When we first say that the finale for HBO’s “The Night Of” was running a shocking 90-minutes plus, we did wonder if that was far too long given for any episode of TV — especially one without commercials.
Yet, we have to say that this was the fastest-moving 90-plus-minutes we’ve seen in some time, and one that also proved to be incredibly satisfying emotionally as in the end, the jury deadlock, coupled with Helen Weiss receiving new information from Box, caused Nasir Khan to be a free man. He eventually made his long exit from Rikers Island, and had a chance to — at least temporarily — celebrate being a free man. It was a muted celebration, to say the least.
The Naz that arrived home was beautifully-played, as he was a dramatically changed man thanks to the horrors of Rikers. The world was watching him, he couldn’t focus, and things have changed. He may also now become a drug addict. We legitimately thought for a moment that the police were going to catch him by the river and book him for that alone, but we can at least call this a happy ending in the regard that he’s free. Will he remain out of trouble forever? We’re not so sure of that.
The real killer, or at least suggested one, turned out to be Ray Halle, the financial adviser who turned out to have a history of his own with Andrea. He didn’t have much of an alibi, and he had a fight with her minutes before she got into the cab and met Naz. If it wasn’t for Box (this is why we have him in this picture; we love him so) and a last-minute doubt, none of this would have happened. He just can’t stay away from law enforcement, which is proven further by him getting a job in campus security of all things.
As for John Stone, life goes on — and his eczema is back. John Turturro was fantastic throughout, both in his final speech to the court and his conversation with Naz. He too had figured out something more about himself and his capabilities through this trial. He may not be ready to fully admit it to himself, though. (Closing thought: He kept the cat!)
Maybe this finale doesn’t satisfy everyone, still we don’t quite know all of the answers yet as to how Ray committed the crime — or if he even did for absolute certainty. We just have to take what we saw on the show tonight as some sort of gospel and hope that it’s enough. We just feel that when it comes to what this show hoped to accomplish entering tonight, it feels almost impossible to leave this feeling anything other than enormously relieved and with fuller perspective for everyone involved. This wasn’t really about who killer her, how, or why so much as that it wasn’t Naz.
Oh, and we love Box as a character. Did we say that earlier? Grade: A.