‘The Stranger’ 1×08 Review: “2:00 AM”

In seven episodes, Quibi’s The Stranger has freaked me out a great deal. Every. Single. Time. And yet, I wasn’t as freaked out as I was until the start of this eighth hour, which consisted of a dark tunnel and unknown noises.

As if this show couldn’t get any creepier, they had to go and stick Clare and JJ in a dark, quiet tunnel with no end in sight — knowing that Carl E was hot on their heels.

I audibly exhaled when JJ’s flashlight on his phone turned on and I could actually see what the hell was happening. Not as if that makes it any less creepy, to be honest.

In terms of action, this one of the tamer episodes — unless you count running into coyotes into the train tunnel. Seriously, why does Los Angeles have coyotes instead of, I don’t know, rats? I’ve never appreciated rats until this moment. Oh, and almost getting killed by a train. Yeah, that’s up there.

The fact that there wasn’t a whole lot of action added to the creepiness of it all. Because you knew that Carl E was right behind them — and hearing the sounds of gunshots and squealing coyotes made my heart race. It was only a matter of time before he caught up to them. But, as we know, he’s someone that likes to take his sick, sweet time.

Clare finds her dog Pebbles behind a wall — a secret passageway that Clare and JJ are forced to follow because Carl E is getting closer. Only, as they travel through it, they realize it’s a dead-end.

Until it isn’t.

Suddenly, we’re in the middle of an underground party, and there’s something oddly comforting about being surrounded by a shit ton of strangers. You’d think it would be easy to hide from a psychopath that’s hunting you down trying to kill you.

But Clare gets lost in the crowd — blaring music, chaotic lights — and across the room Carl E locks eyes with her. And, slowly, that creepy smile appears on his face, almost like he’s saying, “Gotcha.”

We have just five episodes remaining, and I can’t help but thing we’re coming closer to a breaking point. Where Carl E has backed Clare into a corner, and we can only wonder how the hell she’s going to get out of this.

Carl E is right about one thing — Clare has grown from this whole experience. She might be freaked out by the whole thing — that’s how a normal person responds — but she’s not someone that’s going to curl up into a ball when backed into a corner.

The Stranger airs new episodes weekdays on Quibi.

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