Hello again! What’s shaking, friends? Are you ready for another installment of Harlan Coben’s The Stranger showing on Netflix? ME TOO! We haven’t figured out how all of our circumstances are connected, but we’re starting to understand a little more of the big picture. Let’s roll into all the spoilers on The Stranger S1:E1.3 posthaste!
We open at a bowling alley at a bachelorette party because sometimes people don’t know that’s hilarious. Michaela (Ritu Arya) is getting married but The Stranger (Hannah John-Kamen) doesn’t look impressed and neither does her protege Ingrid (Lily Loveless).
The Stranger follows Michaela into the elevator, asking if she’d broken up with David Thorton when that video went online? Coz David didn’t post it, so…who did? Michaela’s fiance Marcus. He wanted to break her and David up, mission accomplished! Michaela wants to know why The Stranger is telling her this (ME TOO) because her protestation that she’s sharing truth and getting rid of secrets doesn’t ring true.
We left our main dude Adam Price (Richard Armitage) dealing with Bob Baime (Clinton Blake!!! I got a NAME!!) and Jason Yeong (Chike Chan ) of the football club, they need to see Adam’s wife Corinne (Dervla Kirwan) but so does Adam. She’s absconded, but he doesn’t think she ripped off the football club before she left and they do.
A little backstory: Adam was approached by The Stranger who told him Corinne had faked a pregnancy and miscarriage two years previous. When he asked Corinne about it, she refused to discuss it at all then disappeared.
We do know The Stranger has been offering similar information to some people for money, we don’t know why she didn’t ask Adam or Michaela for any dough. It may be that they are the cautionary tales of the blackmailing world, as in: pay up or I tell Adam and Michaela. We just don’t know!
Adam’s got support in the form of neighbour and great friend Doug Tripp (Shaun Dooley from Gentleman Jack!), Harlan Coben always writes great male friendships.
I also mistrust Doug because he seems like a lovely open book, which means he is really a dark horse into leather gear and uncomfortable apparatus. (That last part is pure supposition)
Adam sends the football clubbers away and heads in for a beer with Doug who would like to know the whole story. There’s not time for that, Doug gets a call from his son Mike (Brandon Fellows), who’s been picked up by the police.
Upstairs and completely unbeknownst to Adam, his son Tom (Jacob Dudman) and Daisy Hoy (Ella-Rae Smith) are workshopping their next moves. They were with Mike in the woods trying to dispose of the head of Louie the alpaca in a fake satanic ritual. Mike had killed poor Louie while off his arse on drugs at a party, decapitating him and possibly gnawing on his leg hard enough to draw blood and leave marks.
This is basically an anti-drug after-school special with great scoring.
Adam leaves another message for Corinne on her phone, this is reminding me so much of Harlan Coben’s series Safe with Michael C. Hall! Except Richard Armitage’s English accent is so much more…English. He wears a suit like nobody’s business, too.
Adam fills his boys in on what he knows, which isn’t much. I find myself looking at Tom and Ryan (Misha Handley) next to each other because The Stranger told Adam to get DNA tests on them. They don’t look anything alike, and neither like him either. Hm. Dad’s spagbowl for supper, woot!
One of the detectives investigating the death of Louie the alpaca is DS Johanna Griffin (Siobhan Finneran! From so many awesome shows, including Happy Valley, The Moorside, Unforgiven, she’s fab) who right now is trying to reach her best friend Heidi Doyle (Jennifer Saunders. JENNIFER SAUNDERS) who is indisposed because one of Johanna’s copper friends just shot her in the leg.
Heidi is being blackmailed by The Stranger regarding her daughter’s involvement in a SugarBaby website and had resolved to pay up. Before she could, she was approached by police officer Patrick / John Katz (Paul Kaye) who shot her when she didn’t cough up enough information about The Stranger and Ingrid.
