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Stalker - The Woods (Spring Premiere) - Review: "Beth versus Ray"

"Give me time to realize my crime
Do you really want to hurt me
Do you really want to make me cry
Precious kisses words that burn me
Lovers never ask you why"
- Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? - Culture Club

Stalker returned from its months-long hiatus in its new Monday time slot, with an episode that concluded the season-long storyline about Beth and Ray.

Picking right where we left off in episode 17, Ray takes Michelle to a cabin in the woods after killing the man who lives there. When Beth awakes, she tries to talk sense into Ray but to no avail. Ray says he will wait for Beth until she loves him again. Beth then tries to escape by kicking Ray's ass, but sadly Ray gets the upper hand again. He also ties her feet so she cannot kick him again. However, while Beth and Ray bring up memories, Beth is thinking of a plan. When Ray leaves for a short while, she goes to the toolbox and manages to get a knife out of it. However, things get ugly when Hazel from down the road comes to the cabin to offer Ray some cookies. She quickly leaves Ray alone, but forgets her scarf. Ray goes after her and kills her so she can't tell anyone. With Ray away, Beth gets the time she needs to pick up the knife and free herself. When Ray returns, she attacks him and runs into the woods.

Meanwhile, Jack and Janice are looking for clues to find Beth. With the FBI taking over the investigation, Jack feels sidelined by Vicky. While watching old interviews from Ray with his doctor and law enforcement, Jack discovers Ray is looking at a picture behind the doctor. Jack thinks it's possible that picture became part of Ray's obsession so he and Janice try to find that picture. When they find it, they determine the location of the picture in the woods. They find a house full of college students there, but discover an isolated place that Ray may have gone too. Indeed, that turns out to be the cabin Ray held Beth hostage, but they have left. Jack and Janice call Vicky for backup, then split up to search the woods for Beth.

With Ray hot on her heels, Beth decides to hide beneath a rock. Jack finds her there and calls Janice to meet them at a cabin. However, Ray was right behind Janice and takes her to the cabin. With the cops on their way, Ray decides to improvise by setting the cabin on fire, which would kill them all. Jack attacks Ray, but the fire has already started. Jack and Ray fight, while Beth frees herself once again and takes Janice out of the cabin. Jack knocks Ray down, but the fire is already spreading and he can't get out. Fortunately, Vicky has arrived with a whole lot of backup. Jack is saved, but the house then explodes with Ray still inside. It is over. At the end, Beth, Jack and Janice visit Ben at the hospital, who has managed to pull through.

Wow, what an outstanding episode! Like the winter finale, this episode was gripping and heart-pounding from beginning to end and there was no breathing until the last minute. This episode showed us the conflict of Beth versus Ray in an excellent way. They laughed, they shared memories, but she also blamed him for the past and he asked for forgiveness. Of course, it was only a matter of time before Beth tried to escape. The conflict really built up to an escalation that could only end with one of them dead. And I am so glad it is Ray. The fight scenes in this episode were amazing, and both Maggie Q and Eion Bailey gave their A-games. I am fairly certain Ray really dead in the fire. Yes, we didn't get to see a body, but there was no way he could get out of the cabin in time. Also, there was no-one else in the cabin. I am also glad Ben is still alive. I don't really care much for him, but his character has been underdeveloped. If they give him a good storyline, I might care a bit more for him. It was good that Vicky just let Jack and Janice do their thing while having a lot of manpower on standby. I am interested in learning more about her, and we should get more information on her in the last two episodes of the season.

And with Ray's death, the season has closed its major season-long storyline. It started out with this high school kid Perry showing an unheatlhy interest in this TAU detective Beth. After not getting anywhere by dating her friend Tracy and being arrested, he decided to break out Beth's former stalker Ray to team up. While Perry did not want anyone to get hurt, Ray slowly started to take things over. It all escalated when Ray went after Beth's family, her team. Perry tried to prevent that, but it got him killed. It has been an amazing ride and especially episodes 17 and 18 showed how outstanding this storyline was.

What did you think of "The Woods"? Was the episode as gripping as it was for me? What are your overall thoughts on the season-long storyline involving Ray? Are you happy that he is dead now? Or do you have some theory how he could still be alive? And lastly, are you glad Ben has survived his shooting? I would love to hear your opinions in the comment section below.

The next episode is the penultimate episode of the seasons and airs on Monday, May 11 at 9/8c on CBS. Watch a low quality promo below.

About the Author - Daniel van der Veer
Daniel van der Veer is a Dutch university student studying Psychology. On SpoilerTV he is a reviewer of NCIS, The 100, Stalker, Madam Secretary and the upcoming show American Odyssey. He also enjoys LOST, Arrow, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Nikita, The Blacklist, Scorpion and How To Get Away With Murder.
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