Professor Jonah Mulray’s default facial expression is “confused” – and after episode two of John Simm’s ITV drama Strangers, we have to admit that we’re in a similar state.
Who killed Megan and why? What was she really trying to tell Jonah in her voicemail before she died? Why are the police adamant that she was killed by accident?
- Meet the cast of Strangers
- 9 big questions we have after the opening episode of John Simm’s ITV thriller Strangers
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Let’s take a look at the big questions we’re left with at the end of episode two…
1. Why do Megan and her daughter have secret American passports?
How many secret lives and identities did Megan have?? At the end of episode two, Jonah managed to find his way to Megan’s hideaway inside a boarded-up restaurant (or whatever “Pattaya Bay” actually is). Hidden behind the bathtub panel were two American passports. Gasp!
The first passport was in the name of Megan Emilia Walker (i.e. Megan Harris), while the second belonged to a Lau Elinor Walker (i.e. her daughter Lau Chen).
Are these fake passports – and was Megan working out a scheme to smuggle herself and Lau out of the country before she died?
2. Was Sally’s fiancé Ben murdered – or was it suicide?
Goodbye, Ben – we hardly knew ye. Consular employee Sally Porter (Emilia Fox) turned out to have a good-looking fiancé in episode two, but by the end of the hour he was dead in a bloody bathtub. Suicide or murder?
Played by the actor Christian Contreras (who also happens to be Jodie Whittaker’s husband!), American hotel manager Ben was living in a spacious luxury flat in Hong Kong and showering Sally with beautiful gifts of pearls and silk dresses. But it was too good to be true.
As Sally was horrified to discover, Ben had swiped a top-secret foreign office dossier from her and leaked it to journalist Michael Cohen for a large sum of money, discrediting one of the politicians running for Chief Executive against the widely detested businessman Xo.
“This is bigger than just me,” he pleaded when she vowed to tell her boss the truth about where the leak came from. But although she bottled out and covered for her fiancé, by the time she came home he was lying in the tub with his wrists slashed.
The other piece of the puzzle is that Ben was photographed by Michael Cohen as he met with Megan before her death. The journalist was pestering him with missed calls the whole evening – until Sally picked up – and he seemed shocked to find out Ben was dead. He also appeared to know more about what Ben was up to.
What was Ben mixed up in? Did he kill himself because he thought Sally was breaking off their engagement? Or because he expected to be killed anyway by the shadowy forces behind whatever’s going on? Or – more likely – was this a murder staged as a suicide?
3. What does David Chen know?
Jonah Mulray (John Simm) may be a man on a mission to find out who killed his wife, but so is David Chen (Anthony Wong).
David stalked the coroner who did Megan’s autopsy, telling him: “I know who’s paying you.” But who is it, and how does David know?
It also emerged that David is an ex-cop, brought down by Michael Cohen’s big investigative scoop. We still don’t know what he did to get fired, but his colleagues are nervous to be seen talking to him and his name appears to be mud.
4. Who is Detective Tsui covering for?
Detective Daniel Tsui needs Megan’s death to be an accident. Right from the start he refused to accept any evidence to the contrary, dismissing CCTV footage of Jonah’s mugger using Megan’s credit card – and insisting she would have died on impact.
In episode two he took this to a new level, refusing to believe that Megan had been shot to death and insisting there was no bullet wound in her body. He wasn’t persuaded by the gunshot sound on Jonah’s voicemail, and after taking the phone for “technicians” to look at, he handed it back with the end of the voicemail erased.
“Grief, Mr Mulray, it can play tricks with the mind,” he said, darkly.
(Side note: WHY, JONAH, WHY would you hand over your mobile containing the only copy of your wife’s last voicemail to a CLEARLY SHIFTY detective, without taking a recording for safekeeping?)
Oh, and then to make matters worse, Megan’s body disappeared entirely from the morgue.
Was this Tsui’s work, to hide the bullet wound? And why does Tsui want this to look like an accident in the first place? Is someone paying him – and how are the police involved? Trust no one.
5. What was Megan doing at Pattaya Bay?
Megan’s distraught final phone call to Jonah turned out to contain LOTS of hidden messages, although the whole thing might have been easier if she could just tell him what she was talking about – without messing him around and sending him on a treasure hunt across Hong Kong.
The first part of the message referred to “her”, who turned out to be Megan’s daughter in Hong Kong, Lau Chen (Katie Leung).
The two of them met for the first time when Lau tracked Jonah down at his hotel. (Side note: how did she work out his identity or location? She’d only briefly seen him through the front door when he came to talk to her father and then managed to find his university profile. Top research skills, Lau.)
And then Lau turned out to have the key to the second hidden message from beyond the grave, which referred to “the sunset over Pattaya Bay.” Somehow she made the link with a particular restaurant (something to do with the sun not setting over Pattaya Bay? Something to do with a trick played on tourists?) and led her mother’s bewildered “husband” off to find it.
Above the restaurant was a dingy apartment which Megan seems to have used as a hideout, decorating it with framed photos of David and Jonah and Lau.
But what did she use this place for, and why did she need Jonah to find it? Did she need Jonah to discover the fake passports and get Lau out of the country?
6. Who photographed Lau kissing Becky?
Just when Lau and Becky (Kae Alexander) locked lips for the first time, someone popped up with a cameraphone to take a quick snap. It’s clearly not for their holiday album – so who took the photo, and why?
Are they seeking to embarrass Lau, or Becky? Is this to do with the protest movement against Xo? And did Becky have ulterior motives in fishing for information about Lau’s mother and father?
Strangers continues on Mondays at 9pm on ITV