9 big questions we have after the opening episode of John Simm’s ITV thriller Strangers

Episode one is packed full of major revelations and unanswered questions

John Simm as Jonah in Strangers

The first episode of Strangers has certainly caught our attention. Each scene opens up more mysteries about the strange death of Megan Harris (Dervla Kirwan) as her husband Jonah Mulray (John Simm) navigates the bewildering city of Hong Kong in search of answers.

Advertisement

As Jonah looks for his answers, here are the questions we’re asking at the end of episode one…


1. Who killed Megan – and why?

Dervla Kirwan, Strangers (ITV, EH)

“I’ve got myself into something,” Megan says to Jonah’s voicemail, with tears streaming down her cheeks. “The way things are I’m not sure I’m going to see you again. I wish things had been different, that we could have had more time, that you came here, that you could have seen how beautiful it is.”

Seconds later, a construction worker directs her to reverse on a winding mountain road and – BAM! – a massive truck smashes into her at full speed and sends her car tumbling down the mountainside. Suspicious timing! From the very first scene, Megan’s death does NOT look like an accident.

But did Megan see her death coming? Where was she going? Who arranged for her to die? And why did they kill her? Those are the big, enduring questions of the series.

But we also have lots of other really important questions, including…

2. Why doesn’t Jonah charge his phone?

John Simm finally gets a phone charger in Strangers

Seriously, Jonah. It’s 2018. Even the police officer who drags Professor Jonah Moray out of his lecture theatre to tell him that his wife has died (quite insensitively) scolds him for not being reachable by mobile.

The bereaved man’s phone is clearly already out of battery. But then he forgets to charge it, and by the time he leaves for the airport he still hasn’t turned the thing on, and of course he’s forgotten to pack his charger. So he staggers through Hong Kong without a working mobile for a really long time until he manages to buy a battery pack and – at long last! – listen to Megan’s last moments as recorded on voicemail.

This is a man who never visited his wife in Hong Kong because he “doesn’t trust planes” (though he survives this first plane journey with just a handful of valium), so perhaps we should have expected him not to be very tech savvy. But still.

3. Why did Megan have two husbands?

Anthony Wong and John Simm in Strangers

You know that awkward moment when you find out that your wife of three years has been married to a man in Hong Kong for 20 years?

After hearing that Megan has died, Jonah has his second big shock when he finds out that his “wife” was actually married to David Chen (Anthony Wong). She shuttled between England and Hong Kong every few weeks, spending half the year in each and keeping separate mobiles for her separate lives.

David only found out about Jonah a few months before Megan’s death, but Jonah never knew about David – until now.

So what’s going on? Did she love Jonah, but stay with David because of their daughter Lau? Or did she love David, and build a relationship with Jonah in England for some other reason? And how does this all wrap up with the reasons for her death and the “something” she’d got herself into?

4. Who robs Jonah’s hotel room – and why?

Jonah's passport is stolen in Strangers

“This whole trip is turning into a nightmare,” Jonah tells his contact at the consulate, Sally Porter (Emilia Fox), after having his laptop and passport stolen and his face punched. Although you’d think that any trip which involves identifying your wife’s dead body would be a nightmare to start with…

So who was the man who gave Jonah’s name at the hotel, grabbed his laptop and mobile, and then gave his victim a black eye as he fled? We do meet him – a big bearded man who Jonah identifies as Indian or Pakistani – but it’s not clear who he’s working for. He meets a man to hand over the passport in exchange for money, which he hopes to use to travel on to England, but where does he slot into the wider story?

5. How did this man also get Megan’s credit card?

A policeman identifies this thief as having used Megan’s credit card in a shop a few days before he robbed Jonah. We also see him melting that same credit card on a bonfire at a building site. There’s clearly a connection – but how do these two things tie together?

6. What are the police hiding?

Policeman Felix Chong in Strangers

There’s definitely some funny business going on with the Hong Kong police, who don’t seem at all keen on investigating this case.

First up, Detective Felix Chong (Thomas Chaanhing) won’t tell Jonah why another man in the police station is being interrogated about Megan (the man turns out to be David Chen, the other husband). The police also emphasise that this was an accident, and that Megan would have died on impact, and that’s that.

Felix is then reluctant to admit that the robbery of Jonah’s hotel room must be relevant, dismissing it as everyday crime. Another police boss sees a printout showing the same thief stealing Megan’s credit card, and promises to deal with it before crumpling the paper and tossing it aside.

Seems like the Hong Kong police don’t want to get involved.

7. How does this all connect with Xo?

student protest in Strangers

Considering that within the first few minutes of Jonah’s arrival in Hong Kong we’ve been told about the student protests against a businessman called Xo who is running for the post of Chief Executive, this is going to be an important storyline.

Add to that the fact that Megan and David’s daughter Lau (Katie Leung) stages a protest agains Xo and ends up in a police cell where she is invited to the Lei Club by cellmate Becky (Kae Alexander), we’re willing to bet he’s vital to the story.

But is this connected with Megan’s death?

8. What does journalist Michael Cohen know about Megan’s death?

Michael Cohen journalist in Strangers

Hong Kong Chronicle journalist Michael Cohen (Anthony Hayes) is not a popular person within the Chen household, especially when he rings Lau’s mobile to say he wants to talk about her dead mother.

Lau isn’t keen for a chat, as this journalist apparently cost her father his job. And her father is so mad about the phone call that he charges into Michael’s newsroom and pins him against the wall.

It sounds like Michael is writing a big story, in which Megan’s death plays a part. Apparently her name “came up”. But what is he investigating and what has he found out? And what is his “history” with David? How did he cost him his job?

Speaking of which, Michael fires back at David with a potential explanation of Megan’s death: “Maybe you pissed off some of your old friends.” But who are these old friends – perhaps part of some shadowy criminal underworld?

There’s definitely something odd about the way David has reacted to Megan’s death, although in fairness we all deal with grief differently. He claims not to be angry about her deceit and “marriage” to Jonah, and instead seems to want to put everything behind him and move on.

9. Why did the police cover up the shooting?

Apparently shunting Megan’s car down a mountainside wasn’t enough to ensure her death, because in those final moments of the voicemail Jonah hears a chilling sound: a gunshot.

We see him horror-struck as he hears the moment of her death. At the same time, we also see the pathologist conducting the post-mortem, lifting up the sheet that had hidden her chest from Jonah earlier when he identified her remains. Piercing her chest is a bullet hole.

That’s not something you would easily miss, so it seems like the police are covering something up. It also seems like this was quite a coordinated assassination, designed to look to Jonah like a traffic accident.

But what is the truth? Seven more episodes to go…

Strangers continues on Mondays at 9pm on ITV

Advertisement

This article was originally published on 11 September 2018


Sign up for the free RadioTimes.com newsletter