selling mustard gas.
'Why did you do it Jonathan?' Roper asked as Steadman arrested him.
'You have to commit,' Pine answered cryptically. 'You have to make a decision.'
'See you in a few days!' Roper taunted cockily. Roper's confidence was deflated and replaced by panic though when, instead of the police, it was the clients who'd paid him £300million for the arms Pine had blown up who whisked him away. Judging by his screams he would be meeting a more violent, fatal, form of justice.
Head-to-head: Viewers were left delighted with the final tussle between Pine and Roper in the final episode of the thrilling series of The Night Manager
'No he deserves it,' Angela asserted when Steadman went to intervene.
As for Jed and Pine, they said goodbye the next morning after a night of artistically arranged passion and she decided (belatedly) to go home to her little boy.
'You're a funny fish Jonathan,' she mused – although the one thing Pine wasn't was 'funny.'
In truth he was a humourless, bland, soul who could never love her or anyone as much as he adored himself. The one true surprise of the finale was that he had survived licking himself to death.
In the last scene he had left him back where he had started - on the steps of the hotel.
Whether they would offer him his old job back was unclear although a second series seems more likely.
The new Bond? Discussion has barely ceased on the topic of Hiddleston taking over as 007, and after The Night Manager, the position is pretty much his
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