Nine Perfect Strangers is a TV show created by John-Henry Butterworth and David E. Kelley, directed by Jonathan Levine and starring Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Asher Keddie, Samara Weaving, Melvin Gregg, Manny Jacinto and Tiffany Boone, alongside other cast members. Nine Perfect Strangers episode 8 is titled Ever After.
Amazon’s description of Nine Perfect Strangers reads:
“Nine Perfect Strangers” follows nine very different people who arrive at Tranquillum House, a mysterious wellness retreat that promises “total transformation”. Once there, the guests fall under the spell of the enigmatic Masha, who will stop at nothing to heal them. As the days unfold, however, Masha’s unorthodox methods threaten to push this combustible group over the edge.
– Nine Perfect Strangers episode 8 recap contains spoilers –
Nine Perfect Strangers episode 8 recap
Ah, Nine Perfect Strangers just keeps getting weirder. Nine Perfect Strangers episode 8 starts with Masha and Carmel discussing her shooting Masha all those years ago. Yes, you read that right. It was Carmel in makeup who shot Masha for not only sleeping with her husband but also for pitying her. However, Carmel does not seem like a threat to Masha in any way, rather, she asks her to call the police and tell them that she is a threat to society. However, Masha tells her that this whole place is because she shot her, so really, no harm no foul. She further asks her to give Masha some time, and after that, she will be “cured”.
Meanwhile, Frances talks to Tony about Masha repeating the word “lockdown” in a panicked tone. She’s clearly quite attached to Tony and almost finds comfort in his presence. She then apologises to him for hurting him the last time they talked in the sauna – that, he’s a good person and that ticked her off somehow. She ends the conversation with an apology and tells him that she said all of those things because she’s doubting herself, not him.
Tony, however, tells her that her instinct about the legitimacy of their relationship might just be correct. But, he then proposes that they get out of the retreat and go to the Four Seasons down the road to get dinner. Frances seems to be really into that idea!
Meanwhile, in Nine Perfect Strangers episode 8, the drugs are starting to take an effect on Masha and the Marconis. As she goes to meet them out in the woods, Napoleon tells her that Lars has told them why this process is so important to her. That they know about her daughter and how she is using them as test subjects to cross a barrier. The family is understandably angry and frustrated due to being taken advantage of and demands to know why Masha would do something like this.
Masha, however, although high as a kite and a little shaken, is pretty much unfazed and tells her that she is someone who lost someone near to her and lost herself in the process. Thus, she knows what they are all going through. Nicole Kidman is absolutely enthralling in this scene and you feel Masha’s pain and determination in this moment like no other.
On the other hand, Carmel wakes up in a sensory deprivation chamber and is freaks out because she doesn’t not like small spaces. As Frances and Tony pack up their bags and leave, they meet Glory who implores them to finish their stay. However, the two aren’t interested.
Meanwhile, while the four meditate, Zoe gets up and starts to walk off and she is followed by Masha. In the middle of the forest, they talk about Masha and her not being able to see her daughter. These are, again, are followed by Napoleon whose drug-induced hallucinations trigger the other two as well. On the other hand, Carmel, too, is hallucinating about her children and when she comes out, she feels calmer. However, when she is unable to open the door, she again gets angry and frustrated and starts thrashing around.
At the same time, the other four are going through different things and that’s evident in their faces. Napoleon gets a nose bleed, which triggers the others to freak out. In the middle of the nosebleed, however, he sees Zach and after the three share a funny moment together, things get more intense. Zach tells Napoleon that he wishes that the latter was in charge of his medication. Heather asks Zach why he hung himself with the belt that she just bought for him and Zoe asks him whether it was her fault that he killed himself since they weren’t talking at the time.
However, Zach tells his family that it wasn’t anyone’s fault – they are trying to attach a reason to an irrational act. As he says this, Napoleon hears an alarm going off and as he freaks out, the others try to calm him down. Lars breaks down crying as well.
On their way out, Frances and Tony meet Jessica and Ben and realise that their cars are gone. They hear a scream and meet Lars. The five hear Carmel on the other side of a door and try to find someone to get her out. Meanwhile, the hallucinogen party is tending to Napoleon when Masha says that she feels her daughter close by. At that moment, Tony and Frances meet them and he asks Masha to let Carmel out. She initially refuses but relents after Tony threatens to call the police.
