TV Recap: I Am The Night – “Memento Quo Nunc Es”

I Am The Night
“Aloha” (Episode 105)
February 25, 2019

In Episode 4 of I Am The Night, major, major shit went down. By standing up to Jimmie Lee and striking a deal with Jay to get to Tamar in Hawaii, Fauna has (finally) decided to be an active participant in her own story. Sepp tried to kill Fauna and Jay skewered him for his troubles … with a wrench! Jay found an art gallery where the works were property of George Hodel and he was able to, in a spectacular piece of editing, musical composure, and acting, put together that George Hodel’s art matched crime scene photos from both Janis Brewster and Elizabeth Short, the infamous Black Dahlia murder.

Catch up on all the action From last weeks episode with our deep dive recap and review here! Now on to tonight’s all new episode of I Am The NightBEWARE OF SPOILERS!

Photo by: CLAY ENOS

It’s 1949 at the trial of George Hodel. A psychologist is on the stand being questioning by a lawyer talking about Tamar’s predilection to tell fantastical tales, her sex mania, and obsession with her father. Corinna in the courtroom, looking like a blonde Morticia Addams. The lawyer mentions that Tamar’s delusions include Dr. Hodel being the Black Dahlia killer and the jury laughs. Tamar (Kassidy Slaughter) is sitting in the courtroom cutting herself with a safety-pin. Her dress is polka-dotted with blood. As the safety pin sinks in, we see Tamar’s mouth make an almost sexual contortion as a splotch of blood drops on to her white shoes. While Hodel watches her intently.  No, nothing to be alarmed about here. 

Opening credits.  

The King Eddy Saloon. Jay arrives to the bar with a whiskey, a coffee, a beer, Lifesavers and his piece on Brody Styles (the guy who confessed to the Janis Brewster killing) for Peter. Jay is primed and frenzied to butter Peter up for a trip to Hawaii, like a twisted game show. Jay is frantic, speaking a mile a minute, telling Peter how things are coming together, that he found the daughter, Tamar Hodel. He seems almost high on a speed/hallucinogenic hybrid drug.

“It’s coalescing, it’s feeling a lot more like proof.” 

Side Note. OMG, the asshole from Episode 3 who called Jay, “Shellshock,” is back at the bar and Jay flips him off. The look on Jay’s face is priceless. I swear, the nuggets in this show are just gold.

Jay continues, he found Tamar and hypothesizes what if all the things she said at the trial were true; about her Dad being the Black Dahlia killer. Jay  remembers the cops always liked a guy with a medical background. Peter is skeptical, telling him it would have to be the A-bomb (of proof). Jay has an A-bomb card ready to play.

“You want the A-bomb? I’ll give you the A-bomb. I found Tamar Hodel’s daughter … Fauna Hodel, her name is Fauna Hodel … I found her … and the dates, the dates Peter, they work out…”

Peter is incredulous but he’s listening, finally. Peter is getting excited himself, he keeps repeating the daughter, the granddaughter, that could really be something … “without the boogeyman shit.” He doesn’t believe Jay, but he’s going to finance the Hawaii trip anyway. Jay promises Peter he won’t regret this. Peter reminds Jay that he has to come back with something and there are no per diems, this isn’t a vacation. Most importantly, Peter wants Jay to be safe.

“Remember where you are, remember Emperor Trajan … Emperor Trajan was betrayed by his own men, okay? Buried up to his neck in sand. His Counselor Verspasian said to him ‘memento quo nunc es.’ Remember where you are.”

Auntie Big Momma’s house. Fauna is packing up and headed towards the window when Jimmie Lee comes to the door asking if she’s ready to go catch the bus. Tina comes running in declaring, so mischievously, a white man is at the front door for Fauna. Jimmie Lee’s look is pure daggers. They converge in the living room. Jay basically ignores all the women except Fauna, telling her he got the tickets.

