Thursday, September 26, 2013

Law & Order SVU “Surrender Benson – Imprisoned Lives” Recap & Review


The anticipation is over. After waiting all summer, fans finally found out how Olivia Benson is saved and by whom. Short answer – she saved herself.

Law & Order SVU closed season 14 with Benson held at gunpoint in her own apartment by the “especially heinous” sexual predator and sadist William Lewis (episode: “Her Negotiation”). Fans stewed for months wondering what would happen to Benson, the “#SaveBenson” Twitter hashtag gaining traction as the summer progressed. This campaign triggered some debate within the fan base. Some fans objected to making Benson a victim as a cheap ratings stunt; some were overly concerned about Benson to the point of making themselves ill with worry. Over the last few months, I’ve had to remind quite a few panicked fans that Law & Order SVU is a TV show and Olivia Benson is a fictional character, and that a TV show that can’t generate buzz is one that gets canceled.

After Mariska Hargitays’s contract status for season 15 was made clear, viewers HAD to know that Benson would be saved from the peril at hand. My interest in the premiere of season 15 was not that Benson would be saved, but HOW she would get out of her horrific predicament and at what cost. The “woman in peril” storyline is an overused plot device for many TV shows and it gets tiresome at times. But, sometimes for a character to grow – especially one such as Olivia Benson who has been around for so long – drastic measures need to be taken. Benson’s hellish experience could have long lasting effects on her and this season we’ll likely see her navigate the process of saving herself from the physical and mental torment inflicted on her by William Lewis.

Mariska pulled out all the stops to make viewers feel that Benson was in the fight of her life. It was troubling to watch a beloved character endure such torture. It also became very easy to wish that she would exact the ultimate revenge on Lewis. While watching the story unfold, the one question I asked myself is why, when Benson had control of her gun and could have easily shot Lewis to either incapacitate or kill him, that she didn’t simply shoot him and be done with it? In fact, at the end of the episode, Benson is asked that very question by another detective, and she rationalizes bludgeoning Lewis rather than shooting him as a judgment call. I would think that her police instincts would have told her that, once she had her gun, to shoot first to incapacitate the attacker, rather than taking some time and then beating someone within an inch of their life. Forensics could indicate that some of Lewis’ major injuries were sustained when he was prone, so will her account of what transpired come back to haunt her? It surprised me that her answer was acceptable to Benson’s superiors but I assume that they cut her slack since her judgment had to be impaired from all of what Lewis did to her.

The case in the episode “Imprisoned Lives” took place two months after Benson’s release from capture. It was a “ripped from the headlines" story based loosely on the real life story of Ariel Castro’s abduction and imprisonment of 3 young girls in Cleveland, Ohio. While working this case, Cragen describes Benson as still being “raw” and this has become painfully evident as the episode progressed. But, this seemed to be a perfect case for Benson to help her reconnect with helping victims, at the same time seeing a little of her own pain in those same victims. I must note the hypocrisy of the writers having Benson express outrage about the “feeding frenzy” of reporters. I hold similar disdain for “ripped from the headlines” story lines and suspect writers of police procedurals were chomping at the bit to adapt the story of the kidnapping and imprisonment of those 3 girls in Cleveland.  There are a lot of people in news and entertainment that make a living off the pain of other people (and I’m glad I’m not one of them).

This was an excellent start to season 15 – probably the best premiere that SVU has had in years.


Here is the recap:


Cast
Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Richard Belzer – Sergeant John Munch
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba


Guest stars (Surrender Benson)
Pablo Schreiber – William Lewis
Dean Winters – Uniform Brian Cassidy
Susan Pellegrino – Mrs. Mayer
Sue-Anne Morrow – Unnamed Detective
Robin de Jesus X – Jose Silva/Halfway House Inhabitant
Kecia Lewis-Evans – Arraignment Judge
Bill Irwin – Doctor Lindstrom
Lauren Ambrose – Vanessa Mayer
Bárbara Jimenez – Viva Núñez (as Barbara Jimenez)
Zach Appelman – Officer Jimmy Hamilton
Brian Keane – Clerk
Ned Luke – Mr. Thurber
Corey Patrick – EMT
Stowe Brown – Janey Thurber
Jasmine Rampage Rodriguez – Luisa Núñez

Guest Stars (Imprisoned Lives)
Bill Irwin – Doctor Lindstrom
Michael Massee – Michael Williams AKA Pa
Angela Christian – April Hendricks AKA Ma
Agatha Nowicki – Kayla Greyland
Xander Franco – Buddy Greyland
Dashiell Eaves – Times Square Uni
Henny Russell – Faith Greyland
Donald Sage Mackay – Scott Greyland (as Donald Mackay)
Sanja Danilovic – Dagmara Williams
Omar Scroggins – George Brown
Rick Lyon – Mo-Mo
Angela Lewis – Rhonda Davis AKA Auntie
T.J. Mannix – Tony Minetti
Sidné Anderson – Colleen Bedford
Sydney James Harcourt – State Trooper


Benson is unconscious, bound, with her mouth taped shut with duct tape. Lewis kicks her, holding a gun on her. She begins to open her eyes, groggy. He comments about her big, beautiful brown eyes and notes she is still feeling woozy. She sees an ashtray on the floor, filled with cigarette butts. As he sits her up, he tells her they have time. He strokes her hair and drops his hand, which still is holding a gun, between her legs. Benson resists but Lewis tells her don’t be shy, they are past that, and she was so sweet when she was knocked out. She struggles to focus her eyes and Lewis opens a bottle of whiskey and asks if she wants another drink, and then adds he should take off the tape so she can say yes. He puts the gun to her face and says if she screams again, he’ll shove her own gun right down her throat. He pulls off the tape and she spits at him. He silently steps back and Benson. She tells him “You know what? Shoot me.” He smiles and says “that’s the end game, sweetheart.” He adds that he has a lot of shock and awe before he does that. He takes his fingers and wipes her spit off his forehead and then licks his fingers. Benson is revolted. He grabs her face and squeezes – and her cell phone rings.

Back at the Bronx County Clerk’s office, Brian Cassidy is at the desk, and he’s leaving a message for Benson.

At Benson’s apartment, the messages beeps on her cell phone and she tells Lewis it is her boyfriend who is NYPD and is on his way over to her apartment now. Lewis asks if he has keys and Benson says yes. Lewis checks the message on the phone and comments there isn’t much of her boyfriend’s stuff around and asks if she is lying. Benson tells Lewis to think about what he is doing now. Lewis says he is thinking about it. Benson suggest if he walks out that door right now, no one will know anything happened to her. He asks what about that pert little detective the blond one, won’t she notice all the bruises and cuts? Benson suggests a story that the cab stopped short and she hit her face on the divider. He puts his hand on her chest, and she screams in pain, and he asks what about these burns. He comments that Rollins is like a dog with a bone. Benson replies that he’s done far worse and gotten away with it, and his lawyer friend the redhead will accuse NYPD of framing him after the trial. He corrects her that it was a mistrial. Benson tells him to go and get the hell out of New York and if he walks out the door they will pretend this never happened. He strokes her hair and moves close to her face and asks that she wouldn’t pretend this didn’t happen. He pulls her hair, drawing her head back, and Benson feels pain. He accuses her of lying. He tugs at her hair once more, and then walks over to get her cell phone, saying there is something that she should hear. He plays back the voice mail from Cassidy explaining they talked about getting together tomorrow but the guys are jerking him around over there and he has to pull a double and don’t be mad at him. Benson stares off as Cassidy adds that he is the one stuck at the Bronx courthouse. Lewis continues to stroke Benson’s hair as she listens to the message, as Cassidy says he is sorry about this, he owes her one. Lewis lets the phone drop to the floor and comments that he guesses that Cassidy is not coming. Benson explains she is offering Lewis a way out. He gets angry and holds the gun to her head, asking if she is bargaining with him, saying they are past that. Benson stares into his face as he continues to hold the gun on her, reminds him she is an NYPD detective and her partner and her squad and the entire department will hunt him down. She says that he thinks he put people through hell, it will rain back down on him. He moves the gun away and says, “You know what?” and, after a long pause, adds, “Let it rain” as he takes his gun and strikes her with it.

Back at SVU, Munch stops Amaro and complains that Amaro hasn’t paid his coffee kitty dues since March. Amaro counters that he doesn’t drink coffee. Munch says the unis see that as bad for morale, not putting in. Amaro replies “Seriously?” and then offers Munch $10. When Munch scoffs and Amaro ups it to $20, Munch says it is below his dignity. Amaro hands him $30 and Munch tells Amaro “today you are a man.” Amaro grabs a cup to pour himself some coffee, and Munch comments that Amaro said he doesn’t drink coffee. Amaro retorts that he is paying for it, he’s taking it. Brian Cassidy enters with a bouquet of flowers looking for Benson. He asks Munch and Amaro if they have seen Liv. Amaro explains that Cragen gave her two days off, and Munch questions that Benson didn’t tell him. Cassidy explains that they were supposed to hook up yesterday but he got roped into a double shift. Amaro comments that Cassidy stood her up, adding “nice move.” Cassidy replies that he left her a couple messages and he hadn’t heard back from her. Cragen walks up and asks Cassidy how Liv is doing, and Munch answers that Cassidy hasn’t seen her. Cragen asks when the last time was that he spoke to her, and Cassidy says Monday, he left a few messages. Cragen comments that she was pretty down when Lewis got released. Cassidy counters can they blame her, they just let this guy walk. Amaro, who is trying to call Benson, comments the call went straight to voice mail. He leaves a message for her to give him a call. Munch speculates that Benson can’t turn it off and she is deep into Lewis’ case file. Cragen says, “Still…” and Fin and Rollins enter, Fin explaining that pizza boy folded like a slice. Cragen comments on the good work but then asks Fin and Rollins to swing by Benson’s before the punch out. Rollins asks if everything is all right, and Cragen answers yeah, he just wants to be sure she hasn’t gone down one of her rabbit holes. Rollins asks Cassidy if he is coming with, but he explains he is back on tour in 30. He asks Rollins if she talks to Benson to have he give him a call. Munch say “Easy Romeo” and tells Rollins to just check in on her.

