PTR Staff Writer
Elliot: She does her job, and when it’s done, she goes home.
Right there is the indication that it’s going to be one heck of an episode. Have you met your partner? Elliot is being questioned, by whom or for what we don’t know. It’s probably safe to assume, though, that he and/or Olivia have gotten into some kind of trouble. That’s a constant in the SVU world. Trouble = evaluation. The writers did a good job with this one, injecting different parts of the conversation throughout the episode, enough that we get the general idea that something has definitely happened between Elliot and Olivia, but not too much so that we know what is happening before the very end of the episode. Of course when Cragen drops the big bombshell at the end, the conversation seems entirely too obvious. But more on that later.
Olivia is in New Jersey at her brother’s house. New Jersey… I’m guessing that isn’t Philadelphia, huh? In fact, we don’t see, hear, or get an inkling that the detectives might be thinking about Philly. So, what was the connection? Every episode title of every show ever written has something to do with the content of the episode in some way, shape, or form. So why get us all excited about Philly if we’re not going?
The fact that Olivia is at her brother’s house pretty much makes up for that, though. Elliot is somehow there too, for “backup”. Now, why would Olivia need backup to visit her brother? Because, of course, Jersey PD is there too. What a coincidence.
Off to the actual SVU storyline, we’ve got a case of a male being raped, apparently the third in a string of attacks. We don’t see this storyline often enough. Actually, not since “Ridicule” (the episode where Diane Neal played the perp and not the ADA) have we seen a case like this, and while it’s extremely important to the storyline that the case be one of those rare male rape cases that happens to come in, I wish the writers would have utilized the idea in at least one other episode, since this one was primarily focused on Benson. That tiny grievance aside, however, I was stunned at the pure genius that is actually in this storyline.
It’s no mistake that the writers chose to work with male victims instead of female ones in this episode. Everything that Olivia knows is going to be challenged this episode, her family ties, her competence as a detective, and so no decent writer could possibly resist the urge to throw just one more wrench in the gears. Further more, it’s important that this episode’s perp chose male victims. Since he was abused by males in prison, (the theory is) that is why he turned around and abused the very same people he was abused by. It all ties back in to the theory that the tendency to be a rapist is something that can be passed on genetically, or it can be learned. The perp seems to reinforce the school of thought that being violent is something that can be learned, which is what Benson would rather believe. As Dr. Huang said, “identification with the suppressor.” Simon, however, seems to support the theory that genetics may have something to do with the tendencies.
Olivia has a great scene in the car with Elliot when she pretty much breaks down; alas for E/O fans, not in his lap, sorry. At this point she is definitely thinking that the phrase “like father like son” may be true, and she’s also afraid that the science of the matter may easily accommodate “like father like daughter.” It’s a popular idea in fan fiction that Olivia would have a problem with passing on her DNA for this reason: what if she is predispositioned toward violence? Olivia reveals, however, that she’s lonesome, and is tired of being alone. She thought she had a shot of being part of a family with Simon, but with the possibility of him being a rapist, that chance has been pretty much disappeared.
A quick lesson for new drivers like myself: Don’t ever do what Olivia did. Talking on your cell phone while driving is not safe to do, but being on the radio at the same time? That has to be in the detective’s manual somewhere… and look what happened! The perps got away. Negative effects, readers, negative effects. The scene did serve its purpose though: we definitely got the point that Olivia was distracted. Cragen knew that Olivia and Elliot were lying through their teeth when they claimed the directions weren’t transmitted/received clearly, so he has Techy Morales bring up the tapes! I didn’t know they recorded that stuff, but in any case: busted.
They end up catching the perps anyway, and Fin of course says the perfect thing:
Fin: Maybe these bozos don’t have good gaydar.
Best. Line. Ever. Or so I thought, until we got this one:
Olivia: What’s your name?
Perp: I hate you bitch.
Olivia: That has a nice ring to it.
And back to Olivia TV, and the most disappointing revelation of the entire episode: Olivia’s father is dead. Oh, man, I was so hoping for confrontation. I needed that to happen. Unless Simon is lying, which is possible, considering he’s lied about everything else. He and Olivia were having a good night of strawberry ice cream, Captain Crunch and Dukes of Hazard when he had to go and ruin it all by raping one of the women that he stalked. And didn’t he try and use Olivia as an alibi. Olivia, even though she knows with her head that he’s guilty, still tries to believe that he’s innocent. Even tries to pin it on Captain Millfield of Jersey PD (played by the lovely Kim Delany, by the way) but to no avail. Simon is guilty… and proves it by skipping bail. Smart man.
Back to the actual case again. (I know this is confusing, bear with me. This is actually how the episode ran, all back and forth like.)
Casey: (to perp) We want to use your case to build support for President Bush’s Prison Rape Prevention Act.
Huang: We’re giving these tapes to Dateline so America can learn all about the time that you suffered in prison.
I admit that for a second I thought they were serious, but almost instantly I burst into a kind of mechanical laughter. Brilliance in a bottle is what that was. Unethical, sure, but brilliant. The guy fell for it too, which made it even better. At least he is actually benefiting from the deal.
And fittingly, they end with the evaluation. Which we learn from Cragen, at the very end, is because he believes that Benson and Stabler simply may not be worth the risks of keeping together anymore. Why he send them to Dr. Hendrix, I’m not sure, since of Olivia’s personal history with her. But evaluate them she does. (A yay for Mary Stuart Masterson anyway, she always rocks as Dr. Hendrix.) And the ruling? Of course they’re too emotionally attached to each other. We knew that. But she warns Cragen that if he separates them, he’ll be losing the best team of detectives he will ever have. Decisions, decisions. We know that Benson and Stabler have at least two more years to work it out!
Over all, almost everything I wanted the episode to be. Olivia’s journey with this is definitely just starting, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where it goes. While I’m disappointed that Olivia’s father is apparently dead, there’s definitely a lot more about family that Olivia has to explore. We’ll have to wait a little while to find out exactly what happens, though. No new episodes for a couple weeks due to March Madness.