The Prison Break
Episode 1 of The Longest Night begins in the middle of the night, with a man called Simon moving a body and dumping them into a grave. The poor woman is actually still alive, desperate to break free. Simon is nonchalant to the whole affair and begins shovelling dirt down on her.
This ominous opening paves way for us to jump forward in time. Simon, right in the midst of the Christmas season, learns from his contact that police officers are closing in on his location. After deleting all the files form his phone, he prepares to be caught by the armed guards. In fact, he comes out willingly with his hands up. Inside the house, Simon happens to have another dead body, complete with a slit throat, waiting for them.
On their way to the station, the officers learn that Simon is being transferred across to Baruca, a psychiatric hospital. They’re pretty surprised by this but a smug smile crosses Simon’s face. This is a man known colloquially on the news as “The Alligator.”
With the destination changed on the fly, the personnel at Baruca are certainly surprised by this turn of events. Simon needs to be in maximum security but for tonight, he’s with them in general population. This also means that the warden, Hugo, is forced to come in and process him. Unfortunately, a situation back home forces him to bring his two kids, Alicia and Guilla in as well.
With a number of personnel flanking him, a handcuffed Simon is taken into the “Green Block”. Simon smiles and tells Hugo knowingly that this is going to be a long night, unnerving the warden.
Unbeknownst to all of those inside, a whole blockade of black cars are en-route to their location. Now, this prison is full of secrets, including several inmates in the Red Block, led by Cherokee, digging themselves an escape route.
One of the prison guards, Bastos, decides to take his anger out of Cherokee, who was earlier buying time by slamming a basketball into the guard’s face. It’s a tense encounter, something that underlines just how volatile this whole situation is – and how quickly everything can go sideways. The doctor brings this news to Hugo and warns that Bastos is an animal and needs to be controlled.
Hugo’s troubles go from bad to worse though when he receives a video message from his other daughter, Laura. She’s crying and has been held captive. Hugo races up to find Simon, demanding to know what’s going on. “You’re out of time, Hugo.” He says coldly. The only solution here is to save Simon and stop these attackers from breaking in and taking him. If Hugo loses Simon, Laura will die.
Outside, the electrics are all completely shut off as the prison is plunged into darkness. The attackers show up at the front gates. With a radio in hand, Hugo communicates with the leader. They want Simon. If he hands him over, they’ll leave quietly. If not, then the prison is going to come under attack. Given Laura’s life is on the line, he doesn’t have much choice.
So the mission is simple – survive inside the prison until morning when the guards can show up and transfer Simon out. But that means we’re in store for a long, arduous night. Just to punctuate how arduous this entire situation is, three inmates are held up at gunpoint outside by the mercenaries. The man in charge (whom we later learn is called Lennon) kills all three, clearly not messing about.
With little other choice, the men prepare to break into the prison and get Simon out. As for Laura, she’s moved out on the road but she breaks free from her binds and manages to stop the driver, consequently flipping the car several times.
The Episode Review
The Longest Night gets off to a decent start here, with an action-packed and pulsating chapter to kick things into high gear. There’s an air of La Casa De Papel and Prison Break at play here, but there’s also a danger that this could lean too heavily into plot-heavy drama rather than stopping to get to know some of these characters properly.
We’re barely given a chance to breathe in this opening chapter, with the Warden, Simon and this mysterious group all introduced rather quickly and then thrust into this prison break situation. There’s certainly some promise with this one but whether Longest Night can fulfil that or not, remains to be seen. So far though, the series gets off to a pretty good start.