Stalker s1 ep 20

Life, work and a bout of the flu got in the way of my reviewing the Stalker finale for ages and it may well be a little pointless now, but we’re nothing if not completists at unpopcult; for one last time, then, let’s check in with Good Stalker Jack, Sad Lt Beth, Know-it-all Janice and the amazingly competent Vicky Gregg before we wave them off into the tv sunset forever.

Our farewell begins with a jansplanation: Janice has worked out that, given what happened last week, a whole bunch of stalkers have actually been wrongfully convicted of killing their… er… stalkees. Or – as the show has insisted defiantly since episode 1 – stalkers aren’t always that bad, really.

Robbery/Homicide’s finest Det Trent – back for no real reason other than to give Deputy DA Amanda Taylor someone to ride off into cancellation with – is understandably somewhat offended at the systemic levels of incompetence implied by this theory. And Det Trent would have a point too, except that just about everyone in the meeting has either been a moron or a stalker at some point during the season, so mistake-making on a grand scale maybe isn’t that far-fetched in this particular tv universe.

While the TAU brain trust try to convince Trent of the obvious, however, the real killer busies himself stalking Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries, Kat Graham presumably popping in as a favour to old boss Kevin Williamson rather than out of a burning desire to play the role of “woman with very few lines who wanders round a house then is brutally murdered.” At least her sacrifice wasn’t in vain, though – “Uh, Agent Gregg, your serial killer theory? We’re going to start looking into that,” says Det Trent, sheepishly. Welcome to the party, dude.

Vicky Gregg, of course, has her own stake in the stalker/killer investigation since her ex-husband Will – who confuses me throughout the episode by looking exactly like both Henry from Ringer and the other suspect whose name I’ve forgotten – is now firmly back in the frame. He was stalking the woman he was having the affair with before he killed her! Which means (as Jed predicted weeks ago) both women in charge of TAU have had relationships with violent stalkers! At least Vicky will only have had the one, though. Beth, undeterred by Jack getting “Tim from downstairs (to) call him the second (she) came in the building” so he could STALK HER SOME MORE, has decided to roll the dice on a happy ending with him too, so she’s already onto her second. Good luck, Beth! I hope he doesn’t try to kill you!

Unlike poor Vicky Gregg. No sooner has the murder investigation circled back – much to Jack’s delight – to the sex addicts meeting; dipped a prurient, pointless toe in the world of polyamory so Janice can raise one last eyebrow; and given the faceless (but always on the end of a phone) “John from the NSA” another chance to break a lot of laws, than – OMG! – Vicky has to be saved from the actual killer (exactly who we knew it would be, by the way) by two stalkers. Um…..

Anyway, Hero Stalker no.1 Jack goes off to get his reward at Beth’s house (ewwwwww) while Hero Stalker no.2 Will hangs around to collect his from the grateful and apologetic Vicky till…. OMG again! Hero Stalker no.2 is a killer after all! And the show which only introduced Vicky Gregg three episodes ago, ends forever with her dangling off the edge of a metaphorical cliff.

Oh, well. If I gave a ripped leather watch strap about Stalker or Vicky Gregg, I imagine I’d be annoyed, but I didn’t stick with this show to the end because I cared about it or any of its characters. Truth be told, I don’t really know why I stuck with it. It was often offensive, usually ham-fisted and almost always ridiculous. But, perversely, I don’t think it was ever quite as end-of-civilisation misogynist as the initial firestorm of outrage which greeted the very first episode suggested; as I’ve said umpteen times, there are far more misogynist things on TV, so maybe the main reason I stuck with it was contrariness. I don’t think that would have sustained me this long, though. And, in fairness, Stalker was terrible at a lot of things, but it was very, very good at delivering creepy, horror-movie-quality shocks and scares on a weekly basis. Contrary or not, there must have been something about the show itself which kept me interested or writing about it wouldn’t have been so much fun and I’d have given up months ago.

Either way, though, it’s done now and I’m happy with that; this way, I’ll look back on Stalker with a sort of exasperated fondness, but a second run of Jansplanations, Stalker Jack heroics and staggeringly obnoxious attitudes to victims of crime might have driven me mad. So goodbye forever, TAU, and good luck to all, but especially to Vicky Gregg, who, amongst all the smiles and snogs going on elsewhere, was the only one who finished the season looking like she really needed it.

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2 thoughts on “Stalker s1 ep 20

  1. Jed Bartlet June 21, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    Now that the season – indeed, the show – has finished I can revisit some of what I said near the start. I stand by my claim that there’s nothing inherently wrong with making a show about stalkers and the people who catch them. And I entirely agree that, while the odd episode here and there was undoubtedly misogynist, the show as a whole probably wasn’t. There are plenty of better (worse?) examples out there: True Detective’s first season, for example, was much better TV in the round, but its attitude to women was putrid.

    I also think that Stalker generally got better as the season went on and everything settled down a bit. Most of the second half was, at worst, dumb but entertaining; and the concluding run of episodes with the amazing Vicky actually showed signs of being a proper, albeit solid, procedural.

    Perhaps that was what the show was missing: a strong lead performance. I like the Q, but I don’t think this role was right for her, Dylan was a STALKER, and Ben didn’t make enough of an impact. Oddly enough – and I wouldn’t have seen this coming – I think the most interesting of the TAU team was probably Janice, whose attitude to victims was unbelievably insensitive and offensive, but Mariana Klaveno actually turned her into something approaching a character. Not an entirely likeable one, but characters don’t need to be entirely likeable, and Klaveno had enough of a twinkle in her eye to suggest that she knew what she was doing.

    Anyway, farewell Stalker. I’ve seen worse. Maybe we should have watched Scorpion instead. It got renewed.

  2. CJ Cregg June 23, 2015 / 7:12 pm

    Good point about Janice. Jansplanations and all, she was definitely the most fully-formed of the bunch and the most entertaining by the time the show hit its stride.

    I don’t think the writers really knew what to do with Beth or how best to use Maggie Q. They wanted to make this strong woman who was also still living in fear and really damaged and also have her be a victim again while simultaneously talking about sexual politics (remember all the chat about her low-cutblouses?)while also fighting with then flirting with this creepy weirdo that’s just joined her team… they were trying to do too many things with her in a big rush, not really doing any of them well, till they eventually gave up and hived most of the actual police work side of her character off to Janice and Vicky Gregg eventually, while Beth was reduced to moping in her office or being kidnapped. Poor Maggie Q was practically a guest star by the end rather than the lead.

    Stalker Jack though. Surely a shoe-in for Most Annoying Character in our poll this year. Now you’ve started sympathising with Older Girl and all 😉

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