The introduction of Detective Trent Wilkes
Not enough Maggie Q, and not enough to set this apart from CBS' thick procedural line-up
Stalker Fails To Capitalize On Its Greatest Strength: Maggie Q
On tonight’s Stalker, bride Cara Lambert is shot on her wedding day. The team is familiar with her, having helped her out with an ex that stalked her. But it looks as if the bride’s police officer father may have an enemy as his own, and other lives are in danger. It’s up to the Threat Assessment Unit to catch the culprit before anyone else gets killed. And what’s the deal with Jack’s ongoing personal drama? Let’s take a look.
There’s A Monster Hiding In The Closet
The Big Bad of the week is Silas Martin. A former military sniper turned LAPD cop, who was fired after shooting an unarmed civilian. He already had some mental instability to begin with and things escalated once he lost his job. Silas was a relatively effective villain and the parts of the episode that showed him lurking around seemed to pay homage to the horror genre. From the skulking in the closet, popping out to make the audience jump, and the one last attack after the hero(es) think he’s dead, it had all the makings of a horror film. This stylistic choice was a nice way to make this case stand out a bit more, since everything else about it felt like any other generic procedural case-of-the-week. But guest actor Michael Irby delivered a solid performance, particularly in Silas’ video manifesto, in which there was both energy and intensity to make us feel how unhinged Silas had become. The emotion Irby put in Silas’ plea to Jimmy Lambert that he say that the pedestrian did indeed have a gun, brought just a touch of vulnerability to the character, to show that Silas still had some humanity in him.
“I will have my justice, and the truth will prevail.” ~ Silas Martin
A New Foe For Jack
We were introduced to Detective Trent Wilkes, played by Warren Kole. Right from the get-go, Wilkes takes issue with Jack. Kole gave just the right amount of snark, without making Wilkes seem entirely professional. Wilkes seems like an interesting character, though it’s still too early to know for sure, but the speech he gave Jack about how elite the TAU is and that perhaps he’s just there because someone called in a favour seemed to make Jack feel insecure and gave a solid introduction to the character. At first, we thought this would just amount to bit of tension at the work place but then came the twist at the end: Wilkes is dating and living with Jack’s ex, Amanda. To establish animosity in their relationship before that revelation was a well-executed choice by the writers. Making two men have issue with each other just because of a woman is a tired concept; the last thing this show needs is a love triangle.
“You’re the I.O.U.” ~ Detective Trent Wilkes
Wherefore art thou, Maggie Q?
The biggest problem with this episode is that it sidelined Maggie Q. She was entirely under-utilized, as Beth seemed to do far less on the case than she could. From the way she was written, Beth often felt like one of the background team members whose names we struggle to remember without looking them up online. We’d almost given up on her to have any quality material till the end, when she showed that she has noticed the tension between Jack and Amy. It would have been entirely out of character for someone as skilled as her in psychological profiling to not notice that something was off between those two, now that Amy is working with the TAU from time-to-time. It may only be a matter of time before Jack’s dirty little secrets come boiling to the surface and he’ll have to face the wrath of Beth, something we’re looking forward to seeing. Maggie Q can hold her own when acting out dramatic content, and nail strong physicality, so for writers to not utilize either of those makes them seem as if they have no idea what or who they’re working with. Or perhaps they just don’t know how to write for women, as an overwhelming majority of the strong content was given to the male characters this week.
“Whatever it is, fix it. I don’t want it poisoning my unit.” ~ Lieutenant Beth Davis
Stalker took a dip in quality this week. The one line that stood out from writer Brett Mahoney was, “You’re gonna like his taste in wallpaper,” as it gave a touch of flare to the pathology of Silas. Director Bronwen Hughes excelled with the scenes with Silas that made viewers jump without overdoing the scare factor. Actress Mariana Klaveno started to show more of her own strength on the team, which we hope will continue in future episodes. Maggie Q being underused was a terrible waste, as she is the best part of the show. What Stalker needs is to put more of Beth’s story back in the mix. Getting to learn more about her back story and seeing her excel at her profession, using both intelligence and compassion, is what makes Jack’s train wreck of a life (and plot) bearable. This episode felt more like filler than anything but we have hope that we’ll get to see more of Maggie Q back front and center, right where she belongs.
Stalker Review: Episode 1×03 – Manhunt
Jenevia Kagawa Darcy