This is it: today is the day we find out what happened to Corrine Price on The Stranger, who was it that stole money from the football club, AND whether Louie the alpaca was collateral damage or not. I've dreamed of Louie, thanks Harlan Coben and Red Production Company! Let's roll on into S1:E1.7, The Stranger finale with Richard Armitage and Siobhan Finneran after the break. Warning: that's where allllll the spoilers of The Stranger be!
We open in a harrowing situation, DS Johanna Griffin (Siobhan Finneran) has been taken hostage by one of her own police officers who's gone past the point of no return. She's just found out that Patrick Katz (Paul Kaye) murdered her best friend while looking for a blackmailer called The Stranger (Hannah John-Kamen) and he has no plans to roll over and be arrested.
The police including Johanna's partner DC Wesley Ross (Kadiff Kirwan) are racing to his house, but Katz's estranged wife Leila (Kim Varantha) gets there first. They're estranged because she was poisoning their daughter over a long period of time. He doesn't answer, so she slips around the back, getting an eyeful of him holding a gun on his boss.
This is getting more complicated by the minute, mate, you may as well just call it a day.
Instead, he drags his wife inside by the hair as Johanna escapes out the front door.
(I know I bang on about this a lot, but what would you think if we told a compelling story without a lot of violence against women for emphasis? Throwing it out there)
He looks for Johanna on the street, almost finding her when Leila's frantic screaming draws him back to the house. He gets the keys to her car and drives off alone. Johanna jumps in with a neighbour.
Credits! This time I checked to make sure each and every symbol shown has been explained and here's what I've got:
- Business development model: must be because of Ed Price (Anthony Head) and his development of flats
- Corinne Price's (Dervla Kirwan) earring - found in the back seat of her car, was definitely wearing them when she disappeared (shown below)
- Creepy closeup of porcelain doll - representing The Stranger's mother, murdered by her father Martin Killane (Stephen Rea) and hidden in the walls of their home
- The woods, where young Dante Gunnarsson (Kai Alexander) was knocked unconscious and a large bonfire was held
- Football field markings? I think? I wonder if that has something to do with the accusation that Corinne had stolen money from the football club
- The Bridge where Corinne's phone was dumped - but did not jump from
- Poor Louie, the murdered alpaca. #JusticeForLouie
- And the bonfire! Where we first met everyone and everything took a sharp turn south
And there's your credits, deconstructed!
Ed Price's son, Adam Price (Richard Armitage), is our main man. He's been looking for The Stranger since she parachuted into his life and turned it upside down. She told him that his wife had faked a pregnancy and miscarriage two years ago, and even suggested his kids were perhaps not technically his. He asked his wife Corinne what the Sam Hill was going on, she declined to explain then disappeared completely.
Ed offered the assistance of private investigator Peter Ince (Yinka Awoni), who has already found TWO addresses for The Stranger, who we now know is Christine Killane. I think Imma still call her The Stranger, I feel like we're old pals now.
Wes and the cavalry finally arrive at Katz's house, where Johanna has things somewhat in hand. Katz took her phone with him and his gun, so maybe they can track him through her phone.
It's extremely fortunate for Katz that he has Johanna's phone, because Adam calls the phone to let Johanna know that he's found The Stranger. He informs Katz, and says he's on his way and will text the address. Things just got much more dangerous for The Stranger and Adam.
I'm not sure how to say this, because I have been really enjoying this show and find it an impossibly captivating watch. However. I am 100% over watching Adam reminisce about his perfect life with his perfect Corinne in flashbacks, multiple times an episode. All done. He does this on the way to The Stranger's apartment.
Adam gains entrance to the building via a lazy tenant, that's the only possible slowdown for Katz. Although, he does have a gun. Adam sneaks around carefully, to be knocked the eff oot by The Stranger's partner, Ingrid Prisby (Lily Loveless).
He wakes up restrained and chained to a table, both The Stranger and Ingrid are confused when he starts shouting about his wife. Why would Corinne be there?
The Stranger repeats what she's said before: secrets tear us apart, but there's more there. There's a giant board set up with all the details of their lives and all the other people she's been blackmailing. The Stranger asks Ingrid for a moment alone with Adam.
She tells of a difficult childhood, imagining her mother had run off to have another family and that it was because she wasn't good enough. When she got older, she found out that instead her dad murdered her mother. AND, for good measure she also found out that Martin wasn't her biological dad.
ADAM'S DAD ED. I MEAN. I called this EXACTLY in the last recap!! I knew they wouldn't have made such a big deal out of Ed living in the neighbourhood without it meaning something significant. And here we have it. I can't gloat any more, I shall do one more stately bow and carry on with the show.
Just as Adam and The Stranger realise the full import of their sibling connection, Katz bursts in holding a gun on Ingrid. He says nobody needs to get hurt then SHOOTS INGRID. I'd say that hurt, KATZ!
What is he doing, anyway?? Why is he even bothering?? Does he think he's going to get paid for this job while he's in jail??
Adam manages to get free from his chains and gets the jump on Katz, but Katz overpowers him and throws Adam to the floor. Katz shoots at Adam, The Stranger jumping in the way to save her brother at the very last second. She falls to the side, wounded; Adam slings his chain to disarm Katz and get the upper hand. He strangles Katz with the chain, just about killing him as The Stranger tries to stop the flow of blood from Ingrid's stomach.
The police burst in before Katz dies, Johanna reads him his rights in the most perfect way possible considering he just held a gun to her head less than an hour ago AND murdered her best friend.
Adam rides to the hospital with The Stranger and gives a statement as Johanna tries to get what she can out of his sister.
Erm, this is great, guys, but Corinne?
