The Stranger is a satisfyingly intricate mystery, but what elevates it from the myriad of other mysteries about is its uniformly superb cast. The sixth episode opened with just Stephen Rea and Richard Armitage in a room. Adam sat quietly as Martin recounted the events leading to him killing his wife Natasha. I just sat on my desk staring at the screen; that was, and this is straight from my notes and my reaction in real time, phenomenal acting by Stephen Rea. Opposite him, Richard Armitage was a study of careful restraint. At this time, Adam still thought Martin had something to do with Corinne's disappearance. For all of The Stranger's clever twists and turns, it is at its best when its actors are framed as though on stage, speaking a multitude of tales with the slightest shifts in their faces.
Whilst young Thomas may prefer to think that his mother simply was away having an affair, the thought that something horrible happened to his wife had begun to settle on Adam. Previous episodes had included flashbacks of happier days of Adam and Corinne, along with occasional reminders of the time she faked a pregnancy and a miscarriage. As the gloom started to descend upon Adam, the flashbacks lessened, too.
Instead, The Stranger trusted that the audience recalled previous camera pans to the earrings Corinne liked to wear. Corinne's car was found on the road to the airport, with one earring on the backseat. The earrings were a gift from Adam; Corinne loved them and would not have taken them off. A single earring could be taken as a sign of struggle. After the earring was found in the car, for a few moments, the gravity of the situation crashed on Adam.
He told Johanna what he knew about Ingrid, but his suspicion remained with Martin. Corinne had been missing for six days. Adam finally told Ed what was happening because he needed Ed's help. Before he could elaborate, Adam received a call telling him that Martin had tried to commit suicide.
Adam was not permitted to even come close to Martin, but his visit to the hospital was not in vain. The Stranger was there, dressed in scrubs; the police had shut down the area where Martin was so she could not go near him in plain clothes. As Adam told Johanna, all this started with the Stranger. The episode ended with the Stranger realising that Adam had spotted and recognised her.
Katz was also starting to come undone. In his effort to stay on top of the investigation, he volunteered to review the CCTV footages of the parking lot where Heidi was accosted by the blackmailers. The footage proved too grainy to be of much help, and the lack of sleep was showing on Katz's persistent agitation.
Johanna, however, found another potential way to identify the blackmailers. She was convinced that Heidi's murder was connected to the blackmail, a belief that filled young Kimberly with guilt. Kimberly agreed to reach out to the three men she had been seeing, starting with the one who did not respond to her when she messaged him that she was ceasing her work. Johanna believed that one of the men could be related to the blackmailing case.
Johanna was right, though she did not have a chance to prove it. One of Kimberly's clients was Larry Powers, for whom Katz worked as head of security. Kimberly only knew him by his username. The police linked the username to investment frauds. Kimberly got Powers to agree to meet with her. Katz, however, sabotaged the plan by tackling another man and giving Powers the opportunity to get away before Kimberly could identify him.
Powers was on the verge of launching a new business, and was deeply concerned about the blackmailers. Katz had been trying to identify the blackmailers; it was what led him to Heidi. Katz's association with Powers was because of Olivia's mysterious illnesses; Katz wanted the money Powers promised from the project, Ethical Share. Because Johanna was furious at Katz's mounting number of errors (not including Corinne Price in the missing persons database, not logging in the key fob evidence, ruining the sting op), she sent him home.
Katz went to the house he used to share with his ex-wife and child to get his car and his gun. Unfortunately, young Thomas just happened to be with Olivia when Katz arrived. Thomas found the stack of medicines and rat poison in the garage before he hid in the car. Katz drove off with Thomas under the blanket in the back seat. Katz sensed someone was back there; he already had his gun out.
This is The Stranger's strongest episode so far, packed with one tense, breathtaking scene after another whilst never forgetting to sprinkle the littlest details that made this a such rich tale.
■ Stephen Rea was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Crying Game.
■ Even when I viewed this episode for the first time, I could not fail to notice how carefully the writers worded Martin's tale. The scene finished without the audience knowing what was the gender of Martin's child.
■ Katz planted Corinne's key fob in Heidi's café to confuse the investigation.
■ Daisy was aggressive when trying to get Olivia to admit that she was the one who told her that Mike uploaded naked photos online and claimed they were Ella's.
■ Alone with the much kinder Thomas, Olivia admitted that she did exactly what Daisy said. What was worse, she uploaded the photos and claimed they were Ella's. She did it because she liked Mike, and she saw Mike talking to Ella. It was as though Olivia had been alone too much and had suffered too often that it did not even occur to her that Ella was just a kid, 14 years old. Thomas seemed genuinely concerned for her.
■ When Thomas returned to see Olivia, he told her that his mother Corinne was worried about her. Their conversation was interrupted because Olivia thought her mother returned. In fact, it was her father.
■ Whilst reviewing the CCTV footages, Katz got Wes to agree that they go on shifts. This allowed Katz to review the footage of the blackmailers on his own before Wes saw them.
■ Katz continued to whisper in Wes's ears that Johanna was too close to the case. He even criticised how Johanna went to check Corinne's car with the prime suspect, her husband.
■ Johanna mentioned Ingrid's name which she got from Adam. Katz now had that information.
■ Mike continued to have flashbacks of the night of the bonfire.
■ Dante had woken up.