With Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine involved, there’s plenty of reason for optimism.
Synopsis: Fauna Hodel, a naïve young girl growing up outside of Reno, Nevada, embarks on a desperate quest to discover who she is. In Los Angeles, Jay Singletary, a former Marine turned hack reporter covers a gruesome murder. (Turner Broadcasting System)
Writer: Sam Sheridan
Director: Patty Jenkins
Running Time: 54mins
Airs: Mondays at 9pm on Bravo (Canada)/TNT (United States) starting on Monday, January 28th
The best way to describe this pilot episode of I Am The Night, conveniently titled “Pilot”, is a mediocre set up episode. Whether the subplots that it tried to set up are worth it remains to be seen but this episode did not do them any favors while leaving remotely nothing of substance, making it more on the dull side. While it may not seem like a good sign, there is still reason for hope.
Relying on plenty of bland, derivative, and predictable writing full of boring exposition, this episode introduced a pair of characters with troubled pasts, including a sleazy reporter named Jay Singletary (Chris Pine) and a young girl named Fauna Hodel (India Eisley). Each of their troubled pasts would clearly figure into the story somehow but each would start off on the wrong foot. There is obviously more to Singletary and Hodel, however, this episode did not inspire much confidence since as a whole, it was mostly on the dull side.
Singletary, a war veteran and a once promising young reporter in Los Angeles, was reduced to working for a third-rate publication in the mid 1960s after a certain story threatened to derail his career. At least so far, the character was a mess, however, that may change. Meanwhile, Hodel, the white daughter of a mixed race family, was a prototypical rowdy teen with a contentious relationship with her tough love black mother Jimmy Lee (Golden Brooks). She thought she belonged in her family but when she was faced with the truth about her upbringing, she would go on a journey to find out more. Based on this episode at least, there is a lot more there. Out of both characters so far, Hodel was the most interesting though there’s always a chance that this may change as all the pieces start to fit together (or not).
Despite the subpar material, the best part of the episode was its performances. What more can be said about Chris Pine? This man simply exudes charm and he took full advantage of it for his performance as Singletary. He may still be a work in progress character-wise but Pine was still somewhat compelling to watch. Eisley was strong as Hodel in scenes other than with Brooks’ Lee who acted circles around her, stealing scenes with her tenacious performance.
Overall, this was not the best start for what was a promising series on paper. This episode was a dull one that did not do its characters or its story any favors with a subpar script. It sets up without ever setting up. Despite everything else, what keeps it at least somewhat compelling to watch was its performances with the charming Chris Pine leading the way. Ultimately at the end of the day, this is a start. Considering all those involved, I Am the Night still has plenty of room for improvement.