About Last Night...GHOSTS, LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


January 6, 2023 by  


LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “Trap” Episode 310 — Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Sloyer as Nestor Castillo, Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler, Rick Gonzalez as Det. Bobby Reyes, Brent Antonello as Det. Jamie Whelan — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

Let’s talk about Thursday night’s TV!

LAW & ORDER: God, you could sense Sam was absolutely going to be screwed over, but it still was absolutely heartbreaking to witness. And I get McCoy couldn’t do anything and he was screwed over, too, but, man, someone needed to support her. I wish we had gotten a dissection of her guilt and grief after, similar to the way we got with Shaw last episode.

GHOSTS: Honestly, if the GHOSTS writers and casting directors want to keep recruiting SUPERSTORE vets, it would make me so very happy.

But I loved the expansion of the GHOSTS-verse. A car ghost!! And, yes, I assumed the assistant didn’t actually kill her and she wanted to get on the road again, but it was really fun. And it’s always adorable seeing Sass a little crazy for a girl.

(Also, is it bad I want a burrito now??)

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: Starting this with the caveat that this is the first part of a trilogy, so…yeah. I’m just pointing out some of this might not be relevant when all is said and done.

Episode-wise, I’m going to highlight what I really loved, which was the actual SVU case. Camryn Manheim was so, so, so great as Dixon here, and it was lovely seeing her and Olivia talk, briefly. It was fascinating, and absolutely heartbreaking, to see that many interviews done via ASL and see these women finally get a voice of their own/justice. Was it super plausible that not one interpreter could be found? Probably not. But if they were going to go out on that limb, I’m really glad Dixon utilized it well.

And it was fun to have Duarte back. He has an interesting history with Muncy (as her former boss), Velasco (as his almost-boss), and Olivia (as his frenemy), so it’s nice to bring him back into the world, especially as things are going Very, Very Bad for Olivia.

But. (And, yes, we’re going to bullet point this.)

  • Look, a gang attack was never going to be kind, but this was deeply difficult to watch. It was the most brutalized Olivia has been on-screen since her torture at the hands of William Lewis. And, to add insult to injury, it was done in front of her son. Olivia has gone through an unspeakable amount of trauma throughout the series, and the past few years in particular have been brutal—Simon, Tucker, and Kathy died; there has been an ongoing global pandemic; she had to kill someone a few days after Christmas; she’s lost Kat, Garland, and Rollins; someone tried to drive her off the road and she broke her ankle in the crash; she reunited with her groomer and did extraordinarily not-okay things to protect him; she became estranged from one of her best friends; and there’s the whole Elliot of it all. There was more than enough for the show to work with if they wanted to dig into her healing. And if they wanted to return to the BX9 case, Olivia was already connected and invested in that world…this wasn’t needed. I hope, somehow, I feel different when the arc is actually over, but right now I’m very, very wary.
  • It was also confusing that 1) Olivia was complaining about being understaffed, 2) McGrath wanted her to go to the Bronx SVU to clean up their mess, and 3) when Olivia was attacked, not only did she and Fin go to work at the Bronx, the only other two SVU detectives worked with Duarte to find the kid who attacked Olivia. Was the Manhattan SVU…entirely empty? Why not have the Bronx SVU stuff happen later in the season, that way we could pretend someone was taking care of the normal cases while Olivia was dealing with BX9?
  • It’s generally not the end of the world (or OMG NEWSWORTHY) when a character moves, but I couldn’t tell whether the show changed the layout of Olivia’s apartment and figured fans wouldn’t notice/care or if she actually moved apartments. Because if it’s the latter, that’s actually quasi-important to know given BX9 found her now/had been tagging her building for weeks. We saw her apartment last season—several times, on multiple shows—so if they had her new home after a recent move, it’s relevant to the story, in theory?
  • Which also brings me to my confusion about Olivia sending Noah off to his half-sibling’s home. It gets him out of town, absolutely, but that doesn’t do much good if BX9 was physically stalking them. And rather than sending him to cops and/or people who are armed, she sent him hours away (where no one could help if things went wrong), to people who were essentially sitting ducks for who knows how long? Does he not have school?
  • (Also, Noah is now 11?! They just said 12 last episode! But I’ll admit: I laughed.)
  • And, um, in what world does Olivia have a rifle?! In her closet?!? That is unlocked and free for her child to grab at any point?!?!
  • (There was also a lot of—understandable—talk about Rollins this episode. Why was Noah not sent to her and Carisi? Or it would have been nice to have Olivia get a text from her sending love. As they noted last episode, they weren’t going to stop being friends, and there’s virtually no way Carisi didn’t hear about this.)
  • I did really like Bruno, though, and his dynamic with Fin and Olivia was intriguing. If he pops up again after this arc is over, I definitely wouldn’t object to that.

But, okay, the line of the night was Olivia telling Muncy, “Lose the blazer.” Perfect callback after her being so tough on Muncy earlier in the season for her wardrobe.

[First week of 2023 and I’m already breaking one of my self-imposed rules of ALN and noting there is a spoiler—technically show-approved, since it was shared on the L&O social channels—ahead, but it’s relevant to discussions about tonight’s episode.]

At this point it’s not a secret Elliot is going to show up later in this arc. But there were a couple of moments in the episode where it felt like straight-up baiting he might pop up here, which is not exactly fun in the aftermath of the mixed signals of the past few months. (And I want to be very, very, very clear about a few things: Olivia’s healing should not be about Elliot, he does not need to save her, nor do I want injury or harm to befall on Olivia to get forward movement in that relationship.)