At Benson’s apartment (at 203 West 89th Street) Fin and Rollins approach Benson’s apartment door to see mail and newspapers on the floor outside. Rollins thinks Benson had a tough week and is just catching up on her sleep, but Fin questions for 35 hours? Fin knocks and calls her name, and Rollins comments that Benson either hasn’t come home or hasn’t left her apartment in 2 days. Fin knocks harder and continues to call out to her but there is no response.

Later, with the SVU squad on the scene at Benson’s apartment, they find it is trashed and Cragen says it’s him – it’s Lewis. Rollins explains that he tied up and duct taped Benson’s mouth, adding her hair and her blood is everywhere. Amaro adds that Lewis took her down the fire escape, her window is open and her bedding is gone. Cragen asks if there is any sign of her cell phone, and Rollins replies it is not in her apartment and TARU is tracking it. Cragen instructs them to canvas the building and the neighborhood and to check all surveillance cams. Fin notes there is a pan on the stove with keys and it smells like burnt hair or flesh. Amaro and Rollins look stunned and Cragen comments, “Son of a bitch.” Cragen tells another detective on scene that a detective has been kidnapped and they need to bag everything, and he has to call One PP. He points to Amaro and tell him to find him. Rollins gets a message saying they got a ping of her cell in Bushwick – Lewis’s halfway house.

At the halfway house, Fin and Amaro rough up Lewis’ roommate for information. Fin calls Benson’s cell phone and hears it ring on a nearby bed. The roommate says he last saw Lewis there yesterday morning early before breakfast and Lewis took his aunt’s Lincoln. After more prodding, he goes on to say Lewis was last there morning with the lawyer.

At arraignment court, Rollins and Cragen interrupt a case in progress to question Counselor Mayer as Cragen explains the urgency. As they walk to the courtroom lobby, Mayer insists they have a vendetta against Lewis, but as Cragen and Rollins explains the sordid details and show proof, Mayer insists she was with him all day yesterday when they drove out to Long Island – in a Lincoln. Rollins explains the car was stolen and Mayer then admits Lewis wanted to go to the beach to clear his head, and when Rollins asks if he checked the trunk, Mayer says no. Cragen says they believe Benson was in that car but Mayer says the car was empty. She goes on to say she had to go back to the city and before he dropped her off at the train station they stopped for dinner at her parent’s house. Cragen asks if they were there.



As the detectives race to Mayer’s parent’s house, Amaro and Cragen see the Lincoln parked there. Fin checks the trunk and Rollins and Amaro enter the house to find Mayer’s father dead and a blood trail. In the trunk, Fin finds a bloody bedspread and Benson’s necklace hidden by the spare tire – Fin believes she left it for them. Cragen says she was alive in the trunk and instructs the other officers to canvas the neighborhood. Fin and Cragen open the garage doors to find the parent’s car missing. Cragen tells him to call the lawyer and find out what car her parent’s drive.

Back in the house, Amaro and Rollins find Mayer’s mother barely clothed and hanging by her arms in the closet. She is still alive and Amaro calls out for an ambulance. Later, as they race to the hospital with her, she explains that Lewis came back after dropping off her daughter and made the woman with her watch while he raped her. She explains the other woman passed out. As Rollins continues to press if Benson was still alive, the EMT tells Rollins she is done.

Back at SVU, Munch is on the phone telling the caller there were no hits on the easy pass and they have alarms out on t he couple’s SUV, credit cards, bank cards. Cassidy asks Munch for information and then tells Munch he is going out. Munch stops him and says he can’t go out there, he is involved with the victim, and Cassidy is shaken by hearing Benson referred to as a victim. Munch explains the zone is flooded and that Cassidy won’t see something they don’t. Cassidy worries about what Lewis has done to her for two days, and Munch urges Cassidy not to think like that, and tries to assure Cassidy that Benson is alive and she is a survivor.

Elsewhere, Lewis opens the back door of the car and Benson is laying there. He brings in supplies and then gets her to sit up. She is still bound and gagged, and he explained all the stuff he got at the hardware store. He taunts her with the promise of a drink of water but forces her to drink vodka first. He mentions the sleeping pills giving her dry mouth, and then says he keeps his promises, including those to that other lady, and then gives her only a sip of water. He says they will find someplace special soon, and then spills out all the remaining water in the bottle, crushing the plastic bottle against her face. He tapes her mouth and then forces a kiss on her, then tells her one move and it’s lights out, he’ll do her cold/

Back at SVU, Cragen has returned to a waiting Cassidy, who asks if they are still searching. Cragen informs Cassidy that they are still searching and the last witness they have saw her alive. Cassidy asks if Liv was OK, and Cragen replies that compared to the witness, yeah. Cassidy says they know this guy’s car and where he has been, and he just ups and disappears? Rollins explains that Lewis has done this before, she and Munch have gone over Lewis’ M.O. Munch states that Lewis doesn’t pre-plan, he’s a savant, instinctual. Rollins adds that he does follow certain patterns, like a cat playing with a mouse. When he can, he moves them to a safe house and he takes his time. Munch goes on to say that in Kentucky, his girlfriend’s mother, he offers her a lift in the Circle K parking lot, stops at a hardware store and gets duct tape, rope and a soldering iron and then he stops at a liquor store. Rollins adds that Lewis ties the vic up and force feed her alcohol and drugs and drives around until he can find an abandoned mobile home out in the woods. He works her and leaves her there, a hunter finds her. Cragen asks about the two girls in Alabama, and Rollins explains they were roommates; Lewis broke into their apartment, puts them in the trunk of their own car, and drives them to a fishing cabin. He holds them there for 3 days and rapes and tortures them. He leaves them there tied up but they manage to escape. Cassidy comments, “So he lets them all live.” Rollins shakes her head and informs him not always, his first lawyer girlfriend in Maryland to a foreclosed house and held her there for almost two days and leaves her for dead. Munch informs them no news is good news, the car has not been spotted at any bridges and tunnels or ferries. Cragen thinks Lewis is still on Long Island. Rollins explains Lewis told his lawyer that he wanted to clear his mind and go to the beach. Cassidy wonders which beach, the north shore, south shore, the bay, asking if she knows how many beach houses there are on Long Island.

As Lewis continues to drive, he happily signs along with the song, :Ain’t We Got Fun.” He gets pulled over by a patrol man and Lewis tells Benson the cop is young and one move and he’s dead. As the officer explains Lewis ran through a blinking red light and asks the usual questions, but Lewis does not have his driver’s license. The officer sees the bottle on the floor and asks if he has been drinking. When the officer asks what he has in the back seat, he punches the officer, pulls him closer and puts a gun to his head and says he thinks his job there is done – and he shoots. Benson’s eye open wide with shock.

Later and elsewhere, the SVU detectives are on the scene as the body of Officer Jimmy Hamilton is being removed and Amaro explains to Cragen the Lewis took his gun and badge. They find evidence in the car Lewis left that Benson was in the back seat. Lewis took Hamilton’s squad car to pull over another driver and pistol whipped her and locked her and her baby in the squad car trunk and took her minivan. Fin adds they have a BOLO out for a white minivan with Connecticut plates. Amaro explains they have moved the grid search and are checking every home and ever boats, and Cragen orders them to check hardware stores and gas stations between here and Montauk.

Meanwhile, Lewis arrives at a house where mail is piled up in the mailbox. He brings Benson in and throws her forcefully on the bed. He explains he has to lose the car and it won’t take him long. He asks is she will miss him. He sees the bathroom and then says it’s been a long time – all that vodka, and then says let/s go. She needs help to get up and he pulls her to stand and then moves her toward the bathroom.

Elsewhere, Amaro and Fin are at Yaphank Hardware in Yaphank, NY, and the manager identifies Lewis from the photo, saying Lewis was using his wife’s credit card. His terminal was down and did not know the card was stolen until the morning. His wife was in the car. Lewis was there are 7”45 and bought tarp, rope, wire, and a hand held blow torch and said he and his wife were going camping. Fin gives him a look and grabs the receipt out of the manager’s hand.

Meanwhile, Benson is at the house while Lewis is away ditching the car, and she tries to escape. He returns and asks if she is going somewhere. He throws her back on the bed and yells at her, saying he told her he’d be right back. He taunts her on how he will tie her up on the iron bed. He asks if she wants her clothes burned off or cut off, and decides on scissors. As he goes to the kitchen to look for scissors she struggles to free herself. He finds a can opener instead. He asks if she is feeling sad, thinking about someone she will never see again. He continues to taunt her as he cuts her clothes. He thinks she is thinking of someone she would give anything to see again and he says she will cry his name out at some point – they always do. Benson suggests they he might want to keep her around as she knows what he likes, and thinks he wants someone hard to get and begging for it. She explains she knows more details about his past than he does and that he is not some punk. He thinks she is playing him but she insists no, and then she continues to outline what he’s done in the past. She tries to get him to loosen the cuffs or take them off, and he likes the struggle, but this angers him. He climbs up on her and puts the gun in her mouth, saying she does not tell him what to do. He then says, “now you say…” and Benson replies “I want to live, I’ll do anything.” She continues to say that she will do anything. He says, “Yes you will.” But a knock on the door is heard, and Benson screams out “Helllllp!” and quickly Lewis covers her mouth. A woman calls out and says he can’t find her key. Lewis answers the door, and it is the maid and her daughter, and the maid says he will call Linda. As Lewis makes small talk with her daughter, the maid gets more suspicious and says she will come back later. Benson continues to struggle. Lewis pulls the daughter inside and her mother is forced to follow.