It's Adam's turn to talk to The Stranger, who hacked him and his life as she did with everyone as part of her mission to rid the world of secrets. She was hired to look into Corinne, then did some digging and realised...she was part of the family tree. So she told her brother what was up to save him, not even telling the person who hired her.
That person is....drum roll please.....Coach Bob Baime (Clinton Blake) whom I tapped as shirty last episode. Interesting, is that because of the missing football club funds? Adam wonders too, he's off to ask in person and hey: Katz's gun is missing and I'm pretty sure I know where it's going to show up.
Adam attacks Bob physically, who swears he was only looking into Corinne because he was told Corinne was looking into HIM. By?
Guess who's behind the football club money theft?
DOUG TRIPP (Shaun Dooley), aka Adam's best friend and I can't even brag anymore, I'm exhausted trying to hold this giant melon upright. It's like an orange on a toothpick, it's so crammed full of knowledge!
Adam's off to see Doug, he's here to kick ass and chew gum. And he's all out of bubblegum.
Doug tries to keep it light, but Adam's monologueing is hitting the sore spots.
Adam's not going any where until he gets some answers. When Doug stalls some more, Adam pulls out Katz's gun, which The Stranger gave him in the ambulance.
(This is one way you can tell this is an English show, there's a huge hullabaloo about someone having a gun, whereas in the US, I understand there are places where you can walk around a sandwich shop fully strapped and nobody says boo.)
Doug is terrified by the introduction of the gun, he promises to take Adam to Corinne.
Erg, that doesn't sound good.
The police have guessed that Adam has the gun, after his rogue attack on Bob Baime. They're looking for him, as Doug drives Adam towards a cottage in the woods.
I am starting to lose faith that Corinne is still alive, given how Doug is talking. It sounds more like how you'd talk about someone you accidentally killed; one of those corner of the coffee table jobbies.
Johanna is pursuing another line of inquiry, she's at Adam's sons' school asking his oldest, Thomas (Jacob Dudman) if he can still track his dad's phone. Yes he can!
They pull into a clearing that looks like...woods. Doug leads Adam deeper and deeper, confessing his guilt about the money, even laughing about it.
Adam is at a distinct disadvantage because he's basically a good guy. Doug has nothing to lose, nothing at all.
She's buried underneath them.
Adam is a broken man, devastated by his loss and no longer aware of anything but the need to find his wife.
He's in so much danger right now!
Aw man, and there she is. Buried in a shallow grave underneath their feet.
Doug explains. He was playing for time to pay back the money, but after he went after her and the fake pregnancy, she wasn't having it. Since he had no way to pay the money back anyway, he lost it and killed her. I have to wonder if it was perhaps more premeditated than that, someone missing can't defend themselves from allegation of wrongdoing.
Doug is still talking; does Adam know how hard that was, carrying that around in his head, knowing he had murdered Corinne but not able to say anything?
Sounds super tough, Doug.
Doug calls this THEIR secret now, now they both have to keep on living with this in their heads or he'll frame Adam for Corinne's murder.
Johanna is tracking them through the woods now, following the GPS to their location as Doug explains that police always will look at the spouse first. It's now that I understand all the flashbacks that Adam is having of Corinne. He sits there, devastated and holding onto his dead wife's head, remembering the love they shared, while Doug keeps banging on about mistakes already having been made, etc.
Doug gets as far as talking about "the boys" in a mocking tone before Adam shoots him several times in the chest at point blank range.
That was a Sev7n ending!! Johanna was close enough to hear the shots.
Now their boys will have lost everyone they love.
It's six months later and we're back on the football field. Ryan Price (Misha Handley) is playing while Tom, Adam, Ed and his other sons watch from the sidelines. Coach Bob is coaching and Dante Gunnarsson is taking video. Johanna Griffin even pops round, she's retired now and wanted to see how everyone's doing.
The boys are well but Adam's still a bit shaky.
*And oddly un-incarcerated.
We get some updates:
- Katz is about to be sentenced
- The Stranger absconded from the hospital and hasn't been seen since
- Ingrid Prisby died at the hospital
- Johanna is back together with her estranged husband Phillip (Don Gilet)
But as to why he's not in jail, it's because when Johanna came across that gruesome tableau in the woods, she rearranged the evidence to pin everything on Katz. She doesn't sleep well, but she can live with helping Adam not spend his life in prison.
Adam ponders the irony of The Stranger wanting to rid the world of secrets, only to end with those two holding the biggest one of all, but that's the nature of deception. It takes on a life of its own. He wishes he'd let Corrine keep her secret.
We're out with The Stranger watching her family on the football field, together, kinda.
No closure for Louie, but he is in my thoughts, the poor necky bastage.
Well. That was a rocket launch of a ride, wasn't it?? Harlan Coben has always been a master of pacing, I love seeing his earlier forays into television grow and gain depth. This was probably the best series of his that I've watched so far. The cast was tight and the bench was deep, the story impossibly complex but ultimately cohesive, engrossing from start to finish. I cant believe I'm done already, it feels like I just started it!
The death of Corinne snapped everything into focus at the end for me, I got caught up in the pacing, the fun of the chase and trying to guess plot twists at there she was, a lovely person by all accounts and now dead. That was sobering.
There were some plot stretches (The Stranger just happened to be investigating her own family?), but overall it was excellent. It's a complete reversal of most of Harlan Coben's stories, that have presumed dead people pop up alive.
Red Production Company and HC always have great scoring in their shows; I feel as though the cinematography was absolutely top notch as well.
Thanks so much for reading along, stick around and check out another show if you like! There are loads. How about Safe, also from Harland Coben and RPC? Or perhaps The Five? Last Tango in Halifax is back very shortly, I've recapped all the rest....
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