What initially felt like a bad dream for Nasir Khan (Riz Ahmed) on HBO's The Night Of is quickly becoming a nightmare by the end of Episode 2. To put it bluntly, s--- got real for Naz in Sunday's installment, which ended with him pleading not guilty to murder and other charges, being denied bail, and getting carted off to Rikers Island.
Leading up to that point, it's pretty clear — to both the audience and the district attorney (Jeannie Berlin) — that Detective Box (Bill Camp) doesn't believe Naz murdered Andrea, despite the overwhelming evidence against him. Still, he's not above recording Naz's conversations with his parents while inside his cell, and John Stone (John Turturro), Naz's lawyer, warns his client not to let his guard down around Box.
We also get a glimpse at Stone's home life, and learn that he is co-parenting a teenage son with his presumably ex-wife. Evidently their split was amicable, as she makes offhanded comments to John about his eczema and congratulates him on getting Naz's case one morning when she stops by to take their son to school.
We'll have to wait until next week to see how Naz is adjusting to life at Rikers, but in the meantime, here are five burning questions we're left with after Episode 2:
1. Why did Andrea's stepfather initially deny it was her? This week, we met the first of many creepy/suspicious tangential characters we'll come across over the next few episodes: Andrea's stepfather. We learn a couple interesting things about Andrea's background: her mother died the previous year of cancer; her father died several years ago; she's never had to work; and her stepfather apparently hasn't benefited from any of the money that her mother left behind when she died. When Box initially shows Andrea's stepfather pictures of her body, he denies that it's her right off the bat, before changing his mind about a minute later. Why did he lie?
2. Why is Det. Box being so nice to Naz? I posed this question last week, but Box becomes even more of a sycophant in Episode 2. What stuck out the most is him giving Naz his inhaler back. In addition to just seeming like a completely inappropriate move between cop and suspect, shouldn't the inhaler have been kept as evidence? Box found it at the crime scene, after all. How's he going to explain to the higher-ups how Naz magically got his inhaler back in prison?
Again, maybe this is all just part of a "Good Cop" act, but I'm not buying it. Stone points out at one point that Box is a really good cop, but one who tends to take things personally, so I suppose it's possible that he's just bristling at the racist comments being thrown around in relation to Naz and his parents, and is taking it upon himself to be an ally to them. (He does know a lot about Islam, after all.) But it just feels off. It's almost like Box wants Naz to be innocent, even when all signs are pointing to his guilt. Why does he care so much?
3. Did Naz witness a murder his first night in prison? Another "WTF" moment in this episode, which I doubt will come back into play, but I was left wondering whether the guy in Naz's cell actually killed the vomiting guy, or just gave him a brutal beating. Either way, it's not exactly a warm welcome for Naz to the big house.
4. Why does everyone hate John Stone so much? I get that Stone is the type of hack lawyer who advertises on the subway and doesn't exactly command respect, but some of the people we see in this episode (cops especially) appear to openly loathe him. (I'm still on the fence about whether Stone and Box hate each other or have a mutual respect, tinged with animosity.) Meanwhile, other people do have some sort of affection for Stone, like the judge at Naz's arraignment. Do Stone and Box have some shared history that we don't know about?
5. Did Naz do it? Again, the biggest question of all. After Episode 2, I'm still leaning towards "no," but if he didn't, then who did?
The Night Of airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.