Elsewhere, police arrive at the home where a man found a strange white van in the driveway, the one he saw on the news, and tells Fin and Amaro he called 911. The police told him to wait outside for detectives to arrive. He sees his daughter’s bike parked there and Fin and Amaro enter the house, where they find his daughter just hanging out in the bedroom with a guy.

Back at the house, Lewis tells Benson he hates to be rude but they have to hurry. He pulls off the tape and says the maid showed up with her daughter, calling her a cutie. Benson asks old ladies and little girls, asking what is it with him, is Lewis afraid of her? He said he just wanted to take his time, but she reminds him they have been together for 4 days and he is all talk and no action, She continues to taunt him about not being able to get it up for a real woman. She explains she profiles him, he’s a tyrannical sadist who preys on the weak and she thinks he is afraid of her. As she taunts him, he gets ready to remove his pants and says let’s get to the action. She pulls off one of the metal bars on the bed and hits him in the face with it, then beats his arm with it and then kicks him in the groin. As he moans in pain, she pulls the gun on him and tells him not to move. She says one move and lights out. He says if she wants to be in control for a while, he can play that. She hits him with the gun, knocking him out.

Later, Lewis is cuffed to the bed as Benson urges the maid to leave and say nothing, and explains she is the police. Benson says if the police find out the maid is there they will take her daughter. The maid flees. Benson comes back into the room and looks at herself in the mirror. She looks at Lewis and kicks him to wake him, but he seems out cold. She talks out loud about all the things she’d like to do to him, and she lights the blowtorch. She thinks he might enjoy that too. She says he knows what to do, his whole life he knew what to do, but what she wants to do…and she point the gun at him, saying she wants to shoot him in the head right now and watch him bleed out. But she thinks that may be too easy. She said her old partner would know what to do, he wouldn’t question himself after what Lewis has done. He would kick his teeth in, break his legs, arm, back and his face, and maybe Lewis should call him. Maybe she should get him to use that metal bar on him and make him pay. As she gets close to his face, he lurches towards her and she quickly moves back. He tells her to do it, please, complaining about her speech, it was the saddest think he’s heard in his life. She tells him to shut up. He says her partner and he would know what to do but she’s just standing there wondering what to do? She replies she will hurt him and he tells her to take the cuffs off. She orders him to stop talking and he asks or what – she’ll shoot him? He says she doesn’t have it in her, she wants to but she can’t, she’s a nice girl. Benson retorts that he doesn’t know what he is dealing with. Lewis replies her old partner sounds very macho and it must have been tough for her, all those long nights alone in the car. Benson sternly replies Lewis doesn’t get to talk about him, but Lewis asks if her partner ever did her, and then says he did, didn’t he? Lewis thinks she still wants him, he can hear it in her voice and she is all bottled up. He goes on to say all her life she has been listening to women telling her the worst stories of their lives and what about her, what is she working through? As she yells at him to shut up, he asks if it is something her daddy did to her, and says he can always smell a victim. She kicks him and then says point taken, daddy is off limits. He starts to talk about his father used to leave him at the babysitters and take her out back and do her on the water bed. One day he got wasted and he passed out and the babysitter came out of the room and she asked Lewis is he wanted to play. She put Lewis in her mouth and it felt good and then his daddy came out and slapped her in the face. She was bleeding from the nose and mouth and he grabbed her and pulled her to the floor and did her while she screamed, begging him to stop. Benson says, “While you watched? Are you kidding me?” and whispers, “Am I supposed to feel sorry for you?” Lewis smiles and asks sorry?...she missed the point. His daddy got up, pulled up his pants, took him to the car and then to Dairy Queen for ice cream, it was ht best day of his life, the moment he knew what he was put here for. He knows what he wants, what about her? She says she knows exactly what she wants – and as she points the gun at him, she says she wants him dead with a bullet in his head, she wants him in the ground. Nobody will miss him or mourn him, and as she has the gun to his head. Lewis urges her to do it now, while she is angry, just shoot him and it will feel so good, don’t let it go to trial he has a long history of winning streaks and he will get off. As she pulls back Lewis says no no no in disappointment. Benson puts the gun down and Lewis says he knew it, she doesn’t have the balls. She looks at herself in the mirror and then picks up the metal bar from the bed and as she screams, she bludgeons him 7 times, the last hit accompanied by a horrific crunching noise.

Later, Amaro, telling her it is over, leads Benson out of the house, and Fin comments to her she is still alive. She replies she does not know how. Fin tells Benson she did what she had to do. Amaro suggests they get her out of there.

Back at SVU and in Cragen’s office, Benson explains to a detective that she was able to break free from her restraints and there was a struggle, and she managed to incapacitate the suspect and get the gun. She got the handcuff key from his pocket and freed herself and called for backup. The detective comments that before the police arrived, the suspect tried to escape, and Benson confirms that Lewis managed to get to a standing position and lunge at her and she used the metal bar from the bed frame to subdue him. The detective asks if this was rather than shoot him at point blank range, and Benson nods, saying she made a judgment call. The detective thanks Benson and then tells Cragen she will forward Benson’s statement with the case file and rape kit with forensics to the DA and tells Benson he will be in touch. Benson looks out into the squad room, and then thanks the detective. After the detective leaves, Cragen tells Benson as far as the department is concerned, she is a hero and they will want a press tour as soon as she is up to it. He tells her the lawyer’s mother is doing better and will be released from the hospital tonight. Benson asks where the woman will go now, she can’t go back to the house, and then wonders herself where she will go. Cragen explains that her place is a crime scene and the department will put her up in a hotel. When Benson asks for how long, Cragen tells her not to worry about it, she has a concussion and a broken wrist and cracked ribs, and what she’s been through, she is on mandatory leave until she recovers and he does not want any arguments. She nods and says she is not going to give him any. Cassidy enters the office and says there is a lot of press outside and he should get Liv out of there. He asks Benson if she wants to go to the hotel, but she suggests they go to his place. As Benson walks through the squad room, her colleagues stand and watch her leave as she stares straight ahead. They all look dejected.

Back at Cassidy’s, Benson looks in the mirror and then begins to cut her hair, crying as her hair hits the floor.

At a later time in a psychiatrists’ office, Benson recounts her ordeal. He explains she was in a vulnerable state and it sounds like she is blaming herself. Benson claims she knows better but he still got to her – but not the way the doctor thinks.

Two months later, Benson returns to her apartment along with Cassidy, and the place is still in the mess it was in when she was initially held captive. She recalls what happened there as Cassidy says he wishes he’d let her do this for her. She explains she wants to open some windows. Cassidy tried to stop her when she moves to pick up a chair but she says she’s got it and says she is fine.

Later, she appears to be in a self defense class, and then back in the doctor’s office explaining that she knows Lewis is locked up and can’t get to her but she feels very angry and explains her regrets about the others. When the doctor mentions her being raped, Benson says that was not rape, that was an ugly , violent, assault. The doctor thinks Benson is trying to say she is fine, and reminds her she has undergone a traumatic experience and that even she is not a superwoman. She explains she went to the apartment for the first time today after the assault and it was not good. When the doctor explains that returning for the first time can be a trigger, she cuts him off and says she knows all about that. She then apologizes, then adds her place was so dark and she realized that she hasn’t thrived there. He says they can talk about that some more, and she suggests at their next session – or not. She says she knows that she is just ready to go back to work. He knows she is antsy but wonders if SVU is the best place for her, he hears she is reevaluating her home, her relationship, and he wonders if she has given any thought to the toll her job takes. She replies not for a second – Lewis doesn’t get to take that from her. He asks if the thought of doing something different frightens her, and she says what she is afraid of is walking back into her squad room and have everyone look at her and wonder if she is OK.

As Benson walks into the squad room, they all turn and look and she greets them. She seems happy and so do they. She sees a welcome back bouquet and asks what, no cake? Rollins explains they were going to get cupcakes but Benson assures them she was joking; She thanks them all as Cragen welcomes her back.

At the busy Times Square intersection, a young boy walks up to “Momo”, a man in a large purple fuzzy/furry costume. As the boy hugs Momo, a man races up and pulls the boy away, calling him Buddy and chiding him for walking away from him. The man tells Momo to back off and an officer takes notice. The man races off and leaves the kid standing there, calling out for “Pa.” The officer asks the boy for his name and the boy does not answer, looking frightened.

Back at SVU, Benson twirls her shorter hair and stares off as she recalls cutting it and her being held captive. She catches Amaro looking at him and he says he is sorry. She says it is OK, and asks if he does not like her haircut. He says it will grow. She laughs and then asks where is his ring. He explains it is what it is. Cragen enters and says there is an abandoned kid in Times Square, another “Momo” incident. Rollins asks what it is with that guy and Cragen tells her to wake up her partner and find out, but Benson says they have this. Cragen reminds her it is just her second day back. She complains that they pay her to be there and sent her home yesterday after 2 hours, reminding him it is a lost kid, adding please, she can handle this. Amaro steps up and says they are good. Cragen agrees.

At Times Square, Benson questions the officer, who says the boy doesn’t speak much and just wants to go home, thinking something is off developmentally. Amaro speaks with Momo who explains the dad started it and the kid clung to Momo like he was real. Benson tries to establish contact with the boy and looks at his hands. He says his name is Buddy.

