The end of “The Stranger”, explained: who is Henry Teague? What happens to him in the end?

Australian drama thriller “The Stranger” is a pretty good watch if you like slow-paced crime dramas where the tension is more internal than external. Loosely adapted from a real incident that happened in Australia around 2003, this film follows a man with a tainted past trying to clean up his history. While that premise only lasts a short time, where “The Stranger” goes from there, it’s also enjoyable and is mostly fueled by the stellar acting performances of Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris.

Spoilers ahead

‘The Stranger’ Plot Summary: What is the movie about?

Two strangers get acquainted on a bus journey en route to Western Australia in a way that is not too uncommon on long overnight bus journeys. However, these two men, Paul and Henry, quickly become friends as they also stay together the next morning. As Henry travels to WA for an undisclosed reason, Paul says he had to leave his native Queensland in a hurry and is therefore on the road, which means something criminal about him. This does not bother his new friend, as Henry helps Paul buy a used car by providing Paul with his own address. After a while, Paul tells Henry that a man or group he works with is looking for a reliable man, and he wants Henry to take on that job. Realizing that a job offered in this way would most definitely involve something illegal, Henry only says that he doesn’t want to do any violent work and that anything else would be fine. The next day, he is picked up by a different man from their decided meeting point, and this man introduces himself as Mark, a friend of Paul. Mark reveals that Paul had criminal records in his past, for which he had to get help from him and his group, who specialize in clearing the criminal records of anyone who agrees to work for them. As he sees and even helps provide Paul with the necessary documents to flee to safety, Henry himself feels drawn to such an offer. He agrees to work for the band, carry drugs, and spend the next few days driving with Mark, whom he befriends. However, he is unaware that Mark is actually an undercover police officer and that the entire police force is working hard to prove his guilt in the kidnapping of a child some eight years ago.

How should Mark handle the pressures of working undercover?

In May 2002, a young boy named James Liston was abducted from a bus stop near his home and has never been found since, with police suspecting he was likely killed. Since the investigation of the case began, the individual who stood out the most as a suspect was Henry Teague, who was driving in the same area at the time of the abduction. He had admitted his presence and said he had been parked near the bus stop for some time and wanted the police to check the security camera in the area to confirm this. However, the police believe that Henry spotted the camera and then created his story and that he admitted to being in the area only because he knew he must have been caught by the camera, but in reality the camera Security was not working at the time. Additionally, Henry had also presented an alibi of being away to visit an elderly friend at her home, but this also could not be confirmed as the old lady had been put up in a nursing home shortly afterwards. , and she didn’t talk much. That is. Although all of this led to suspicion of Henry, the police were never able to find solid evidence against the man and so had to wait a long time to investigate and think of ways to catch the kidnapper. As is obvious, they couldn’t create pressure on Henry either since the young boy he kidnapped eight years ago might still be alive and he would be the only person who could lead the police. up to him. A previous criminal record would go a long way to solidifying the case against Henry, and authorities also suspected him of committing child molestation in the Northern Territories, but no criminal record mentioned it. It was later discovered that Henry had in fact changed his name later in life and was originally called Peter Morley, and his crime in the NT was recorded under that old name. The police knew they could finally pressure the man with this new information, but they still had to be wary since there was still no evidence against him. The lead detective on the case, Kate Rylett, called Henry and informed him that he had been summoned for an investigation in Queensland. Henry did so with nothing yet found against him, and a bus ride was arranged for him to return to WA.

