Thursday, December 7, 2017

Law & Order SVU “Intent” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Intent” was the complete opposite of the previous episode “Something Happened”; the latter focused almost exclusively on Benson, while “Intent” provided something for everybody. This was a FAR better episode, giving viewers a lot of the expected and a little of the unexpected, just enough to make things interesting.  Noah goes missing while he is with Sheila (expected). In a West Virginia bar, Rollins tells Carisi that she once took a bartender “out back and banged his brains out” (expected - because  it's Rollins,  and unexpected - that she actually said it). Carisi and Rollins get in a bar fight (unexpected) and later have a “moment” (unexpected), a moment which Carisi finds shattered when he sees that Rollins hooked up with a West Virginia bartender that same night (expected). When Carisi seems to be in a funk over this (unexpected), Rollins tells him “You know I’m human, right? Right, and human people have sex, sometimes with people they love, sometimes with people they don’t even know…and sometimes with people who are pains in the ass” (expected…and which one of those could be Carisi?). Barba gets one in the win column (expected), but only after Benson seemingly had to push Barba to pursue a case (expected). Fin gets to add the comic relief (expected).

Peppered within this episode is the Benson – Noah – Sheila story arc. It begins with Benson finding out from Noah that during his time with Sheila that day, Sheila mentioned Noah’s mother Ellie. This does not please Benson one bit. She later makes it clear to Sheila that Noah’s family – Sheila’s family - is complicated and Noah is 5 and when he is old enough he will hear the truth but until then, Sheila has to discuss these things with her first. Sheila agrees it will never happen again, saying this has all been wonderful and she wants it to work, and she asks for Benson’s forgiveness. Benson grants it to her, reminding Sheila they are all new at this. At the end of the episode, Sheila is in a department store with Noah as he is trying on a coat, and a mysterious figure wearing a hoodie watches nearby. As Sheila turns away briefly to select another coat, she turns back toward where Noah had been standing and he is nowhere to be found. She looks around in desperation and panic. At the end of the episode, Benson gets a call from Sheila and her face looks stunned. The promo for the next episode shows the continuation of this story. The big questions: Who took Noah, and did Sheila have anything to do with orchestrating the abduction? Has she been ingratiating herself with Benson in order to get Benson to drop her guard or did she have nothing to do with this at all? If Sheila is not complicit, will Benson ever be able to trust or forgive Sheila? Can we finally bring a close to this story line once and for all?

Now, the SVU case of the week. A social media celebrity, Katy Miller, and MMA fighter “The Monster” arrange to meet and later find themselves at The Monster’s home which has a spectacular view of the city. Things look romantic at first but quickly turns bad when The Monster forces himself on Katy, despite her pleas to stop. Afterward, Katy is walking alone in the street, and a stranger walking by asks if she is okay. She collapses, saying she was raped. Later, with Fin and Rollins at the Mercy Hospital where Katy was taken, she denies a rape occurred. Benson and Rollins also have no luck in getting Katy to spill on her attacker, but The Monster proactively contacts the SVU about the matter, later telling Carisi and Fin that Katy sent him a text demanding $10,000 or she will tell them that he raped her.

The Monster is questioned at SVU and they find that he got messages from Katy that stated she wanted him to rape her.  Benson and the detectives set up a sting to have The Monster pay the money and to see if Katy shows up, and if she doesn’t, to charge The Monster with rape 1. Surprisingly, Katy does show up but she runs when she sees him. The detectives apprehend her and arrest her. While being questioned at SVU, she denies the demands for money. They later discover that Katy was lured to that location by another mysterious text. As the detectives discuss the case and the texts, they realize a third party is involved – Fin calling it a double catfish.

While they work to unveil this third party, Benson confers with Barba and he explains that for this third person to be charged with rape, The Monster has to be found guilty (or take a guilty plea). Later,  Barba and Benson lay out the facts for The Monster; Katy also shows up during this discussion and makes it clear that she told The Monster to stop. (She also throws in the fact that she was a virgin.) He does the right thing and takes Barba’s deal, opening the door to charge the catfisher. This was almost too easy. 