We didn’t need two “you have a visitor” moments, complete with a quasi-dramatic beat, to Olivia in the aftermath of her attack. Given the unending ambiguity about if the two are even talking (and more on that in the OC section), why bother with that? And if Kate knew Olivia was injured, in what world did Bell, Stabler, etc. not know as well? Even if the NYPD grapevine didn’t get to them, there was a huge police presence at the scene…it would have been everywhere, including on the news.

(There’s also the weird fact this attack is very similar to Elliot’s attack on ORGANIZED CRIME in season 1. Elliot and Eli were outside their old apartment buidling, Elliot saw the threat, and demanded Eli go inside, and had an intense fight; Olivia and Noah were outside their apartment building, Olivia saw the threat, told Noah to go inside and call the cops, and then had her fight. The only real difference was Eli stayed inside, unlike Noah, and Elliot didn’t go to the hospital.)

But, again, hopefully the Elliot of it all is something that makes sense when this arc is actually over.

[For more on the episode, here’s what Maurice Compte shared.]

THE CHASE: Okay, I really thought the contestants would win it between it being the premiere, them getting 20 in the final round, and getting two pushbacks. Victoria is an absolute beast.

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: In case there was any doubt: I would die for Ayanna and Elliot. Full stop. May they never change.

Barely joking aside, this episode did such a great job of showcasing multiple angles to their relationship, which was especially gratifying in the aftermath of their bickering. We saw them bantering about his dumb jokes, and his inability to follow directions. (I have not made it through the scene of them talking about Jamie’s file once without laughing out loud.) We saw her gently guide him to work on himself. (And him poke fun at himself when he did.) It was great.

That also allowed for a fun juxtaposition to see that (with Bell as a great boss), compared to her dealing with her new boss, and the weirdness of that…including the fact that he IS A CHILD. (And got the job she almost had.) I’m so curious how Bell navigates that delicate line going forward, especially when new people move into the task force’s office. As big as it is, it’s not like there are a million desks??

I loved getting to see Jamie undercover, even if he was a bit reckless, because we hadn’t gotten to really see him step out on his own in any significant way. And who would have thought this was his background?!

Am I worried about him in the lion’s den with no obvious way out? Heck yes. But they just shot him before the arc started, so fingers crossed he makes it out of this intact. (Also, I’m so sorry to Jamie, I’m sure it hurt, but I laughed when the cop punched him in the face to make it even, after Jamie had punched him while undercover. But, seriously, no more injuries to members of the OCCB.)

But…we have to talk about the elephant in the room: Elliot’s therapy sessions.

First of all, as someone FIRMLY Team Elliot Please Go To Regular Therapy, I am overjoyed he went by choice, eventually. I am, however, deeply confused by how/why he was mandated to go to therapy for his last shooting—complete with time off—considering he shot people in like half of the OC season 3 episodes and no one blinked. (Which also means it feels like his “discharged his weapon” 11 times makes no sense? And this—dated—recap of his officer-related shootings has it at well over 15 shootings.)

After being pretty frustrated by the show taking away his family and not actually showing any of the impact on him, I’m glad we finally got Elliot acknowledging he has gone through a loss and his struggles with endings. (We knew, Elliot. We saw how you dragged your feet on the divorce and you dragged it out for years. And how you ghosted Olivia when you quit.) THIS is what we needed to see if they were going to remove a huge part of the heart from the show—Elliot acknowledging he was grieving the loss of his family. Yes, we know his family is still there, but it’s different now and I’m glad he’s finally really admitting it.

And then there was the baffling comment he made: “I recently lost a friend. A very close friend. Partner.” He lost said person “through neglect, on my part. Fear. Selfishness.”

If you hear “very close friend” and/or “partner” plus Elliot Stabler, sorry to everyone else, but the automatic thought is he’s referring to Olivia Benson. But…what?! No, the story of Elliot and Olivia is not easy and/or brief, but that’s not a very honest way to talk about the end of their partnership that occurred more than a decade ago. And if Elliot was talking about something more recent, we’ve simply seen nothing on-screen to indicate as much. (The last canonical, confirmed, things they’ve said about each other was Elliot telling Tia he was in love with someone else and Olivia saying Elliot used to be her home, but now she was paralyzed to take a step forward.) Even if they had lost contact after the crossover, there’s a huge difference between losing a friend and losing touch with/missing each other.

So is Elliot just, finally, contending with the harm his actions caused and he misspoke? Did something happen off-screen? I truly hate to be a broken record on this, but it would help if we had an iota of a clue where Elliot and Olivia currently stood. Rather than focusing on Christopher Meloni’s masterful acting in that scene—and he was damn good—every time I’ve watched, I’ve tried to glean anything about what’s going on, because it feels like something very obvious is being overlooked. And I don’t know if it’s the writers just expecting (too much) patience or there’s something there I/we just haven’t seen. I’m all for mystery, but this isn’t that. This is withholding key information that actually is important to let your emotional scenes mean something.

There is one wild card in all of this, and I truly hope I’m wrong with this theory: ORGANIZED CRIME, right now, seems to be ahead of SVU, time-wise. (And we’ve seen the franchise air things out of order with OC & SVU’s season 1/22 finales and then season 2/23 premieres, and the jumble as they tried to clarify what took place when.)

The first hour of the SVU trilogy took place over the first couple of days in January. In theory, Elliot was off a few weeks pre-Christmas, returned, and his second therapy session was a week after the initial visit. (Per him saying “last week” when talking to the therapist during visit number 2.) Are we in mid-January in OC time? If so, is he reacting to something we haven’t seen yet?

(Again, really hoping I’m wrong with this theory and it’s just as simple as the SVU and OC writers not syncing up timelines.)

[For more on the episode, here’s what Brent Antonello shared.]

Which shows did you watch last night?

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