Just keep your eyes on Jay in this scene. I get the feeling Jay is not familiar with dealing with females, plural. He looks bewildered throughout the scene and his facial expressions range from borderline uncomfortable to fucking frightened.

Jimmie Lee grabs the tickets and rips them up; she is having none of this. This looks bad, she’s 16 and he’s … older. Things escalate quickly. Jimmie Lee screams, pointing at Fauna, “do you think I’m as dumb as she is?” Fauna screams back she’s looking for her real mother and the look on Jay’s face is priceless, like ooooh this is not going to go well.

Fauna demands the truth from Jimmie Lee. Jimmie Lee then grabs a knife and chases Jay out. Fauna runs to her room and slams the door. Jimmie Lee realizes it’s too quiet. She goes to Fauna’s room and it’s is empty. Jimmie Lee runs to the front door just in time to see Jay’s car (with Fauna in it) screaming down the street. 

Hawaii. Jay and Fauna are in a red convertible on a coastal road. Fauna is all lei’ed up. Keep it clean, kids. Jay is more honorable than that. Fauna is nervous about meeting Tamar; Jay tries to calm her nerves by telling her that Tamar will be thrilled to see her. They come upon a small town intersection of a catch-all post office, general store, and tourist stop. The clerk says she doesn’t know Tamar, but that she holds mail for all kinds of people in the back and offers them to have a look. Just one rule.

“Don’t take what isn’t yours, friend.”

Photo by: CLAY ENOS

Fauna is despairing they won’t find her as Jay brings back the “most expensive sunglasses in Hawaii.” Which is odd as it starts to rain and they put the convertible roof up. Jay tells her it’s an island, they’ll find her. Jay doesn’t think she’s hiding from Fauna. Fauna presses him for more information and Jay sticks to his line about the abortion clinic that Hodel ran, trying not to be obvious in not looking at her. He successfully changes the subject by trading sunglasses with her, giving her the aviators and taking her heart-shaped sunglasses. So disarming.  

Commercials. 

Jay and Fauna are sitting in a restaurant. He orders an Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea) and tells Fauna that he thinks she’ll like it. 

“Kinda bitter, kinda sweet.”
“Huh, like you.”
“Exactly like me.”

Some Navy dudes are drunk at the bar, with a pool table in between the bar and the dining room. Jay mentions to Fauna that he was last in Hawaii as he came back from Korea.

“They should’ve trained us how to come back, you know? They teach us how to fight and then bury us in the shit and … they never show you how to come back.”

Jay asks the waitress if she knows the people that Kiko holds mail for and where they might live. The waitress replies that there are people who live on a beach nearby. He’s in a vulnerable spot after the talk of the war so he excuses himself to go to the bathroom quickly. One of the drunk sailors puts on “Wooly Bully” and forces Fauna up to dance. She’s resisting him, but he’s not letting her go.

Jay comes back and separates them. Jay hugs the manhandling sailor and walks back to the table with Fauna, palming a pool ball as he passes. He sits down and starts taking off one shoe and one sock. Fauna is imploring him to leave and asks him what is he doing, see the shoe-sock thing. He shoves his shoe on and the pool ball in the sock. 

“I’m just making sure we don’t get in a fight.” 

The sailor, Anchors Aweigh, goes back for some more liquid courage and encouragement from his buddies. After stewing on his bruised honor, Anchors Away comes at Jay and Jay swings the pool ball laden sock like a catapult and bashes him in the face. What a fucking cool move, Jay. Anchor Away’s friends bro up and the waitress in all her Hawaiian badassery shuts them down telling them if they throw a stool she’ll stick it up their ass. I think she could. Jay and Fauna exit, quickly. All the while, Wooly Bully is playing in the background. Macabre, but hilarious. This show makes me laugh at the most inappropriate things. 

Motel. The room is a double bed and clearly Fauna is uncomfortable. Jay doesn’t enter the room and says he’ll sleep in the car.

“I like sleeping in cars.”