That is almost certainly *not* police procedure.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that everything The Stranger holds over people is associated with deep internet diving. We’ve got a teenage girl with illegal pictures posted online, along the lines of Michaela’s video and at least computers are being hacked. Perhaps phones.
Does anyone know where Piers Morgan has been while all of this is going on??
Katz is creeping around Johanna’s work station asking about a vacation Johanna’s looking at taking with Heidi, but he does not know that part. When he sees a picture with Johanna, Heidi and her daughter Kimberley (Callie Cook), he about swallows his tongue.
You’d think a detective would notice the bright neon ‘SHITE!!!’ flashing on her colleague’s forehead, wouldn’t you?
Johanna’s off to interview young Mike, who’s entertaining himself with drugs flashbacks from the bonfire. Doug’s in with Mike for the interview and so is Johanna’s partner DC Wesley Ross (Kadiff Kirwan). Mike was found running out of the woods with the bloody plastic bag he’d been storing poor Louie’s head in.
It’s not just a blameless and cheery alpaca gone from the world, a young man Dante Gunnarsson (Kai Alexander) was found unconscious, naked and chock full of drugs in the woods not far from the alpaca farm, the detectives want to know what Mike knows.
He knows Dante’s a twat, there’s that. Dante likes to film people, hmmm, maybe he’s associated with all the cyber blackmail?
Doug closes the interview at that, we’re out for the night. Johanna calls Heidi to cancel as Katz listens, he’s really in trouble. Someone is going to find Heidi and he didn’t even have the grace to cover his face. What was he THINKING?
The next day, Adam has a lovely flashback of mornings with his wife, which brings me back to a question I had earlier. The Stranger said that Corinne had faked her pregnancy and now Adam could leave. Was he about to leave her when she faked her pregnancy, if she even did that? And if so, why?
Johanna and Wesley talk to Dante’s dad Erik Gunnarsson (Sam Redford) before inspecting Dante’s room. He has a tonne of pictures of Daisy, who is dating Tom for sure. Hm. It’s a little creepy. Even more creepy is all the videos he has of Corinne at home, at school and at football.
Daisy and Tom are at school when they find out that Mike’s been arrested, this leads to a very interesting conversation. It’s MIKE who posted the pictures of a young girl online and said they were of Daisy’s little sister Ella (India Brown) so Daisy spiked his drink at the party with PCP to get back at him.
Daisy’s mom Vicky Hoy (Jade Harrison) interrupts their conversation and they scatter.
When Adam confronted Corinne about the faked pregnancy, she gave him a name of a woman who was faking pregnancies all over the place: Suzanne Hope (Aretha Ayeh). Adam found the woman using the services of a retired police officer named Martin Killane (Stephen Rea!) but the meeting didn’t go well. Adam got beat up by Suzanne’s husband Stuart (Joey Ansah) for his trouble, but he’s back again in the daylight this time to see what he can find out.
He watches Stuart leave and fields a call from his dad Ed Price (Anthony Head). His dad and he are on opposite sides of a real estate deal, his dad owns the company trying to buy Adam’s client Martin Killane’s flat. Martin does not want to sell, not at any price but Ed is a developer with influence. It’s a battle.
One interesting thing that Ed says while baiting Adam is that Martin chose Adam as his lawyer specifically because he was Ed’s son. Adam didn’t even know his dad was in this deal until he went to a hearing.
He hangs up on his dad because he sees Suzanna leave her house and he follows. Suzanne is indeed suddenly 8 months pregnant, which she did not appear to be the previous evening. She meets with a group of woman in a coffee shop, just as Corinne said she met her.
Suzanne doesn’t remember Adam until he stares hard at her, she’s freaks out at first but agrees to talk. Adam wants to know why Suzanne’s husband reacted so violently when Corinne’s name was mentioned, Suzanne says it’s because Corinne encouraged her to leave her husband.
Ahhhhh, Suzanne’s been doing this for awhile, guess who blackmailed her for $5,000?? Okay, we don’t find out exactly, but I’ll bet you four Canadian Tire dollars that it’s The Stranger! Was Corinne investigating The Stranger?
