Stranger S2 review: Clumsy fight scenes and plot diversions distract yet again

·3-min read
Assistant Chief Prosecutor Woo Tae Ha (Choi Moo Sung, left) and Police Intelligence Chief Choi Bit (Jeon Hye Jin) in Stranger.
Assistant Chief Prosecutor Woo Tae Ha (Choi Moo Sung, left) and Police Intelligence Chief Choi Bit (Jeon Hye Jin) in Stranger.

By Bryan Tan

This recap, which includes spoilers, covers episodes 11 and 12 of Stranger Season 2, available currently on Netflix.

The previous week’s episodes of Stranger – nine and ten – plunged viewers straight into the thick of things, where the frantic search for the kidnapped Prosecutor Seo Dong Jae (Lee Joon Hyuk) continues. A photo of a bloody tie is sent to the police, who identify it as belonging to the victim and is promptly analysed by forensics. Incriminating evidence is uncovered; next to the tie, a grainy image of a standard policeman’s watch with flower symbols on its face is uncovered.

Police Chief Shin Jae Young (Lee Hae Young) immediately summons the Segok Police Station suspects and interrogates them personally. One of the prime suspects, captain Baek Jung Gi (Jung Seung Gil) is tailed by detective Kim Soo Chan (Park Jin Woo), who is spotted buying a crowbar and flammable liquid before heading to a dodgy motel.

Unfortunately, director Park Hyun Suk has very little talent with choreographing fighting scenes. A terse and clumsy struggle ensues, involving a Taser gun and an 80-year-old lady who somehow manages to grab onto the young detective Kim and pull him down. Captain Baek is eventually brought back and interrogated.

A witness who apparently saw the kidnapping is brought in and identifies Captain Baek as the culprit. Yet it all turns out to be a red herring. The testimony of the witness is proved false, by the inquisitive efforts of prosecutor Hwang Si Mok (Cho Seung Woo) and police inspector Han Yeo Jin (Bae Doo Na), who disguise captain Baek’s car to try and prove if the witness remembered the car plate colour and number, which he could not.

Captain Baek is absolved and the police breathe a sigh of relief, although prosecutor Seo is still missing and the real culprit has yet to be caught. The police-prosecutor council meetings over investigative rights resume, but the finger-pointing and accusations of corruption continue to be lobbed, neither side willing to give an inch of ground to the other.

Si Mok has a massive migraine attack in the middle of the meeting and leaves, but is mothered by a thoughtful Yeo Jin. In spite of the fact that they sit on opposite sides of the fence, it is clear that their role in this clashing of political machinery is one that exemplifies cooperation and compromise.

Another plot twist (surprise!) emerges towards the end of episode 12. It steers towards Hanjo group and the death of Park Gwang Su, a lawyer who used to work for the conglomerate. His role in this involves corruption but is unclear, even as Police Intelligence Chief Choi Bit (Jeon Hye Jin) and Assistant Chief Prosecutor Woo Tae Ha (Choi Moo Sung) secretly meet up with Hanjo group’s chairwoman Lee Yeon Jae (Yoon Se Ah) in a hotel. The plot diverts yet again; when will they ever focus on finding prosecutor Seo, who is seriously injured and on the verge of death?

What is this mysterious lawyer’s role in all of this, and when will Stranger Season 2, which is starting to resemble a child with an attention deficit disorder, remember to take its medication? Stay tuned for the final four episodes, which will be released over the next two weekends.

Reviews of Stranger Season 2:

Eps. 1-4: Prosecutors and police clash in sequel to hit series

Eps. 5-8: A convoluted sea of plots and more plots

Eps. 9-10: A high-profile kidnapping involving a high-stakes case

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