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Quibi’s THE STRANGER Recap: Part 6

April 16, 2020 in Review
Maika Monroe as Clare in The Stranger.

Part 6 of The Stranger takes us halfway into this adventure, stripping away some of the intimacy that kicked this thing off and got us really pumped up. Yesterday’s episode teamed up Clare with Gas Station dude WHO STILL DOESN’T HAVE A NAME, FFS!

Part 6: 12PM

Clare leaves the gas station to peace the fuck out but Gas Station dude reminds her that the police likely have a record of her car. Clare takes Pebbles out and starts to walk. Then Gas Station dude pulls up beside her in his ridiculous 80’s car with his ridiculous rap music playing.

Guess he’s totally cool with losing his job on the off-chance that all this murder might turn Clare on. And well, that’s pretty much where he tries to take things. He asks Clare if there’s anyone else she knows in L.A. and then gets pretty smug about the fact that, YES, he is the only person Clare trusts right now.

From here on, things get really out of character.

For one, Gas Station dude’s supposed to be a programmer and yet he’s thinking about getting laid in a time when somebody’s hacked his phone, a “state of the art” security system and also managed to utilize Google Maps to virtually know Clare on an intimate personal level.

Two, Pebbles hates the fuck out of Gas Station dude and barks up a FIT. And okay, sure, dogs usually get snippy around new people, and I should have mentioned this in Part 3, but why wasn’t Pebbles losing it in the same manner when Carl E. was in Clare’s apartment? (I guess because Carl E. fed her, she got used to him, but what eventually set her off again?)

Anyway, Gas Station dude gives Clare a reusable Trader Joe’s bag to put the dog into, which magically works and shuts the tiny dog yapping sound effects for a while. Gas Station dude also turns off the obnoxiously loud rap music, WHICH MIGHT HAVE HELPED WITH THE DOG SITUATION IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Driving like a maniac to show off, Gas Station dude dulls down his technology speak to get Clare to understand how Carl E. was able to find her even while her phone was off. He then gives her his phone and tells her to take the SIM card out, but not before the creepy music box ringtone goes off.

“WaIt, hE cHaNgEd mY tExT tOnE?” Gas Station dude asks.

Clare plays the video message from Carl E., which is the only tidbit we get from Dane DeHaan this episode:

“Hey Boo Boo and BF. Left a gift,” he says, leaning into the screen. “It’s in the glove compartment.” He smiles smugly, leaving Clare and Gas Station dude to linger over this new reveal.

But not for long, because a police siren goes off. Gas Station dude pulls over and the officer walks up to the passenger side, asking Clare for ID. Gas Station dude asks if he should be showing his ID because he’s the driver, and then the officer gets real, like legit real-life real, asking Gas Station dude to get out of the car.

Gas Station dude is Indian. He’s got dark skin, so of course the officer goes way overboard, shoving Gas Station dude against the fence before choking him over the hood of the car.

“STOP RESISTING!” the officer yells.

Clare pulls out the “gift” from the glove compartment. It’s a gun, which she points at the officer. This is the third character shift, which I honestly don’t feel is entirely believable.

First, a Millennial white chick totally SHUT THIS OFFICER DOWN. She is direct in in fucking charge. The office puts his hands up and surrenders to her every order. He’s legit afraid. Second, Clare develops some magical authoritative balls, directing the officer to handcuff himself to his bike and to give her his walkie. He tells her that the gun is a real weapon and not a toy.

“My daddy was a hunter,” Clare says, changing her tone. “I’ve hunted since age 9 until I was a vegan (because yes, that matters, right?!?!?!!?). So fuck off and put your arms up.”

She then messages the police department and announces that she’s turning herself in. And honestly, it’s smart, but it’s not Clare. Maybe this is a part of her unreliable narrator self that popped up in Part 4? I don’t know.

The police give her directions to the nearest station but she doesn’t understand them (on a count of being from Kansas and all). The officer doesn’t help matters by giving her better directions, which Clare also doesn’t understand. The station gives her even better directions for a Saturday night.

Clare snaps and says she’ll figure it out, then gets back into the car. The camera switches to Gas Station dude in the passenger seat (the first time we’re not following Clare) and we hear two shots. A popular 70’s song scores the mood shift (it plays at my work but I don’t know the title). Clare says she shot out the motorcycle tires and we all totally believe that, right?

“I think I just peed my pants a little,” she says.

“I think I did too,” Gas Station dude says.

Then Clare tears off like The Stig on the Top Gear track toward the police station.

Part 6 Thoughts

I’ll straight up say it. This was the worst episode yet. We already got our comic relief in Part 5. I suppose this scene is supposed to shift Clare’s character from victim to Final Girl, but I don’t buy it. We still don’t have enough information about her backstory to really believe that this side of her persona exists.

Inconsistencies aside, I have questions.

Did Carl E. plant the knife at the gas station? The video made it seem as though he was outside the station, but how did he know that Clare would utilize it? Does his know the hunting part of her background? Did he expect her to make this bizarre character shift and turn herself in? She was scared of the cops before. Why the change?

I also don’t love this “buddy comedy” dynamic Clare and Gas Station dude. Gas Station dude is waaaaay too comfortable in this new role. He should be questioning things more, as he’s the one with all the tech knowledge and even he’s outsmarted here.

I also find Gag Station dude allowing Clare just just drive his car a bit unrealistic. the car is obviously an important possession to him. He would not just let a strange Final Girl drive it. The dog is also at his feet, so why isn’t it barking up a storm? Pebbles at this point is a major plot nightmare. So utterly useless and inconsistent. She doesn’t appear in of the trailer scenes we still have yet to see, so uh… we should probably still be worried about little Pebbles, methinks.

Anyway, that’s my recap of The Stranger, Part 6. Hopefully the next one will bring the real tension back into the fold because I’m getting restless for some horror again.

You can get Quibi for a free 90-day free trial until April 30th, 2020, so make sure you try it out. See you in episode 7!

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Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com.

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  • Jenny April 17, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    You summed up my thoughts for this episode perfectly. I can’t tell if we as the audience are suppose to not trust the gas station dude, or if the writing is just not good for him. I hope they start to connect some of the pieces of information about Clare in the upcoming episodes, why she moved, why her mom doesn’t trust her, the importance of her old username that Carl somehow knows…? I hope these things aren’t just a bunch of random coincidences.

    • Rebecca April 17, 2020 at 12:17 pm

      Oh dang, I forgot about that part! Thanks for the username reminder.

    I'm Rebecca Jones-Howe, a neo-noir writer and author of the short story collection, VILE MEN. My work has been featured in [PANK], Pulp Modern and Punchnel's, among other magazines. This site houses my writing profile and my blog, which features posts on writing, fashion, lifestyle + more. Want more?

    - RJH

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