It was during this bus ride that Henry had befriended Paul; or rather, it was the reverse, for Paul himself was a member of the police force and had been part of this vast plan. Paul was the man who introduced Henry to the seemingly powerful drug gang that hides everyone’s past crimes, and he also became an example for Henry to behold. Although Henry’s serious and odd face might not lead one to believe it, the man was indeed excited about the prospect of having his old records erased and he continued to work for the band. By this point in the plan, Mark had entered into the whole operation and had undertaken the most difficult task – that of becoming very good friends with Henry and following him at all times. It was Mark who drove the suspected criminal on the job and introduced him to the higher level bosses of the drug gang. While Henry believed they were the real bosses, these men and everyone with them were, in reality, all policemen posing as smugglers. In the process, Mark has become close friends with Henry, and he is even invited by the latter to his house for a drink one evening. It should be noted here that Henry is not exactly the most welcoming man one could meet, as his appearance and calm, serious demeanor make him seem rather hostile. Even Mark seems a little surprised when the man asks him to join him for a drink at his house, especially since Henry always carefully walks away from his house for the first few days, perhaps so as not to leave Mark behind. know its exact location. Since the beginning of this friendship, Mark kept telling Henry that he needed to tell him everything honestly about his past so that his group could help him, but that didn’t really happen. New truths about the man, such as the fact that he had served two years in prison for molesting a child in the NT or that he had changed his name, are all gradually revealed by him to the group, and Mark acts surprised. and angry. During all of these times, Henry apologizes to Mark for not telling him all of this sooner, making it sound like Henry truly believed Mark was a good friend.

On the other hand, however, Mark had to deal with the immense pressure of living this double life. While pretending to be someone else whenever he was around Henry, the man recorded every new movement and news on a small personal recorder. There are times when he fears his infiltration will also be blown, such as when Henry seems to suspect that Mark’s car has audio recording equipment hidden inside, which it really did have. But the stress involved is much more internal than that most of the time since Mark knows he’s dealing with a child murderer, after all. Henry often appears as a cold-blooded psychopath in Mark’s nightmares, and the officer even hallucinates the man inside his house a few times. The fact that Mark has a young son around seven or eight years old further aggravates his situation, as there is a constant worry in his head about Henry harming his son. Mark obviously has a hard time believing Henry, as he’s not entirely convinced that even undercover works against the man, and to his fearful psyche, Henry continues to come across as an evil demon who likes to hurt children. . These fears are also not unfounded as the true extent of Henry’s crimes is gradually revealed with the success of the police plans. As the ultimate introduction to the gang, Mark takes Henry to meet the boss who makes sure his workers’ pasts are erased, John. In reality, John also happens to be a senior police officer, and in a private session with Henry, he asks the man to reveal all of his crimes so he can get rid of any evidence about them.

The end of “The Stranger” explained: will Henry’s crimes finally be proven at the end?

As Henry opens up to John in a hotel room, Mark and other members of the police force overhear their conversation from another room using a live audio feed. Not only does Henry admit to kidnapping the boy, but he also reveals that he choked him to death soon after. The man now says the hints and leads police followed at the time, which he heard on TV news, were all false, and he goes on to describe his actions in more detail. Although this is all recorded, the police still need some form of evidence to strengthen their case, so they decide to take more advantage of this opportunity. John and Mark convince Henry to take them to the exact spot where he killed and dumped the boy’s remains so they can make sure no trace of this crime can ever be found. Henry bites on this bait, and he leads them to a location inside a wooded area where he committed the crime. The police, who had been waiting for this signal, rush in and arrest Henry Teague on the basis of his confession. A thorough search of the area is carried out, and eventually, evidence of the murdered boy is found, which ensures that Henry can no longer escape.

“The Stranger” puts into perspective the very real mental stress that an undercover cop must endure, as opposed to the usual thrills that mass entertainment represents. At the end of it all, Mark crumbles when he is alone, and for a variety of reasons ranging from grief for the murdered child to fear for his own son’s safety. Having worked and lived so closely with someone who committed such a crime, Mark knows full well that such men also exist in the world who would murder children and want to get away however they can. While it’s possible to interpret her tears as being for Henry, who had also opened up as a friend, it may not fit the tone of the rest of the film. This job of working closely with a hardened criminal leaves a long effect on Mark, one who isn’t always the healthiest, as he is seen sitting outside his house smoking while staring into the darkness, but who would take a long time to recover. of.

“The Stranger” is a 2022 drama-thriller film directed by Thomas M. Wright.