In Cragen’s office, he thinks it is not good for the man to have taken off once he saw police. Fin explains Momo is getting a police sketch and TARU is checking security cameras. Amaro says the doctors state the boy is underweight for his age but bright and seems unharmed. While Benson is in the other room with Buddy, Rollins adds that they ran his profile through missing persons and there are no matches and no hits, either maternal or paternal, on his DNA.

In the room with the body, Benson talks about Buddy’s drawings and says he lives in house with his Ma, Auntie and Sissy and when she asks about the man, he says he will come back and be mad. He calls the man Pa when he lives at house, he goes sometimes but he always comes back. Benson asks if Buddy knows where Pa goes, and he says – don’t ask, be quiet, then he won’t be mad, if you’re quiet you’ll get ice cream or be out. She asks if they walked to see Momo and he says they walked a long way and then went upstairs to the train high up. He looks out the window and it got dark. Sissy taught him a way to make the walk go faster, to count the cracks in the sidewalk. He adds he and Sissy have lots of tricks and they count lots of things. She asks if they count the train stops and he nods yes.

At Pulaski Bridge in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Amaro is driving the car and Benson is in the back seat with Buddy as he gives them information. He recognizes the bridge that they cross and says there are 100 cracks to get that far from house. As they get closer he says 55 cracks. He points out “house.”

Later, with Fin and Rollins and more officers on the scene, Fin knocks on the door, calling out it is the police. A neighbor comes out onto the porch and asks if they are looking for Tony, and Rollins says the house is owned by Angie Manetti. The neighbor explains that Tony is her son and they live together. He has not seen Tony since yesterday. Amaro breaks down the door and they all enter and it seems he left in a hurry. Amaro heads into the basement and they find 3 cages where it appears people were being held. There is someone in one cell and they cut off the lock and Fin sees that the woman there needs an ambulance. She is chained, and Rollins and Amaro explain they are the police and she is safe.

Later, Cragen is on the scene with DA Barba and comments there is no sign Tony and that he may have left with two other women. Rollins describes the house of horror and Barba comments it is another Ariel Castro, asking what do they have on him. Rollins says he is Tony Manetti, son of homeowner Angie Manetti. No one has seen the mother in years but her social security check is being direct deposited. Amaro says there have been 3 complaints to the local precinct this year including a woman tied up outside in the doghouse, cops showed up, no answer so they left. Fin speaks with the neighbor who has never been in the house, they would just have a smoke in the backyard. The boy is quiet and Tony said it was his girlfriend’s nephew but if could have been his son.

Back in the car with Benson, Buddy identifies the woman from the house as Auntie and asks if he can see Sissy. Before Benson can answer there is a knock on the car window. Benson sees reporters nearby and then recalls being freed from Lewis. After another knock, Benson steps out of the car to a waiting Barba, and she asks if they have something. Barba explains Fin and Amaro are en route with the woman and that the woman has “issues.” He asks Benson if he is OK with all this and she asks is he? She has a 7 year old in the car who spent his entire life in a basement and god knows what else went on. They have no idea where this “Pa” is or who he is – Benson is showing more frustration – and she raises her voice and points to the reporters and says no the feeding frenzy begins? She shakes her head and gets back into the car and after she slams the door, Barba comments, “Welcome back.”

Back at SVU, Cragen explains to Barba there are no signs of the other women and they are bringing him in. Barba asks Benson what they know about the first vic. She explains that Rhonda Davis, 24, has been missing since 2002. Barba wonders how she ended up in that basement. Benson replies that Rollins says it has been slow going as the woman seems to have diminished mental capacity. She grew up in Delaware and has been in and out of foster care, parents are deceased, last they know she was living in a group home in Brooklyn, they did not report her missing until 2 years after she ran away. Barba suspects they wanted the government checks to keep coming. Fin and Amaro enter with Tony Manetti in cuffs, who seems clueless as to what is going on.

In interrogation, Tony tells Amaro and Fin he has not been in that crap house for 20 years. He has not seen his mother in 2 decades. Fin asks where he picked up Rhonda, and Tony says that he never saw her before. When Amaro says they found her chained up in his home, he counters that it is not his house, he doesn’t even like woman. He is gay, which is why his mother hates him; when he came out she spit in his face and told him he was going to straight to hell. He thinks his mother set him up.

Meanwhile, Rollins is with Rhonda who says the man they are questioning is not Pa. She begins to panic and wants out. Rollins suggests they get something to eat like ice cream, and Rhonda says Sissy says that is for Buddy. Rollins tries to get information about Sissy, and Rhonda says she sleeps with Pa except when he sleeps with her. He doesn’t sleep but he stays awake, and awake, and awake. Pa took only Ma and Pumpkin Pie – when Sissy came to live with them, Pa said Sissy was their Pumpkin Pie, their Thanksgiving blessing.

Later, in the bullpen, explains to the other that they think one of the other women is Kayla Greyland, Barba adding she went missing in the Poconos area 9 years ago around Thanksgiving, it was a big media case. Benson comments that Buddy ID’d the age progression photo. They are also checking the sketch of the third woman against old missing persons records, no hits so far. Benson wonders if it isn’t Angie Manetti, and Fin thinks it is unlikely, Angie is 85 and Angie’s real son has no idea who was impersonating him. Barba asks who is this guy? Amaro says there is no mail, no prescriptions bottle, utilities are all in Angie’s name, paid direct deposit. Rollins adds CSU ran prints and there are no hits. Barba comments they are no closer to finding this guy than the other two women. Benson counters at least they can tell Kayla’s parents that their daughter is still alive. Cragen tells them to take the police sketch, predators tend to work their own neighborhoods.

Amaro and Rollins are at the home of Scott and Faith Greyland in Poconos, Pennsylvania, who don’t know anyone that looks like the sketch. They seem hopeful she is still alive despite what the police previously told them. Scott mentions the boy in the house and Rollins cuts him off and comments the police didn’t ask for items to get a DNA sample, and Scott said the police said there was no point unless they had a body. Amaro asks if they saved her things and her mother says she has her first lost tooth and she moves to get it. Scott comments that the man kept her alive 9 years and he must be attached, and wonders if he would do anything now. Amaro does not answer.

Back at SVU, Cragen gets off his phone and tells Benson CSU found skeletal remains in the back yard wrapped in a bedspread – and Benson has another flashback. Cragen calls her back to reality, and she asks if it was another girl. Cragen replies they are checking dental records, it might be Angie Manetti. When Benson speculates he killed the old woman, Cragen says it could have been natural causes, and as Benson continues to speculate about a murder, Cragen adds the ME found no evidence of foul play. She goes on about how he keeps cashing the checks and raping the girls over and over and Cragen stops her, asking when is the last time she slept. Benson gives him a look and says she is fine, but he retorts “Fine. Even so, take a few hours.” Benson tells Cragen he has to stop treating her like she is broke, and Cragen replies nobody is saying that. Fin knocks on the office door and enters, and informs them they found Kayla.

In the squad room, Fin shows the news story about Kayla, saying she got picked up by New Jersey police shoplifting at K-mart. Benson thinks she wanted to get caught. Fin says the suspect bolted, a witness said he was with an older woman in her 30s, he thought they were family. They watch the TV coverage where Kayla explains to the media she was missing for 9 years, and she wants to see her mom and dad and Buddy. She wants to go home.

Later, at a hospital with her parents, Kayla speaks with Benson, Barba, and Rollins. Scott asks when they can take her home. Barba says the doctors have a few more tests and they have a few more questions. Her mother says Kayla does not need to be upset right now. Barba suggests the parents come with him to get a cup of coffee, but Scott says he is not leaving her. Rollins assures him Kayla is safe here. Kayla tells them it is OK and they more to leave, Benson telling Barba she will stay. Kayla asks about Buddy and he is his baby. Benson explains Auntie said Buddy is Kayla’s son but he doesn’t know it/ Kayla said their names were Auntie and Ma. Rollins asks her to tell them about Ma and Pa, and Kayla says Ma was in the car when Pa took her. She said she was watching TV at a friend’s house her mom called and said the turkey was ready so she started walking home. A car pulled up and Ma was driving and she asked for directions. The back door opened and she felt jolted and was shaking. Benson comments he tasered her. When she woke up, she was chained to the wall and there was a bucket and they told her they were her new family – Ma and Pa – and she would learn to love them. Maybe after about a week, Pa said it was time for her to help her and it would be better if she was unchained. He took off her clothes and his and had sex with her. She didn’t even know that is what that was called but Ma explained it to her and said she was lucky that she was Pa’s favorite. Ma was not locked up, she went upstairs and sometimes Pa would go away and she would ask her to let her go but she couldn’t as Pa was coming back.


Meanwhile, Amaro and Fin are at the Pennsylvania State Police, and they have a woman who was just sitting in McDonalds for 5 hours and the manager finally called the cops. There was no sign of the man she was with. The officer thinks he dumped her and left her with no cash. The woman just told them she had to wait there, and it took two of them to haul her into the car. Amaro sits down next to the woman and asks if she is Ma. Fin moves to touch her and says she needs to come with them. But she pulls away and says no, Pa is coming back, and is worried he won’t find her.

Back at SVU, Amaro and Fin bring Ma into the interrogation room. Rollins questions Cragen as to why they brought her in, and Cragen explains they need to interrogate her. Rollins says she is a victim, but Benson reminds her she could be a suspect, they heard Kayla, Ma was in on the kidnap and she had free rein of the house. But Rollins thinks Ma has classic Stockholm syndrome and she needs a psych eval. Cragen reminds her the guy is getting away and she won’t tell them her name or his. Benson says she is covering for him, and Rollins counters that maybe she does not know it. Cragen thinks they both could be right, at the very least, she had the guy’s trust and is their best shot to apprehend him. Rollins questions if the woman will open up to two male cops who cuffed her and dragged her in there against her will. Benson suggests Cragen let her and Rollins talk to her.

