The Stranger (Netflix)

I finished The Stranger the other day. It was good. Not excellent, but solidly good.

Season 1 focuses on several mysterious events and how everyone in the town is somehow connected to said mysterious events. First, we have a young boy named Dante who is found naked and near death in the woods after a silent rave. Second, an alpaca is found in the center of town without a head. Next, Adam (Richard Armitage) is approached by a stranger while at his son’s soccer practice. The stranger tells Adam that Corrine, his wife (Dervla Kirwan) faked her pregnancy. Adam confronts his wife about this. She says there is more to the story than he knows and leaves. She proceeds to disappear. Last but not least, Adam is working as a lawyer for Martin (Stephen Rea). Martin is being forcefully evicted from his run-down tenement so that Adam’s father can begin construction on a new development of luxury apartments. Turns out that Martin’s wife skipped town decades ago, with no word of her whereabouts since she left. Could her disappearance turn out to be something mysterious, and somehow connected to other happenings in town? You have to ask?

The acting is solid by all of the participants. The direction was also snappy. Aside from the first and last episodes, the middle episodes are about forty-five minutes each. Most Netflix serials seem to pad each episode to an hour, which leads to dead air most of the time. I was surprised at how the show makes a point of showing how multicultural and multiracial the folks in the suburban English town really are. Whenever I watch an “English” show or movie, it seems like the overwhelming majority of the characters are white.

I found the mysteries involving the adults to be more interesting than those involving the teenagers. They could have left out the plots involving Dante, the silent rave, and the decapitated alpaca and still had an interesting story to tell. For example, I would have appreciated more about DC Johanna Griffin (Siobhan Finneran) and her subordinate DC Wesley Ross (Kadiff Kirwan). I found it funny that Johanna constantly refers to Wesley as “the infant”, as if he’s helpless and useless. But it is he who helps find Dante and discovers the footage which leads to an unsolved murder.

I suspect that the book was (is) a popular read while on holiday. The story has a pulpy feel to it that would make it right at home while enjoying a drink at the beach.


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