Stalker Season 1 Review “Phobia”

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On the latest episode of “Stalker,” we met a new kind of stalker- one who doesn’t necessarily want to kill his prey, just frighten them out of their wits, in “Phobia.” We started off with a woman whose fear of the dark was so extreme that she would rather jump out of a window than remain in a dark room for an extended period of time. Granted, the stalker was present at the time, filming the whole thing and watching her in night vision glasses, but it was clear that the biggest problem for her was the darkness factor.

Not helping matters in this regard was the fact that the stalker took out most of her light bulbs while she was in the shower, as well as the batteries from her flashlight, and then rearranged her furniture so that she would be even more disoriented in her own home. Pretty twisted stuff, to be sure. On the plus side, the woman made it out of there alive, which is more than a lot of the victims in previous episodes can say, so there’s that.

Also getting lucky was her blind date Zack, whom a friend set her up with. Although the date didn’t go so well, Zack spotted the stalker hanging out outside her house and went after him, only to get drugged and strangled into unconsciousness before being summarily put in his own trunk and parked in a vacant house’s garage next door with the keys left on the top.

He also survived the harrowing ordeal, but it was eventually clear that the stalker was escalating, as evidenced by the next victim, who was terrorized in a similar fashion as the first victim, only this time with non-lethal, poisonous snakes, which happened to be her main phobia of choice. She passed out and was once again left relatively unharmed, but decidedly shaken up.

The team discovered that the two victims had a few things in common: both were blonde and had similar looks, both were active on social media (which was where their phobias were revealed), and both frequented dating sites. With his latest victim, the stalker got sloppy, leaving behind a grease stain on the windowsill, which was identified as motorcycle oil and tracked to Chris Powell (David Chisum, “Black Box”), who had multiple fake identities on various dating websites and had been rejected by both girls in question.

Powell also had a record: a previous girlfriend, Angela Darrow (Dianna Catterton, “Domestic Disturbance”), who changed her name from Meghan Stewart and relocated elsewhere after Powell kidnapped and raped her in an abandoned building. When another girl turned up missing, the team went into action, discovering his apartment abandoned, but, with Angela’s help tracking down the same building he’d raped her in and capturing the stalker, who had set up cameras in a different location and weighted down the girl he’d taken in a bathtub and left her to die while cameras filmed and he watched at the abandoned building.

When Beth’s line of questioning came up empty, Larsen took matters into his own hands and took the creep up on the roof and threatened him, having discovered that Powell had a fear of heights from Angela. It worked and Powell gave up the address he was holding the girl at and they were able to save her, albeit just barely, as the girl had drowned, but was able to be revived by mouth-to-mouth.

Meanwhile, Beth’s friend Tracy (Tara Summers, “Rake”) continued to see Perry (Erik Stocklin, “Mistresses”), who unbeknownst to her, was actually Beth’s stalker. We discovered that Tracy had been engaged to a guy that she ultimately had bad vibes about and bailed on before going through with it, which led to his going off the deep end and trying to kill her. Beth was able to catch the guy and arrest him and the two bonded over a similar, still unknown event in Beth’s life, and became fast friends. Perry himself is also escalating, having gone so far as to illustrate a comic of sorts, detailing his “relationship” with Beth, and what he saw as the eventual outcome- his strangling her to death. Needless to say, Beth had better watch her back!

That was about it, for the most part, save the show’s traditional spooky cover, this time a perhaps inevitable song choice, “Every Breath You Take,” originally by the Police, but covered here by Denmark and Winter. Though widely thought of as a love song- ironically a wedding song of choice for many a couple- the song is, in fact, actually about an obsessed stalker, so that makes it a perfect selection, if a bit on the nose.

Beyond that, Larsen and Janice hooked up at his place, with the former just managing to sneak off and cover up his own wall of stalking, that of his wife and kid, who did not appear in this particular episode, though one assumes her clock is still ticking on how much time Larsen has left to pack it in. Overall, this was a good episode, with a solid enough idea behind it, though I’ve seen a few movies and probably a few TV shows in which the whole using people’s phobias to terrorize them thing was done before.

It’s interesting that the show often indulges in the exact sort of thing that creator Kevin Williamson used to make fun of in his initial success, the “Scream” movies, but then, just because he used to make fun of it doesn’t mean he didn’t still use a lot of the tropes in spite of it back then, and that certainly holds true here. Be that as it may, I find myself more interested in the plotlines surrounding the main characters than the main storylines. The Perry thing is fascinating, as is the business with Larsen- what was he thinking coming to LA and stalking his former family, and what did he do to get himself transferred? What’s his big secret? Or Beth’s, for that matter? These are the things I’m actually more focused on, not the main cases at hand.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Stalker”? Did you find the main case clever? Are you more fascinated by the character-driven storylines than the main cases, too? What has been your favorite episode to date, and why? Do you have a favorite character? How about a least favorite one? What was Janice thinking, hooking up with Larsen? Let me know what you think down below, and see you next week for the big Halloween episode!