Feb 3, 2020

"The Stranger" (2020): One Naked Butt is Not Enough

"When a stranger makes a shocking claim about his wife, family man Adam Price becomes entangled in a mystery as he desperately searches for answers."

First, I hate the phrase "family man."  Why is it that reproducing makes a man noble, laudable, beyond reproach?  All he did was have sex.

Second, what difference does it make that it's a stranger?  Why is someone automatically sinister, just because you haven't met them?

Third, the title is The Stranger.  That's  been done to death: it's the title of 4 novels, about 20 films, a dozen tv series, and some songs and video games.  Granted, the original novel is also entitled The Stranger, but what does author Harlan Coben know? I never heard of him (the New York Times claims that he has written "dozens" of bestsellers).

I'm ready to resume my Netflix search, but Bob points out that one of the stars is the dreamy Jacob Dudman of The A-List (top photo).  Besides, we've finished the new seasons of Bojack Horseman, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Lost in Space, The Good Place, Dear White People, and Big Mouth, and we're running low on things to watch.

So, ok.

Scene 1: some teenagers conniving around a bonfire, savage like the Lost Boys in Peter Pan.

  Naked Boy (Kai Gunnarson) runs in terror through an alpaca farm.  Chest and butt shots. Wow!

Ok, you've got my attention.

Scene 2: Earlier that day, we see Adam the Perfect (Richard Armitage, left) living a Perfect with a capital P heterosexual fantasy life, throwing his job, house, wife, and kids in my face.

Job: lawyer.

Wife: Corinne the Good Wife (Dervla Kirwan), who works at a feminine-coded job as a teacher.

Kids: Tom the Horndog (Jacob Dudman) and Ryan (Mischa Handley), both wild about girls, cars, and football (soccer), everything sons are supposed to be, everything I wasn't as a kid, which caused my parents lots of grief.  I'm gritting my teeth.

In the midst of all this Perfection, the Stranger (Hannah John-Kamen) approaches Adam the Perfect and tells him that Corinne the Good Wife faked her 2017 pregnancy and miscarriage so they would stay together.  He does some research, and discovers that Corinne paid for a service that specializes in fake pregnancies.

Scene 3: Meanwhile, Tom the Horndog tries to talk his girlfriend into sex.  They are interrupted by their friend Comic Relief Mike (Brandon Fellows, seen here with his costar, Allie the Alpaca), who brings them to the bonfire.

Scene 4: I think I see some boys dancing together.  I know that Comic Relief Mike and Tom the Horndog hugged. Maybe Tom is bi?

Scene 5: The morning after the bonfire and the Stranger, Detective Griffin (Siobhan Finneran) discusses giving her husband the boot with her friend Heidi (Jennifer Saunders of the gay cult classic Absolutely Fabulous)

She then meets her partner, Ross (Kadiff Kirwan,left) to investigate the case of a decapitated alpaca in the town square, which leads them to an alpaca farm.

Sorry, I can't take my eyes off Kadiff's bulge.  His boyfriend's not bad, either.

Scene 6: Adam the Perfect comes in from jogging (of course he jogs) to find Comic Mike in his bathrobe, eating pancakes.  Nice hairy chest.  Did he, like, sleep with Tom the Horndog? last night?  Maybe Tom is bi?

Adam the Perfect visits his client, a retired cop who doesn't want to sell his house to an evil corporate redeveloper.  What does this have to do with anything, except to demonstrate that Adam is Practically Perfect in Every Way?

Scene 7:  Detectives Griffin and Ross find Naked Boy in the woods, still alive. Nice butt.

Scene 8: Corinne the Good Wife gets back from her conference.  Adam the Perfect confronts her about the fake pregnancy.  She refuses to explain.

Scene 9: Naked Boy is still unconscious, in the hospital.

Scene 10: Detective Griffin and Heidi the Absolutely Fabulous meet for coffee. What does this have to do with anything?

Scene 11: Corinne the Good Wife still refuses to explain.  But, ominously, she says "We all have secrets, Adam the Perfect.  Even you."

Scene 12: The detectives discover that Naked Boy is Dante Gunnarson (cool combination of Italian and Icelandic).  He's still unresponsive.  Plus the alpaca was bitten by a human (not Dante).  So the boy stumbled across an  Equus thing?  Who is the alpaca-biter?

Scene 13:  Big School Award Night, with all the parents there.  Miscellaneous parents talk about how "something happened last night."  Corinne the Good Wife gets the Good Teacher award, but she is AWOL.   Later she sends Adam the Perfect text: "We need some time apart.  Don't try to contact me." Gulp -- foul play?

Scene 14:  Tom the Horndog looks in his closet.  There's the alpaca head!  He seems to be upset, but not as upset as he would be if it was a surprise.  He must be the Equus alpaca-killer!

Scene 15:  Heidi the Absolutely Fabulous locks up her shop and leaves...to encounter the Stranger.

Well, maybe she just wanted to do some late-night shopping.

My verdict:  There might be some gay characters.  Not enough cute guys -- one bare butt isn't enough.  I had to scroll way down to find Joey Ansah (right), who I think plays the evil corporate shill trying to take over the old guy's house in an irrelevant subplot.

Unless old guy turns out to be the alpaca-biter.



  1. The alpaca head mystery is solved == in a very boring fashion -- in Episode 2, and so the Stranger's boringly mundane motivesare revealed. And what's with the naked selfie blackmai? Maybe 20 years ago, it would ruin your job chances, but not now. A little social media research will reveal that almost everybody under age 30 has posted nude or semi-nude photos..

  2. I finished "The Stranger." The Naked Boy plot had no connection to anything else, and the disappeared wife had no connection to the Stranger's boringly mundane motive. And no gay characters. Maybe the Stranger is a lesbian, but it's not clear. My grade: F---.

  3. I thought that the Stranger was transgender because she's a girl and her father keeps referring to her in childhood as "him," but I looked up the scene again, and they carefully avoid using any pronouns to describe the child. I don't know why.


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