This week on “All of your best friends are Stalkers,” lonely small-town girl Isabel is subjected to a persistent and thoroughly unnerving case of group stalking.
Since he favours stalking as a solo activity, Jack is somewhat surprised that a group version even exists – understandably so, you might think, since, as Janice jansplains, group stalking is “rare. Less than 1% of all documented stalking cases nationwide.” But does this mean both Janice and Jack have forgotten the two-stalker team who kicked off the series? Or do you need three to make a group?
Yes, I know. I’m probably thinking about these criteria more deeply than the people who write this show.
Putting questions of numbers and definitions aside, then, back to the story: our victim-of-the-week is, as usual, subjected to some genuinely frightening set-pieces – the “street theatre” scene, in particular, is both brilliantly executed and absolutely terrifying – while the TAU, also as usual, waste time ignoring the best friend (amateurs) in favour of quizzing the poor girl about her sex life instead. “It’s not accusatory,” says Lt Beth. Just prurient, then, huh? Although I do wonder if the team is about to get less interested in who the victims are sleeping with now they can just stick their noses in Beth and Jack’s budding relationship instead: with Jack sleeping on her couch in his underwear and Beth offering him coffee in her shortie-short pyjamas, there’s clearly a lot more than just co-working in the air.
Stalker Jack, of course, is too busy rubbing his hands at the prospect of finally getting into Beth’s (low-cut, remember) tops to navigate this situation with any sort of finesse or discretion. The moment where he oozes into his embarrassed boss’s office, during a meeting with her staff, to announce, with what I imagine he fondly (but inaccurately) believes to be a “charming” smirk, “I got these for you…. Brazilian nuts. I ate all yours,” is, I’m sure, meant to be cute. But this is Stalker Jack, so, instead of cute, it’s skin-crawlingly repulsive. And almost as creepy as villain-of-the-week Abraham, “a delusional narcissist with a house full of brainwashed zombies ready to do his bidding.” Just like Jack, then, except for the house full etc….
An uneasy Janice – her own dreams of “Banice” rapidly disappearing in a cloud of Stalker for Men aftershave – wonders (somewhat uncharacteristically, instead of just telling everyone) “Are they hooking up?” but a delighted Desk Cop / Desk Shipper Ben knows the score. “Not yet,” he says, sagely, “but soon. This Ray thing needs to pass first.”
Speaking of which, “This Ray thing” continues to spiral out of an increasingly unhappy Perry’s control. Ray the Lunatic, of course, may be a terrible boyfriend but he’s also a better interrogator than anyone on TAU (WTF was that “interview” Jack and Ben did this week?), easily extracting from his junior partner a full run-down of everything you ever needed to know about the main characters and had already worked out for yourself over the past 15 episodes. Relationship status? “Pshaw!” No, Beth’s not sleeping with anyone.” (Yet.) Rankings? “Ben Caldwell. He’s more of a junior detective.” (Heh, we call it a Desk Cop, Perry, but tomayto tomato.) Full names and titles of expendable recurring players? “Deputy DA Amanda Taylor.” (Right! Although that one took us a while.)
Sadly for Stage 5 Clinger Perry, though, once he’s, er, let Ray have what he really wants, the cad is out of the door without so much as a cuddle, leaving Perry to wonder if he gave it up too soon and should have held out for dinner and a movie. Even the Lunatic’s eventual return doesn’t stop the petted lip: “You’ve been gone forever,” Perry whines, “I’ve been worried. Where were you? What were you doing?” Crazy Ray smiles and strokes his new, shiny gun, but Perry is unappeased. “I think we need to, um, establish a Code of Conduct,” he says, somewhat improbably thinking he can put the homicidal genie back in the bottle. “I don’t want to hurt anyone,” he says. Uh… little late there, sport. Did you not see that final scene?