Episode three of I Am The Night, “Dark Flower” is all about chasing down Tamar Hodel. Is she still alive? Fauna seems to think so. If you’ve missed previous recaps of the show, you can check them out here. What I love about this episode is that it starts to get us inside of Dr. George Hodel’s head. There’s just a breath of a moment where we see him alone with his thoughts and it is enough to stir our curiosity. Is that what he wants though? Are we his next victim?
“Dark Flower” begins with a cold open of Dr. George Hodel’s many lavish parties. At first, it seems that Fauna is peaking through a hole in the wall and watching. The food is grand and the décor is lavish. Women are walking around in just their undergarments while the men talk amongst themselves. As the party progresses, it’s actually Tamar Hodel as a little girl that is watching the scene before her. George Hodel sees her and plays peek-a-boo with her while women begin to straddle the men around him. Obviously, this is really bad parenting.
There’s a lot of scenes that happen in this cold open but two stand out the most to me: Dr. George Hodel wearing some type of animal mask with copper bars at the top to look like antlers and a woman with black hair who is clearly involved with George. The woman could be a callout to Elizabeth Short. Her body was found in 1947 and that puts us at two years before Tamar Hodel made claims against her father that he sexually abused her. We love some good symbolism.
After the cold open, Fauna is harassed by the man that has been following her in the black Buick these past few episodes. He tries to pull her into a bar to buy her a drink and claims he can tell her everything. But she runs off. Back at Big Mamma’s place, Nero calls Fauna and tries to hit on her again. Only this time, the mysterious man is watching him at the payphone. As soon as Nero hangs up, it’s curtains for him. It is clear that this mysterious man has some weird affection for Fauna.
In “Dark Flower,”Jay is suffering from some type of drug-induced hangover (more than likely cocaine) when he is arrested by the LAPD. He is still having flashbacks from the war and sees a Korean soldier standing in his apartment. The soldier is bloodied and on the verge of death as he tries to attach his bayonet to his gun. There’s a darker history from Jay’s service and this vision alludes to that.
At the police station, Detective Cuddy interrogates Jay and calls him a failure. There’s an insult match between the two where Jay retaliates and says Cuddy is just a fearful man that hides behind a badge and power. There’s tension between the two but Jay doesn’t understand where it’s coming from. When Cuddy tells Jay that “the ex-wife” caught him following her and reported his plates, Jay begins to put the puzzle pieces together that the LAPD might be in the Hodels’ pockets. In the previous episode, Fauna’s grandmother was drying Fauna to an art exhibit of some sort and Jay was following close behind.
Detective Cuddy takes things to the extreme and tries to gauge Jay’s eye out with a pencil. If it’s just an intimidation tactic, we don’t know because Ohls comes to the rescue and gets Jay out of there.
In an intimate moment before Ohls grabs Jay, Detective Cuddy asks him why he would bail Jay out. Ohls knows he is going to potentially lose his position because of what he’s doing but he tells Cuddy of their time together during the Korean War. Ohls was injured and couldn’t move. He thought he was going to die. But Jay goes after some Korean soldiers and kills them with just a shovel. He saved Ohls and now Ohls will always look after him. Side note: The very fact that Jay killed a bunch of people with just his shovel means that he’s someone not to be messed with if the right buttons are pushed. Is this an important piece of information for future episodes?
While Jay is in custody, Fauna decides to go back to the Hodel House and search it. She believes her grandmother is hiding something from her and has a suspicion that Tamar is still alive. Fauna thinks she heard Tamar in the house when she was there in the previous episode.
Fauna creeps through the home and whispers Tamar’s name in hopes that she’ll come out. Each room is empty, and Fauna’s hope dwindles while her suspicion rises. She reaches a room where Dr. George Hodel keeps his mail and goes through it. She sifts through the trash and finds an empty envelope that was from Tamar Hodel. As she studies it, Fauna realizes that it was sent a week ago. This confirms her suspicion that Tamar is alive.
Fauna continues her search but finds pictures of Dr. George Hodel and a strange animal mask with copper rods mounted on the wall. It clicks for her that this is the man she met at the bus stop and saw at the art exhibit. Fauna realizes that he has been following her this whole time!
