Stalker Season 1 Review “Secrets and Lies”

Secrets and Lies 2

On the latest episode of “Stalker,” it was freaky masked man time, with the aptly-titled “Secrets and Lies.” It all started with a mystery box that arrived at the Mayor’s office, in which a jack-in-the-box resided. Upon opening it, the room was cleared, after security feared it would be a bomb, but instead, it was a freaky clown-like court jester that sprung out, to the tune of the ever-popular “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Assuming this to be a dig at the Mayor (Brett Cullen, “Person of Interest”), the team set about determining who the Mayor’s enemies were, and there were plenty to choose from, including, as it turned out, amongst his own family.

As a personal friend of the Mayor, who supported her in her bid for both making Lieutenant and heading up the TAU, Beth was caught a bit between a rock and a hard place, as the more she discovered about what was going on, the more it seemed to point in the direction of the typical political shady goings-on. This was not lost on Jack, who didn’t hesitate to say what Beth was afraid to, given her ties to the Mayor. This led to some tricky situations, least of all when the team discovered what appeared to be the Mayor’s illicit involvement with a high-end escort.

After discarding a suspect that actively had protested and threatened the Mayor in the past, the Mayor was outright confronted by the masked jester, who also left a creepy doll in his car to freak him out and warn him to “stay away from her.” The team assumes “her” to be the escort in question, Alice (Angela Gulner, “Glee”), and question her, but she insists that the relationship with the Mayor is strictly platonic. She does mention her own stalker, an obsessive client named Drew (Raphael Sbarge, of “Once Upon a Time”), who might be the one causing trouble.

They also question the Mayor’s wife, Elaine (Andrea Roth, “Rescue Me”), for obvious reasons, but she denies believing that her husband is cheating. Jack’s not buying it, and is even more dubious when Alice herself is attacked by the jester, who leaves a note for her as well: “Leave him alone!” They then set their sights on the Mayor’s son, Craig (Benjamin Papac, “the Walking Dead”), who Jack suspects might be working for his mother to divide his father and Alice.

He’s not wrong, as Craig is indeed the creepy jester, being a special effects artist who makes his own masks. Craig hires Alice’s services, and doesn’t recognize him as her stepbrother, nor does she herself know that she’s the Mayor’s daughter. But she does recognize the jester mask when she sees it and freaks out, only to have her other stalker show up! Yep, it’s a showdown of the creepers, as Craig and Drew go mano a mano for a few rounds, with each getting the better of one another by turns until Craig is able to free Alice and she makes a run for it.

The team shows up just in the nick of time after Elaine confesses to her part in things, and just barely is able to rescue Alice from being tossed off a bridge by the intense Drew. He’s arrested, to the tune of a creepy (but of course) version of the Bangles’ prom favorite “Eternal Flame” by Snow Hill. Alice and Craig bond somewhat in the meantime, so all’s well that ends well, I suppose. Well, that is, save for Beth, who has her own drama to deal with, it seems.

After the search and seizure of Perry’s dorm room proves mostly a bust- even the computer yields only dummy sketches of a cat and a mouse (see what he did there?) instead of the spooky illustrations that Beth saw of herself and Perry in various intimate and oft-disturbing scenarios. Janice manages to talk Beth into involving DA Amanda, but she’s hesitant, to be sure, as it will almost certainly end up with her real identity being exposed.

Regardless, the gambit fails, as Perry lawyers up and refuses the plea bargain deal of probation and counseling Amanda offers over jail time, knowing full well they don’t have enough to keep holding him. Perry makes bail after his rich daddy cuts a deal with the judge and agrees to put him in a treatment program, but then Perry goes on the lam, never arriving at the hospital. Instead, he goes to an institution: the very one where the man who terrorized Beth ended up. Yeah, that can’t bode well.

On the plus side, I do think it’s good that Beth is opening up to more and more people about her situation, including Amanda and what appeared to be Jack towards the end there, assuming she went through with telling him. Further, Amanda and Jack seem to be finally getting over her initial resistance to his seeing their child, Ethan, agreeing to let Jack see him again, which is also good. So, it wasn’t a total bummer episode.

In fact, it was actually a pretty solid one, with some good twists- I especially liked the stalker vs. stalker showdown set piece- and the much-appreciated revelation that we weren’t done yet with the big Perry storyline, which was my fear. Indeed, rather than the expected Perry vs. Beth showdown I was expecting, or at least hoping for, the show went one better, involving Beth’s previous stalker in things, ensuring a double dose of stalkers for Beth as well, somewhere down the line. With three episodes left in the season, to the best of my knowledge, that gives us plenty of time to set that big pay-off up, which is great. It looks as if we’ll get the big finale to the story we were all hoping for after all.

All in all, I’m very happy with the direction the show is going in on the whole. Sure, there have been some missteps along the way, but “Stalker” is more hit-than-miss most of the time, as far as I’m concerned. Granted, the ratings are such that the fate of the show is still up in the air, but I do feel that the show will at the very least get to wrap up its main overarching storyline with Beth and Perry, so that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some sort of late twist meant to set up the next season if there is one- say, maybe Perry dies but Beth’s childhood stalker lives and escapes to terrorize her another day- but we should get a resolution of the Perry thing, at least.

What did you think of “Stalker” this week? Did you like the main case? How about the stalker vs. stalker twist? How about Beth’s own stalker twofer? How do you think things will play out there? Do you hope the show gets renewed, or is it more of a one-and-done type scenario for you? Sound off below and I’ll see you next time!