Hopefully you enjoyed my first recap installment of Quibi’s The Stranger. Part 4 dropped yesterday and seems the Internet loves this show. Don’t have Quibi? They’re offering a 90-day free trial so go and catch up now! So let’s pick up where we left off and recap The Stranger!
Part 4: 10PM
Turns out the elevator never moved. Carl E. tries to choke Clare through the crack in the elevator doors. Somehow she reaches for the DOOR CLOSE button to fend him off, but this is clearly not how modern elevator doors work. Those safety features would have had Clare murdered in short order.
Luckily, this glitchy elevator gives Clare the chance to wrestle out of Carl E.’s chokehold. The doors close and she takes the elevator down to the parking garage.
I love that the passenger door of Clare’s car won’t open. Again, this show exposes some hardcore broke Millennial reality. She puts Pebbles in the backseat and drives down a block before a massive truck in a Latinx neighbourhood blocks her patch to escape.
The camera pans to a pupusa vendor watching Clare from the other side of the road. Clare gets out of the car and dials 911 but is put on hold. Again, another reality that we don’t often see on screen. (I had to call 911 back when I was having premature contractions while pregnant with my son last year and I was on hold for like 4 minutes, like WHAT IF I WAS GETTING AX MURDERED?!) Well, thanks to The Stranger, I know that finding refuge in a downtown church bathroom will buy me some time.
Clare leaves her dog in the car in the street. (GREAT, now I have to worry about the dog, Clare! I don’t even like dogs and I am now terrified.) It’s not entirely clear why she hides out in the bathroom, but her mom gives her a call and enthusiastically asks how she’s doing in L.A.
Clare starts to cry and confesses that there’s a man trying to kill her. Momma Dearest goes silent and Clare asks if she’s listening. Momma says that it probably wasn’t a good time for her to leave Kansas. Clare INSISTS that this isn’t like last time but her mom ain’t having it. She says that she’ll take some vacation time and come to help Clare settle in.
Gotta note that this whole conversation happens while a guy’s playing a Christian guitar solo in the background. The atmosphere in this show is so effin’ great.
Clare hangs up.
A door creaks open.
The tension music builds again, but it’s more foreboding.
The camera pans down to Carl E’s red sneakers at the bottom of the stall door.
It’s the BEST MOMENT YET, quite honestly. We get a nice close-up of Maika Monroe’s horror face as the silence builds. The tension is fantastic. I’m shaking. I’m losing it. This is always my favourite part of every horror movie. Then, BANG, Carl hits the stall door.
Clare gasps. She covers her mouth, tries not to cry like a lady.
The footsteps recede. The bathroom door creaks open.
Then the camera pans to the stall door, where the blade of a knife has been hammered through.
OH HECK YES. And yes, she opens the door and YES we know exactly what knife this is.
THE CORN KNIFE.
And there’s blood on the handle, dripping down the door. (Hopefully not dog blood. Please don’t let it be dog blood!)
The door creaks open and a trio of women come in. Clare quickly pries the knife out of the door (getting some of the blood on her face in the process) and leaves through the church while they’re all singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” in Spanish.
Back on the sidewalk, the night’s alive with some, ahem, ladies of the night, and their conversation provides some wonderful comic relief:
“That thing looks like Neema’s chocha on threading day.”
“Oh, Bambi, you’re so old.”
“You know what they call that line of hair between your titties? A vagina. Thank you.”
Then one of the ladies notices Clare.
“Neema, what’s up with that bitch? She’s got a knife!”
People start freaking out, Grand Theft Auto NPC-style. Clare runs back to her car while a commotion starts around the pupusa stand, where the vender’s now collapsed with a massive stab wound.
“It’s that white girl! She’s got a knife! Somebody stop her!”
But it’s okay, because the giant truck is gone now and Clare gets her chance to make a getaway.
Moments later, the creepy ringtone goes off. This time it’s a call from a private number, which Clare has no choice but to answer on speakerphone. Safe driving, right?
Carl E. torments her from an unknown location, which obviously can’t be that far away, but it looks like he’s on some mountaintop viewpoint even though he JUST murdered somebody on a side-street.
“Unlike the others, you grew a pair under extreme duress, and that was not predicted in my calculations,” he says, doing his best Pete Buttigieg impression.
“Others?” Clare asks, but then Carl E. mentions that she’s got blood on her face.
Clare asks him how the fuck he knows everything she’s doing and what she looks like, but then she glances at the phone she’s currently hoping up at the perfect angle. IT’S THE PHONE, she realizes.
And yeah, a dumbass dated “Smile, you’re on candid camera!” line is delivered, which is the first negative thing I have to say about this show so far. It’s just too cheesy, even for Carl E. He should have left it as “Here’s looking at you, Clare!”, which was nicely menacing on its own.
Another thing is that when Carl E. first mentions the blood, he’s holding the phone to his face, but then in the last shot, he’s got the phone on speaker and he’s watching Clare on video. The continuity is off and it irks me so.
The Stranger: Part 4 Theories
Totally called it on this fiasco potentially not being real.
Carl E. could still be real because he murdered somebody and outsiders noticed. The phone call that caps his episodes gives us got some new understanding. He’s hacked into her phone. He’s the predator and she’s the prey and this is a game that Clare must win.
She’s either got to shut her phone off or go back to Gas Station guy to figure out how to fix it. I just hope she saves the ringtone. Because again, I want it and need it. Somebody make this happen for me. Make my dreams come true.
The Stranger: Part 4 Thoughts
I cannot wait until midnight tonight. I’m stoked for Part 5. While this story would likely make a better long-form movie, I do love how it’s written into Quibi’s format in chapters formatted over hours of the night. I like having to digest what I’ve seen. I like having the time to speculate.
So what do you think? Are you enjoying The Stranger so far? Are you liking this format? Do you think Carl E. is real or is Clare an unreliable narrator?