‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ Episode 7 Recap: Wheels Coming Off

Things are heating up on Nine Perfect Strangers as the Hulu series approaches its final episode. Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 7, “Wheels on the Bus,” builds on the escalating tensions from episode 6.

Last week’s installment saw Masha (Nicole Kidman) offering to create an alternate reality for the Marconi family, one where they can live with their deceased son Zach (Hal Cumpston). It also revealed critical information about Carmel (Regina Hall), who doesn’t seem to be getting any better during her stay.

All of those storylines come to a head this week, and as Jessica (Samara Weaving) suggests, the “wheels are falling off.” As Masha inches toward her goal, the drama between guests and staff gets worse than ever. It makes for a compelling installment with more than a few high-stakes, emotional moments — and a huge reveal at the end.

[Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 7.]

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ Episode 7 sees the wheels coming off

A shot of 'Nine Perfect Strangers' Episode 7 sees Yao (Manny Jacinto) looking at a cut on Masha's (Nicole Kidman) head. He's holding his hand up to her face, and she's tilting her head with her hair back.
Nicole Kidman and Manny Jacinto in ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ | Vince Valitutti/Hulu

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Nine Perfect Strangers has been building tensions between its main characters since its series premiere. During “Wheels on the Bus,” that effort finally begins to pay off. Things at Tranquillum House become chaotic very quickly. It’s clear Masha is losing her grip on the guests as well as her staff.

The episode opens with Carmel attacking Masha, believing her to be her husband’s new wife. Fortunately, Yao (Manny Jacinto) breaks things up before they escalate too far. The staff sedates Carmel in much the same way they calmed Heather (Asher Keddie) last week.

Speaking of Heather, she and Napoleon (Michael Shannon) start the episode on board with Masha’s plan. However, Zoe (Grace Van Patten) plays the voice of reason in the situation, trying to make her parents see how unhealthy seeking out an alternate reality really is. When Masha finally convinces Zoe to agree, her parents start questioning the whole thing. It’s an uncomfortable push and pull that shows Masha growing more and more desperate.

Lars (Luke Evans) also begins questioning Masha’s decisions, revealing what fans already expected. Part of the reason he’s pursuing this story is that he knows someone died during a prior retreat. Apparently, Masha gave the man — Aaron Connelly — the same dose she’s preparing for the Marconis. She conveniently dodges their questions about doing this before, saying that the experiment “changed his life.”

While Masha’s choices were questionable throughout Nine Perfect Strangers, “Wheels on the Bus” drives home just how dangerous she is. Her insistence on enacting her plan proves she’s got more than the guests’ best interests at heart. Hopefully, her hubris doesn’t backfire on her — and more importantly, the Marconis.

Relationships get rocky during ‘Wheels on the Bus’

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It’s not just Masha’s relationships that shake up Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 7. Several of the show’s romances threaten to fall apart, including the recently blossomed one between Tony (Bobby Cannavale) and Frances (Melissa McCarthy). After Tony expresses how serious he is about pursuing a future with Frances, she effectively freaks out. While things aren’t necessarily over between the two, they’re definitely running scared.

Yao and Delilah (Tiffany Boone) have an even worse falling out, mostly because of what Masha’s doing. Delilah has urged Masha and Yao to consider how dangerous their new protocol is, but they’ve mostly written her off. During “Wheels on the Bus,” she reaches her breaking point. Despite Tranquillum House being on “lockdown,” Delilah drives her car through the fencing and leaves — apparently to find the police. Boone gives a stellar performance throughout the episode, especially during the moments between Masha and Yao.

Delilah pleas for Yao to leave with her, but he remains insistent on staying. Jacinto’s character doesn’t seem to disagree with Delilah’s concerns. However, he repeatedly says the guests will be in even more danger if they both go. Could he wind up stopping Masha in the end?

Surprisingly, Ben (Melvin Gregg) and Jessica (Samara Weaving) fare the best during “Wheels on the Bus.” Jessica seems aware that things are falling apart around them, but the two make strides toward repairing their relationship. She even asks him to renew their vows, and he agrees — leaving them celebrating while everyone else falls apart.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ throws a curveball in episode 7 — and fans predicted it

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While the drama centered on the Marconi family is sure to make up much of the Nine Perfect Strangers finale, the most recent episode threw a curveball during its closing moments. If viewers thought Masha offering to go into her alternate reality with the Marconis was surprising, they no doubt were flummoxed by how things go down between her and Carmel.

The final scene of “Wheels on the Bus” sees Masha visiting Carmel, who’s packing to leave. She tells Tranquillum’s leader that she doesn’t know if the resort is a healthy setting for her, insisting she’ll check into a mental institution instead. Masha, still trying to exert control over a retreat she’s clearly lost her grip on, pushes her to stay.

That’s when things take a grim turn, with Carmel telling Masha it’s not safe for her if she stays. One of her eyes turns white, revealing she’s the one who shot Kidman’s character all those years ago. The credits roll just as that revelation dawns on Tranquillum’s leader.

It’s not clear if Carmel was the one threatening her all along, but either way, Masha looks to be in danger heading into episode 8. The Hulu series has a lot to cover in its finale, which is sure to be a wild ride for everyone involved.

Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 7 is currently streaming on Hulu.