‘The Stranger’ 1×05 Review: “11:00 PM”

The one thing I’ve grown more aware of since watching Quibi’s The Stranger is that we’re being watched. All of those cameras — on our laptops, our phones, security cameras — in the wrong hands can be dangerous as hell.

So it’s no wonder, that even as I type this review, that I find my eyes drifting to the cameras on my Mac, my desktop and my phone, fully convinced that some creep could be watching me right now. And it’s a terrifying feeling.

But, hey, that wouldn’t be the first time The Stranger has freaked me out in these first five hours, where I feel like this journey hasn’t even begun yet. With roughly five episodes to go, there’s so much story yet to be told — and one life and death decision to be made.

We pick up in the fifth hour exactly where we left off — Carly had just proved to Clare that he knows exactly where she is at all times, because of the technology of her phone. He’s been using her phone to track her, to watch her and to see her. So, naturally, Clare immediately powers down her phone. Which is better than I would’ve likely done — I’d have chucked the thing immediately out of the window. But that’s just me.

Clare drives to the only place she can think of — the gas station from earlier that night, where the attendant, JJ, is still working. Here’s the thing, Clare knows no one. She’s alone. But, clearly, she considers JJ to be a friendly face. An eccentric one, yes, but a familiar face nonetheless.

Naturally, Clare is paranoid. Especially when he suggests that she should write. How does he know she’s a writer? It’s not a psycho in disguise, it’s a logical guess. After all, they are in Los Angeles.

Clare came to this gas station for a reason — she remembered that JJ discussed something about programming technology. Naturally, she wants him to help her protect her phone from Carly. Clare tells JJ that she’s trying to track down the passenger from earlier — because he wants to kill her. And JJ’s face says it all.

After Clare deflects some cops that wander in for some coffee, Clare tells JJ the essentials. How this guy pulled a knife on her, how he used her kitchen knife to kill a girl and now people think she’s the murderer.

At first, JJ thinks she’s pranking him. Because, to be fair, it sounds like a crazy rambling. Only, we know Clare isn’t crazy. We’ve seen this whole thing play out. We know there’s a psychopath out there hunting her like game.

But JJ might be the first person that believes her — and he soon realizes that she’s not joking, when someone hacks into the security cameras at his house and at the gas station.

It’s Carly, and that means he knows where they are. Which means, he’s coming. Or already there.

Who the fuck is this guy?! Considering I’m a firm believer that this guy has had Clare figured out for awhile, how was Carly able to access the security cameras in JJ’s house — when Clare had just gone to see him?

But things have changed. No longer is Clare in this thing alone. Now, JJ is involved. Even if he didn’t have a choice. After all, he was the person Clare chose to confide in. And, I pray my hunch is wrong, but I think he could be a casualty in this whole thing.

The Stranger airs new episodes weekdays on Quibi.

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