Soon afterwards, Benson and Rollins enter the interrogation room. They try to get her real name, or Pa’s real name. She doesn’t know his name. Benson explains what they know that she did for him, and mentions the other girls names. Ma wants to go and says she hasn’t done anything, but Benson turns up the heat and says what she will be charged with, and when one of the charges Benson mentions is rape, Ma growls and says she didn’t rape anybody. But Benson explains otherwise. AS Benson continues to get in Ma’s face. Rollins looks taken aback. As Benson continues to press very hard and Ma screams for her to stop, Rollins looks shocked and Cragen enters and calls Benson out of the room.

In Cragen’s office, Benson tells him she was getting somewhere, but Cragen says he attacked her and she was shutting down. He says he made a mistake, Benson is too raw. Benson feels that Ma knows who he is and where he is and she is going back in there. As she moves to the room, Cragen stops her and says she is not going back in, she is going home, it was too soon for her to come back to SVU. She takes a deep breath and storms out of the room. She marches to her desk, grabs her jacket, and walks out.

Benson continues to flashback to the beating she gave to William Lewis as the elevator doors open, and she exits just as the doors are about to close. She is at the hospital with Kayla as Kayla watches Buddy play. Kayla comments about people who are sending toys and money, and Benson says people want to help her and Buddy. Kayla says sometimes it feels like the top of her head is flying off, now she can do whatever she wants but all she wants to do is stay in bed. She is tired of everyone looking at her like she is going to break. She saw on TV that they found Ma, and Buddy wants to see her. She does not know how to tell him Ma is not is Ma, and Benson says the doctors will help her out. Kayla thinks Ma must miss him, all the time they were on the road Ma just kept saying that she hopes Buddy did not think they left him behind. Kayla comments that if Ma wants to see Buddy it is find with her, she does not want to take anything from anybody.

Later, outside the precinct, Benson calls out to Amaro as he exits the building. He tells her if Cragen sees her he’s gonna…and Benson interrupts and asks if he talks to Ma today. Amaro says yeah but she is traumatized. Benson hands her a paper and says it is something to trade for – but she needs to do this.

In Cragen’s office, Fin asks how long this is going to take as Pa could be in South Carolina by now, and Rollins says if they keep going at Ma she will shut down for good. The door opens and Benson walks into the office with Amaro and admits she was wrong before, but Ma knows who he is and she can get Ma to tell her.  Barba asks how, and Benson explains that she talked to Kayla, and Cragen reminded her she is off the case. Amaro says Benson can get through to her. Benson tells Cragen if he can’t trust her then she is done. He agrees.

Benson shows Ma a drawing Buddy made and Ma asks if Buddy made that for her. Benson says yes and says Buddy misses her. She says she misses him. Benson explains that Sissy said it was fine if Ma sees Buddy but Ma does not believe Benson. Benson says Kayla has a good heart and she knows Sissy would not lie about that. Benson adds Ma can have Buddy in her life but not as his mother, he needs to know the truth, but they can still be family, all she has to do is talk to them. Benson asks if she can tell them Pa’s name, but Ma says she can’t, Benson asks if Ma can tell her her name, and Ma says she just can’t. Benson hands her a legal pad and asks if Ma can write it down. She thinks about it, and Benson asks her to tell her the name they used to call her when she was a little girl. Ma takes the pen.

Later, Rollins says Ma’s name is April Hendricks and she went missing 18 years ago in Greenpoint. Barba comments she grew up two blocks from that house. Cragen asks if there is any connection to the Manettis, and Amaro replies none that they can find, she was raised by a single mother, now deceased, junkie. Rollins adds there were allegations of abuse from the mother’s drug dealing boyfriend. April ran away from home multiple times, and Barba notes NYPD did not work the case. Amaro said police questioned a few suspects and two are dead, but one Michael Williams – whereabouts unknown – was a maintenance worker at her parochial school. Some of the students say she had a crush on him. Fin says Williams claimed he was counseling her and the police ruled him out. Rollins explains that the school closed down 5 years ago. Cragen tells them to track down everybody who has worked there and see if they know where he is.

At St. Horatio’s parochial school in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, they speak to a woman who was a teacher there. She says Michael Williams now works at this school and she can get his phone number; he had an accident a few days ago and is on sick leave.

Later, Amaro, Rollins and Fin are at Williams house with reinforcements. Amaro beats on the door and Rollins orders Williams to open up. A woman who says she is his wife answers the door and she says he is in the back playing with their boys. As Amaro and Fin go out back, Rollins moves the wife inside the house. Amaro goes into the back yard and pulls Williams away from the kids and pushed him toward Fin who tells him the game is over. His wife races over to hug her two boys.

In SVU interrogation, Amaro and Fin question Williams who says he was the slave, he worked his ass off for them. Meanwhile, Rollins speaks with his wife in the interview room who says she worked at Angie Manetti’s house for 18 years taking care of his mother and she would have known. Rollins says that was not his mother, they didn’t share the same last name. William’s wife said after his parent’s divorce, his mother went back to her maiden name. Meanwhile, Williams insist the women came after him, saying he saved April and Rhonda was on drugs and he was the only stability in their life. Meanwhile, his wife does not know the 3 woman and said he took care of his mother, and Rollins asks if it was until she died. But his wife insists his mother is not dead, she has Alzheimer’s, saying Michael stays with her all week long taking care of her. Rollins explains that is NOT who he was taking care of, Angie died 3 years ago.

Amaro continues to press Williams about Kayla and Williams said she was special and it was for the greater good. He says he is not evil, he has problems and after her, he did not need the others. But his wife insists he is a good man, he is good with the boys and taught her English and helped her stay in this country. Rollins asks if that was by marrying her and moving her to the Poconos. Rollins asks to hear more about that. He told her it would be better for the children as the city would be filled with bad men.

Williams explains that Angie Manetti was a friend of his mother’s and he took care of her. He was like a son to her, and says she didn’t find out about the girls and no he did not kill her, one day he took her breakfast and she was gone. He did not kill her. Fin asks what did he think would happen to Rhonda, the girl he left chained in the basement when he took off. Williams replies you can’t save them all but says he would go and get her once he found them a place but the Kayla took off, what was he supposed to do with just Ma. He says he saved those girls and they are live because of him, and he gave Kayla a son.

Cragen asks Rollins if his wife believed all this, and Rollins explains it was a green card marriage so she was compliant. Barba comments that April knew all of this, but Benson reminds him she was taken when she was 12 and she thinks it was consensual because he saved her from her mother’s boyfriend. Cragen tells Barba that he cannot be thinking of charging her. Barba counters that she did help keep Kayla and Rhonda imprisoned, but Benson says she is scared to death that she is a shell. Rollins adds she needs long term help, not more punishment. Barba says he hears them and that she suffered enough, but looks to Williams and says this guy there is not enough suffering on earth for him and he will not see the light of day again.

Later, Fin looks in on Williams and says the guy is a coward, he kept those girls locked up all that time and wonders how long he will last in prison. Amaro wonders if he will kill himself, and Fin replies so what if he does?

Later, outside Kayla’s parents home where reporters and others are outside. and in a car with Benson, Kayla asks why can’t the go? Benson explains they are working on moving the press away. Benson warns Kayla this will not be easy. Kayla does not care about her, it’s Buddy. She did not want to teach Buddy too much as she was afraid he would want things he could not have. She wants him to go to school and have friends and family and a normal life. As the car moves, Kayla asks Benson if Buddy will ever be normal. Benson does not answer, and Kayla goes on to sat Buddy does not even have a name. Benson explains that from what she has seen, is that people who have gone through unfair, horrific experiences that they have this will, and when they get support, a chance, they cannot only survive, they can thrive. Both get teary eyed. Kayla wakes Buddy and says they are home. They get out of the car and Benson gives her a reassuring smile.

Later, back in the doctor’s office, he tells Benson he is glad she decided to come back. He asks how she has been. She says better, and as she smiles. We fade to black.



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30 comments:

OhSusannah said...

I too was personally thrilled to see Benson save herself from William Lewis. It is so incredibly overused as a plot point that their male partners always save these female cops in peril. I thought MH was absolutely riveting when she was basically bargaining and 'coming on' to the perp, daring him to let her out of the restraints, and that he feared her! Brilliant performances by both MH and Pablo S. I too wondered why she didn't at least shoot Lewis in the knee or leg,incapacitating him until she was able to call in her police reinforcements.Benson's 15 years of pent up rage at the many perps over the years came to the surface in that last scene when she did wield the metal rod on Lewis. Some fans on Twitter were referring to Liv as Ellivia ,her rage was so great and reminiscent of her former partner.I was a little disheartened to see so many fans insisting that it was going to be Elliot in fact who would come back and rescue her. I seriously doubt Christopher Meloni has a lot of interest in resurrecting Elliot Stabler.Really amazing season opener.Kudos tot he cast and crew for bringing it on every level to SVU loyal viewers.

knightleyemma.com said...

The 1st hr was simply WOW!!! The only ep I can (somewhat) compare it to is the one where Elliot took on the family killer (played by Dylan Walsh). That ep was a life-changer for Elliot (b/c he decided to return to his family). MH just took Olivia to another level!

Nancy R said...

At the end of the 2nd episode Barba says the kidnapper "will never see the light of day." Benson gives him a strange look - perhaps remembering that he said something similar about
Lewis in "Her negotiation."

