This article we’re breaking down The Stranger on Netflix.
The show has a lot to unpack from it and throughout this, we’ll be going through it’s overall plot and ending.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t had a chance to watch the show yet and don’t want to know what happens then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out let’s get into our breakdown of The Stranger.
The Stranger Recap
The Stranger is based on the 2015 book of the same name by Harlan Coben. Initially, the series opens on Adam Price, a football dad who is approached by the titular Stranger who has an allegation about the character’s wife, Corinne.
Early in their relationship, Adam wanted to leave her and he only stayed with Corinne because she said she was pregnant. The Stranger and her accomplice tell him that this was faked along with the miscarriage that followed not long after. It sets alarm bells ringing in his head and she carries a warning and that he may not even be the father of his two sons.
Adam unearths this and it slowly tears his marriage apart planting paranoia and distrust in the couple. However, Corinne says there is more to the story than meets the eye and after she disappears it sets Adam off on a quest to get to the bottom of it all.
A Tale Of Twists And Turns
It’s a brilliant way to open the show and it sets up the aesthetic that The Stranger has the ability to tear people’s lives in two.
Similar to the source material, this enigmatic figure seems to know all. The Stranger begins to torture everyone that she comes into contact with, blackmailing them and revealing hidden secrets that she somehow has acquired.
It all links together and though there are several Strands to the storyline that seem unconnected, they all interweave with one another making for a gripping narrative.
I’m gonna be breaking down the show in nonchronological order just to simplify everything as it gets complex with certain reveals.
The Main Players
The main players are the aforementioned Adam and Corinne, Adam’s client Martin, two detectives Johanna and Wes, Johanna’s friend Heidi and a group of high school pupils.
Jo finds a decapitated Alpaca which is linked to a boy named Dante that overdosed in the woods.
He secretly filmed Corinne before she went missing and he is a voyeur. We learn that Corinne stole money from the school football club and this becomes a big plot point in the finale.
I’m jumping ahead here but it’s revealed that one of the high school students was suspected of sending child pornography to the entire school. The victim’s sister believed this to be a boy named Mike Tripp and thus she spiked him with PCP and during this trip, excuse the pun, he decapitated the Alpaca.
Mike believes that he may have been responsible for Dante’s overdose but we discover it was someone else which I’ll get into later.
Heidi is blackmailed by the stranger and is told that if she doesn’t pay up her daughters only fans account will be put online.
This puts her on a path with a dangerous policeman named Detective John Katz who will do anything to cover up a secret. He murders Heidi and this came as a huge surprise, especially if you’ve been keeping up to date with how the show has been promoted.
Jennifer Saunders was doing the chat show circuit earlier this month and to see her taken out by a crooked cop was a huge turn up for the books.
It’s revealed that John is working for a rich businessman who met with Heidi’s daughter several times and became her sugar Daddy and John has been tasked with covering this up.
A Grounded Drama
Speaking of Policemen Through a retired one named Martin, Adam is helping retain his home against his father. Adam’s father used to live in the area and the two actually have a long standing grudge with one another that are revealed later in the show.
With the help of Martin, he tracks Corinne through a woman called Suzanne Hope who was also blackmailed by the mysterious figure at the center of it all.
What’s so great about the stranger is that most of it seem grounded and plausible.
Other than John and character I’ll get into in a bit, nothing is really over the top. There are not many twists that seem like they couldn’t happen. We exist in a world where we freely hand over private information on our own lives to social media and you can see how someone could easily build a database of blackmail material on someone.
There is also the theme of what you don’t know can’t hurt that I found arguably the most interesting aspect of the show.
The Stranger pretty much forces the information upon people at times and some would rather not know. It’s the classic notion that ignorance is bliss and I found myself putting myself in the characters shoes and wondering if I would want to know the truth if it would destroy all that I’d built.
Information is power and this show definitely exemplifies that.
Tracking The Stranger
It made me question if The Stranger was even the bad guy in all of this and whilst I did conclude that she was, a lot of the time she was only punishing people who deserved it.
She was catching a lot of people in a lie, however, I think in the case of Heidi that she went too far and was simply blackmailing them for the sake of it.
Adam tracks The Stranger by using the memory of an Autistic Man named Max. It’s the usual movie trope where autism is a super power but it helps to keep the plot moving. I always kinda find it when they do that as being quite lazy and here it kinda felt like a dud plot point.
Luckily they don’t dwell on it too long and the cat and mouse game with his wife also unearths his own affair with an old work colleague.
Shades Of Grey
Everything operates in shades of grey rather than black and white and Adam becomes a suspect in his wife’s disappearance. Her key fob was found at the crime scene of Heidi’s murder and John oversees the police interview.
It’s revealed that John has an extremely sick daughter named Olivia and her mother has munchausen by proxy and her been poisoning her. It’s really messed up and the high school group uncovers it after trying to confront the family over why Olivia told people Mike was behind the spreading of the explicit images that we talked about earlier.
It’s revealed she did it and though Mike was spiked he wasn’t complicit in the crime. It’s revealed that Daisy took his clothes and then Max came across Dante and chased him. His collapse is revealed to be an accident and Max just ended up leaving him.
