Why the Cat in "The Night Of" is the Show's Unsung Hero (SPOILERS)
*SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers for the finale of The Night Of.*
We've been collectively obsessed with HBO's The Night Of for the last eight weeks. When it came time for Sunday's finale, we weren't sure how the show was going to wrap everything up in just one more episode. Was Naz innocent or guilty? How would the jury find? Would Stone's eczema ever really go away? (The answers, as it turned out, were ¯_(ツ)_/¯, a 6-6 hung jury, and a resounding nope, in case you're interested).
But one character captivated us more than all the rest: The cat. You know, THE CAT. Andrea's cat, who Stone adopts after her murder. The cat everyone is allergic to and no one can help but love. In many ways, this cat has been our emotional through line while watching The Night Of — so much so in fact, that we'd go so far as to call it the show's unsung hero. Here's why:
1 - The cat is a victim too.
Sure, the show focuses on a lot of other victims (Andrea as the victim of a heinous crime, Naz as the victim of a broken criminal justice system, Stone as the victim of a debilitating skin condition) — but the cat is a victim, too. The cat suffered a traumatic loss. Not only did its pet mom, Andrea, die tragically young, it was immediately uprooted from the entire world it knew. First, it's taken to a shelter, then to live with Stone, then to a shelter again and then (thankfully, as we learned in the final moments of the finale) back with Stone yet again. The cat has been through a lot.
2 - But it’s persevered.
In spite of all it's suffered, the cat has stayed strong and done its best to adjust to its new home, owner and way of life. And it actually seems to be adjusting really well, all things considered.
3 - Literally everyone who matters is allergic to it, but it doesn’t give AF.
In fact, in some ways, everyone's allergies to it keep the cat safe. If Naz hadn't been allergic to it, the cat would have been inside during the murder and WHO KNOWS what would have happened to it then? If Stone hadn't been allergic to it, then caring for it wouldn't have been a ~whole thing~ and he may never have bonded with it enough to save it from the shelter not just once, but twice. The Night Of cat doesn't care that he makes you itch because making people itch has worked out pretty well for him so far.
4 - It represents our curiosity.
In a show that hinges on a mystery (and one that never really gets solved, at that), a cat carries a lot of symbolism with it. We're curious about what really happened the night of. Stone is curious what really happened the night of — so curious that he literally adopts the embodiment of curiosity. And, as it did with the proverbial cat, that curiosity almost kills him (not just because he puts himself in dicey situations investigating the crime; he also has an eczema attack while under the stress of preparing his closing argument that's so terrible it literally puts him in the hospital).
6 - The cat deals with isolation way better than Naz.
Naz had to change a lot to survive his stint in prison before and during his trial. He did some things that made us (and his counsel and parents) cringe and picked up some bad habits we really wish he hadn't. We know he had to do it and we try not to judge, but the cat from The Night Of survived his isolation like a champ. Of course, the stakes of sitting alone in a room in Stone's apartment playing with cat toys are way, way lower than what Naz dealt with at Rikers, so we'll call this one a tie in the end. BUT STILL, WAY TO GO CAT. Because we just really like showering the cat with praise.
7 - The cat was our emotional rock.
The Night Of was an emotional roller coaster. We got so invested in Naz and Stone and everyone else, and it was hard to watch them go through everything the show threw at them. The cat was our rock. It was our happy place. Every time we saw the cat, we got a little feeling of joy in our hearts, like everything would be okay. It was. Mostly. Kind of.
Thank you, The Night Of cat, for everything you've done for us and our favorite summer show the last two months. You are a true hero.