Wednesday, November 29, 2006

'SVU's Routine Was Not Very Well Choreographed

Photo Curteosy of

By Trublu
PTR Staff Writer

NBC Recap

I hold that last night’s episode of Law & Order: SVU was not as good as the rest of the season’s offerings. AS Olivia’s official return and Dani’s official goodbye, I was expecting much more than was delivered. Less angst and more lightness, please. Not normalcy, which for Elliot and Olivia has gotten boring and unbearable to watch.

To begin the episode, the victim is in the midst of a seizure, and the “were you raped?” line was totally misplaced and cheesy, though it was needed to get the SVU involved. Turns out later that no rape ever occurred, and right then and there the case should have been turned over to homicide. Dedication is one thing, but waste of an episode is another entirely. The detectives were not tied to this case in any way which should have warranted them to continue the investigation.

On top of that, Elliot is alone when he visits the crime scene. No Olivia, who is supposed to be back; no Dani, who left; no Munch and no Fin. Would it kill the writers to give Munch or Fin a crime scene that doesn’t involve Amy Solway or Fin’s “brothas”?

In the opening scene we at least find out what happened to Dani: She’s apparently been welcomed back to warrants with at least semi-open arms. Maybe her realization has helped her control her investigation techniques. And while the writers keep dropping obnoxious hints that Elliot misses Dani (in the form of him calling the victim “Dani” twice), we’ve seen the last of her, so stop teasing!

“You offering to be my partner?” – Elliot Stabler
“I’m not your type.” – Don Cragen
“Women keep leaving me.” – Elliot Stabler

Woe is Elliot. I want to feel sorry for you, I really do, but I can’t because somehow in the space of one episode you’ve gone from Stabler back to UnStabler.

“After what you did last night I’ve been assigned to be your handler.” – Olivia Benson

Ouch. Welcome back Olivia. *Lack of celebration.* What she says is partially true. But in Elliot’s defense, the guy pulled a knife on him. Anyone who has a knife pulled on him or her automatically assumes that the knife is headed toward not so safe places, namely embedded in their flesh at some point on their body. Startling the poor man without showing a badge was not necessary, but Olivia’s words were totally uncalled for. The writers are trying to create some tension, and that’s all well and good, but that is so out of character for Olivia. Everyone has their boiling point, but this isn’t Olivia’s.
Olivia seems to be upset that Elliot apparently doesn’t have his anger under control. Notice that Elliot only gets violent after Olivia is mentioned and is back with the unit. He wasn’t violent to this degree the entire time that Dani was in the picture. Inadvertently, by being as reckless as she sometimes was, Dani was Elliot’s calming force. Now that Tornado Beck is gone, UnStabler is back. And, where did Olivia come from? Last time she decided to check in, she wasn’t ready to return to the unit. Has she taken the legendary “time off”? She’s definitely more sarcastic, but not old school SVU sarcastic. Now, it’s “let me beat you into the ground” sarcastic, which does not jive well with the show.

The clear highlight of the show was the lesbian hitting on Olivia. That = Fantastic! We’re getting closer! (You all know you wanted Alex and Olivia together too.) I just ignored the federal agent hitting on her later; that was just annoying.

“Oh, so you’re recycling old partners?” – Melinda Warner
“Old?” – Olivia Benson
“Welcome back Olivia.” – Melinda Warner

“Hey Liv. I should have brought some welcome back cupcakes.” – John Munch

Can nobody leave this alone? I don’t remember Olivia’s first exit and reappearance being as grand as this one. Maybe after “Fault” (7.19) and the fake computer crimes gig thing, they’re as tired as I am of seeing Olivia leave and come back again.

“Dickie got suspended for busting someone’s lip.” – Elliot Stabler
“Aren’t you busting with fatherly pride.” – Olivia Benson

This really needs to stop. Olivia is clearly under the influence of something; at this point I would buy that a robot was controlling her mind, because in this episode, anything is possible. The sheer ridiculousness of this all makes me wonder what could possibly be in store for us down the road.

About the actual case: Never saw the chip in Naomi’s shoulder coming. I’ve never seen “The Stepford Wives”, but this seems like something that would fit under that title.

And finally, someone lays into these two! Casey Novak, Squad Squabble Solver. Olivia and Elliot have no right to be shocked; Casey is totally right. There is no way that Glenn should have been allowed into the hospital, negotiating tactic or not. Excited utterance could get their whole case thrown away. Her “this is your first case back, you rusty?” type comment directed at Olivia was a bit much, but her comment towards Elliot about knowing better hit the nail on the head for both of them. Notice that illegal stuff only happens when Elliot and Olivia get together.

I don’t know what to say about this episode. No Fin, no Huang, almost no Munch, almost no Casey. The Elliot & Olivia show, exactly what I don’t want to see. There was no rape; the killer was the jealous husband on the outside of an affair, how typical. The case managed to keep my attention for about two seconds, the personal stuff for just a bit longer. I found myself wanting to change the channel because it was that painful to watch. I miss Dani already. The case would have been a bit better if it wasn’t overshadowed by all the Elliot/ Olivia nonsense. Performances by Bob Saget, Bernadette Peters, Catherine Bell and Chris Sarandon were wasted.

Notable Quotes:

“We’re going to need a recent photo of Dani.” – Elliot Stabler
“Dani?” – Wesley Masoner

“What killed her?” – Elliot Stabler
“I don’t know.” – Melinda Warner

“You can’t figure out how she died.” - Stella Danquiss
“We know it’s a homicide.” – Elliot Stabler

“That explains why my four exes never made good on their threats. There was nothing to inherit!”- John Munch
“There’s your Warren Commission memorabilia.” – Elliot Stabler

(Referring to Attorney Stella Danquiss) “Every times she leaves the room the temperature goes up five degrees.” – Elliot Stabler

(Elliot tries to hand soda to Olivia)
“Oh, I don’t drink soda anymore.” –Olivia Benson
“Any other major changes you want to let me in on?” – Elliot Stabler
“You’re the one who traded in your suits for jeans.” – Olivia Benson

This quote is extremely important for two reasons. One, the non- eco-terrorists that Olivia infiltrated actually taught her something that she brought home with her. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see “Environmentally Friendly Olivia” more in the future. Second, Stabler’s changes while he was around Dani. His change of attire is symbolic of his more cavalier attitude and laid back approach. Basically, it’s symbolic of Dani, and I have a feeling that will stay for a while as well. Judging by the way he reacted when Cragen first told him he was going to get another chance with an old partner (he immediately thought Dani) Elliot is still very much attached to the blonde tornado that blew through his life in six episodes.

“I’d give you a kidney.” – Elliot Stabler
“Not if I gave you mine first.” – Olivia Benson


TVFan said...

This was a waste of an episode for me too. I miss Dani because she brought something different to the show, but I'm also glad to have Liv back. Too bad they had the interaction between her and Elliot seem so strained (until the final line about the kidney). It was almost like she was jealous that Elliot got on just fine while she was gone. It was weird. Hopefully, this will change.

kara said...

You guys must be bonkers!

I totally disagree. I REALLY enjoyed this episode. I even thought that this was one of the stronger episodes. If you ask me, the show has been off track most of this season. The storylines have been weak. Maybe it's because the writers are having to juggle everyone's schedule. Or maybe they are just running out ideas.

In my opinion it was nice to see the 'dynamic duo' back together again.