Commercials.

We come back to Jay having another dreamy hallucination. This one is with “Dedicated to the One I Love” by The Mamas and The Papas as the soundtrack. He’s in the bar from earlier. Except now, Sepp is the bartender and the soldiers are dead Koreans. The tune is kind of dreamy and floaty, kind of like his dream. Fauna wakes him up, getting in the car and telling him he was screaming. He’s all sweaty and stubbly-faced. She tells him God will forgive him for killing Sepp and it wasn’t his fault.

Jay decides to open up about what he did in the war. 

“Burning in the chariot of the sun-god. One thing I never expect … to enjoy it. You know the one thing I learned in Korea, good never wins and right and wrong … I could barely make out dead from alive. I talked to a dead guy for 10 minutes. He was frozen. How you supposed to make out right from wrong in a place like that? You pay a price, they own you. You take a life, and they come with you, they come with you forever. Like …  little … splinters in the heart.” 

Fauna attempts to bring him back to the here and now in her new callous way not caring about how killing Sepp made him feel. “I’m only her because of what you did.” She’s done a 180 from the timid girl we saw in the beginning. It’s refreshing.

Photo by: CLAY ENOS

Commercials. 

The next morning, Fauna is packing (note she still has Sepp’s chess piece) when Jay knocks on Fauna’s door. He asks her to remove his Billis-given stitches. I think this normal interaction with another human being is good for Jay. He needs more normal, less drugs, less Lily-like people. 

Photo by: CLAY ENOS

They’re driving along, looking for Tamar, and stop to look at the map (Jay is still rocking the heart-shaped sunglasses). They see two kids fighting and hear one of the kids say for “Fauna” to let a kite go. Fauna Prime calls out asking if the kid’s name is Fauna. They bolt and Jay and Fauna Prime follow. (See what i did there with the Star Trek reference, Chris Pine, Star Trek, no? Okay, moving on) They lead them to a house. A curly haired woman is in shadows and comes into the light and sees Fauna. Her look is curious, but hard. Fauna is so nervous. 

Mother and daughter are walking on the beach. Tamar (Jamie Anne Allman) says she only got to see her for a moment when she was born, but she never got to hold her. Tamar gets emotional and asks to hold Fauna now, taking her hand. I’d have expected a big embrace, but no, a hand hold.

Fauna asks to call her Mother, but Tamar responds that her children only call her by her name. They’re now walking hand in hand. Fauna starts asking about what happened, who was her father?  Tamar matter of factly says her father wasn’t negro but she wishes he had been. She wrenches her hand free from Fauna and they continue to walk. The sound washes out here, like someone talking to you when you’re underwater.  This is Fauna’s POV, her experience of no longer hearing what her mother is saying.  Fauna’s disillusionment is heart wrenching.

Tamar’s voice comes back clear as she’s telling Fauna that she put Negro on her birth certificate because Tamar wanted Fauna “to belong.” All the white people she knew were liars and black people had been so nice to her and fought for their civil rights. Tamar tells Fauna she got her name from a Robinson Jeffers poem (who routinely wrote about incest) and she’d used the name again because she thought she’d never see Fauna Prime again. 

Fauna presses Tamar to name her father. Tamar says she’s pushed away his memory because their understanding levels were so different, which sounds much more like 2019 than 1965. Tamar is getting angry at Fauna.

“Don’t do this. You’re ruining out perfect moment. It’s selfish, don’t do that.” 

Fauna asks why would Corinna tell her that Tamar was dead? Tamar responds that Corinna hated her for what Tamar said at the trial. Fauna had no idea. Tamar tells her about the trial: morals, improper acts, improper relations, and a psychologist declared her insane on the stand. Fauna asks what does that mean to which Tamar says George made love to her. Fauna is horrified and runs off.

Blech. In my head, I am reenacting the scene from Ace Ventura when Ace kisses Einhorn and has his Crying Game moment.