Yao sits with the Marconis as Masha takes Tony and Francs to Carmel in Nine Perfect Strangers episode 8. On the way, Masha hallucinates seeing her daughter but tries to keep it together and tells Carmel to rest. As Masha goes out to tend to the Marconis, she locks the others inside the chamber and the group realizes this too late.
It is here that the Nine Perfect Strangers finale starts giving the viewers a voiceover which totally took me by surprise. The voiceover talks about each and everything that takes place on-screen, which is quite confusing to watch. Is it in Masha’s head? What’s going on?!
Meanwhile, Masha asks Glory to “start the fire” which the group can smell from inside the room. As the group tries to calm down, Lars says that if this is the end, then he wishes he were nicer to people. Each member then talks about what they wish they could’ve done had they were not burning alive at the moment. In the middle of this heartfelt moment, the lights in the room go out.
Meanwhile, Napoleon is sprinting through the forest in Nine Perfect Strangers episode 8. He calls out to Zach who is nowhere to be found and then falls on the ground. He finally sees Zach and talks about how, although his students love him and cherish him, he failed his son. However, Zach tells him that this isn’t anyone’s fault. That is not enough though as Napoleon breaks down even more. Zach, however, tells all three of his family that they need to separate him from that day – he isn’t there anymore. As Napoleon says that they understand what Zach means, the latter walks off into the forest, indicating that the family can now finally move on.
Delilah, however, has gone to the police and is bringing them to Tranquillum. On the other hand, Zoe and Masha walk off after they hallucinate snow falling from the sky. It’s an indication for Masha that her daughter might be nearby. In the field. Zoe tells Masha to let go. As Zoe runs off, Masha tries to follow her. In turn, she finds Tatiana, her daughter. Masha is overjoyed and cradles her daughter while Zoe looks on.
At the chamber, Yao opens the door to the panicked group. However, Yao clears it out that nothing is burning – the room was created to bring about a near-death experience so that the people inside can lower their barrier. He mentions that Masha would never hurt them. However, the group isn’t convinced and they leave.
It’s nighttime, and Masha is still sitting on the grass, hallucinating about cradling her daughter. She is unaware as police cars zoom in and call out to her. Her daughter gets up, kisses her and leaves and Masha looks back at the police and smiles. As the police take her away for questioning, Masha bids farewell to the group. Frances asks her whether she found what she was looking for. Masha tells her, “never out, never in.”
As the police take Masha away, the participants each tell the police their version of the story. Well, a story that puts Masha in a somewhat good light. The accounts are confusing, bordering on positive, and says a lot about how Masha manipulated these people to get what she wanted.
Talking place later, we see how the groups’ interaction with Masha has changed their lives in Nine Perfect Strangers episode 8. Frances and Tony get out to have dinner while Delilah and Yao are still together. Lars and Ray are back together and have a baby. Lars wrote a New Yorker article on the experience titled “Psychedelics to the Rescue”; Carmel talks about her issues and about forgiveness; Ben and Jessica have taken up the work of taking care of Tranquillum and the Marconis drive down to meet Dan.
Masha rides down the road in a sports car with her daughter with a book called Nine Perfect Strangers by Frances on the dashboard.
Ok, what was the Nine Perfect Strangers finale exactly? It is kinda clear that Masha is definitely hallucinating. Or maybe this is completely in Frances’s mind. I think the latter is more probable. The series talks about Masha’s intention to “help” these people – it wasn’t for them, it was for her.
Regardless of whether this is in Masha’s head or in Frances’s writing, one thing is clear that it isn’t real. Additionally, it also points to the fact that these retreats cannot magically give you a happily ever after traumatizing you and drowning you in hallucinogens. That is, also, quite apparent in the fact that this seems to be a figment of France’s imagination – we still don’t know what the group members are really out doing.
I am also unsure as to what Carmel’s deal with Masha was. Throughout the season I had a distinct sense that we’re going to see something shocking regarding this little piece. However, after the series gives us a better look into Carmel’s anger issues, we don’t explore that angle anymore. Also, what is it with the blue eyes? Another odd subplot that was ignored was the relationship between Yao, Masha and Delilah. We know that Masha slept with both of them, and Yao and Delilah were together, but then what? There was tension between those three and their relationship seemed quite complex. However, we explore none of that and Delilah is just left to end the series quickly.
There are many such things that are confusing and feel jiggered about the series. However, it was still thoroughly enjoyable and will keep you guessing.
Nine Perfect Strangers is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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