It is interesting to see the final product and compare it to the behind the scenes video-lots of dialogue edited out for the final version.

magix74 said...

I was also very happy that she saved herself. Surprised she didn't shoot him, but it is tv so I don't expect the story to be perfect. I too got caught up in the hype a little and wasn't disappointed with the first episode. I just love watching MH act so it was good to have an episode just about her. I liked the rawness of it and the way she spoke to him. The second episode was nowhere near as good and I suspect none of the future episodes will compare to the first. I'll still continue to watch, if only for the MH scenes. A fantastic performance by both of them.

Sylvie Trans said...

First of all, the episode was GREAT! Don't get me wrong!

But I must say I was very disappointed to see it turned into yet another "almost raped" plot. It just seem so unbelievable how she always get away at the nick of time. Just as she is about to be raped someone comes in the door and interrupt them. I mean, come on, a violent rapist had her for four days without sexually tormenting her. And all the other victims he have stripped naked from the start, and he didn't even rip her shirt during those four days? It just don't make sense.

I get that the writers would hesitate to have the hero be raped, and actually way before the episode aired I kind of suspected that the writers would avoid having her be raped and use the excuse that he couldn't get it up if it wasn't and older woman or something... I figured they works try to explain it say with a not so thought trough excuse. Because that excuse didn't quite add up either, he did tape and torture his other. attorney/girlfriend. She was his age. And he once raped those college girls...so it was not just old women.

The way they hyped this up I would have thought she were raped or at least humiliated sexually. Besides, since him being a sadist who loves to humiliate and inflict pain, one would think that he tried to cover up his lack of manhood and not being able to get it up by raping her with objects (Like every rapist they ever had on the show do when they can't get it up) It is very, very strange and not especially believable that Olivia turned out to be the only woman he ever kidnapped that he did not touch sexually. Especially since sexually torturing his victims is his main MO.

But I did notice that Olivia had a rape kit done. Why would she have one done if she wasn't raped? I hope this question gets answered. And It is my guess that he perhaps burned her genitals, not to mention he probably felt her up when taking her to the bathroom. I don't picture him taking off her pants and panties and afterwards wiping her dry without using that situation to torment her. And it was something in her reaction when he talked about his nanny taking him in the mouth that made me suspect he forced Olivia to do that at some point...

I don't know. It just did not add up having a violent sadist rapist go astray from his MO. I think the writers could have been braver and really gone there.

Anyhow, I really really loved the episode. Mariska's acting was incredible and she deserves ten Emmys. It was creepy, intense and suspenseful. So it is definitely one of my favourite episodes. But I just think they hyped this up too much and that it would have been even more intense had the cast and crew not made it sound like something WAY WAY more terrible happened to her.

I do hope we get more details about the assault trough flashbacks and therapy sessions in upcoming episodes. I really like how her ordeal follows her during her work and that they keep continuity in the show after having the main character go trough what she went trough!

BensonFan said...

I too found it totally unbelievable that Olivia wasn't raped. Without her being raped, this just feels like "Undercover" (Season 9) 2.0 ....Olivia reacts in same old Olivia fashion i.e. "I can handle it. This didn't break me." I didn't feel her vulnerability finally shining through. (Mariska did an impeccable job, but the fault lies with the script.) I'm NOT saying I wanted Olivia to be raped, but this episode doesn't add any dimension to the Olivia character.
Also, the whole "Gee, where's Olivia?" felt pretty staged.
It was nice of Warren Leight to throw us a bone with the Elliot comment about what her old partner would do to Lewis.

Rachel said...

Question: Was Benson raped. We know she was burned on her chest, but we would have heard more screaming every time she moved if she had been burned anywhere else. So why was a rape kit done and what was her therapist referring to when he said she was raped? Can't figure it out.

Avi Reiss said...

I'm so confused was she raped or not.He obviously went to the bathroom with her and he probably touched her.But she had a rape kit done so I am just so confused. Can someone please explain.

Chris Zimmer said...

They did do a rape kit. After all, it sounds like there were times she was unconscious so at the time she was rescued they had to do the rape kit to be sure. She says she was not raped but instead assaulted... maybe he didn't do anything to penetrate her but did assault her sexually in other ways.

OhSusannah said...

I think Liv was most likely sexually assaulted at some point-again- when she was perhaps drugged or intoxicated.She seemed to have burn marks one her chest, though they weren't shown. I think that for a person like Liv, being tied up defenseless, and forced to watch Lewis rape the older woman and obviously others is more of a torment to her than an actual rape. Lewis knew it and think that's the way the entire thing was written. WL only made fleeting references to her being actually raped ,though I think Ice-T made a comment about Liv being raped.I think they are deliberately being very vague about the actual four-day ordeal on purpose, perhaps intending to reveal more as the season wears on.I'm curious to see how such an intimate assault will affect Liv and Cassidy's romantic relationship as it surely would.

xfool said...

The episode was predictable. We all knew she would be saved. We knew she would be tortured. There was no secret about those things. It WAS painful to watch Mariska in this role, and in that aspect her acting was fantastic. But the writing was a little...off. Her "speech" while she thought Lewis was out cold was sheesy. It was a way for them to mention Stabler and bring the character in without bringing Chris himself in. It felt forced.

Did it bug anyone else that they are setting up the same scenario as the final season of Criminal Intent - you know, Goren in therapy every week? I just hated that part of that last season. That is another overused plot device. SVU is still a good show but I think it is way past it's prime. Benson did need a major event to rattle her and create an on going story for the season, but I hope it isn't all going to be the old "shrink" routine.

The second episode was OK. ATLAO, I laughed too at the line when Benson bitched about the media frenzy. The first show/people to try to capitalize on the Ariel Castro story was SVU and that puts the SVU writers in the same low life category as the frenzied media!45 ehforoy

Amy Foxley said...

I completely agree with Sylvie; I enjoyed the episode, but couldn't believe she wasn't raped. It was unrealistic. This man was a sadistic sexual sociopath, and to expect us viewers to suspend belief that he went four days without sexually assaulting Olivia, is underestimating their fan base. No, I didn't want her to be raped, but I was irritated that she, out of all the women he violated, was the one able to hold him off for days. Hurting, demeaning, and humiliating women sexually is his MO. There is no way he would have waited. It ended up ruining what was otherwise, a great episode.

fred astire said...

What did Ice T say about her being raped? And also.. (Far fetched) but what if Liv was raped in that moment the cleaning lady and little girl interrupted.. What if Liv made the visitors up in her head as a way to cope with actually being raped?

Linda F. said...

Re: Liv being raped, I thought possibly she was by something the shrink said in the second episode when Liv was talking to him. I apologize, I don't remember the exact wording, but he said something about her and (dealing with? Arrggh, I wish I had a DVR) assault and rape. There was a quite significant pause before he said the word "raped," and that's what led me to suspect she might have actually been raped. It was obviously very subtle, since I can't remember it, but it really seemed important to me. YMMV, of course.

OhSusannah said...

Fred Astire- there were cast interviews on here a couple of weeks ago provided by Universal/NBC. In the last few seconds of the one Ice-T gave, he definitely used the words "Liv's rape".The taped interviews are gone now, removed,unfortunately.Perhaps Ice-T was just over-generalizing the prolonged attack/torture on Liv.

Joanne said...

It was slightly more predictable than I would have hoped for but it was a very good start to the season nonetheless. I wasn't so keen on the second one though, way too ripped from the headlines. I am also disappointed that it looks like the relationship with Cassidy won't survive this - I was hoping it would make it stronger.

I was creeped out by Bill Irwin as the psychiatrist though - last time I saw him he was using that same penetrating gaze as a serial on CSI.

Sylvie Trans said...

I agree Amy, the writers really underestimated their fan base when they expect us to believe that a sadistic sexual sociopath went four days without sexually assaulting her. It is so typical that the heroin of a show always, out of all the women violated, is the one able to hold him off for days. I mean, come on, change it up a little, and really jolt us.
This episode was not quite “jolting” the audience. If she were raped, they would have jolted us and shown us something completely unexpected.

Btw, Fred Astair and Susannah, I saw that interview with Ice-T, he did not say anything about Olivia’s rape. But he said something about Olivia being a complex person to begin with, her being” a child of rape” and all…

Oh Fred, even if it is far-fetched, that was a brilliant thought. Liv just imagining those two as a way to cope with what actually happened. And that the reason she did break loose from the bed was not that she managed to break the bed, but because Lewis removed her cuffs so that she would struggle some more when he raped her, and after he raped her he let his guard down for a minute and she managed to overpower him.

The scene where she attacked him would be so much more powerful if it was a reaction to him actually having been able to put her through her worst nightmare.

Linda, I think I know what you were referring to with the therapy session. Olivia said to the shrink that she was angry, and that she felt that if she had not let her guard down, and if they had managed to put Lewis away, Alice Parker and the attorney’s mother would not have been raped. And the shrink said “And you” and she quickly looks at him and says “That was not rape, that was an assault.” SO it seems to be very important to Olivia that there are a clear line between what happened to her and a rape. For her that is the ultimate invasion.

All in all, as of now this just feels like the undercover-episode all over. I wished so much that they would’ve been brave enough to really change it up.
I also wish that they somehow read all these opinions, because there are MANY people who have said the exact same thing about this episode. And perhaps they will re-write some of the coming episodes so it is revealed that she in fact was sexually assaulted by him. Because I just can’t get over how out of character and “out of plot” it were to not have her undergo that kind of trauma when being at the hands of a violent rapist for four days!!

I wonder if there will be a director’s cut, several if the cast have mentioned that they don't know how much would make it past the censure. I hope there will be an extended episode on the season box, since this episode has turned out to be so epic for the whole show.

