It’s the second-to-last episode, “Aloha” and things are finally building up to the story’s climax. No one can be trusted. We see just how much power Dr. George Hodel truly has over Fauna and Jay. They are not safe. Just when all of the pieces of the puzzle are put together, George Hodel ruins everything. This is the first episode that George Hodel has a lot of screen time on. Like a true predator, he’s been hanging around in the dark, waiting for his opportune moment to strike. He was setting up Jay and Fauna’s demise behind the scenes while they’ve been running around trying to find Tamar Hodel. Just like Jay and Fauna, we stopped paying attention to George until it was too late, in “Aloha.”
The opening of “Aloha” is of Dr. George Hodel’s trial in 1949. Tamar Hodel has accused him of an incestual relationship with her. It’s a perfect set up of how difficult it is to beat George. A psychiatrist claims Tamar is suffering from sort of dementia that is making her have delusions and a superiority complex over her stepmom, Corinna. Even though George Hodel’s morality is supposed to be questioned, Tamar is the one on trial. She is accused of having a mania for sex and the jury laughs when George’s lawyer mocks her for saying George is the Black Dahlia murder.
No one believes her and she is completely alone. While the trial continues, Tamar opens up a safety pin and stabs the skin between her thumb and index finger – causing blood to drip on her white oxfords. It’s implied that this is a habit. This trial implicates her as a liar and delusional, making her claims against George irrelevant. It’s but a taste of the power that George has over the people in his life. No one is safe – not even his own daughter.
This scene is based on the real-life trial of Dr. George Hodel. Tamar accused him of molesting her and three witnesses confirmed that he was having sex with his own daughter. However, he was acquitted of the sexual assault charges. This trial led to the LAPD bugging his home and wiretapping his phones. Although George wasn’t arrested for molesting Tamar, she helped in making him a suspect for the Black Dahlia case.
In “Aloha,” Jay finally gives his editor, Peter, the 500-word article clearing the original suspect arrested in Janice Brewster’s death before persuading Peter to give him two tickets to Hawaii. His pitching style is erratic and he promises the critical piece he needs for this story is in Hawaii. Peter reluctantly agrees but offers him a warning that foreshadows the end of the show.
Peter reminds Jay about what happened to Emperor Trajan. He was betrayed by his own men and buried up to his neck in sand. “Momento quo nunc es,” is what Peter tells Jay. Remember where you are. Jay believes the phrase is Peter’s fear that Jay will betray him. But it’s a veiled threat from Peter that Jay isn’t as safe as he thinks he is. Fauna is packing for her new adventure to Hawaii as Jay is invited into the house. Jimmie Lee understandably assumes that Jay is a child predator who is taking Fauna on a romantic trip. She rips up the plane tickets and chases Jay away with a knife. Fauna runs up to her room and sneaks out the window to Jay’s car.
Jimmie’s intensity with her treatment of Fauna has been way too extreme, especially in the first episode. She’s an alcoholic and calls Fauna a stupid girl every time she wants the truth. But, as we will find out later, Jimmie’s treatment is an attempt at protecting Fauna from George Hodel.
In Hawaii, Jay and Fauna find the place where Tamar gets mail but she isn’t there. Fauna is about to give up but Jay keeps her spirits high by sporting some serious red heart sunglasses. It seems he’s the only one who knows how to be there for a teenager. While Jay sleeps, he dreams that he’s at a bar in Hawaii with all of the men he has killed from Korea. Sepp is there as the bartender. Fauna wakes him up and says he’s been screaming in his sleep. We get a tender moment from Jay about the people he’s killed. He says they follow him forever – it’s punishing the heart for taking a soul. He believes himself to be guilty even though he was fighting to save his own life and Fauna’s life with Sepp. But Jay reveals why these killings haunt him: he enjoyed it.
“They never talked about how good it would feel,” admits Jay, “It’s like… riding in the chariot of the sun god.” Again with the Greek mythology references. Jay tells Fauna that he couldn’t tell the dead soldiers from those that were alive. “Good never wins,” is his bleak understanding of life. The separation between good and evil is as thin as tissue paper for him. But Fauna is having none of it. She tells him she’s alive because of his actions and that she doesn’t care how he feels.