The catfisher is tracked to West Virginia, and Carisi and Rollins get the assignment to go there to check it out, giving viewers a stereotypical view of West Virginia life. Along with Deputy Sheriff Chuck Howley, they catch up with Heather Parcell, who is taking care of her very ill mother. They take her computer and she is arrested.  Later, at “The Barrel” bar, Carisi and Rollins are with the Chuck, who has too much to drink. As Chuck takes a bathroom break, Rollins questions the bartender, Buck, and they get slightly flirty. Afterward, Rollins comments to Carisi she spent too many nights in places like this. She recounts her experience with the bartender at one of her old haunts, and when she returned to see her mother last year, she admits that she “took him out back and banged his brains out.” They both laugh over this. Soon after, Chuck drunkenly comes out of the men’s room and as Carisi tries to help him, they collide with a server who spills her tray of drinks all over a group at another table. As Carisi tries to defuse the situation, a fight ensues, with Carisi and Rollins quickly exiting the bar, somewhat exhilarated over the experience. They later share a near romantic moment at Rollins’ hotel room door, but Carisi isn’t laughing later when he sees Buck exiting Rollins’ hotel room in the morning.

They take Heather to New York City to face charges and she eventually is represented by the attorney who she also catfished. During her trial, Katy and The Monster testify to their parts of the story, and Heather takes the stand in her defense, playing on sympathy about caring for her sick mother. It looks like it may work, but Barba quickly brings out the anger and resentment that Heather holds towards Katy, and the jury quickly finds her guilty of rape in the first degree.

The only thing that was a big hole for me was how was it so easy for Heather to catfish Katy, The Monster, and the lawyer? I suppose with people using texts and/or dating or hook-up apps with increased frequency and speaking less via phone or in person, it may be easier that I think to bamboozle so many people.

Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Guest stars:
Brooke Shields - Sheila Porter
Steve Howey – The Monster Andy McPherson
Gage Golightly - Katy Miller
James Monroe Iglehart – Shaun Tompkins
Tenea Intraigo - Heather Preston
Nick Sullivan - Deputy Sheriff Chuck Howley
Glenn Fleshler - Counselor Phillip Altshuler
Erik Anthony Martin - Marv
Ben Roberts – Buck
Barbara Kingsley – June Parcell
Gillian Glasco – Uni
Valerie Kingston – Judge Martha Whiman
Anthoula Katsimatides – Meryl Smith
Ava Demary – Debbie
Violet Knobel – Amy
Melody Bates – Waitress
Erik Martin – Marv
Jenny Hickman – Missy
Christopher Tighe – Man
Lailee Clemons – Foreperson
Ryan Buggle - Noah Porter-Benson

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Erika Williams said...

I am not ok with Rollins and Carisi hooking up!

Kristina buford said...

I’m actually okay the development,but it needs to be down the line and with more storyline between Rollins/carisi.

Jessica F. Norick said...

"Can we finally bring a close to this story line once and for all?"

Cheer up, Chris..... Maybe Noah's abductor(s) will kill him.

Laurie Fanat said...

This episode was...interesting. I admit I am glad they finally got to the point where Noah was kidnapped. Everybody knew this was going to happen eventually and I agree the only issue is whether Sheila is involved in it. I hope with the next episode that they close the loop on this Noah stuff and put the kid on the back burner for a while. The promo for next week looks like they are trying really hard to get Mariska that Emmy nomination. It's a nice try but I just don't see that happening.

The Carisi/Rollins "thing" was also...interesting. That bar fight was odd. Won't they get in trouble with the NYPD if this comes out? Deputy Sheriff Chuck probably won't be saying anything about it as he was drunk, but what about the people they were fighting with? And the Carisi/Rollins near hookup was weird. Carisi looks love struck and Rollins apparently just wanted to get laid - by anybody, it seems. Carisi may finally be seeing Rollins for who she is - she wants to be a free spirit and he doesn't seem the type. I don't think these two have much chemistry anyway so I hope this dies quick.

Why the MMA fighter folded so fast on that rape charge is beyond comprehension. Yes, Katy did tell him to stop, so he did rape her, even though he thought she had sent him the message for him to do so. But I would have expected more of a fight from him, no pun intended.

It annoys me that Benson seems to condescend to Barba all the time. Maybe when Philip Winchester joins the cast he will kick some sense into Barba and put Benson in her place.

gummboote said...

This episode was better than most this season but it still wasn't actually good. The Noah stuff continues to be unwatchable - seriously, I fast-forwarded through those parts. I didn't care for the Carisi and Rollins interlude either.

The Monster copping to the rape charge was... well, peculiar. The police badger someone into making a false admission of guilt and this is GOOD? The guy goes against his manager's advice, accepts the rap of being a sex offender, the loss of huge amounts of money, and the likelihood of being hounded for the rest of his life, because Olivia turns on the moral blackmail?

And as Chris rightly says, there's the vast improbability of an uneducated, inexperienced young girl being able to pull off such a deception. And wouldn't two people who exchanged hundreds of texts be likely to phone each other and TALK a bit before they met?

