What's gotten into Naz?
Now that he's officially on of Freddy's (Michael K. Williams) honchos at Rikers Island, Naz is enjoying all the benefits, and responsibilities, that come with that role - everything from getting McDonald's delivered to him by the guards, to having to act as a drug mule and swallow baggies of 8-balls plucked from the vagina of another inmate's mother. Ah, prison life.
But Naz is also becoming part of Freddy's crew in other ways, as he goes from being a scared kid to a hardened prisoner. Part of the transformation is physical, as he bulks up by doing pushups and getting boxing lessons from Freddy, and also shaves his head, and part is psychological, as we see him smoking in Freddy's cell and using his newfound swagger to control what programming is shown in the TV room. (Of course Naz is a fan of Ellen.) Oh, and there's also the matter of him beating the inmate who burned him last week nearly to death, but more on that later.
On a lighter note, this episode probably contained the most humor the show has allowed thus far, between the shady criminal whose name is actually Duane Reade and John Stone's (John Turturro) new feline roommate/BFF. It's a toss-up which dynamic is more enjoyable to watch - the one between Stone and his new professional partner, Chandra (Amara Karan), or the one between Stone and Andrea's orphaned cat.
But there's still a mystery to solve! Here are the eight burning questions we're left with after Episode 5:
1. Did Naz do it? Let's start with the big one this week. Sunday's episode was the first time we've seen that Naz is capable of violence, especially when provoked - and extreme violence at that - even when the victim is lying naked and helpless in front of him. Freddy does Naz a favor, I guess, by corralling the inmate who tossed burning liquid at him last week into the shower so that Naz could get his revenge. But while we initially think that Naz is going to be content with one (kind of half-assed, to be honest) kick to the ribs, as soon as the dude taunts him, Naz goes all in, kicking him repeatedly and finally using his fists to pummel his face to a bloody pulp. It's Freddy who has to pull Naz off before he kills him, and Freddy who marvels at the fact that Naz sleeps as content as a baby that night, despite sending his onetime friend to the ICU. So, let's assume Andrea taunted Naz about something - perhaps his inhaler, perhaps his sexual performance, who knows? Could he have killed her? Maybe.
2. Why is Trevor (J.D. Williams) lying to the police? And the award for Most Shady Character in this week's episode goes to Trevor! First, as he's being prepped for the witness stand by the DA, Trevor refuses to tell her where he was going when he saw Andrea and Naz go into her apartment. Then, Stone catches him in a lie when he reviews Trevor's police interview and notes that he told the cops he was walking alone. What's he hiding?
3. Is Box (Bill Camp) hiding something? It might just be the fact that I'm in full Conspiracy Theorist mode when watching The Night Of, but something struck me as odd about Box's conversation with Helen (Jeannie Berlin) about his impending retirement. Maybe it would explain his "throw caution to the wind" approach in removing Naz's inhaler from the crime scene, but also, isn't it odd to hand in his papers in the middle of a headline-making murder case?
4. Does Andrea's drug dealer have something to do with the crime? We know at this point that Andrea was involved with drugs, and apparently owed some people money, despite being pretty set for money. (My hunch is her creepy stepfather is going to come into play via the drug angle.) Her drug dealer gets visibly nervous when Stone questions him. Is it just paranoia that he could get arrested for drugs, or does he have other information that he's withholding?
5. Does the video footage of Andrea getting in the cab really prove intent? I'm not a lawyer, but Helen's insistence that the video footage showing Naz kicking two guys out of his cab before Andrea gets in proves that he was "lying in wait" for her seems, at best, a stretch. But if she's right, that could very well be the nail in the coffin for him in court.
6. Why did Naz lie about taking Adderall? I guess it fits with Naz's image as the opposite of a criminal mastermind, but I'm scratching my head as to why he would lie about taking Adderall, knowing that it would inevitably show up in his toxicology report. Maybe a better question is, did he even lie? When Stone confronts him about it, Naz is completely distracted, preparing for the four baggies of drugs he's about to swallow, and basically just smiles and nods at everything Stone is saying. Plus, we never saw him take the Adderall before he left for the evening. If he says he only used it to help him study, why would he take it before heading out to a party?
7. Did Duane Reade kill Andrea? Reade hightailed it as soon as Stone confronted him - and he and Trevor are two of, if not the only people who knew Andrea was in her apartment with Naz that night. But if he did, what was his motivation?
8. Is Naz's inhaler the key to all of this? Here's my crazy theory: Amphetamines showed up in Naz's blood, and he admits taking Adderall, but what if he ingested another substance - say, through his inhaler? We saw him puff it almost as soon as he got to Andrea's apartment. And now that it's back in his possession at prison (thanks, Box), he's certainly acting like someone on speed, between the intense workouts and that shower beating...
What are you left wondering about after this week's episode? Sound off in the comments!
The Night Of airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.