Commercials.

Fauna returns from the beach and finds Jay in the car. She’s maaaaaaddddd. Like steam coming out her ears mad. She curses him out for bringing her to Hawaii and not telling her what was really going on.  Jay needs to talk to Tamar before they can go. Fauna asks Jay if it’s true that George is her father? 

“Sometimes you catch a bad one, Fauna.”

He’s trying so hard to make her feel better, but Fauna is so angry and upset. Then the teenager returns. She hates Jay and storms off. 

Jay is on the phone with Peter. He wants to leave Fauna out because inclusion would ruin her. Peter is adamant that the girl be included but on the upside, this could be big news and a promotion for him AND Jay. Peter wants to make Jay his foreign correspondent, send him to Vietnam and report on what’s happening. But, Fauna needs to be in the story for that to happen.

Photo by: CLAY ENOS

I smell a rat in Peter’s conversation with Jay as he reports his findings back to the mainland. It’s so out of character; he’s peppy instead of his usual bourbon-fueled, Eeyore-like position. 

Jay finds Tamar that night at a campfire. She is talking about free love and men pushing boundaries. He responds that she knows something about that. He tells her he covered the Hodel trial and he believed her. Now, he needs Tamar’s help to stop George and she asks who? She laughs and says he hasn’t learned that “the universe protects George” … gangsters, movie people, they all use his clinics, not just the police.

Jay asks about the Black Dahlia. Tamar says they all know George did it.

She gets up to go back into her house and comes back with a box. There’s a crack of thunder. She said George makes these and sends them to her. “No one knows. If you own somebody, sometimes it turns out they own you.” She places the box on the ground and uncovers paintings. She walks away and the spiraling jazz and dissonant trombones from the art gallery in the last episode are back. Jay lays out 6 paintings of women, all signed by Hodel. He photographs them and says the women’s names aloud; they’re all paintings of murder victims. Jay’s got this crazed, obsessed look. He’s finally got something looking like real proof.

“It was you, George. It was you.”

Side Note: I think the paintings were wrapped in the polka dot dress that Tamar was wearing at the trial which is just another level of creepy, co-dependence between her and George.

Commercials.

LA. Jay phones Peter to tell him he’s back. Peter sounds weird, and distant. He wants to meet Jay but in their normal spot, he names a restaurant in Chinatown and he’s insistent for Jay to bring the girl. 

Photo by: CLAY ENOS

Jay and Fauna driving and see black men rioting; there are burning cars in the streets. This is probably the start of the infamous Watts Riots.  They get to the restaurant. Jay tells Fauna to wait in the car and he’ll be back in 10 minutes. He tells Fauna that he thinks George murdered the Black Dahlia. Is this collateral? Is it concern for Fauna? 

Lu Dong’s Restaurant. Jay goes into meet Peter. Peter is only interested in the girl, not interested in the Black Dahlia or Brewster or the findings from Hawaii. He’s talking about needing the girl because a blood test would hold up. Jay says he wants to Fauna out of it and Peter responds that you can’t, “they can’t.” Who is the “they” Peter?!?  Peter looks desperate and panicked. Jay asks if he’s got a rat in his soup? Peter goes into his own faraway story about being in among the liberation troops at Dachau as a cub reporter. 

“Evil is a live dog, brother. I always though … I always thought I’d recognize it, you know … I’m a good guy, but when it comes … it’s slippery. Real evil is tricky, Jay.”
“What are we talking about Peter, huh?”
“Just remember where you are.”

As Peter finishes this last line, Billis and his squad surround Jay, guns drawn. Billis taunts Jay to try and make a run for it.. Peter whispers he’s sorry. Jay is arrested and loaded into the back of a squad car. Fauna sees this all go down. 

Commercials.