Lisa said...

Maybe Noah will not be found ... one can hope ;)

Fefe Yo said...

Nice review! The parts with Noah are very annoying. Can't stand Olivia/Mariska...she is a control freak and is very jealous and disgusting. Can't stand how she manipulates and pressures everyone to do what she wants. For the innocent guy to plead guilty is surely an injustice. The case shouldn't even followed through, as the girl first said she was not raped at all. There should be consequences for changing stories.
Loved the Rollins/ Carisi romance would be fun if it is discreet.
I have a feeling they may jump the shark and have Noah killed....unless Sheila is behind it...perhaps she will take Noah out of the country.

Fefe Yo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margot Undercliffe said...

I'm hoping that Carisi doesn't end up with Rollins. She has form with previous people she has worked with: Murphy and Amaro, so can they find another storyline for him. I was always hoping he and Barba would be a thing.

One part of me hopes that Noah is kidnapped and taken out of the jurisdiction and not seen again, though I know that will only drag it out, but I am over it. Yes, Stabler had family issues but they weren't in every episode for 3 years. Perhaps there will be a twist and it WON'T be Sheila, but everything points to her building up to this and Benson being too believing and forgiving in recent weeks.

JSlayerUK said...

...and this is why you always confirm a safeword.


j parks said...

probably the stupidest plotted episode this season. so very unlikely in all things. The guy admitting to rape?!! Should not admit to anything that wasn't true. And the stupid girl having expert internet phishing skills. That was as laughable as the mother's poop pot sob story.

DarQ DawG said...

While watching this episode I kept thinking I had seen this before, but I was sure I hadn't. I chalked it up to deja vu, until the 20/20 commercial came on talking about the pro baller and aspiring model and Internet personality, who were catfished by Shelly Chartier, a Canadian woman who was taking care of her mother. Always nice to immediately identify the headline from the law and order "ripped from" model.

I see at least one person claiming Monster isn't guilty of anything. I find that ridiculous. Not sure what the law has to say about it, but in my opinion if your hands are performing the deed you're culpable, at least morally. As long as no one held a gun to your head, I feel you should be held liable.

I saw this episode as analogous to those incidents awhile back where someone would call a fast food restaurant, pretending to be law enforcement. They would then order a manager to perform frisks and other indignities on employees, usually female, I believe. At some point the real police would get involved and it would all come out that these people were just following the orders of some prankster. Don't recall if they were prosecuted, but they should've been if they weren't.

I too am sick of the noah plot, but I hope they don't kill the kid off. I just wish he'd fade into the background never to be seen or heard from again, except in passing conversation.

The Rollins / Carisi romance plot I'm not really feeling. Carisi shouldn't have been so salty when he saw the bartender coming out of her motel room. He's known her for years; it's to be expected by now. Don't go away mad, just go away. It is right for him to distance himself from her, though, just to get his heart off his sleeve and back under his rib-cage where it belongs. He just shouldn't be a dildo about it. Rollins is a mess. That's why she fit with Amaro (really miss that guy), who was also a mess. Never really liked Carisi, but I wouldn't wish Rollins on much of anybody. I hope he resists the urge to white knight for her.

DarQ DawG said...

Just read what j parks said.This story happened almost exactly the way it was depicted, except for the rape and the rape plea deal. There was no expert catfishing needed, just three stupid people. Anybody's curious, Google Shelly Chartier or just watch 20/20 tonight.

malifact said...

I'm in the camp that thinks this episode was better than Something Happened, but it wasn't great. The Carisi / Rollins thing is quite messed up. He wants to save her and she probably wants some stability and a father figure for her child. I hope they don't draw it out. The main plot reminded me of a previous SVU storyline where somebody was pretending to be a girl online and asking for somebody to rape her as a fantasy. I can't remember the episode name

Unknown said...


ohlenakin !! said...

Texting only does happen cuz Ive done it. But I do agree that an uneducated girl catfishing 3 people is very improbable.

Charliejamezz said...

Opposite from most people here, I LOVE Carisi and Rollins together! I think they have such good chemistry and would be really good for each other. The Noah storyline though.... blah blah blah, Its soooo boring! I almost get upset over how much screentime that storyline covers. We only have 45 minutes per episode! One thing I miss is more Benson and Barba time. I want them to end up together!
Anyway, thanks once again Chris!

Meggie B said...

I like Rollins and Carisi too :) Although I worry that he would actually be in love, and I'm not sure she can. I like Rollins a lot but I think her family has left her afraid to actually trust anyone. If anyone could change that though, it might be the bizarrely endearing Carisi ;)