Here we are, friends, at Part 12 of Quibi’s The Stranger! This is the penultimate episode, where crazy things should happen. It should be wild. It should be the best episode, but those honors still go to Part 2, sadly. Anyway, we pick up from the downer of Part 11, where the cops murdered JJ, otherwise known as gas station dude, in a bathroom stall.
Part 13: 6AM
Clare goes over the incident with the police chief. I respect that they made her visible minority and a woman but her super cliche police tone is annoying AF.
Woke-checkbox police chief apologies for JJ’s murder. Turns out Carl E. hacked into the mainframe and sneaked a drugged JJ inside while disguised as a police officer. Woke-checkbox police chief says Carl E. “turned off the security cameras to the bathroom hallway”, but then immediately shows Clare SECURITY FOOTAGE of Carl E. dragging JJ inside.
Clare confirms that the grinning police officer is, in fact, Carl E. Woke-checkbox police chief says they looked him up but couldn’t find him anywhere on the database.
“How did he know that you were working with us, that you were even here?”
Clare looks over a a perp getting checked with a metal detector. She pulls off her jacket. She strips off her sweater because she’s certain that there’s a tracking device on her. The officer FLIPS SHIT and shakes Clare, demanding that she calm down, which is kind of overkill, right? But it does the job. Like, I just can’t with this police brutality, guys. I can’t.
Woke-checkbox police chief assures Clare that what happened wasn’t her fault. Clare asks if she’s under arrest. She isn’t, so she takes Pebbles and her clothes.
“You’re never gonna catch him,” she says breathlessly and last wordsingly.
Woke-checkbox police chief just stands there like there’s nothing else to do for the rest of the day. Back to trying to solve the Black Dahlia murder, I guess?
Sad piano music builds as Clare stands at the train station. We know she’s going back to Kansas because a conveniently-timed station message tells us the train to Kansas is leaving.
The piano sadness builds, showing Clare standing on top of a hotel roof, staring at the L.A. skyline. She continues the walking tour to the ASPCA, where she gives Pebbles to the woman behind the desk. (Isn’t it 6AM? Do animal rescue centers open that early?) Violins chime in as Pebbles shows no motion in live-action Lion King-style while she’s being carried away.
The crescendo rises to the occasion as Clare ventures to the edge of a viaduct viewing platform over the Los Angeles River. She gets up onto the ledge and the camera pans over her to reveal the bare cement below.
And then the creepy chime goes off because we all expected it to, DIDN’T WE?!
Carl E. appears in a video call, sitting in the driver’s seat of a convertible, pulling off his best Barack Obama in a new tan coat. He lists off a selection of potential suicide options she might currently be taking.
“Meanwhile, I ride off into the sunset with my new Orbit drier’s permit. Wish me luck as I join the ridesharing community off to find my next test bunny!”
I love how informal he is. He plays it well and sounds just like unsuspecting MLM consultants do when they first join ItWorks! But we get one final surprise when Carl E. turns the phone to reveal a whimpering Pebbles in the passenger seat.
“She’ll love me in the end,” Carl E. says. “All the girls do. Or else I’ll just slit her throat.”
And honestly, I wish I could have seen him slit just one throat because he feels like an empty threat right now.
“Bye bye, Boo Boo,” he says. “Until we meet again.”
He ends the call.
Clare drops her phone and smiles.
The Stranger: Part 12 Thoughts
Clare obviously has a plan up her sleeve, but it’s obvious that we’re not getting a knife-wielding action-packed showdown between Clare and Carl E.
My issue right now with this show is the time it wasted on forced emotional moments. This show doesn’t have the time to devote to this much characterization. It only gets 10 minutes an episode. For that short of a time-span, I need my reptile brain stimulated and I’m sorry, but a murderer IN A BEIGE COAT isn’t gonna do it.