Let’s unpack this. This short scene contains a lot of character development for Jay. It’s the most intimate moment from him this entire series. Jay and George are more similar than they realize. But Jay recognizes the immorality of killing another person. His victims haunt him. George enjoys the feeling and uses surrealist art to justify his killings. He separates himself from humanity and views himself as a god. Both Jay and George have killed. While Jay runs from the evil beast inside of him, George embraces his.
Next in “Aloha,” Fauna and Jay finally find Tamar. She has two kids and her young daughter is named Fauna as well. Tamar recognizes her long lost daughter and they walk along the beach basking in each other’s presence. But Fauna wants answers and Tamar is hesitant to give them. Tamar talks about her trial and realizes that Fauna doesn’t know what happened. Fauna asks about her father and if he was a black man but Tamar finally admits that her father isn’t black. In the beautiful beaches of Hawaii, Fauna learns her truth. Tamar tells her that George Hodel would make love to her. Fauna finally puts the puzzle pieces together and leaves Tamar at the beach.
Fauna’s identity crisis isn’t solved. She realizes she isn’t half-black, nor is she from a normal family. Fauna has been lied to by everyone she’s come in contact with during this journey. Even Jay. Just like Tamar at the beginning of “Aloha,” Fauna feels alone.
She asks Jay if it’s true and responds, “Sometimes, you catch a bad one Fauna.” He knows she’s received the short end of the stick based on events that are not her fault. He doesn’t sugarcoat the truth and tells her that death and evil are always around. Normal people don’t feel it until the end. But Jay and Fauna are not normal people.
“You got the bad news,” says Jay, “and you got to know it for the rest of your life.”
Jay goes back to Tamar later that night to talk to her about George. He told her that he covered her trial and that he still believes her. About George’s molestation of her and that he is the Black Dahlia killer. Tamar laughs about his support. “They all knew,” she says. She brings him a stack of things that George has sent her over the years and leaves. When Jay realizes what they are, it’s the smoking gun he needs to finally get George. The A-Bomb he promised Peter. They are paintings of the women he’s killed. Six victims, including Elizabeth Short and Janice Brewster. All of the paintings are signed by George Hodel. Jay takes pictures of the evidence.
Back in Los Angeles, Jay makes one final call to Peter about leaving Fauna out of the story. In “Aloha,” he’s getting back into his ethical journalism! Peter demands that he brings Fauna with him at a place in Chinatown. Jay leaves her in the car and meets Peter.
Peter asks where the girl is and Jay again tells him he wants to leave her out of it. “We can’t. They can’t!” shouts Peter. His eyes are red-rimmed and he is disheveled. Jay understands that something isn’t right. Peter recalls when he was a baby reporter when Dachau was liberated.
Dachau was the first concentration camp that was established by the Nazi’s. “It was so bad,” recalls Peter, “The smell, evil of it.” Peter tells Jay he thought that he would always be able to recognize evil. He’s fallen into the hands of George Hodel. The lines between good and evil blurred once more. Peter apologizes to Jay before reminding him, “remember where you are.” He has betrayed Jay to George Hodel. The men at the restaurant turn around and point guns at Jay. He is arrested and taken away by the LAPD. Peter has betrayed Jay.
Fauna sees this and stays in the car. Once she’s home, she calls Jimmie Lee and tells her that she loves her. Fauna even tells her she can call her Pat like before. They have a heartfelt moment and Fauna asks about the trial. All of a sudden, Jimmie changes her attitude and calls Fauna a stupid girl. She yells at her and tells her to stay in Hawaii before slamming the phone down. Fauna is distraught and it looks like she’s back at square one with her adoptive mother.
Except, Jimmie does this to protect Fauna because George Hodel is standing in the archway of her kitchen. They fake small talk and Jimmie offers him a steak. George is chiding Jimmie for losing Fauna. As he locks her door, Jimmie pours cooking oil into her skillet to throw on George in self-defense. Someone knocks on her door and she uses that opportunity to try and get away. She’s not fast enough and George stabs her three times in the back. George has Jay in custody and now he’s after Fauna. “Aloha” ends.
In “Aloha,” All of the work done to stop George has fallen through. It seems as if all hope is lost. There’s only one episode left of the series, so it will be interesting to see how this wraps up.
TNT’s I Am The Night aires its final episode on Monday, March 4, at 9/8c.
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