As she comes to this realization, the mysterious man, named Sepp, has entered the house and knows she is inside. At first, Fauna thinks it is George Hodel. But Sepp calls out to her and asks her to come out so he can tell her everything. In a tense moment, there’s the indication that she is actually going to confront him. But her grandmother cuts through the silence when she enters the home and asks who is inside – threatening to call the cops. Sepp goes down to try and reason with her and Fauna makes her escape while clutching the empty envelope in her hand.
Jay is outside of the Hodel House and sees Fauna make a run for it. He follows her in his car and asks her if she knows Tamar. Fauna takes off through the bushes and comes out on the other side of the street where Sepp intercepts her. Jay is one side and Sepp is on the other. Fauna must choose between the two.
In a last-minute decision, she gets in Jay’s car. Safe from Sepp for just a little longer. Jay invites her to have pie and talk. Fauna asks if he knows Tamar and Jay replies, “I’m on Tamar’s side.” It’s a vague answer but it quells Fauna’s fears for now. Jay tells Fauna he is a reporter and jokes about being a ghost. He is trying to get Fauna to tell him that she is Tamar’s daughter. “I’m nobody” is her response. Neither of them is bringing up George Hodel’s involvement. Or how creepy he is.
Fauna slips out of the back door of the pie place and leaves Jay back at square one. In a moment of defeat, Jay tries to reenlist in the military. He’s hit a low spot. A kid working the front counter won’t let him because of his age and it’s another blow to Jay’s ego. As he leaves, he sees a Crime Chasers magazine about the Black Dahlia. It’s a sign. The boy is back in town.
Icarus was the son of Daedalus in Greek Mythology. Daedalus was a craftsman that created the Labyrinth – an elaborate maze under the court of King Minos of Crete. The mythological beast the Minotaur, a half-man half-bull creature, lived in that Labyrinth. In Greek Mythology, Icarus is the one that flies too close to the Sun and melts the wax on his wings – causing him to tumble out of the sky and into the sea where he drowns.
Dr. George Hodel is comparing Sepp to Icarus because it is implied that George is teaching him his methods of murdering people. The Minotaur and Labyrinth part is important later so hang on to that piece of information.
Fauna returns to Big Mama’s house only to see her cousins in a state of mourning. Nero has been killed with his tongue cut out and tied in a knot. It’s clear that Fauna knows who is responsible and she can’t stay there anymore. Fauna confides in Terrance and asks him to take her away to keep her family safe.
Once at Terrance’s apartment, Fauna calls Jimmie Lee and demands to know what she knows. Jimmie threatens to come up to L.A. and get her, calling her a stupid child. I think we can agree that Fauna isn’t thinking by getting herself caught up in this. But she needs to know the story. And so do we.
I’m on the fence about Jimmie Lee’s response to Fauna in “Dark Flower.” On one hand, I believe she wants to protect Fauna. She reached out to Jay and got him to investigate again because of Fauna’s truth. On the other hand, I don’t like how she is treating Fauna. Faking her death and calling her a stupid girl isn’t exactly in the running for “Mother of the Year.”
In his car at some lot somewhere, Jay pulls out the Black Dahlia magazine and flips through it. The magazine contains crime scene photos that spur Jay into pulling out the ones he took of Janice Brewster in the first episode. It dawns on him that both Elizabeth Short and Janice mimic each other with where their bodies were cut. If George is responsible for Elizabeth’s death, then that means he is also responsible for Janice’s death. Dr. George Hodel is still killing women. We’ll have to look past “Dark Flower” to know.
Jay’s realization puts a deeper context and danger to the story. This episode ends with Dr. George Hodel hearing some type of animal noise in his home. As he goes through the labyrinth of hallways, he reaches a door and peeks through the bottom. Hooves of a creature are seen, and George’s eyes widen. Does this mean George is about to kill again?
Back to the Labyrinth and the Minotaur: George Hodel has an elaborate house with many rooms of various colors and themes. It mimics the Labyrinth in his own way. He believes himself to be above humanity. Is he trying to keep this symbolical Minotaur hidden? Is he the Minotaur being trapped so he won’t kill? “Dark Flower” ends.
TNT’s I Am The Night is a limited TV series with new episodes on Monday nights at 9/8c.
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