This is just too good to save until the very end of this entire account of episode five of “Stalker.” The Haunting Cover of The Week occurs in the form of “One Way Or Another.” Remember when “Veronica Mars” made the song a fun little promise from Veronica to all of the ’09ers that she would, in fact, get them? The use of this song in this instance, the context of a Haunting Cover, is not that. It also sort of challenges the very definition of “fun.”
And it is fantastic.
Episode three of “Stalker” might have been the best of the series so far, from a legitimate quality level, but episode five is perfect nonsensical television. It is a mash-up of “Supernatural,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “American Horror Story,” and “Ghost Whisperer,” with a dash of the Kool-Aid man. This is what Kevin Williamson has wrought. “The Haunting” — that’s the episode title, you know — is the episode to which all other episodes of “Stalker” should aspire. Do you know why? Well, did you ever watch “The Cape”? This was “Stalker” doing its best to be “The Cape.” You wear the stalker, the stalker doesn’t wear you, etc.
Again — fantastic.
The episode begins to the ever-soothing tones of of “Bang Bang,” a song that will definitely date the episode, but who cares? There’s also a Sean Paul song at one point (or at least a song that wants to sound like a Sean Paul song), so plenty of people watching in the future won’t know whether or not they’re watching a show from 2014 or 2004. This is all semantics, because a stalking is about to happen.
Just kidding! It’s just one more terrible ex-boyfriend and his terrible best friend being terrible on this show without even pulling a “Scream” like we all want them to. That’s a definite quibble that needs to be made about this show. The terrible ex-boyfriends (or blind dates) get free passes for not being the Stalker Prime, but that doesn’t make them any less terrible, right? This episode at least deserves a pat on the back for having the main victim call her ex out for his (one more for good measure) terrible behavior.
So “Bang Bang” plays as Laurie (Lyndon Smith, also known as Natalie from “Parenthood”) is looking for “slutty” Halloween costumes with her best friend Annie (Meagan Tandy, also known as Braeden from “Teen Wolf”). It all goes downhill from there when Laurie decides to try on a costume for the benefit of the male gaze. Due to lack of originality, it is a French maid’s costume, while Annie’s is a surprise for now. (Sorry, surprises are for episodes that haven’t aired yet — Annie is just as unoriginal in her nurse’s costume.) Annie strikes a pose, all by herself, and that’s when the creepy clown of Get The Holy Hell Out of Here-ville shows up. He doesn’t say anything at all, not even a “Would you like to play a game?”, but he does bounce a ball to her, and she bounces it right back to him.
This entire episode is Annie doing everything any person who has ever even heard of a horror movie knows to never do. She bounces the clown’s ball back (not a euphemism) multiple times. She asks “Somebody?” and any variation “Is anyone there?” as often as she possibly can. She assumes her best friend is pretending to be a ghost, even after said best friend just witnessed the girl have a traumatic experience with a demonic ball-bouncing clown. (“Not funny, Annie.” Would that Annie did also pull a “Scream” on Laurie and end up doing it all simply because of Laurie’s promiscuous mother ruining her life.) She doesn’t press charges on her garden variety stalker ex-boyfriend and his assaulter of a best friend, because she’s more afraid of Greek life than she is of ghosts and … stalkers and … assault.
Laurie is basically a character in “Cabin in the Woods” after they cross the threshold, only that is her default resting state. If “Stalker” is a mess, it’s because Kevin Williamson has officially betrayed every creative ideal he ever seemed to have simply for this show to even exist. That makes it even more fitting that he wrote this episode. Even “The Following” — which isn’t even and has never been as fun of a mess as “Stalker” — didn’t do this, at least not this early on.
The creepy clown turns out to be her ex-boyfriend Bobby’s best friend, and it just so happened to be Bobby’s idea. Stand-up guy. But that’s not the important part, because that’s just what boys do. “He’s a jerk, but he shouldn’t go to jail,” Laurie says. “I did what every guy does when he gets dumped,” Billy Loomis, er, Bobby says. It’s all unimportant when it comes to the real “Cape” of the episode — the haunted house story.
Laurie and Annie’s house is haunted.
One of the versions of the urban legend behind the ghost is that a man cheated on his wife, his wife killed herself, and then he killed himself. Much like babies, that’s how ghosts are born.
Beth, Jack, and the others do their best research via myspookyhouse.com, and that is another reason why this episode of “Stalker” is so special. Everything you are reading right now — except for the baby thing — actually happened in the episode. There is really no need for exaggeration, because this is the show at its most exaggerated, courtesy of the excuse that is Halloween.
Ben becomes an expert about Latin American witchcraft in this episode, because he’s apparently related to the Latin version of Grams from “The Vampire Diaries.” Jack even point blank asks him if his grandma is a witch. Hoodoo rituals performed by a pencil-neck academic are a part of this episode! Bobby gets choked out by the ghost because, as the worst frat bro ever, he couldn’t hold his liquor and had to “upchuck” the boogie! The ghost (who is unfortunately not actually a ghost) blasts through a secret drywall room in the “haunted” house like the Kool-Aid man, and that is considered a “normal” occurrence by “Stalker” standards. This shouldn’t be Halloween on “Stalker.” This should be every day on “Stalker.”
None of this even takes into account the Perry/Beth nonsense, Amanda’s empty “two weeks” threats, or Jack adding a piece of candy from his estranged child to his stalker collection. “The Cape” really would be proud. America should be proud.