As for Martin, after his house is signed up for demolition, it’s revealed that he murdered his wife and hid her body in his home and this is why he didn’t want to sell it.
Skeletons In The Closet
Like many characters, he’s been living a lie for many years. However, unlike the rest, because he kept it in his home, no one was able to use the information against him.
Everyone has skeletons in their closets, things that they hide and all that the Stranger is doing is pulling these to the surface.
It’s revealed that Martin and The Stranger have a connection with one another and there’s some irony in the fact that she unearthed secrets whilst he hid them.
It makes for a really compelling drama and as someone who was a bit meh from the first trailer, I really found it pulling me in. There’s just something distinctively British about the whole series and it manages to take the mundane and elevate it so that you’re hanging off every scene and performance.
That’s no easy feat but the cast to a great job of portraying real-life people stuck in the midst of their lives falling apart and it makes for a gripping watch.
The Stranger Explained
Slowly we learn about the Stranger and how she operates. She states early on in the season that her mother ended up with the wrong man and this has driven her. It’s why she exposes so many affairs, betrayals, and skeletons in people’s closets.
Through her accomplice Ingrid who owns a Detective Agency they are able to dig up dirt on people and use the information to blackmail people.
She pretty much has been keeping tabs on the majority of the characters in the show. Deep down she thinks she has high morals but really she’s just a thief.
The Stranger is actually revealed to be Martin’s child and this explains her keen detective skills. It also explains her motives, after her mother apparently left her she became distrustful of Martin and suspecting the lies, she uncovered the truth about how Martin killed her mother.
The Stranger learned that she wasn’t actually Martins daughter she discovered that they were incompatible for an operation and she actually turns out to be Adam’s half-sister due to Adam’s father having an affair with The Strangers Mother.
After the murder of Heidi, the two go into lockdown and try and get rid of all of the evidence.
The Stranger Netflix Ending
Adam ends up working with his father to find his wife and they realize that The Stranger has been in contact with both of them.
John uncovers the truth about Olivia’s illness and we find out that Corinne suspected the poisoning too. However, his connection to Heidi’s death is unearthed and this sends him against his former coworkers.
After Adam mistakingly contacts him instead of Jo they collide with The Stranger and her partner.
John is finally caught and arrested.
It’s here that the truth about The Strangers kinship is revealed and it’s a huge twist in the season that shows how tied together all of the events are.
She told Adam about Corinne because they were family and it’s revealed that she was hired by a coworker of Corinne to expose the truth. It’s revealed that she was actually set up by Mike’s dad Tripp so that he could get away with stealing the money.
Corinne knew he did this and thought that the pregnancy exposure was carried out by Tripp and this is why she fled.
Unlike The Stranger, Corinne kept the secret but ultimately Tripps fear of exposure pushed him over the edge and he murdered her.
Tripp takes Adam out to where he buried her and it’s a brutal last half hour for the season. I really didn’t see this turn coming and Tripp actually almost talks the character out of going to the police due to how the entire setup and story of the season looks.
Adam completely loses it and kills Tripp only to be found by Jo. she helps to frame John who is already going down for a crime and as it’s his gun it’s easy to tie him to it.
The Stranger Ending Explained
The season closes up with Adam being cleared of the crime and the characters all standing around watching the football.
All stand around seemingly looking happy but there is an undercurrent that they have once more been trapped in a lie.
The Stranger watches over them and her father and we wonder if it’s all going to blow open once more with even worse consequences.
The ending signifies that lies, no matter what, almost always affect people and lead to something negative.
The entire story of the show started off because of a secret being kept and because of this everything snowballed out of control and it once the lie was uncovered, it lead to more and more being unearthed.
It completely wrecked the families in the show and pretty much every character who ends up dead or damaged by the seasons close ends up like this because at one point they lied.
This motif paints out the idea that the lie at the end will come to the surface eventually. John will, of course, protest his innocence and even Jo seems unsure if he will be convicted. As we know he was in custody during Tripps Murder and forensics will likely be able to verify this.
Similar to Corinne, Adam is now living on borrowed time purely because the lie will eventually be brought to the surface in one way or another and this will also bring out the entire conspiracy which seems to be hidden.
Adams father never got his comeuppance and though I don’t think that the stranger will expose Adam, she will likely still go after her dad.
This could bring it all up and personally I really took the ending as them acknowledging that lies never have a positive outcome, even when we think they will. Jo helped Adam and though it seemed like her heart was in the right case, when discovered he will go to jail as will she.
The Stranger Review
It’s a bittersweet ending and personally I thought it was a brilliant way to end the show.
I really enjoyed the stranger and its tight storytelling provided a compelling watch throughout. I did feel that the high school student storyline didn’t really go anywhere, especially the alpaca bit and it would have been nice to have seen Mike’s reaction to his father’s murder.
I’m unsure if we will get a second season at the moment so I think these would have brought a lot of closure to the entire show.
Saying all that though, I had tonnes of fun with it and definitely recommend that you check it out this weekend.
The Stranger was great and it gets an…
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Stranger and what you took from the ending. Comment below and let me know!