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The Stranger - The Terror Game

episode 4

UK 1994
produced by
Bill Baggs for BBV
directed by Bill Baggs
starring Colin Baker, Louise Jameson, David Troughton, John Wadmore, Nicholas Pegg, Nicholas Briggs, Helen Hewlett
written by Nicholas Briggs, music by Nicholas Briggs

featurette
Stranger

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The story starts off at a surprisingly mundane note: The Stranger (Colin Baker) wakes up outside of a nightclub, and it might just be because he has drunken too much, which might be the reason he seems to have no recollections at all. Miss Hennessy (Louise Jameson), owner of the nightclub, asks him in and offers him a coffee, which might be out of pity, or because she actually feels attracted to him. The story really kicks off when two hitmen, Egan (David Troughton) and Saul (John Wadmore) show up at the place, and they quickly accept the Stranger as one of their own and take him to their hideout. Slowly, the Stranger starts to remember again, remembers that he once actually was a hitman, and one of the best, who was participating in the Terror Game, where he and his terrorist friends kill people for no other reason than to prove they are still there, while the controlling forces (not gouvernment but something higher up) try to capture and reeducate the hitmen. Obviously his travels so far were part of the re-education program, and his companion Miss Brown (not in this story) his custodian. The Stranger wants out of that violent vicious circle, but ironically he on the other hand also wants to murder Raven (Nicholas Briggs), the supposed target of the hitmen who also happens to be Miss Hennessy's sidekicki - because you know, Miss Hennessy is more than a mere nightclub owner, she's actually a top agent of the controlling forces ...

In the finale, the Stranger does not kill Raven but save him from Egan and Saul, who then make their escape via what is known as the Web (some interdimensional gate I suppose). With everything ending happily, Miss Hennessy offers to become the Stranger's new custodian, but he makes his escape through the Web as well.

 

As with many science fiction stories, this one doesn't make too much sense at the beginning, but neatly wraps up everything at the end thanks to clever storytelling and a decent directorial job. Of interest about this episode of The Stranger is also that so far the character and series have just been considered (and were to a point intended) as a continuation of Doctor Who, with all references to the actual series omitted, and even the main cast suggests as much. With this story though, The Stranger himself gets an origin radically different from the Doctor, and one that take the series into a new and interesting direction.

Well worth a look.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD