Thursday, October 16, 2014

Law & Order SVU “Holden’s Manifesto” Recap & Review

The episode is a ripped from the headlines story, drawing from a May 2014 killing spree in Isla Vista, California. The person responsible: Elliot Rodger, who left a video trail and written manifesto of everything he thought was wrong with the people in his life. Rodger killed six, injured thirteen others, then took his own life. While this is not the only case of a killer writing a manifesto, it’s a story that should be fresh in viewers’ minds.

This tightly written, A+ story did its job of creating an unsettled environment which heightened the drama. The pacing of the story was perfect and it enhanced the sense of urgency to catch Holden March, a young man who was on a spree attacking women who had wronged him at various times in his life. He finally escalates to killing when continuing to hear his neighbor’s sexual escapades drives him to the breaking point.

The timing of this case presented a high pressure situation for Benson. Noah, who was rushed to the ER at the end of the previous episode, was still fighting his ailment while Benson worked the high profile case. Making matters worse was the arrival of Deputy Chief William Dodds, who is less than thrilled that he is not the center of Benson’s attention. Peter Gallagher is a wonderful addition to the cast, playing the SVU top boss who makes it clear he is charge.  He is quite authoritative and confident, and it’s obvious that Benson is ill prepared to have a boss who doesn’t appear to care about her personal issues. In his defense, Benson, possibly afraid to hint at any weakness in her ability to lead and the distraction of having a family, isn’t forthcoming about Noah’s illness, and doesn’t give Dodds a chance to show a glimmer of understanding. It’s a little too early for me to take sides on whose approach is better, Benson’s or Dodds',  as we don’t know enough about Dodds. He appears to be demanding respect rather than commanding respect, which clearly is ruffling Benson’s feathers. But Benson needs to speak up and stand up for herself and the things that she wants – a career AND a family – and summon the courage to explain her situation to Dodds. Is that a risky move? Yes. But to do nothing or only say it is a personal matter makes her the doormat that Dodds appears to think she is. I spent years as a female executive in a male dominated industry and could write a book about the do’s and don’ts of  working in/with upper management, but all I will say is both Benson and Dodds are going about things in the wrong way. At some point they need to have a serious talk about their expectations.

Benson must also be worried that she can have Noah taken from her as easily as she got him. Many women have both great careers and a family, so Benson’s job shouldn’t be a deal breaker with Child Services unless there is evidence of neglect or abuse (which of course is not the case). Benson is doing everything she can to give Noah a wonderful life, but it can look to an outsider that her job carries far more importance. Is it me, or is Lucy starting to look a little concerned that she is on call so much for Noah?

Rollins, confident that she knows enough about Holden by reading his 300+ manifesto, believes she had him under control just before the sniper splattered her face with Holden’s blood. We will never know for sure if she really had him as under control as she thought. The guy was a psycho and while he may have lowered his gun, he could have had a knife or sharp object (like scissors) on him or nearby.  Rollins  seemed quick to gamble with her life and Amaro’s.  It was as if she bet herself that she could talk Holden down and save the day.  She seemed upset at the sniper kill, but this was one case where it was right for them to take the shot.  There is just something a little off kilter with Rollins that can’t quite get my arms around.

I was slightly annoyed by the character of Holden March, not so much because of what he was doing, but more so that he spoke in a cadence that sounded like a combination of a young Carl Sagan and Data from Star Trek TNG. It felt forced.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay – Sergeant Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba

Guest stars:
Peter Gallagher - Deputy Chief William Dodds
John Karna - Holden March
Antoinette Lavecchia - Adriana March
Sarah Clements - Gwen Young
Nicole Balsam - Haley Morton
Joe Urla - Thomas Eldridge
Katie Henney - Jean Asher
Bronwyn Reed - Lucy Huston
Christine Toy Johnson – Dr. Lee
Migs Govea -
Thedra Porter – Chantal Jackson
Emilie Miller - Mrs. Syncovich
Ann Arvia – Principal
Daniel Mogan Shelly – ESU Officer
Charle Webb – Janelle
Elanna White – Betty
Katue Hayek – Leah Simms
Max Elk - John Brewer
Charlotte Durkee - Student

Holden March is in a park and he is making a video recording detailing all this frustrations with women and while he has a lot to offer, he is alone.

Meanwhile, Benson is at the hospital watching over Noah. Lucy arrives and tells her that Amaro called her and she explained Benson was still at the hospital, but that Benson’s cell phone was off. It is urgent. Lucy offers to stay with him while Benson goes to call Amaro.

Later, Benson, Amaro, and Rollins are on the scene of an assault in Central Park. Rollins states the suspect is a male, white, in his early 20s, and average height. He repeatedly stabbed Gwen Young, 22, and attempted rape. Amaro comments Gwen is lucky; most of her wounds are shallow. Benson comments the attacker is no pro. Rollins adds the EMTs were tending to her wounds, and Gwen told Rollins the assailant counted out each time he stabbed her. Benson comments that is not good and asks if there were any witnesses. Amaro explains a dog walker found her and didn’t see the perp, and the unis are canvassing. Benson wants to get to the hospital to talk to her as soon as she is able. As Benson races off, Amaro asks her how is Noah. Benson replies he is a fighter and he will be OK.

As the ambulance drives away, Holden is nearby, and he points at the camera onto himself and sneers, calling them idiots, that he is right here and no one even notices him. He adds no one even notices him, but that is all going to change…very soon, everyone will know who he is. He laughs.

Benson, walking through a hospital corridor, talks on the phone with Lucy, telling her she will be there as soon as she can. She adds it is a new shift and to make sure the nurse knows that Noah’s temperature runs a little low. She meets up with Amaro who tells her Gwen is stabilized and is talking. He explains he has this and she doesn’t need to be here, but she counters that until she knows what this is,  she does need to be there. He asks if he can do anything and she dismissively tells him that she has this. But she then says there is something he can do, and asks if his mom can relieve Lucy at the hospital. He agrees and says he is on it.

Benson enters the hospital room where Rollins is there with Gwen. Benson hears that Gwen did not see her attacker. He came out of nowhere with a knife to his neck. He pushed her past the playground into the bushes and grabbed her breast and lifted up her skirt. He did not rape her. He didn’t seem to know what he was doing and she pushed him away and this is when he got angry. He pushed her down and started stabbing her. He counted each time he stabbed and she thought he was going to kill her. As soon as he got to 11, he stopped and he ran. He said this was her fault, calling her "Gigi" and saying she missed her chance. It is an old nickname. No one has called her that since high school, maybe the 9th grade. Benson thinks this is someone she knew when she was young, but Gwen thinks not, she would have remembered somebody like that. She has never seen him before in her life.

Back at SVU, Fin thinks the attack was personal but Benson says Gwen says she doesn’t know him. Amaro, who is looking through yearbooks, says there are a few guys with records but no one on the registry and no assaults. Rollins posts the sketch artist sketch but Gwen did not get a good look at him. Fin thinks it is every other white guy in Williamsburg. Benson asks about Gwen’s neighbors where she grew up in Gramercy and tells them to run the building and the block and where she went to church or summer camp. Fin gets a call as Benson comments that the attacker waited and targeted her and thinks the counting is obsessive. She asks about any open MOs that fit and Rollins describes the attacker as an amateur and stalking a victim is one off so far. Benson hopes he does not develop a taste for it. Fin comments it is too late, and informs them that there is another attempted rape in the 1-2 and the assailant counted out loud as he stabbed her. Benson tells Fin and Rollins to go.

At Mercy Hospital on Saturday, September 13, Fin and Rollins speaks with Haley, who did not see anyone following her. It was 6 AM and the streets were empty. She was coming home from a date. She opened her building door and he came from nowhere. He pushed her and dragged her behind the stairs and pulled a knife. He grabbed her breasts and her legs and tried to stick his fingers inside her. He did not rape her, she pushed him away and screamed and told him to get his f-ing hands off her. That is when he lost it and started flailing at her. She was fighting him off and he counted out 15 stabs. His voice was flat and he had this weird smile, then he stopped. When he started, he said “I know what you like, Haley.” She did not recognize him. Fin shows her the sketch and she says it looks like him. She does not know him from school or work but when she resisted him, he accused her of not liking him because he wasn’t black. The guy she dated last night was not black but dated a black guy in high school, a guy on the football team, but not since then.

Back at SVU, Benson hangs up after a call with the Chief and tells the others it was Dodds again. Fin asks if that is the new Deputy Chief of SVU, and Benson says yes, citywide, and he wants to do a full press conference on this perp. Rollins cracks that Dodds has decided it is only one guy, and Benson comments that he has, and she told him that is their job and they are still deciding whether or not to make that call. She asks if there is any DNA yet. Fin replies on both attacks, the perp failed to launch. Rollins adds both women are in their early 20s and attractive and he called them both by name, knowing personal details from their past. Fin reminds them the perp counted out the stabs and ME Warner says the wounds are consistent enough that they could have come from the same knife. Amaro suggests the perp is escalating; there were fewer hesitation marks on Haley and he is getting more aggressive. The vics do not know each other, there are no points of intersection. Neither one recognizes the assailant. Benson suggests they check open cases and show the sketch to any vics of unknown knife assaults. Rollins asks what do they release to the press, and Benson suggests the sketch and that they work on the assumption it is the same guy and these are his first known assaults. Benson asks Rollins what number they are up to this year, and Rollins says lucky pattern 13.

Later, the detectives speak with three other women who were attacked, one of which who said her attacker had a knife and knew her initials, JL,  for Jean Louise Asher. She used to work in a restaurant with a girl with the same first name so they used initials to differentiate themselves. Amaro, who is interviewing this girl, calls over Rollins. Jean says nothing happened, the guy got scared off. She worked at Catignano’s almost 2 years ago and the manager is her ex and she is still in touch with him. She got along with everyone and does not recall anyone being jealous.

Meanwhile, a couple are having loud sex which annoys Holden, who lives in the next apartment and who is banging on the wall. In his apartment, he speaks to the camera about the couple next door, saying they are taunting him with what he can’t have. He complains about other women having sex with men who use their bodies. He adds he would know how to take care of them and would worship those women but they throw themselves at men who are mean and selfish, calling them sweating, grunting brutes as he reaches for a knife. He complains that they reject him, a nice guy, smart, superb, clean, and he dresses well and takes care of himself. He exits his apartment and says he would have taken care of them and been gentle but those days are gone and they had their chance. They don’t deserve him anymore and don’t deserve to live. He bangs on the door of the neighbor’s apartment. Leah opens the door, complaining, and Holden, with an odd smile, says he is Holden March.

Back at the hospital with Noah, Benson is on the phone pressing Amaro to get with the restaurant manager. She says she has to go, then she meets with Dr. Lee. Benson hears Noah is stable and breathing on his own. Benson asks when she can take him home, and Dr. Lee explains they want to keep him a couple more days as his birth mother was a drug addict. When Benson explains the heath care he has received in her care, the doctor comments that Benson brought Noah into her home 4 months ago and before that there were multiple foster care homes. The doctor does not want to alarm her, but explains that Noah has old rib fractures. Benson explains the first two months of his life were not in a stable environment but child services said there was no sign of abuse. Dr. Lee wonders how hard they looked and says they need to do a more thorough workup. Benson expresses concerns but the doctor says she wants to be proactive with his care. As the doctor quickly walks away from Benson, Benson’s looks stunned.

At Catignano’s on Sunday, September 14, Amaro and Rollins speak with the manager and they pinpoint one problem employee, a busboy, that could be the suspect. His name is Holden. The manager moves to get Holden’s details.

At SVU in the elevator with Benson, Amaro explains the suspect is Holden March, his parents are divorced and his stepfather is Thomas Eldridge and his mother is Adriana March. Holden grew up in Manhattan and moved to Nyack after his mother’s remarriage. Fin and Rollins are headed there now. Benson asks if Holden’s name and photo meant anything to the vics, and Amaro explains that JL could not pick him out of a photo array and neither could Gwen. He adds Haley thinks her little brother may have had a friend name Holden, but…Amaro stops talking and Benson stops in her tracks as they walk into the squad room. Deputy Chief William Dodds, waiting in the squad room, calls out to her. Benson responds that she didn’t realize he was waiting. He comments that if she’d been here, he wouldn’t have had to wait. Benson laughs uncomfortably and introduces Amaro. Dodds shakes Amaro’s hand, saying he signed off on Amaro’s conditional return to SVU. Amaro thanks him. Dodds asks Benson where are they on the pattern 13 rapist? Benson explains they have a suspect, Holden March. When Dodds asks how solid and if anyone has ID’d him, Benson replies they are still connecting the dots between Holden and three victims. Dodds coldly states they have dots –they have dots – and questions where is he? Amaro explains they are trying to get updated cell phone contacts as Holden has no social media presence. Benson adds the restaurant manager gave them his last known address – his parent’s house in Nyack – and she has two detectives headed there now. They didn’t want to call and risk tipping them off. Dodds states testily that no one had made him and they haven’t even talked to him yet. Benson states no sir. Dodds moves in to get in Benson’s face and tells her he needs her at Comstat tomorrow to give the update; they have a serial on the front page of every newspaper. He emphatically tells them to solve this – now. Dodd’s phone rings and he answers it as he walks off. Benson says to Amaro that maybe somebody could have given her a heads up. Amaro hangs his head down and Benson walks off.

At the resident of Thomas Eldridge in Nyack NY on Sunday, September 14, Fin and Rollins speak with Thomas and his wife Adriana. Holden does not live there, they rent as an apartment for him in Murray Hill. The detectives find Holden had been bullied but is a problem, and he may be on the spectrum. He is on medication when he remembers to take it and always complains about others being the problem. His mother thinks he is doing better, saying he got a job as a bike messenger. He told them his cell phone broke and he hadn’t gotten a new one. Thomas gets the address of his apartment and Rollins asks Adriana for photos of Holden as a child.

Afterwards, Benson and Amaro approach Holden outside his apartment as he leaves for a job. He tries to blow them off and he thinks it’s about his neighbors who are having sex all the time. They continue to press him and but he says he has to go. He gets testy when Amaro tries to stop him by holding his bike. Benson shows him a photo of Jean and he admits he worked at the restaurant with him, adding he quit as the manager was abusive. He makes disparaging comments about her and then says he has to go. When Amaro stops him again and says they would like him to come to the station with them, Holden asks if they have a warrant and if he is under arrest, then he starts recording them, saying the NYPD is illegally restraining him. He continues to yell out that they are bullying him and as other people stop to watch the scene, Benson decides they should pull back. She tells Amaro to call division and tell them they need 24 hour surveillance on him until they rule him out.

Back at SVU, Rollins speaks with Gwen and when Rollins shows her photos of a young Holden, Gwen recognizes Holden and then picks his current photo out of a photo array. She hasn’t seen Holden since she was 11; he was a shy, skinny boy who never said a word to him. The other boys teased him. Fin speaks with Haley who also identifies him, and realizes she was 15 when she dated a black guy, and connects it to the 15 stabbings. Amaro is with Jean who thinks he could be the guy who came at her.

Later, Rollins, Amaro and Fin consult with Benson about Holden, Rollins referring to him as “Boo Radley”. Amaro calls him an accumulator, an “injustice collector.” Benson tells them to back up, asking if they id’d him. Fin informs her it was 2 out of 3. She tells them to pick him up and get a warrant for the knife and the cell phone

Afterwards, Benson and the detectives race down a hall to Holden’s apartment as Fin explains that surveillance has been out there all day and Holden never came home. He did not show up at work. She wonders when surveillance was going to tell them that. Rollins bangs on the door and announces she is NYPD and when there is no answer, an ESU officer breaks down the door. Holden is not there. Benson remains in the hall and tells Fin that Holden was complaining about the noise the neighbors were making. She checks the door – it is unlocked – and opens it to find Leah dead on the floor.

In Holden's apartment, Rollins spots a large printed manifesto, Amaro finds empty ammo boxes. In the next apartment, Benson sees Leah’s boyfriend in bed, also dead. Fin comments the bodies are in rigor and have been there a while. Benson tells him to call a bus. Rollins calls out that they have something. Amaro shows empty gun boxes he found in the radiator, speculating Holden has two guns, and Rollins points out the 300+ page manifesto "Now You Know” and the laptop which was open to a bunch of videos. She plays the last one where Holden is standing over Leah’s dead body complaining about stuck up girls, saying they should have paid attention to him but it is too late now. None of them can hide from him and he will be coming for them.

Back at SVU, Benson holds up Holden’s photo to the whole squad explaining the situation and Rollins discusses the manifesto. Fin explains all Holden’s former schools are on lockdown and they units from each one of those precincts outside the school with unmarked cars at his residence and psychiatrist’s office. Amaro explains Holden may be on foot or riding a bicycle and in the encounter they had with him, his affect was rational. Dodds is also there, watching and listening. Amaro adds Holden was able to mask what appears to be a psychotic break. Benson cautions them not to assume he will stick to his pattern and instructs them all to wear their vests and not to be a hero.

As the group breaks up, Benson asks Rollins if there are any leads from Holden’s shrink, and Rollins explains she said Holden does not have enough anger to commit these acts. Fin cracks that she left town, just in case. Dodds asks what about the parents, asking why aren’t they here? Amaro replies they are on their way from Nyack, Benson adding as soon as they get there to show them Holden’s hit lit and see if they are in touch with any of those people. Benson gets a call and tells Dodds she has to take this, and he asks for a word. She answers the phone as Dodds also calls in Amaro. Dr. Lee is on the phone and when Dodds stands right in front of Benson, she looks uncomfortable and asks Dr. Lee if she can call her back in a minute. She hangs up and Dodds moves into Benson’s office. Benson says she is on it and they will find him. Dodds shuts the door hard and then questions that Benson and Amaro had Holden yesterday and they let him go? Benson explains at that time, nobody ID’d him yet and he was smart enough to know that they couldn’t compel him to come in and there wasn’t probable cause for an arrest. Dodds gets in her face and raises his voice, saying that you push him around and provoke him. Amaro mentions the stop and frisk lawsuits and that NYPD has been very clear: don’t make a scene. Dodds glares at him and asks Amaro then why is he opening his mouth right now? Benson replies that, with all due respect, when they spoke to the suspect he was in complete control of himself, he knew his constitutional rights and she ordered immediately for surveillance. Dodds replies that it didn’t matter because he had already murdered his neighbors by then. Benson’s phone rings and she looks rattled, saying this is a family emergency and she has to take it. Dodds says he will wait…again. Benson answers the phone and it is Miss Jackson, and then asks her to hold. She turns to Dodds and says she is sorry but she needs a minute, please. Amaro moves to walk out, and Dodds does not follow. Benson looks half rattled, half angry at Dodds as she places her badge on her vest. She steps into the neighboring interrogation room and shuts the door.

She speaks with Miss Jackson who is clearly angry that Noah is in the hospital with a babysitter. Benson closes the blinds to the other room and explains that Mrs. Amaro is a family friend. She also said she just spoke with the doctor, and Jackson replies so did she, who called her after she found Noah’s fractured ribs. Benson explains those injuries happened before she took custody of Noah and they have healed. Jackson replies she is not suggesting she caused the injuries, it’s that she chose to go to work when her foster child remained in the hospital. Benson counters that she was called away on an emergency and she is doing everything she can to get back there as soon as possible. Jackson responds that she hopes so, asking Benson if she understands her absence will be included in her report. Benson says she does, and then hangs up the phone with a look of concern.

As she walks back into her office where Dodds is still waiting. He asks if everything is alright. She says everything is fine, and he says Holden’s parents are here. She opens the blinds to the other interview room where Rollins is going over the list of potential targets with Holden’s parents. Benson enters the room and tried to get them to focus. The parents argue about Holden and again Benson tries to get them to focus. Finally his mother hones in on Mrs. Syncovich, who was his English teacher in his sophomore year at St. Francis. She went by Miss Avens then and she was young and pretty. Benson tells Rollins to check out the school with Amaro. His mother explains he wanted to be a writer and while she talks, she grabs Benson’s arm and is worried about what they will do to Holden when they find him as he is not in his right mind and is sick. She asks that the police wouldn’t hurt a sick boy. Benson does not answer.

At St. Francis school on Monday, September 15, Amaro and Rollins speak with Mrs. Syncovich who says Holden was a precise writer. Rollins mentioned that in his manifesto, Holden blamed Mrs. Syncovich from ruining his love of writing, saying he betrayed him. She doesn’t see how, she spent a lot of time with him. Rollins wonders if Holden had a crush on her and she supposes so and recalls she got married that summer. Come fall, Holden continued to call her Miss Avens. He has not contacted her and she just came back to school after maternity leave. He husband is the music teacher at their sister school, St. Ann’s. Rollins asks when was the last time she spoke with him.

Later, at St. Ann’s, Rollins and Amaro get to the music room and find it is disarray and Mr. Syncovich is on the floor, dead. There are 4 or 5 students missing, and Amaro orders the principal to lock down the school. Rollins radios for assistance as Amaro asks what other rooms are on the floor.

As the school evacuates, Amaro and Rollins race down the hall with guns drawn. They find a room where a few kids are on the floor and Holden has one girl at gunpoint. He tells them to get out or he will kill this bitch.

As police are on the scene and the kids spill out of the school, Benson arrives and tells Fin and another officer that the precinct has control of the school and asks what is going on inside. Fin says a pole cam shows they have four girls hostage with Amaro and Rollins. She comments they have their vests on but Fin reminds her that won’t stop a head shot. Fin explains where ESU is stationed and says if Holden steps in front of a window, he is done. Benson shakes her head. ‘

Meanwhile, in the room, Holden makes demands of Rollins and Amaro and he clearly will not respond to Amaro. He tells them to put down their guns and Rollins complies, then tells Amaro that Holden is not messing around. Holden says he is not, so Amaro also disarms. Holden has Rollins kick over the guns, and she says he can call her Amanda, asking if she can call him Holden. He says sure, then orders Amaro to put his hands behind his head and kneel and Amaro does so. Holden tells them nobody in or out, and when Rollins asks if she can radio outside, and tell them to back off. He allows her but tells her no tricks. She promises him and thanks him.

Outside, Fin radios back to Rollins that he got her message and will tell everybody down there to take it easy and stay back. Benson races up to Fin and Fin explains that Holden disarmed them and Rollins is trying to bond with him. Benson informs him they don’t have time. The hostage negotiator just landed. Fin thinks Holden has been through a lot of therapy and more talk won’t help. Holden’s parents arrive and as Holden’s mother loses her cool. Fin helps to move her away, telling her she can’t be here, instructing officers to take the family where they will be safe.

Back in the classroom, Holden has Rollins cuff Amaro and Rollins tells Holden that Amaro is not the one he is mad at and neither are those girls. She tries to calm him but he brings up Amaro stopping him once while he was with another woman. When Amaro tells Holden he played it smart, Holden coldly says he did not say he could call him Holden. Holden asks if Rollins is having sex with Amaro, and when Rollins suggests they talk about him, Holden isn’t buying it, showing contempt for Amaro, calling him a pretty boy. Holden asks when was Amaro’s first time, and when he doesn’t answer, Holden accuses Amaro of doing it with Rollins and not wanting her to know she is just another notch on his belt. Rollins stands up and says she knows what Amaro is.

Meanwhile, outside, Benson asks what they have on the pole cam. Fin explains Holden has his gun trained on a girl but he won’t go near a window and Amaro is cuffed. Dodds arrives and ask Benson why her people are inside. She explains they have the suspect talking. Dodds counters that Holden has the guns, asking where he learned that technique, adding it goes against every bit of protocol and training they have. He has their gun, his gun, and four hostages, saying rule 1: don’t make things worse. Benson argues that it is an evolving situation and Rollins read Holden’s manifesto and is developing a rapport and understands his state of mind. Dodds coldly says his state of mind is irrelevant; he is on a murdering spree that got set off by women and he has four of them as hostages. He adds that all Benson’s team should be working toward is moving him into position so they can take him out.

Back in the classroom. Holden continues to show his disdain for Amaro and tells Rollins she thinks Amaro is better than him. She says she doesn’t, and then continues to try to build a rapport with Holden, commenting that he is special. He thinks she is tricking her but she says no. She tries to play to what he wants to hear and says she wants to tell him private things. She comments how powerful he is, and he holds his gun toward Rollins.

On the street, Fin comments about this change and they see the students a moved off camera and they are trying to get another angle. Dodds is anxious to take their shot, but Benson tells him to hold up, if they miss, her people are still in there. Suddenly, Amaro bursts out of the building with the girls in tow. Amaro explains he was let go as Holden wanted to be alone with Rollins.

Back in the classroom, Rollins goes on about the kind of guy she used to fall for but they used to use her. She says she went back to her high school and now the kind of guys, like him, that have everything. She continues to play to him and seems like she is coming on to him, saying he is superb. He says it is too late. She explains she read his manifesto and she could not put it down. She said it is brilliant and says she is sorry he had to go through this, he deserves to be adored and caressed, and to be kissed. She asks if he will let her kiss him, and he lowers his gun. Outside, Dodds sees this and tells them to give the shooters the green light. Fin comments that they still don’t have a clear shot and that Holden has to get closer to Rollins. Dodds wonders why she isn’t getting him into range, and Amaro says to give her time. Benson adds that Rollins knows what she is doing, she will get him to put down the gun.

Inside the room, Rollins continues to suggest they kiss while they are alone, and he says he never kissed anyone. She asks him to give her his hands, promising she will not hurt him. He steps closer to her, and she says it all begins with a kiss. He moves in, and a gunshot is heard, and blood splatters over Rollins’ face as Holden falls to the floor. Benson and Amaro, on the ground, watch in shock and Amaro races to help. Rollins is stunned. Holden’s mother races to Benson, crying that they shot her baby and, grabbing Benson, says she said she wouldn’t hurt him. Benson says she is sorry and then moves away. Amaro gets into the room and asks Rollins if she is okay. Rollins says yeah and then adds that she had him, and asks Amaro why didn’t he stop them? Amaro explains it wasn’t their call, and when he suggests they get out of there, she pushes him away and says okay. As they leave, people come in to tend to Holden, why lay dead on the floor.

Back at the hospital, Benson talks to Noah, who looks much better, saying he gave her a scare and he is a fighter. She picks him up and says he was so strong and that he had to be. She tells him he has a long life ahead of him and he has places to see and things to do. She kisses him and says there are people who love him.

Later, Holden is on a video talking to all the beautiful blonds, saying he forgives them and if it wasn’t for them, he wouldn’t be here, on the edge of greatness. He could have spend his whole life in the shadows but he chooses instead to fight back, to make sure people remember him, because he knows one thing: it is better to die in infamy then to live a life of obscurity. He laughs as we fade to black.

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Lisa said...

here is my thoughts on the baby noah,olivia sit. Olivia being a single mom is a seaprate issue then Olivia not being at her sons side when he was sick in the Hospital. While I think the CW was harsh in her tone she was right it wa sa mistake for Olivia to choose work and send 2 people who are not even family memebers to Noahs side. Olivia isnt some single mom working 2 jobs to get by she has the money to take a few days off to be with her son. Somtimes they write her to sound liek she thinks the others are not capible to solve a crime without her. Fin is her second in command he could have been there and reported back to her. Its troubling how they write her as the only compitant one in the squad.

In saying that I do think the episode was one of the best ones not only this season but last to.
I did crack up at the replaying of the Stuckey and olivia kiss scene with Rollins and Holden though Rollins didnt have to kiss the little creep.

empxth tbh said...

It was like a mix of Father's Shadow and Zebras lol

Anonymous said...

John Karna's portrayal of an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder was pretty much true to life. From his obvious social awkwardness, above average IQ , flat affect and monotone cadence of his vocal patterns, Holden only perceived reality within his egocentric world. This was another great episode comparable to the William Lewis episodes. I think Peter Gallagher , as the city-wide SVU Deputy Chief, is a great addition to the cast as was Peter Scaravino as Detective Dominick " Sonny" Carisi ( " Zeppole, anyone ?"). Based on what we've seen so far, this new chapter of SVU with the new cast members promises to be very exciting.

Chris Zimmer said...

Lisa - I forgot about that Stucky kiss. (Here's a clip in case anyone else wasnts to see it):

CLA said...

I think the baby Noah only improved the show. In a show where we only see heinous crimes, the figure of an adorable child is always reassuring. And to reinforce my opionião, anbaixo will show the numbers of SVU this season, compared with the previous season:

temp. temp. 16 15

episode 1 1 9.58 million 1 10.07 million
episode 2 9.58 million 2 7.73 million
episode 3 6.85 million 3 7.55 million
episode 4 6.31 million 4 7.27 million

It will be seen that this season the number of spectators increased. In the 18-40 demo this season missed the premiere because Surrander Benson had an infernal propaganda. But in other episodes, SVU this season surpasses the previous year. Mariska and her team are stronger than ever. The show is wonderful and already envision one 17th season.

mrmeadowlark said...

That Stilted, Intellectual talk is very common with people on the higher functioning range of the Autism Spectrum.

I liked the episode up to the end. They shouldn't have killed him. I felt the things he did, while horrible, were not entirely his fault.

Laurie Fanat said...

The episodes with more action, like this one, are much better and more engaging. I too couldn't get into Holden. All I saw was someone acting out a part. Good acting, IMO, makes the actor disappear and the character appear. This didn't happen for me.

The story was excellent. They fit in Benson's baby issue into the story without it being eye-rollingly silly. The new boss, Dodds, was the stereotypical asshole new boss with an ego problem. It happens all the time on dramas. I DO like Peter Gallagher so I am willing to ride with this character to see if he can either soften up or teach Benson how to be a stronger leader. Benson's body language towards him was childish, esp. when she stormed out of her office to take the call with the case worker. Benson needs to get a grip, and fast.

I'm with you on Rollins, Chris. Her behavior in the hostage situation was risky and I think she got off on it. Does anyone believe realistically that Rollins could have absorbed that 300 page manifesto in much less than 24 hours hours and now she's an expert on the guy? I don't buy it. In my opinion, she still has issues.

Good episode, though, better than I expected.

Petra S said...

Nooo Chris, we don't need to see that again *lol* It's like etched in my mind already, can never get rid of that icky icky kiss ;)

As for the episode I liked it a lot. I think John Karna did a really good job, that was not an easy part to carry. And this show really seems to have something against deputy chiefs eh? Atlanta PD has one of them pricks & apparently NYPD has one too. But I liked Gallagher though. Chris you are right about him & Benson not working well as a team though, now that she seems to handle even Tucker better she should be able to handle Dodds but she was stressed out over Noah so I'll give her this ep. Seems he's back in the next one tho, should be interesting.
Saving the best for last - Kelli Giddish! She really knocked it out of the park. I know I'm bias but wow. I think she knew it was wrong to give up her gun but she's willing to go there to save the girls. It was really creepy cause I was totally waiting for the snipers to take him out but I still jumped out of my couch. I really wonder what went through her thoughts though, about everything. About what Holden said about Amaro, and she just being another notch in his belt. I think Holden was wrong about Amaro, to me that's not an accurate description of him, he is a choir boy after all ;) but I do think it will screw with Amanda's head. I liked how she acted towards him when he ran to her side. Should be interesting to see how that develops now, as long as they keep it subtle and it doesn't take up entire episodes I'm okay with the Rollaro plot.

Dorvell Stewart said...

I loved this episode! Honestly, I think Rollins could've talked Holden down if given a little more time. I'm sure I'm not the only one in SVU Land who wonders, however slightly, how Holden would've reacted if she had actually kissed him.

While I certainly don't condone Holden's actions (I found myself saying outloud "That's not the way to handle this, pal" several times during the episode,) I couldn't help but feel a little bad for him which is a first, considering the show we're talking about. I think his feelings, on some level are ones we can all relate to but as we all know, it's how we choose to deal with them that matters.

I absolutely loved Kelly Giddish in the last few minutes of the episode! She really outdid herself there!

Though this was a good case overall, it would've been a better fit for a show like Criminal Minds.

Enough rambling from me. Take a look at this article. It somes up the message of the episode perfectly!

Keith said...

I really liked the episode, had me on the edge of my seat. I really liked Peter Gallagher's character and I hope we see more of him. Does anyone know if we are seeing Peter Scanavino's character for the rest of the season? Would really like to see Linus Roache back as ADA Cutter (who is suppose to be our Bureau Chief) to add pressure to Barba like Dodds does to Benson!

Roselynn Finch said...

This episode reminded me a lot of "Outsider" from seaosn 8. Both storylines handled a man ignored and unwanted in society who reacted by committing crimes to seal their legacy and become "famous". It is a small similarity, but a nice one nevertheless.

As for Noah...ugh.

Petra S said...

@Keith - I don't hold any answers about Scanavino aka new guy but I mean the fact he sat at the panel at Paley must mean that he will be sticking around right? Benson needs at least 2 pair of detectives and since Scanavino seems to fit in so well with the cast I don't see a reason they wouldn't keep him. WL joked(?) on Twitter about looking for photo of Scanavino for the opening credits.
Re Gallagher I think WL tweeted he'll be in at least 3 episodes that they know of so far.

magix74 said...

I thought this episode was pretty good but I'm finding these ripped from the headlines episodes are not leaving much to the imagination. They lack suspense and really the story is already half written before the writers do their thing with it.

Cath T said...

I am always in two minds when it comes to the popular culture portrayal of someone on the autism spectrum.

As the mother of a young adult daughter on the spectrum I find stereotypical portrayals disturbing.

They are either isolated, socially awkward, violent whackjobs or isolated, socially awkward geniuses. I never see anything in between.

The reality is someone on the spectrum is far more likely to be the victim of violence rather than the perpetrator and is also more likely to be intellectually challenged rather than brilliant.

Still that's a personal perspective attributable to my own circumstances and I know I'm particularly sensitive to this issue.

Putting that to one side I thought it was a very good episode although I don't think it lived up to all the hype.

I thought the balance between Benson's work and home life was managed well and I had no issues with it. I remember all too well what it was like to be a working mother with young children (one with a disability) so I can relate.

Some interesting points:

Amaro seems to be in charge when Benson isn't around rather than Fin (?)

Rollins handling of the hostage situation probably didn't follow "the rules" but it showed Amaro had faith in her abilities when he followed her lead and there did seem to be a connection there between them.

I think it more likely Rollins has more notches on her belt than Amaro has on his. Not that I'm passing judgement just making an observation.

Amaro has his faults but he's never come across as a womaniser - (despite two kids with two different women). They were committed relationships at the time.

Also, I was certain Amaro had a bruised looking eye in one of the photo stills but that wasn't the case in the episode. Trick of lighting perhaps?

Overall, I thought it was a good, solid episode but I didn't find it gripping. I didn't gasp in shock or horror. I watch a fair bit of British crime drama though so SVU is less intense when compared.

Vim said...

1. Entire episode was well written - it was interesting and even with predictable outcome it was great pleasure to watch. So far this season is much better than previous.
2. If there is any justice in the world Kelli Giddish should get Emmy for her role.
3. Although I believe that Rollins would be able to subdue Holden without that sniper shot, I also believe that decision to shot him was completly right - we don't know how Holden would react if he realize that Rollins deceived him.
4. About Noah storyline - e should remember that Benson still didn't adopted tha child - for now he is "just" foster parent to him. Since I understand that in America there is much more family wanting to adopted baby than babies, it allows put them (families, not babies) for bigger scrutiny. I believe that in such cases safety of the child is much more important than the fact that Benson can feel uncomfortable. In Poland, we have some cases in which Child Services overlooked some similar shortcoming - and the child ended dead.
I also sometimes wonder whether some fans remember that baby Noah is not some "goods" to which Benson is entitled.
5. No new guy this time - which is regrettable, because I really started liked him - truth to be told I wouldn't mind if him and Fin would get more screen time and Amoro would leave the show.

Keith said...

Thanks Petra for confirming. I would like to see both Peters stick around, at least for this season. Hoping they will keep the 4 detectives with a Sergeant. Benson I can see is getting less and less involved in the crimes and becoming more of a commanding officer like Cragen was (which i think is the whole point of Dodds - who will sorta force this a bit more)

Hope this season continues the upward trend, viewers is up and i think popularity also, a lot of people seem happy where the show is going and I hope it stays that way! Great writing and a fantastic cast!

Cath T said...

I've noticed that when Carisi is in an episode either Amaro or Fin are out. Is this a case of too many detectives spoil the broth?

Benson becoming more of a desk jockey rather than hands on will make sense when combined with the "mother" story line. She will also be able to control things better from a distance rather than being on the front line.

From the little bit that's been seen so far Carisi & Amaro would make a good team and assuming the Amaro/Rollins relationship "comes out" they won't be able to be partnered again. They shouldn't even be in the same squad but this is tv land.

I like Carisi and hope he sticks around. Not sure about Dodds. His inclusion as a character seems a bit forced. Perhaps to give Benson someone to butt heads with. Inject some conflict into the mix I guess.

Still waiting oh so patiently for a semblance of Season 13/14 Amaro to make a reappearance but am beginning to lose hope. Looks like we're stuck with this whiny, sulky, chip on his shoulder, woe is me character. It pained me to say that because I'm a Danny Pino fan and I thought Amaro was a great character when he started but present day Amaro is starting to irritate me no end.

I'm hanging in there though. Perhaps he'll start shedding some of his demons soon through his anger management sessions and get back to being that good cop again.

empxth tbh said...

It just proved my theory of Amanda/Nick being the "new" Olivia/Eliott (exept they're hooking up lol)

MamaPeachGiddish said...
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Killatila said...

The episode was well written and i loved it... Kelli Giddish was amazing and yes i agree that she deserves at least an emmy nomination. They should stop sleeping on her. We seen nominations for average performances in the past ...She has been in top form these past 3 seasons. (season 13 excluded)
I strongly believe she handled the Holden situation perfectly and the svu team agrees that she approached a sociopath in the best way possible It was actually Nick who almost made him angry with his sweet talk. It was not the right way to handle such a case. Holden wasnt fooled with all that "Girls must have loved you at school" when he knows they have read his manifesto about being isolated and rejected by women.
Therefore,to be fair, Rollins didnt act recklessly. She did what was necessary.She knew what she as doing it and if Liv had done that everyone whould have called her a selfless hero but oh well we all know how fans are in the svu world...
About the Noah is getting on my nerves... We know he is hers now and we re happy for her and we can imagine their moments together.No need for screentime...

Ohrenfetisch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bunnyrounder said...

Poor poor Christopher Walken impression rather than someone with autism. Terrible and distracting.

Brittney said...

I went to UCSB and lived in Isla Vista during this shooting and followed the story closely. The start of this episode was a chilling reminder of what happened that day. Although many may think the actor did not portray someone with autism properly, his tone lined up perfectly with that of Elliot Rodgers bringing me back to that day and his videos. Was only 10 seconds in when I felt the need to look up when this episode aired and its relevance. Haven't finished the episode but I'm sure the actors will portray it well and it will be a chilling reminder.

Joshua Lopez said...

In my opinion I kinda didn't like this episode all that much for several reasons, one being that the way holden was portrayed in the episode led many to believe that he was an aspie, there was talk that the shooter this story this is lossely based on was also an aspie but that never really seems to be the case in all these shootings. I am an aspie and I kinda had to inform my friends and some ignorant jack holes in the comments section of the hulu video that aspies are mostly non-violent albeit very irritable in early life if anger management is never fully addressed, i'm in control of my own feelings. What could have made this episode better is if Rollins saved the day instead of having the antagonist shot in the face, at the end of the episode they could have gotten the reason why he did what he did and how future shootings could be prevented while also giving the audience the warning signs of a fellow disgruntled citizen that is about to go on such a rampage. A psa inspired conclusion might have done the episode some justice but alas, that's not what we got. A dead kid in the end that only needed some simple social necessities (friends, social counselling, blacklisted for gun purchases via diagnosis of mentally unstable behavior etc) wasn't the best way to end things and I feel the ending might have made the whole episode much better, and making the shooter sound less like Rogers in his videos and more like a bitchy kid whose feelings of his perceived social injustices (and inactive sex life) and a person in need of friends and a date. Speaking as an Aspie, I don't get jealious when a couple has sex within audible distance as much as I just get irritated, not enough to the point where I threaten violence against the man (heterosexual couple I'm assuming they would be) but as much as I just voice concerns to the neighbor the day after. "Would you mind not doing the dance with no pants so late at night, maybe during the day? a squat in the decrepit part of town etc lol". It wouldn't really change my perceptions on the cute neighbor girl and if we are close enough I might voice my concerns about the person she's dating but to a small degree since it's mostly none of my business for the most part until I suspect abuse. Seriously It's so distracting I find myself lying down with a stop watch timing stages of their sexual cycle LMFAO, I watch masters of sex sometimes lol.

Unknown said...

This episode was horrible due to it's promotion of the stereotype that autistics are crazy killers.