Chris Zimmer said...

OhSusannah - the interview clips are all still there, it's the episode clips that had to be removed.

http://allthingslawandorder.blogspot.com/2013/09/law-order-svu-surrender-benson-season.html

jaecollins27 said...

We're missing the point of the episode if we get caught up in the particulars of whether Benson was actually raped or not.

No Lewis did not follow his usual MO, but they said he wasn't exactly methodical. Somewhere in his head, he knew the road was over with Benson which is why he wanted to savor the moment. She was a complete break from his usual MO. He always went for people with whom he'd earned their trust because he had the creeper charm about him. When Rollins caught him she wasn't falling for it. Benson was outright disgusted by him from jump and that pissed him off. So when he gets caught for raping the old lady, he tried to intimidate Benson by telling her ever detail of the assault and she doesn't flinch. Which is why he targeted her. He can't charm her, he can't scare her, so he's pissed off and decides he's going to break her because for him it's about the mental and physical triumph.

So in the beginning in the first hours in her apartment, despite burning her and beating her up, she's still not broken by him and still spits in his face. So he forces her to watch as he rapes the old lady and Benson passes out instead of watching the whole thing. Even when he has her tied to the bed, she's still trying to take control of the situation.

When she finally pleads for her life, is when he's satisfied because as he said in the previous episode he liked the fact that the first old lady begged for her life.

If you notice he's actually happy when Benson looses it and starts planning to torture him, because he knows he's gotten to her. Benson knows that too which is what upset her so much that she did go nuts on him with the pipe.

So was Benson raped? Who knows? But the violation was just as severe. That's why the therapist grouped her in with the other rape victims. She wasn't spared any trauma that the other victims had to go through and he wants her to accept that. Even though Benson wants to be able to say "I wasn't raped" she knows that she's feels just as humiliated and violated as any other person who had been raped.

And cutting your hair with a broken wrist is always a bad idea.

f3e80d1c-24be-11e3-b05a-000bcdcb471e said...

I have several issues with the comments here. Specifically, the reaction by some to the fact Olivia wasn't raped. I'll just go in order of comments.

Firstly, Sylvie Trans, please re-watch the episode. Nobody ever said or even implied or suggested in any way that he didn't rape her because he couldn't get it up. Olivia was using that as an insult when she was taunting him and baiting him into coming towards her after she was able to free herself from the bed post and use it as a weapon. You weren't supposed to actually believe that was the truth.

You said this turned into "yet another 'almost raped' plot." Um, ok. So there's been two now? It's happened twice in 321 episodes over 15 seasons. Is it really so unbelievable that the two times she was almost raped she got away, once saved by Fin and once saving her self?

To answer your question about the rape kit, it's pretty simple. Aside from the fact that she may have been assaulted or molested without being raped(like you said, he was in the bathroom with her...plus she was unconscious for much of the time he had her, and who knows what happened then; where else did he burn her besides her chest?), a rape kit can collect forensic evidence even when no rape occurs.

You mentioned several times that she was the only woman he did not rape...ok, 1 out of, what, 4? 5? Only a handful of hundreds got away from Ted Bundy. (And technically, the maid and her daughter got away without being raped, she she's one of three) She was also the only one that was a defective and was able to free herself before he had a chance to rape her. You make it sound like he just got bored and let her go. He was on the verge of doing it. I don't understand how that doesn't add up. You said that he went away from his main MO, even though his main MO is psychological torture and he obviously inflicted a whole hell of a lot of that on Olivia. And like I said, he was on the verge of raping her when she escaped. I'm really struggling to see what's so strange or unbelievable about that.

If you don't think being kidnapped, beaten, tortured, forced to watch a rape and murder, held for four days while searching for a "special" place where rape and murder are promised(from somebody known to have done it) is "WAY WAY more terrible" even without an actual rape...then I don't know what to tell you. No offense, but I don't think you fully grasped what actually happened to her in this episode.

Did you seriously say you hope they re-write future episodes to change what happened and make it so she was actually sexually assaulted? Yes, there are many fans who don't understand why she wasn't raped, but there are many more who get it. They understand that he was about to rape her when she was escaped. They understand that her being the only one of his victims(besides the cleaning lady and her daughter) to get away with not being raped doesn't mean anything when there were so few other victims and she was the only one who would've been strong enough and smart enough to get away in the first place. They understand that his MO goes well beyond just sex. They understand why he waited for days, because they paid attention to what was happening in the episode and they understand that he always likes to methodically take his time. They understand that there was absolutely nothing unbelievable, unrealistic, disappointing, or irritating about the fact that she wasn't raped. They also understand that rape wasn't necessary, because they understand that being kidnapped, tortured, tormented, forced to watch a rape and murder, for four days while the attacker looks for a "special place" where he's promised and guaranteed endless hours of rape and then death...is really, really, REALLY terrible. Beyond the fact that people wanted her to be raped(despite their claims to the contrary), the fact that people are finding a way to diminish what happened to her is astounding, disturbing, and alarming.

f3e80d1c-24be-11e3-b05a-000bcdcb471e said...

I ran out of characters, sorry. Here's the rest:

BensonFan, how can you compare this to Undercover? Do you seriously not see the difference between being handcuffed by a guard and getting rescued by Fin before ANYTHING happens and being kidnapped, tortured and tormented for days, and saving herself from inevitable rape and murder? Even Olivia's reaction, how is that the same? In Undercover she was back to work, what, the next day? Here they made a point of her saying she wasn't going to argue with the mandatory leave, she admitted that she struggled mightily with going back to her apartment, and when she came back to work TWO MONTHS LATER she showed all kinds of affects, ultimately ending up back in therapy. Seriously. Aside from the almost-raped aspect, there is absolutely NOTHING similar about the two episodes!

Rachel, she explicitly and emphatically said she was not raped when the therapist said she was.

Amy Foxley, pretty much what I said to Sylvie also applies here. But to expand on that, at exactly what point during her ordeal should he have raped her? In her apartment, when the NYPD could show up at any moment? In the trunk of his lawyer's car with the lawyer watching? At the lawyer's parents' house, where the NYPD or the neighbors or anybody else could show up at any time? In the car, where anybody could see them at any time? He was constantly running from the police, torturing and tormenting her(his real MO; sex is just one of the many weapons at his disposal) along the way. Go back and watch the part where they go over the pattern he follows. He kidnaps his victims, TAKES THEM TO A SAFEHOUSE, and THEN rapes and tortures them for hours or days. He spent the four days looking for the "special place" that he knew he'd be alone with her, it wasn't anything she did to stop him or hold him off. He was obviously planning on raping her there, right before the cleaning lady showed up. Then she managed to escape. No, it's not all about sex like you seem to think. Torturing and tormenting women is his MO. He did that to Olivia. Rape is just a one part of it, the part he saves for the end, and she escaped before he got to that part. I really, really don't see what's unbelievable about that.

I would have been extremely disappointed if the writers had been so predictable and boring as to have Lewis rape her. That may very well have been SVU's "jump the shark" moment. Kudos to them for crafting the whole ordeal so perfectly, from beginning to end.

LlamaJ said...

I was perplexed as to why they brought up Stabler. She seemed to go on about him as if this was some life-defining moment. Are they bringing him back? Did they have her talk about him as if to acknowledge the fans that miss him? Or try to reach him and get him to come back?

BensonFan said...

f3e80d1c-24be-11e3-b05a-000bcdcb471e, in "Undercover," Olivia was sexually assaulted. The guard tried to force his penis into her mouth, so it isn't accurate to say that she was rescued before anything happened. She also dealt with PTSD for a few months afterwards and went to therapy, like she does this time.
Obviously, the assault was more severe this time, but it still doesn't feel like an original story.
It would be more interesting to see Olivia crumble completely and have to work her way out of the darkness instead of seeing her same bullheaded half-denial that she can't handle life half-immediate empowerment. It just doesn't seem realistic or like Olivia is growing as a character as a result of the experience. That's just how I feel.





Sylvie Trans said...

hf3e80d1c-24be-11e3-b05a-000bcdcb471 - That was a long post with many good points and observations. Even though I see much of it differently..

First of, the fact that the character Benson used that as an insult (that Lewis was not being able to get it up for other than older women and little girls) and the character Lewis taking such offence by it, tells me that the writers wanted the audience to take that as the truth and that it was a reason why the writers decided to add those lines to the episode, and that was to explain why they chose not to write that he raped her during those 4 days. But that is just my interpretation of the delivery of those lines.

I am NOT saying that what happened in undercover was the same as what happened in this episode. Not at all! But after undercover we saw the plot of her being traumatised, but not quite seeing herself as a victim because she was not raped and then get over it really quickly! When Warren Leight specifically acknowledged that such a storyline already had taken place he also added that they went further this time, and implying she was raped this time. So I was just surprised to see that it became yet another "almost raped" plot.
And Yes, personally I think it is unlikely that she gets away at the very nanosecond she is about to be raped, and that it happens twice. But that's just my opinion about it.

The fact that he was on the verge of raping her when she escaped is what I have a problem with. It is totally out of character that he waited 4 days and just as he was about to do it, the hero manage to overpower him. Talk about coincidence! Most real life victims are not that lucky, and I thought some of the point of this episode was to show that even a strong woman like Benson can be overpowered. But at the end, she wasn't overpowered, she was strong enough to escape anyway...

It is my impression that there were far more victims than 4-5. It just seems such a "coincidence" that the one woman who escapes being stripped naked at the very beginning of the assault, and then raped several times, just happened to be the leading lady.
It is very typical shows like these, all the other women portrayed are helpless women who are immediately overpowered, but the one time someone overpowers the bad guy it's the main character...
But like you said, it can be excused with the fact that she is a trained police officer and has training in not buckle under pressure and remain calm even when the situation calls for total panic.