Adam goes back to Martin Killane, who wants to know if he ever works? Killane found Suzanne, now Adam wants him to find Corinne.
The problem is that Corinne’s disappearance looks so typical; she is possibly being blackmailed, steals the football club money to pay it or go on the lam, etc etc. But she couldn’t have paid the blackmail, or The Stranger wouldn’t have spilled the beans to Adam.
All this brings up memories of Killane’s wife leaving and not coming back, I’m convinced she’s buried in the cellar with the rest of his kills, represented by a set of antique Dresden dolls.
*I *may* have trust issues.
Killane wants to know all about The Stranger, where did he meet her? Back we go to the football club, where a lucky break in the form of groundskeeper Max Bonner (Robert Ewens) tracking license plates gives him a fighting chance. Just costs him 150 quid, guv’nor! Max asks after Corinne and we squint at him.
What does he mean he likes Corrine?
Killane tracks the license plate number to an Ingrid Prisby (Lily Loveless) , the blonde woman with The Stranger. They find her working as an admin at an internet startup, but this is old information. Adam huffs.
Adam asks Killane if he knew about Adam’s dad being on the board, this is a trust building exercise. He says he didn’t and he still doesn’t want the housing offer. He raised his child here!
Which child? Have we met this child? Is it calling itself something like Ingrid or The Stranger?
Killane has an brainwave, what about hacking into the blackbox of the satnav of Ingrid’s rental car? Put on the kettle! Ingrid is in Brookfield Common something something intelligible across the city right now!
Still no answer from Heidi, how can nobody have checked on her by now? She owns a business, surely a worker would have come by to open up the Brown Sugar Cafe? Johanna calls Heidi’s husband Ian, but he’s in Paris and we know her daughter is in the city.
Sorry sorry, Adam races off to Brickfield Cottage, I’d murder for subtitles, yes I would! I mean, it was written on a sticky note, but it’s the principle of the thing.
Brickfield Cottage lovely and sunny with an open door and a scared young woman caught mid-workout. Oh! Sorry, that’s Michaela, she looks very different out of her bachelorette gear. She tells Adam what The Stranger told her, but no! It wasn’t for money.
In fact, The Stranger followed Michaela and explained her reasoning for exposing Michaela’s fiancé: The Stranger’s mother married the wrong man and it cost her life.
DID HER MUM MARRY MARTIN KILLANE AND THE STRANGER IS HIS ESTRANGED DAUGHTER TRYING TO RIGHT ALL THE WRONGS??? And also pick up some cash as a side hustle, no sorry, that doesn’t work yet.
Michaela isn’t listening, anyway. She thinks it’s flattering somehow that her fiancé leaked an intimate video of her with another man, he was determined to be with her! Awww. I don’t know who’s worse, Marcus or Michaela.
So it’s not stalking, deception and breach of trust: it’s ROMANTIC.
Does Adam’s wife love him that way?
He gets home to find her phone bill, let’s start calling some numbers, woooo!
Johanna goes to Heidi’s cafe, how can nobody else have noticed that she’s away and not opening in an unusual fashion?
Corinne’s sons Tom and Ryan have been texting her over and over without receiving a response, Ryan suggests they use the FindMyPhone feature she used on them.
Meanwhile, Adam does call the last number on the list on Corrine’s phone, guess who it is?
WHAT DID I TELL YOU???? I knew he was in this somehow!! The FindMyPhone finds Corinne two miles away, where’s that? In Tripp’s car?? CHECK THE TRUNK!!
Johanna gains entrance to the back of the bake shoppe, that’s where she finds Heidi murdered. Jaysus wept. What were you thinking, Katz!?
We end with Ed Price striding out of his office in a fetching tie and on the phone, to be followed by The Stranger without her Baseball Cap of Mystery. We’re oot.
Until next time! Cheers!