Auntie Big Momma’s House. It’s oddly quiet. Fauna calls Jimmie Lee and says she’s sorry. Fauna tells her it was horrible. Footsteps are heard in Jimmie Lee’s kitchen. Fauna thanks her for caring for her all those years. Jimmie Lee is cooking a steak on the stove top. Fauna wants to come home and says it’ll be okay if she wants to call Fauna again. Jimmie Lee starts to cry as they reconcile, “you’re always going to be Jimmie Lee’s little girl.” But, when Fauna asks if she knew about the trial, Jimmie Lee turns on her as her bi-polar nature is wont to do. Jimmie Lee hangs up on Fauna and when she looks up, she find George Hodel standing in her kitchen.

“Hey Pretty Jimmie, what’s got you so blue?”

Jimmie Lee tries to play it cool, inviting him for some steak she’s making, but the terror is etched on her face. George picks up a knife and sharpens it as he waxes poetic on his nonsense. Then he locks the door.

Jimmie Lee slyly pours more oil into the frying pan. He’s mad that Fauna is running wild. His friend and protege is dead. “It’s confusing.” George is right behind her when there’s a pounding on the door. With George distracted, Jimmie Lee hurls the frying pan at him. He ducks and she takes off running, screaming for help. George catches her easily and stabs her in the back multiple times, accusing her of not making this very sporting. George flees as Jimmie Lee’s neighbor finds her bleeding out on the floor. 

The final scene is cutaways to our characters. Peter is drinking, looking like the traitorous bastard he is.Jay is in a jail cell. Fauna is sitting, forlorn, in Auntie Big Momma’s kitchen. George is driving, headed towards LA.

Which leads me back to: Memento quo nunc es. Remember where you are. We are in a very fucked up place right now.

And scene.

*** 

Thoughts.

Well, we found Tamar and she’s all the nutcase we expected her to be. Her appearance gave such depth to the backstory of the trial, the sordidness between her and George. And the paintings she has from George!

What The Actual Fuck?!?

Tamar’s reasons for her choices are nutty, but in keeping with what we heard the psychologist say on the stand about her mental state at the top of the episode, not much has changed. Her reaction to Fauna was not typically what we would expect from a mother after not seeing her child for 16 years. But, that’s more a reflection of how twisted these characters are. There’s a lot to be said for normalcy when juxtaposed against this tale. 

Now that Tamar has been unearthed, the only one left to learn more about is George. And coincidentally there’s only one episode left, so that’s convenient. What we did see of George this episode confirms he’s definitely capable of the nasty business he’s accused of (for proof, see what he did to Jimmie Lee) and that he’s capable of (apparent) sadness when he loses a friend (or, at least, a useful person). When George mentions the loss of his protege, that seems to make him more of a sociopath than a psychopath. 

Again, Chris Pine MAKES this show. He’s so compelling and his emotional range in this character swings from normal to charming to manic and to the depths of human despair. We saw all that in this episode from the conversations with Fauna, the dream scene in the car, Peter’s betrayal, and the fight scene in the Hawaiian bar with the sailors. The fight scene with the pool ball shows us he has more tricks up his sleeve and there’s still gas in the tank to propel us towards the final episode. Until, of course, he’s betrayed by that snake, Peter.  

Peter is a piece of shit. He was doofy and somewhat of train wreck up until now. His betrayal of Jay is just so devastating. And he’s sitting there saying evil is tricky. No, it’s not, Peter. You don’t sell people out, dammit! 

Fauna is struggling to process all she’s learned and is frustrated with everyone keeping things from her. Meeting Tamar was so built up in her mind and it was such an epic disaster, reinforcing the adage that the grass is not always greener. As we learned from Terrence in an earlier episode, if you go looking for trouble, you’ll find it. I assure you, there’s more trouble to be found for Fauna in next week’s episode. 

I like how this is coming together, the drama continues to ratchet up and never seems to plateau. We have an hour more to see how it unravels. Join me next week as we conclude I Am The Night! I’ll be live tweeting over on Twitter, follow me @SheilsMcGangsta. 

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