Last episode of The Stranger placed us into new thriller territory. Carl E. took JJ hostage in the trunk of his car and Clare told her story to the police, allowing them to set up a bait situation to get Carl E.’s location. Now, Part 11 of The Stranger puts Clare on a mission to prove Carl E’s algorithm wrong.
Part 11: 5AM
The 10,000-man SWAT teams heads over to the abandoned meat factory where Carl E’s been chilling. Clare gets a moment to finally wash her face but she STILL MISSES A SPOT OF BLOOD SOMEHOW?!
The music box chime finally makes its return with a new message from Carl E:
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT A MUSLIM SEX DOLL?
Clare hesitates. Then the lights go off. She spends a moment in the dark before waving her hand to trigger the motion lights, which is a really fun fake-out moment. Clare returns to the phone, her finger shaking over the convenient question mark response on her keyboard app.
She sends it.
Immediately, a phone notification goes off in the bathroom stall behind her. The camera pans downward to reveal Carl E’s telltale shoes. And hey, we know this gag now. It’s def not him, but the camera’s focus on the exit door at the end of the hall and the score and Maika Monroe’s quiet fear really sell this scene.
Back at the meat factory, the SWAT team investigates. Carl E. rigged it with a remote device. The cops manage to bypass it and find a weird weapon.
The cop onsite gives the exposition we need:
“Captive bolt gun. They use it to stun the cattle before cutting their throats.”
Further into the factory, they find a room with a hooded figure tied to a chair.
Cut back to the police station, where Clare finds a beefy idiot cop to alert about the figure in the bathroom. Beefy Idiot Cop pages another barrage of officers to deal with the situation. They point guns at the stall door, demanding that Carl E come out in ten seconds, otherwise they will come in.
The shoes remain still.
In the hallway, Clare finds Pebbles, who barks madly just like she did when Clare first got into JJ’s car in Part 6. Beefy Idiot Cop demands that Clare “control her animal” but then the creepy music box tone goes off with Carl E’s answer to the riddle:
THEY BLOW THEMSELVES UP!
Cut back to the meat factory, where the officer spins the chair around and pulls the covered head off the figure wearing JJ’s shirt. Of course it’s a sex doll, which makes me wonder if Carl E’s got a storage locker somewhere with a bunch of them to use for future murders.
At the police station, Clare busts past Beefy Idiot Cop and makes her way to the bathroom right as the cops count down from ten. Things go all slow motion as Clare makes her way down. The police start firing into the bathroom stall, because of course they wouldn’t use their strength in numbers to properly bust down the door and restrain the individual properly.
And well, another captive bolt gun falls to the floor and JJ’s dead body falls out after it.
And yeah, we don’t need the sappy violin music or Clare’s devastated reaction to make us feel stuff. We all liked JJ and it’s sad to see him die like this. He was just a poor Millennial gas station dude trying to live in L.A. Trying to become a programmer. At least this way he won’t have to worry when Vlad does his next dumpster check and finds the other sex doll in there, right?
The Stranger: Part 11 Thoughts
I dunno. This episode checks off all the standard thriller element boxes. We get the build-up and the tension and the mystery and the ultimate twist reveal. My issue is that I just hate cops in movies and The Stranger Part 11 just makes it worse by having TOO MANY COPS.
And they’re all stupid cops too.
I’m sad about Gas Station dude because I barely got to know his name. I’m sad because his death is on police hands.
I do wonder how Carl E. managed to get him into the police station undetected but I guess a majority of the cops were on the meat factory part of the mission, and all the dunce cops stayed put to protect Clare, so yeah.
I also don’t understand the sex doll joke. First, nothing exploded. Second, JJ isn’t Muslim, as far as we know. The sex doll wasn’t Muslim, even though the camera took a long pan of its face for some reason. Like I dunno. Carl E’s little gags are B-grade at best, but I miss the guy who joked about Nancy Pelosi in Part 2, quite honestly.
Typically, deaths of this caliber don’t bug me, but I liked JJ a lot. Avan Jogia played him with bit of vulnerable charm in those first couple appearances. The character felt a bit wooden in later episodes, but Jogia played him really well the whole way through.
I will miss Gas Station dude, but to be honest, I miss Carl E. more.
Because once again, The Stranger Part 11 lacked Dane DeHaan.