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The first three episodes of Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers introduced the show’s ensemble cast of characters, all of whom have secrets and trauma they’re looking to address while staying at Tranquillum House. Episode 3 ended on a bombshell revelation — that Nicole Kidman’s Masha is likely drugging them — but the credits closed before anyone could react to the news. Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 4, “Brave New World,” shows the aftermath of Masha’s admission. Surprisingly, things don’t go as poorly as fans might expect.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ Episode 4 brings hope and healing

Nicole Kidman as Masha in Hulu's 'Nine Perfect Strangers.' She's wearing an all-white outfit and meditating on the floor of a spacious, empty room. A large window sits behind her showing greenery outside.
Nicole Kidman in Hulu’s ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ | Vince Valitutti/Hulu

Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 4 picks up where the first three installments left off. As Heather (Asher Keddie) demands to know if Masha’s been drugging them, Kidman’s character admits that, yes, she’s been microdosing the group. The guests are understandably outraged that she didn’t ask for their consent first. Outside of that, however, they take the news remarkably well. No one even leaves Tranquillum House, though several characters briefly consider it.

Among them is Napoleon (Michael Shannon), who seems the most bothered by Masha’s deception. Viewers might expect Heather to raise a fuss over the situation, but she’s doing better than ever in “Brave New World.” Not only does she push to stay at Tranquillum House, but she rekindles her romance with her husband. Even Napoleon seems to be healing, finally confronting his feelings about his son’s death.

Carmel (Regina Hall) gets her one-on-one session with Masha this week, and it offers insight into her violent rage from the last episode. In Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 4, she opens up about her abusive marriage and her ex-husband. When Masha has the group do a Mr. Kendo exercise — where they beat up a kendo dummy while envisioning the pain others have caused them — Carmel goes all out. It’s good to see her releasing her frustrations on an object rather than another person. However, one has to wonder whether Masha is intentionally bringing out her guests’ violent sides.

Zoe (Grace Van Patten) and Lars (Luke Evans) bond in the sauna, with the latter seeming to have a genuine moment of reflection. Now that he’s been exposed as an investigative journalist, Lars seems less inclined to rattle the group. Perhaps he’s growing during his stay at Tranquillum House, too.

Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale give standout performances in episode 4

Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 4 splits its attention evenly among the characters, but two of the Hulu show’s stars give standout performances. Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale will tug at viewers’ heartstrings this week as Frances and Tony reluctantly confront their demons.

During Masha’s Mr. Kendo exercise, Frances reveals more about her experience getting catfished by Paul (Ben Falcone). It’s not just the lying and stealing that has her so broken over his betrayal. It’s also the fact that she’ll never get to be a mom. McCarthy’s performance as Frances takes her heartbreak out on the dummy is hard to watch, and it showcases the star’s range. McCarthy is known for her comedic roles, but she conveys more difficult emotions just as well.

Tony has a less public reveal in Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 4, but fans finally find out what’s troubling him — beyond his injury and subsequent addiction. Cannavale’s character has acted strangely since arriving at Tranquillum. He gets even more jittery when Masha suggests they all have secrets. As it turns out, Tony has a pretty shocking one. Following his injury, he got into a drunken bar fight with a stranger — and accidentally killed the other man.

The guilt and shame of that moment have clearly stayed with Tony, and Cannavale brings it to life breathtakingly. The fact that his character confesses to Frances also heightens the chemistry between these two. How far they’ve come from yelling at each other by the roadside.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ raises the behind-the-scenes drama at Tranquillum House


‘Nine Perfect Strangers’: Where Was the Hulu Series Filmed?

While the guests have calmer, friendlier interactions in Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 4, drama among the staff at Tranquillum House escalates. The first three installments set up what seemed to be an open relationship between Masha, Yao (Manny Jacinto), and Delilah (Tiffany Boone). While Yao and Masha embrace that dynamic with open arms, Delilah appears less on board with the whole thing. After Yao comes back to their lodgings following an evening with Masha, she tells him to sleep on the couch. She’s also short with her boss, though Yao isn’t the only reason for that.

The end of the episode sees Masha telling her staff to move forward with the next step of her protocol. Even Yao expresses concerns about how fast things are moving. However, Delilah’s the one who confronts Masha. It doesn’t help that Masha kept her in the dark about this development.

The two of them have a heated discussion, during which Masha reveals Delilah isn’t taking her own medication — something she needs to treat her bipolar disorder and that, evidently, is a term of her employment. Delilah doesn’t let Masha turn things around on her though. She tells her boss bluntly that things “will not end well” if she’s left out of decision-making again.

When Masha returns to her quarters for the night, she finds broken glass and a new threat waiting for her. Written on post-its behind her desk is a message: “It’s good to die.” That confirms that whoever’s sending her anonymous messages is nearby. It also makes Delilah a greater suspect. Could her earlier words have more meaning than she’s letting on?

Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 4 is now streaming on Hulu.