Review: Strangers (S1 E7/8)


For almost two months, Strangers has been waiting to get it’s groove back to the same level of tension and intrigue that it built up in it’s first episode; this week the penultimate chapter almost came close to achieving that. For the most part, we have the complete story now – but there are some pretty big obstacles to overcome before anybody might get closure – and judging by the way this series has hemorrhaged viewers, if there’s anybody left to care when it happens.

With Lau kidnapped by persons unknown at the end of the last episode, the hour was spent with David and Jonah frantically pinging from place to place in pursuit of her  – firstly to establish she was actually missing and then finding out where she was being held captive in pretty much record time. Whilst David understandably went into meltdown mode, Jonah again came across like Liam Neeson mixed with Mr Bean as he actively broke into hotel rooms with swiped key cards, coached an ex-cop on how to catfish his daughter’s lesbian lover and generally made me suspect he’s not a mild-mannered literature professor at all.

All of which was really just extra padding for the actual ‘twist’ of the show to sink in halfway through – and one which has been telegraphed for a while. The clunky revelation that Megan had been raped by Xo twenty years previous, with Lau as the byproduct of the crime, was grim enough – but the fact that Sally and Arthur had conspired to use her abuse to gain leverage against the budding politician was even more twisted.  For once, we got one great scene with all three leads in the same room actually doing some decent acting – Jonah apoplectic, David crestfallen, Sally repentant. Finally the human drama behind all this made for good television, and frustrated me even more when I thought how this show could have been electrifying in the right hands.

However, once again we have a female character used as catalyst with barely any agency afforded her – instead a means to actualise a narrative where men can run off and avenge her spirit. If left on the provision of plot from last week, her being greedy around a real estate blackmail would have been enough and vaguely real – but no, she has to be raped, and Lau be the product of rape – and then both be targeted for murder because of their survival from this rape – to crassly build up Xo as a villain in the final reel when any writer worth their salt could have been sowing that from page one of the script. It is lazy writing and time and again seems to slip the editorial net to end up flopping around the main channels. It stinks and it needs to change.

With Sally’s confession being replayed in flashback taking up some time, alongside some wasteful scenes with Arthur shouting at a technician to hurry up the DNA tests between Lau’s purloined rat toy and Xo’s stolen beer bottle (don’t ask), there wasn’t much time left over for a decent denouement and therefore the last ten minutes or so saw a very rushed rescue take place against the world’s worst hit-man before he actually did his job and plugged David. Is he dead? Do we care? We’ll find out next week – and in doing so also find out a little more about the poor caliber of this show if he disappoints me by daring to be alive. I can’t really fathom what this show has become, or how I’ve written so much about so little over the past weeks – but it started as something very different. What I can state clearly is the promise it had initially isn’t there anymore to the point where it isn’t even entertaining on a basic level – more a collection of scenes and places to be processed like a chore before the blessed release of the credits.

Andy D







5 thoughts on “Review: Strangers (S1 E7/8)”

  1. You should be rewarded for sticking with this – we all should. The most annoying aspect of this week’s episode? – ex-cop David, who must know all sorts of sleazy underground arms dealers, goes in search of his wife’s murderers armed only with a tyre-iron – and is then surprised when he gets shot. Jonah, meanwhile, who has spent most of the series blundering around in a T-shirt and a bemused expression, gets away unscathed. There’s no justice.

    Up until this episode I assumed that the great plot revelation would be some sort of underhand property deal, but as we’ve seen, it’s much more mundane than that.

    Nevertheless, the main baddie was the character we expected, and was telegraphed about four minutes into the first episode.

    About the only question remaining now is how deep Arthur is in the plot. And I don’t really care one way or another.

    Liked by 1 person

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