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I'm through SVU, and Without a Trace too

Ow.  Stupid body!  The day before Christmas Eve is not an appropriate time to send me reaching in agony for the Midol! < /public venting to feel better >.

Without a Trace, 7x10, "Cloudy with a Chance of Gettysburg"

I'm afraid I have to take issue with Jack's opening statement that "It just goes to show you can't trust anyone in a bowtie."  One, Bill Nye.  Two, have you MET Bob Crowley, love of my Survivor-watching life, the best teacher I've never had?  Yeah.  Put a cork in it.  Aside from that, BRILLIANT EPISODE OF WIN.

It's not that the case was all that gripping on its own, but with Boy Meets World kid as Kirby, a Civil War reenactment serving as much of the backdrop, and the semi-cheesy but mostly heartwarming end message about true love and second chances, I rather enjoyd it.  But the real epic win came from adding characters with personality to the solid case - by which I mean our agents, back from last week's holiday to replace their cardboard cutout substitutes. 

Here I was worried that Jack and Sam were going to be the only ones who got to shine, still better than nothing but not exactly ideal, and then everybody joined in the fun.  My favorite, of course, being Danny and Elena (OMG!  They had a semi-significant scene!  Color me dead of a shock-induced heart attack) 

I loved him not-entirely-modestly admitting that he was a Ben in high school - good looking and confident - while she had her "Kirby" phase with awkwardness and bad skin/hair, which Danny finds hard to believe.  He comes across as vaguely shallow in saying that, to be honest, but redeems himself with the slightly dopey, prolonged gazing at her while she picks up a work-related call.  He looks adorably smitten, delighted in a Charlie Eppes-esque way to learn things about her.  Or else he's trying to envision what she might have looked like & scheming ways he can dig up pictures to use for pranking/blackmail purposes. He was more of a Ben.

The other golden personality moment was the end - I'd forgotten how much fun Jack and Danny could be when not feuding (think last year's Santa discussion).  Clearly the latter is made of magic, as he can make anyone likable.  I was cracking up just as his half patient, half exasperated "No.  I know what you're thinking - no.  Jack, I want to go home," but then we actually got to see what Jack was up to.  Which is firing the cannon, without aiming and before figuring out how far its range was.  

And then running like hell after he busts up somebody's car in the parking lot, which is pretty much the most hilarious thing I have seen all year.  Totally unrealistic and played up for comedic effect, but it worked!

And we get various funny lines, like this --
Vivian: Why would he set up Ben to do the phoney expose on his boss?
Martin: [Ben was] stealing his girlfriend. Hoping Ben would get his ass kicked.
Vivian: And that wasn't enough, so he stabs him and maybe abducts him, all for this woman?
Martin: Maybe she's really hot.

(Hee!  It's his shrug and totally nonplussed expression, like this might be a perfectly valid and obvious rationale)

And this --
Kirby: Why are you helping me?
Ben: I was moved by your plight.

(*snickers uncontrollably*  See, I bet that line sounded a lot better both on paper and in his head.  Out loud...it's just all kinds of awkward sounding)

And this --
*KA-THUNK*

All right, maybe that wasn't an actual line, and it was also sort of a serious moment, but I'll be damned if I didn't laugh my ass off at the perfect timing as the other reporter turns around and promptly gets laid out by a headsmack from a flying sign.  It was like something you'd see in a Funniest Videos segment.

Plus, speaking of funny scenes, Im always down for a crazy chase set to fiddle music and topped off with a flying Danny tackle.

P.S. I've been meaning to mention this for a while, but it seems like they're incorporating the techs more and more often lately.  I fully approve, especially when it comes to Martin and Lucy interaction.  They're so cute.  In fact, it's my personal canon that she has a little crush on him...no special reason, I just think that would be fun.

See what a great episode that was?  I wrote all sorts of stuff and had almost nothing at all to complain about!
---------------
Law & Order, SVU
10x08, "Persona"
I have a suggestion - if you haven't seen this episode yet, skip this commentary and stop watching as soon as you hear the final verdict/sentencing charges.  You'll be a much happier person for it.