About the rape kit, having that done suggest that there have been some form of sexual assault, it would not be necessary to have one done if she really didn't think he had mangled her sexually at any time, either when she was knocked out or other times (like when he took her to the bathroom, or when he burned her chest) So I would like to know more about what happened to her to make her agree to/ask for a rape kit!
I didn't mean they would have rewrite the whole history. But perhaps have her admitting that he did molest her or branded her private parts or did some thing that was sexually motivated. Maybe admitting to this when talking about the rape kit or something. It's not that I WANT her to be sexually assaulted, but I just can't grasp how a sexual sadist did not torment her sexually in any way. It just does not make sense... And I think the the only reason for it is that the writers were not brave enough to go there...

Sylvie Trans said...

Ran out of characters.

I don't mean that Lewis was bored and that's why he didn't rape her, but he had 4 days to rape her. It wasn't like he was constantly moving her around and looking for a safe house for 4 days. They said he had her in her apartment for close to 35 hours before he moved her, so I don't think it was an issue with him being afraid someone would walk in on them. And he spent a long time at the lawyers parents house etc... So he had time! And he didn't always take his victims to a safe house, but he did if he could. My guess is that he wanted to take as long time as he could with Olivia, because she had really pissed him off! So he knew he had to move her from the apartment before Brian came over the next day in order to keep her longer.

AND I am not saying that her ordeal was a walk in the park, NOT AT ALL!! It would NOT be more terrible if she was raped, that is not what I mean. It was terrible what happened. But with her not being raped the writers opened the same door that was opened after undercover. The "I am not a victim, I am fine, cause I was not raped, others have it worse and this ordeal just left me angry, not broken." and give them an excuse to drop the storyline any minute. (But I hope they keep their promise and show us Bensons journey throughout the season) Anyhow, my point is she survives this HORRIBLE ordeal, but the detail that she wasn't raped:sexually mangled seems to makes it less horrible in Olivia's eyes. And therefor we might not get that physiological struggle that we could have seen and that Mariska could've gotten the chance to act out. But hopefully the writers prove me wrong!

Please don't patronise me and other fans who found it strange that he didn't touch her for 4 days by listing up all the stuff "you other fans" understand, and that "we" don't.
I understand all those things you pointed out. His MO is to torture and humiliate women, he wants to humiliate them, cause physical and emotional pain, torment and break them. But his way of achieving this is to torture them in a sexual way, that includes stripping them naked, branding their private part, rape them and make them do stuff to him.. They have specifically made a point of this several times, and described him as a sadistic RAPIST and possible murderer. So no, he did not wait to rape his victims to the end. I am not implying that it is just about sex with him, I agree with you, it goes way beyond sex, but sex is what he use to get the victims where he want them.

And I also OFF COURSE understand that being kidnapped, tortured, tormented, forced to watch a rape and murder, for four days while the attacker looks for a "special place" where she's promised and guaranteed endless hours of rape and then death...is really, really, REALLY terrible. And the fact that you rudely assume that I don't, just because I find it unbelievable that he did not touch her for 4 days, make you come across as extremely arrogant!

We just disagree, and have interpreted the episode differently, but that is not an excuse to be rude in ones reply.

To jaecollins27. Loved your post! And you explained it perfectly! :-) I agree with you and the way you see it. It's almost as if you were a part of the crew and got the explanation straight from the writers head. And looking at it like that I might agree that an actual rape was not really necessary to tell this story.

fred astire said...

I would love to get Warren's take on the matter of Liv's sexual assault. Half of the fans are inferring that Liv was raped because of some implied comments while the other half of fans are accepting what was said/what was shown. It's confusing. We will know more clearly as the season moves along. There are too many unanswered questions during these first two episodes. It's like you want to leave it alone and accept what is evident yet at the same time you feel like you're missing something. I would ask Warren via twitter if I had an account but since I have no intentions on getting one.. I'll be a little patient and tune in as the season moves by!

jaecollins27 said...

Of course, there are huge similarities between this and the Undercover story, but we have to remember that it was set up so it can't possibly play out the same way for Benson as it did in Undercover. While the experience that she went through previously was equally horrible and scarred her deeply, the biggest difference is that Benson had a mental breakdown that made her beat a man half to death.

In Undercover, she had the satisfaction of putting the assailant in jail, but if you notice, the charge was not for assaulting her it was for assaulting the little girl. She exacted her revenge on him in the way a cop should: with the justice system. In this situation she gets her revenge on him by killing him and she thought she had killed him until Fin told her that she didn't. When she came out of the house, he said to her "He's still alive." and she replies "I don't know how"

In Undercover she is able to avoid dealing with her trauma until months later when she suffers from PTSD. In this episode she doesn't even try to pretend it didn't affect her. She takes the time off, goes to therapy, and tries to get herself back together. I Undercover she's able to face her assailant and even taunt him afterwards during questioning. She took a hit, but kept on stepping.

In this situation Liv can't run from anything. He violated her person, her home, and her mind. I wouldn't say that Stabler was the leader of the squad perviously, but I would definitely say that Benson is the leader of the squad now. So now she's facing this situation as the leader of the group and that adds a whole other thing for her to deal with.

Also another huge thing that must have completely devastated Benson was watching the old lady get raped. Everyone glosses over that detail. I would imagine that for Liv that's more devastating than anything else because she's the person that protects people from him. Now, not only can she not protect herself, this poor old lady ends up becoming collateral damage in his struggle to break Benson of her resolve to stand strong.

While she may be a sex crimes detective she has never actually witnessed a rape. So to have to see that and know that she can't do anything about it...geez that's gotta mess with your sense of who you are. Also with the bathroom thing. He forces her to basically ask for his help. She doesn't want to do that.

So all in all Undercover Benson's struggle was with admitting that she needed help because she's a victim. Now, admitting that she's a victim is the least of her worries. She's got to re-evaluate how she actually defines herself which is what her therapist said "you're not superwoman" basically pushed to the brink you'll end up just as sadistic as your attacker....not that he didn't deserve it. Pouring out the water bottle like that...right then and there, he had to die.

Ima Feman said...

I'm one that was ok with the writers making this a rape story if they decided to go that route, but my main concern was not turning it into a situation where Liv was in danger for 5 minutes and then someone comes to her rescue. I think the writers successfully avoided that situation. My main issue with the premiere is I feel like it was almost too rushed. I think they should've used the whole 2 hours to resolve the kidnapping situation instead of jumping forward and into a new case. I mean Liv was with Lewis for 4 days and it felt like she was with him for 1. It was just odd and wrapped up a little quickly for me. That said, the few glimpses we did get into what she went through with Lewis were thoroughly horrible. Yes, she wasn't raped and there is a part of me that thinks that's the first thing he would've done...but I get the writers not wanting to go there and I think they created a scenario that was awful enough that she was broken without being raped. The torture, torturing or killing other people in front of her, and the way Lewis had her so vulnerable that he made her almost sub-human. Pouring alcohol on her, forcing her to drink it, telling her how much water she could have and then pouring it out while she watched, forcing her to struggle to get up to go to the bathroom, taking her to the bathroom and all that entailed...because you know he wasn't nice enough to uncuff her hands so she was forced to rely on him in all aspects there, and especially the way he made her beg for her life. Those things, I think, were so hard to watch and for someone as strong as Liv...it killed her to be so degraded.

I just hope the writers don't drop the ball now. They said there was an arc and I want it. I want to watch Liv struggle through this and I want to watch the squad struggle through it as well. It looks like they are committing to that so far, I hope I still see the commitment when we get to episode 10.

Also, fred astire mentioned feeling like you might be missing something and I kinda have that same feeling. I think it makes sense to have that because we saw so very little and have heard nothing from Liv herself about the time she was with Lewis. She says she wasn't raped and I believe that's true...but it was very odd for the therapist to include her in the people who wouldn't have been raped if Lewis had been locked up. Now obviously she corrected him and maybe she's just referring to the whole ordeal, but it does make one think that there is something that we didn't see that he/she are referring to. I definitely need more in the way of flashbacks or Liv talking about her ordeal. I know the injuries she had, but I somehow still feel I have no clue what she really went through to some extent.

Ima Feman said...

Wanted to add...I was sooo happy to see the ratings for the premiere. That was a significant trend upward from where they've been the past couple of years and NBC has to be happy with that. But NBC may not be happy with SVU in the coming weeks. I hope I'm wrong, this is my opinion, but I think the problem lies with what I cited earlier...they really should've taken the whole two hours to resolve what was going on with Olivia and then have a really strong episode the next week that showcases Olivia's arc as well as what the new improved SVU is about. What they instead did was wrap Olivia's situation up pretty abruptly in an hour and had a somewhat weak 2nd hour that was Law and Order: SVU case episode as usual. People obviously tuned in to see the drama with Olivia - that was over after the first hour and the second hour wasn't much different than something we saw after Undercover in terms of her going to therapy - some might think they've been there seen this storyline already. So the SVU writers may be planning to keep the dramatic arc going for her, but many people that came back to SVU for this episode aren't going know that and may not stick around to find out. Again, I hope I'm wrong.

magix74 said...

I agree that I think they should have run with the story line over the two hours instead of skipping straight into a new story. The second hour was a bit flat and I felt like they could have done so much more and revealed more of what happened to her. I'm not sure if having flashbacks throughout the season will have the same affect as if they went a bit deeper from the beginning. It was so refreshing to see MH act in a different way and then to see her character jump right back into the same Olivia (even though she was struggling) was a bit of a let down for me. Perhaps I am just ready to see her in a different role:)