Whoa! Not only is SVU back in the business of supporting survivors, but the squad room is filling up.
Assuming Velasco doesn’t get fired and Bruno joins the squad, that’s four detectives plus Benson, who is in the field more often than not. It’s still not nearly enough for a busy police department, but it’s getting there.
Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 13 offered the type of case SVU is known for, too, including Benson’s characteristic pep talks for survivors who feel down about their futures.
This case was somewhat strange. A phony EMT was staging accidents so he could rape female passengers who had dark hair.
After all was said and done, I wasn’t sure why he went on this raping spree. While Velasco was right that there doesn’t have to be a reason beyond wanting to dominate victims, Clark’s behavior made it seem like there was a symbolic one.
Supposedly, Clark’s crime spree began because his wife was having an affair with the man whose dealer license he stole. Was he trying to get revenge by raping women who looked like his wife and framing her lover?
Danielle: What kind of sicko rapes a woman at the scene of an accident?
Benson: He targets the vulnerable, just like every other predator on the planet.
Benson’s claim that he wanted other men to feel as helpless as he did wasn’t satisfying enough. The man went to all the trouble of posing as an EMT and staging accidents so he could snag victims. Some explanation that made sense would have made this story much more powerful.
If there was ever a time to bring Dr. Huang back, it was now, so he could help develop a psychological profile for the rapist and bring him to justice. He also could have interviewed Clark post-arrest so that viewers could have a real answer.
For some reason, the idea that the world is a bad place that gets progressively worse was prominent in this episode.
Bruno said so. Benson noted that predators target the vulnerable, plain and simple. And Muncy suggested that the attacks were completely random.
I agreed with Benson that that was a depressing thought, but the unclear motivation for Clark’s attacks reinforced Muncy’s beliefs.
The hostage situation felt like an unnecessary complication toward the end of the hour. Wasn’t it enough that Clark’s messed up actions left people dead and that his latest victim managed to use a stun gun to defend herself against him?
Taking a hostage so he could demand his wife apologize was bizarre. If anything, he should have been trying not to get arrested now that he knew the jig was up.
Despite this hiccup, it was a compelling case, especially when Benson encouraged victims. My favorite scene was when she reassured Emma that if Josh didn’t stand by her, he wasn’t the right man for her.
Emma: Do you think Josh will call off our engagement because I was raped?
Benson: Only Josh can decide that. But I can tell you, if he does, he wasn’t the right partner for you in the first place.
Josh’s difficulty dealing with the rape was an interesting sideline; while Benson often counsels rape survivors, SVU rarely explores what happens to people who witness something horrible happening to their loved ones.
Josh felt as powerless as Emma did because he couldn’t stop the rape from happening. He avoided her calls and wasn’t cooperative with the police, and Bruno’s attempt at a pep talk only led to a false identification.
Nevertheless, Bruno is a talented, flawed, and welcome addition to the team. Although he hasn’t formally accepted an employment offer, it has to be coming.
There’d be little point in featuring him for four episodes, giving him an ex-wife that Benson is encouraging him to make up with, and allowing Benson to soften toward him if he’s going to disappear into the night and never be heard from again.
Josh: While he was raping her, he looked right at me. I think he liked it, me being helpless. What is wrong with people?
Bruno: I think the world peaked in 1999. Y2K, the world ended. It just took the scenic route.
His cynicism reminded me of Munch, who I miss most out of all the original players, and he’s dedicated to the job, and shocked to find he’s not the only one.
More, please! Let’s hope he makes that employment decision quickly.
Meanwhile, what’s going on with Velasco? SVU can’t afford to lose any more bodies, and he’s been a solid addition to the team despite having originally been planted by McGrath to spy on them.
I agree with Muncy that Velasco was likely saying things to get the perp to talk to him. That’s a standard cop trick, and Velasco knows how to use his background to get perps talking.
I’m also confused as to why Benson had Muncy listen to the recording in the first place. Was she testing Muncy’s loyalty?
If she doesn’t want Muncy to tip off Velasco that he’s being investigated, it seems the easiest way to solve that problem would have been not to create it in the first place.
There’d be nothing for Muncy to say if she hadn’t listened to the recording and didn’t know anything about the investigation.
Velasco spent the whole hour trying to get Muncy to open up about her grief over Duarte’s death while Muncy tried and failed to resist being vulnerable with him.
Are they building this relationship up for the sake of extra drama? That seems to be the main reason for putting Muncy in the middle.
Finally, while Bensler shippers were disappointed that there was no follow-up to the almost kiss, that story is moving forward — it’s just subtle.
There were no flashbacks or mentions of the moment between them, but Benson’s comments about love sometimes working out seemed like a step in the right direction. She’s thinking things over and trying to believe that romance is possible in her life too.
There’s no reason for anything more than that right now. Benson and Stabler know where they stand at the moment, and they will interact when there’s a reason for them to work together again. Overdoing it would put the show out of balance and distract from the series’ main point, supporting survivors.
Your turn, SVU fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts on this episode. And don’t forget you can watch Law & Order: SVU online while waiting for the next episode to air.
Law & Order: SVU airs on NBC on Thursdays at 9 PM EST / PST.