REVIEW: Strangers (S1 E6/8)

SPOILERS

Well. We are into the final run of Strangers now, and after finding out who killed Megan last week, all that was left to discover was the why. But this show is never direct in it’s intentions and whilst the pace certainly switched up a gear this week, for most of the time my reaction to the unfolding story and its various interactions resulted in me deciding to split this review into a short and long version for your ease of use.

Short Version.

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Long Version.

Just who is Jonah Mulray? If he’s the bereaved husband who a week ago was petrified of flying, he’s making a good job of not showing it. Sure, we get the occasional aside lazily written in where he accuses his fellow jilted husband David of not caring enough about their collective wife, but beyond that his increasingly obsessive quest to uncover the truth about Megan seems to be less and less about her and more about him. Instead of a more nuanced study of somebody seeking redemption from grief, we have seen him develop a quite unconvincing persona as a determined action man in the Liam Neeson mold. Armed with his instantaneously encyclopedic knowledge of Hong Kong’s layout and a thirst for vengeance, he barges from one scene to the next shaking down the local population like his nationality is some form of a protective shield, even when the very recent death of his wife says otherwise.

Meanwhile, everyone around him suffers the consequences. David is in jail for his involvement in Reza’s murder primarily because Jonah called the cops on him, when he was convinced for that one episode he was a Triad stooge because somebody had told him so with almost zero evidence (remember that? Oh yeah, it went absolutely nowhere). Jonah’s constant fumbling attempts at trying to grasp the complex idiosyncrasies of Hong Kong’s culture usually translate as him charging headlong into situations well out of his control, and so to this end, we saw him jailed alongside Chen at the tail of last week’s episode.

Cliffhangers on this show are weak misdirections as best, and so it would seem obvious this crime-fighting duo would be released to continue their investigation – and thanks to Kai Huang’s involvement in Megan’s murder, that is exactly what happens. Jonah’s first bright idea after his release is to try and get directly back into prison and interrogate Kai, but this whole plot-line is zipped up tight when Kai gets stabbed to death to prevent him talking to anybody. Like many plot-lines and characters in this show, Kai was written up to be something much larger in the story only to go nowhere and be inexplicably thrown away. Much like Reza, he got little opportunity to be anything but a cartoon-ish cipher for the plot to tick past before being duly dispatched, operating as whichever week’s villainous misdirection to elongate the already paper-thin plot.

Whilst Kai is selfishly getting killed, Jonah and David are escorted by limousine to a palatial hotel penthouse where they find Lau living her best life in a 1980s teenage comedy, watching TV and eating forty different types of cereal. She finally reveals to the pair about Megan’s secret bank account (anybody else disappointed to find out five million Hong Kong dollars amounts to only £250K sterling?), the provenance of which leads Jonah and David back to Megan’s day job as a real estate broker. I won’t bore you with the tedious half hour that ensues of Jonah bumbling from place to place like a constipated turtle, but suffice to say the money is the result of a fraudulent land deal – one which Megan orchestrated for Xo, who paid her off to keep quiet. When Jonah meets with husky badger Michael the assumption is her revealing this to Ben got them both killed.

Armed with this information, Jonah hurries over to Sally’s apartment to spill all his collective beans. Little does he know that Sally is this week’s designated villain, having been revealed as Becky’s handler who stole Lau’s cherished cuddly toy for her (I swear I’m not making this up) – presumably as proof she has David’s daughter for negotiations down the line. Jonah confronts Sally when he discovers Ben was her fiancee, and she feeds him a line about the situation which doesn’t do much to persuade him she isn’t as corrupt as everybody else he’s met on his extended holiday. Quite what Sally is up to with the greasy Arthur Bach is no doubt to be revealed soon, but the inference they are involved in this week’s cliffhanger when Megan’s secret flat is set on fire and Lau is actually kidnapped for real seems to be yet another misdirection.

Usually I’m quite timely with my reviews but the reason this one is late is I’ve begun to fall asleep during the show. It is so indeterminably lost in its own machinations that while it procrastinates over what character is making busy-work that week to fill the hour up, I’m slowly nodding off into my cocoa. You could easily watch the 60-second recap at the start of each episode and the last five minutes and genuinely not miss anything important. When a recycled comedy clip show on the other channel seems like a viable alternative to watching this drivel, you know it’s in trouble.

Andy D

FOR OUR EPISODE ONE REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE TWO REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE THREE REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE FOUR REVIEW CLICK HERE

FOR OUR EPISODE FIVE REVIEW CLICK HERE

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane says:

    And suddenly that lawyer/villain type showing up out of nowhere. I can’t recall seeing him in any other episode unless I missed it although I think he was leaving Meghan’s place of work in the background when Jonah and David go in to investigate? As for Jonah’s change of character I’ve decided it’s not going to frustrate me any more, I’ll just run with it 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andy D says:

      It was a definitely purposeful bump into him there wasn’t it? I certainly haven’t seen the chap before as far as I can recall, but I think it’s the same guy. I wish I had your patience around Jonah, I really do!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Chris Jenkins says:

    I liked your short version review, which I think says it all.

    Strangers has become so lethargic, repetitive and uninvolving, I find myself slipping into a coma before the first ad break.

    We all know how it’s going to end, it’s done nothing with its potentially interesting Hong Kong setting, Jonah Lewie (or whatever his name is) is a completely unsympathetic character, and we no longer care about the outcome.

    Jonah, please fly home, have a shave, get on with your life and leave us in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elizabeth Macpherson says:

    Well done for your long review. I gave up watching with the last episode. I tried so hard to keep watching because of my Life on Mars partner but to no avail. From, Feeling Sad

    Like

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