Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cages Are Left Wide Open In SVU's Eighth Showing

Photo Curteousy of

By Trublu
PTR Staff Writer

“Man tried to take a shortcut to Brooklyn, but the river got in the way.”- John Munch

The episode starts off with a girl sitting in the back of a van singing what sounds like a psalm. The boy sitting next to her is silent. When she asks the man if she can stop singing, he tells her to keep going, but the girl complains that her throat is sore, implying that she’s been singing for a while. All of the discussion over the singing causes the driver to take his eyes of the road, and the van nearly hits a truck, then plunges into the river.

We can see now that the kids are handcuffed to the seats. Bring in the SVU for this one. The ironic thing about the team’s arrival on the scene is that neither Munch nor Elliot can get the girl to talk, but when they turn around, Dani Beck swoops in and saves the day. One second she’s silent, next Dani has the girl chatting up a storm. Unfortunately, this is the first sign that something is seriously wrong. Dani couldn’t handle children at all before, but now she can. Elliot looks as shocked as the rest of the audience probably is.

“Can I live with you?” – Eden

The SVU certainly has it rough when it comes to this area. Olivia had this happen outright to her in season two’s “Abuse” (2.11). The trouble that the SVU has is that they must be connected to the victims. They couldn’t possibly do their jobs without being connected. But they cannot become so connected as to cloud their vision.

“See a future for her here at SVU?”- Don Cragen
“Sure.”- Elliot Stabler
“You don’t want your old partner back?” – Don Cragen
“Since when is that up to me?” – Elliot Stabler

In the most important exchange of the episode, Elliot establishes for us that Dani could easily become a more permanent fixture, if the unit needed it to be so. Elliot/Olivia shippers were most likely squirming at this confession, because not only was he accepting Dani, he was also accepting defeat in the situation between Olivia and himself. He has resigned himself to knowing that he cannot contact Olivia while she is undercover, and he knows he needs to move on and do his job. It seems UnStabler is not coming out to play, at least in this episode.

“It’s called evidence moron. Here’s a rug to keep you warm.” –Fin Tutuola

Finally, a good line for Fin! The rug, of course, referring to the toupee that the perp left behind in the car.

As per usual, since the detectives can’t get through to the kids, they bring in the esteemed Dr. Huang, who it seems is an avid drawer. All psychiatrists like drawing. Usually it doesn’t backfire on them this much, though, as Mark lunges at Huang and takes the pen he was using and stabs Elliot with it. Huang ends up holding Mark as Dani naturally goes for Elliot and rips the pen out of his chest, while yelling in French at Mark. While it was lovely to hear Dani speak French again, I wish it was under calmer circumstances, when perhaps we would be allowed to focus on the French and not the pen protruding from Elliot’s chest.

Cragen insists that Dani go with Munch and Fin to check out the adoption agency’s house while Elliot goes to the ER, but mysteriously she has not shown up. Imagine that. Three guesses as to where she is, and the first two don’t count.

Aha! She is at the hospital with Elliot. I bet you couldn’t figure that out. Are they going to have the same problem that Elliot and Olivia had in “Fault” (7.19)? They put each other over the job, which they insisted later could never happen again. Now it’s happening with Dani and Elliot, so we can’t imagine that they will let it go.

But, we must stop for a second to “oooh and awwww” at Elliot holding Dani’s hand. A simple gesture of affection that I don’t think we’ve seen before from Elliot, especially with Olivia. In true SVU fashion, the moment is broken when Kathy walks in with Kathleen. In the words of Richie Velch (The Class) “Aaaaaaaawkward!” Dani sticks around long enough to meet the sort-of misses and Elliot’s daughter, but then hightails it out of the potential war zone.

The ironic part about the interruption is that Dani was about to tell Elliot that she couldn’t do it anymore, the “it” being up for interpretation at this point. It could have been whatever relationship they had, the job, or both.

How any parent could perform a rebirthing ceremony on their child is beyond my grasp, but the tape at least provides the detectives with the evidence to continue the investigation. Cragen, not happy at all that Dani skipped out on the raid and seemingly oblivious to her connection with Elliot, insists that she go home and come back fresh the next day. Dani, of course, cannot physically do this, and goes to talk with the ACS rep anyway. While she can’t follow simple directions, at least she has connections to get stuff done! Her friend at the phone company leads them successfully to the fourth passenger in the van who is not hard for the detectives to break, and she sheds life on the life of Eden.

At this point, we find out where the name of the episode “Cage”, comes from, and we feel Dani Beck’s pain as she opens the barn door to find a little boy locked in a cage. When she asks him how long he has been in there, he answers “two days”, to Dani’s dismay.
To Casey’s dismay (Hey! Casey is making an appearance!) the judge (Terhune… maybe she walked in on his poker game again?) threw out the rebirthing ritual tape.

“The defense can say that in the missing sections a spaceship landed and aliens squashed the girl with a giant pumpkin.” – Casey Novak

Ehm… ok. I don’t think any judge would accept that argument, no matter how much tampering the detectives could have done with the tape.

Finally, a Casey courtroom scene! How long has it been since we’ve had one of them? That tape of human interaction was mighty interesting to look at! The jury seemed to think so too, as they looked interested when Casey looked over to see how much damage the defense was doing to her case.

I want to know how in the world Dani got permission to take Eden home with her! That’s not how we remain objective… I’m a Dani fan, and I don’t think as a judge I would have authorized that sort of arrangement. And as all actions have consequences, Dani’s decision to take Eden home with her results in a cute bedtime photo-op, but then a burning living room. In a clear display of the Reactive Attachment Disorder that Huang was describing earlier, Eden tries to burn down Dani’s house so that she can die, with Dani by her side.

All this culminates in a grand finale: Dani admits that she can’t handle it. This time, by “it”, she definitely means the job. She admits that she’s a fixer, she likes to fix situations and make them better. In the SVU world though, there isn’t always fixing to be done, more like consoling and comforting. Dani can’t always get clear cut justice for the victims, and she can’t go about a case the way she is used to either. This, along with the live victims (which almost got Casey in “Serendipity” (5.05)) caused Dani to metaphorically hand in her badge. Along with her badge, she is probably also forfeiting any relationship that she had or might have had with Elliot. Dani can’t stay for the victims, and she can’t stay for Elliot either. So ends the saga of Dani Beck.

Or does it? This is going to affect Elliot majorly over the next few weeks. And, Elliot is alone…again. While we’ve most likely seen the last of Dani Beck, we haven’t heard the last about her!

Prevalent in this episode was a strange combination of Christian religious symbols. The name Eden, as in garden of; Joe, the boy at the foster home; the psalm Eden was reciting at the beginning. The meaning of this compilation, if there was any, was not made clear in the episode, but could be connected with the “rebirthing” therapy, as the term “reborn” is often used in Christian worship.

Preview: Mariska returns full time in the November 28th episode, and it’s going to be good. We’re going to have an all star cast for this one, featuring Bernadette Peters, Catherine Bell, Bob Saget and Chris Sarandon. In a he said, she said…he said, and she said again, Olivia’s going to get right back to work. I’m staying tuned… pass the remote!

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