Beth's butt-kicking and the return of Perry.
Why is Jack already hooking up with a co-worker? How does he even have a career with such poor impulse control?
Stalker Gets Back On Track With New Back Story and Creepy Villainy
This week’s Stalker brought us Chris Powell, a creep that preys on the fears of the women he stalks. Unbeknownst to Beth, Perry has taken his obsession with her to the next level through some creepy fan art and getting involved with Beth’s best friend Tracy to learn more about Beth. Jack hooks up with team member Janice, after stashing away his wall of creepiness. So what parts of this episode made it worth watching? Let’s discuss.
What Are You Afraid Of?
The episode began with a woman being stalked through her home and bit by bit, all the lights go out. There’s a man there but much to our surprise, he does not try to kill or sexually assault her. He sits back and enjoys the show of her stumbling around in the dark, terrified, while he wears night-vision goggles and records the whole spectacle. It was an interesting change of pace to have a perpetrator that thrived on the fears of others. It reminded us of the demon in that one episode of Charmed that murdered people using their phobias. The sequences of the women being victimized by their fears, (darkness, snakes, drowning), were nicely edited and made good use of tension-building. To be effective in instilling fear in an audience requires careful planning and director Roxann Dawson did some nice work in this area. The fact that this stalker, Chris Powell, gave up the location of his final victim after having his own fear used against him was a nice piece of karmic retribution by writer Heather Zuhlke.
“We have a sadistic stalker who inflicts psychological violence to control his victims with fear.” ~ Beth Davis
“His MO isn’t to kill, it’s to terrify.” ~ Jack Larsen
Beth Davis Is Always Working
Beth’s career is based on helping those being victimised by stalkers. But as we learn this week, this laser-sharp focus on helping people is present in all areas of her life. The episode begins with her teaching a self-defence class to a group of women who all appear taken aback by her impressive set of skills. Then later, we officially learn from her best friend Tracy that they became friends after Beth ran off a murderous stalker of Tracy’s who apparently wasn’t even bad as the one Beth had herself. Getting all this back story on Beth has shown her to be downright humanitarian in her commitment to empowering women and this is precisely the type of modern take needed on a crime procedural. To have a woman teaching other women how to protect themselves and spend her life working towards the betterment of those who would otherwise be victims is just what the crime show genre needs. The intensity in Maggie Q’s performance is powerful, beautiful, and pulls us right in and ready to fight the good fight alongside Beth Davis.
“If you find yourself alone with an attacker, unfortunately if we’re being realistic we’re not as strong as they are. So what we want to do is we want to be able to learn how to use their movement, their momentum, and their body strength against them.” ~ Beth Davis
Big Bad Perry’s Back To Stir Up Trouble
Yes, that’s right! Not only is Perry back but he’s creepier than ever! He’s gotten himself into a happy little fling with Beth’s best friend Tracy, using a false name of course. He subtly manages to get some information on Beth while Tracy’s none the wiser. What makes Perry such an effective villain is that his charm is entirely believable. We as the viewers know what he’s up to but we can see how Tracy would be fooled by him. It’s irritating to watch villains pull one over on characters when they’re too creepy because then we spend the whole time chiding that character for being so foolish. But with Perry, he’s good-looking, personable, and seemingly normal as far as his behaviour is concerned in his scene with Tracy. This makes him even more dangerous on top of all the wealth, privilege, and resources he has. Erik Stocklin makes Perry’s creeping fun to watch, not that we’re routing for him of course. In regards to story-telling, Perry is shaping up to be a formidable opponent for our hero, Beth Davis, and we look forward to seeing these two engage in an epic show-down.
“She’d been through something similar, actually a lot worse than me. She’s helped a lot. She still does, friendship.” ~ Tracy Wright
“She sounds special.” ~ Perry Whitley
This was a much better episode than last week’s. The continuation of the Beth vs. Perry is just what we wanted to see, along with getting more of Beth’s story. She’s still a mystery in many ways, but what keeps her interesting is the way the information has flowed. We learned some new things about her friendship with Tracy and what she does in her spare time, but now there’s new questions about her identity, as “Beth Davis” didn’t exist until she enrolled in the academy. By giving us answers and posing new questions, the writers of Stalker can bring viewers satisfaction but also keep our interest. Maggie Q is a force, but even with the material given to her this episode, it still feels like she’s not being utilised enough. If Stalker wants to truly be great, they should pick up the pace and keep the spotlight on Beth Davis. Leave Jack in the background where he belongs. Thankfully, we didn’t have to suffer through his insufferable stalking but we were still subjected to the “woe is me why don’t people like me” routine and on top of that, he slept with one of his co-workers whom we only briefly saw the beginnings of some chemistry with. It all felt very rushed and abrupt to the point of not making any sense. But having another dose of Beth’s butt-kicking was a nice gift to viewers. More of that, too, please!
Stalker Review: Episode 1×04 “Phobia”
Jenevia Kagawa Darcy