So, this episode.  Right off the bat, we have an irritating teaser - the pharmacist giving her customer a hard time about the morning after pill.  Have you consulted with your doctor?  Thought about adoption?  There are other ways!  Other ways to deal with the baby you -- HAVEN'T STARTED CARRYING YET.  That was the biggest WTFStupid! moment of the episode...the clunky dialogue surrounding this pill.  Here are some things it does: prevent a pregnancy from happening if sperm is already present.  Here are some things it does not: end a pregnancy if a fertilized egg has already attached to the uterine wall.  It is not actually that different from ordinary birth control.  (can we not get into specific distinctions of fertilized vs. implanted; it hurts my brain)  

The pointedly biased dialogue about how "they think they can push their beliefs on others" did not escape my attention either, because HI.  AGAIN.  NOT AN ABORTION PILL.  There is a difference between obnoxiously pushy pharmacists and doctors who refuse to perform abortions, which is the commentary I think you were going for, the difference being that one of them involves ACTIVE ENDING OF LIFE.  (can we not start an ideological debate about this either; I don't have the energy today; just let me yell at my TV show in peace)  

But once we get past that unpleasantness, we can start the process of figuring out how we go from a battered woman shouting "Stranger rape!" to convicting the murderer in a 30-year-old case.  Who unfortunately happens to be the sweetest old lady in the world, a battered woman herself who only did it in self defense (kinda...hey, you saw Sam Taggert in ER a few seasons back, right?  It was sort of exactly like that).

We also get to meet Prosecutor Donnelly, who has always been my favorite judge but who took a disturbingly sharp swing into Bitter Axe-Grinding Land, and contributed to a lot of headdesking in an otherwise fairly obsequious episode.  (Is that the word I want?  Is that how you spell it?  I think the respective answers are "not quite" and "yes," but I'm too lazy to change it) 

"You don't have to remind me how hard it was for women back then"?? UM.  To recap, Donnelly is whining about how hard it was to get into the boy's club, while Olivia is referring to how there were no women's shelters for abuse victims and marital rape wasn't a crime.  SLIGHT DIFFERENCE.  It was just...really unpleasant to watch her laugh in the face of rape & abuse stories because - get this - Linney made her look bad!  No blame on herself for making the dumb mistake, just on the scared woman who ran away because Donnelly inadvertently made it possible.  Also, um, if Linney claimed the cops could see the bruises...implying that they were in plain sight...wouldn't the prosecuting attorney, and anyone else, have been able to see them too?

But hey, through one contrivance or another, the snow queen's heart of ice finally melted, and all was well and good as Linney was found not guilty of murder, and  guilty-with-probability-of-just-probation on escape charges, and...now Jonah, the husband of 30+ years who'd rather die than hurt her, is going to get on his uppity high horse and disown her.  Wait.  The hell?

Oh, I'm sorry! You see, by aborting her rapist ex-husband's child, she stole Jonah's children/grandchildren from him.  Stole them!  What a lying, conniving bitch!  Why, he doesn't know her at all!  Except for the fact that she's spent more years with him than she did without, and been both his wife and sole caretaker, and, you know, generally gotten to know her really damn well.  God, I hate when people pull the "you failed to disclose the truth of your childhood many years ago!  STRANGER DANGER!" card.  Get over it. 

It's like when we were reading Our Mutual Friend, and the class was all "Ooh, John's creepy and gross, why hasn't he told Bella who he really is yet??"  There was me, that thought not even having crossed my mind, just going "Awww, what a romantic and adorable couple they are!"  I feel like this statement might be highly selective and/or variable, but at the moment, I feel that the longer you know a person, the less fussed you should be about anything you didn't know before.  The here and the now should count more.  I mean, unless you found out that they were a sadistic animal torturer who made a regular habit of hanging kittens in nooses and lighting dogs on fire.  But that seems rare.

And of course, you know my "ignorance is bliss" policy about whether or not you should have to disclose major/possibly damaging secrets to your significant other or if it's okay to try and conceal them forever.

Ugh.  The point I was originally trying to make: way to be supportive of your wife after hearing about her physically and emotionally traumatic rape, Jonah. 

[EDIT: Recapist has informed me that she did in fact lie about being infertile, and that she stayed on the pill because she was afraid to have children in case she got caught again and sent to jail.  Oh.  OK, well, fine.  I'm still grumpy at him, I just have to tweak my justifications a little.  Give me a minute, I'll figure out how to do that.]

I Forgot To Synthesize This Into The Above
I didn't even bat an eyelash when the first battered wife got a fatal knife to the chest for going back to her husband.  I just kept thinking "Huh, you know, Olivia probably should have spent some of her many hours hanging out in that concealed room to quietly pick the lock on that door and make sure she could get through it as soon as she heard a disturbance in the other apartment."  Those precious seconds she spent breaking it down might have saved the gal's life.

My other, even less serious thought was that she stuck around for the express purpose of protecting the woman, and yet her presence made almost no difference at all - or in other words, "Police protection fail!" Look, Fail Blog is REALLY ADDICTIVE.
10x09, "PTSD"
Whoa - no Stabler (maybe his refusal to take his injuries seriously finally caught up with him) and they focused on a single case from start to finish? I think I'm in shock.  Furthermore, how long has it been since an episode didn't tick me off in one form or another?  I mean, beyond Olivia being a pushy bitch about concealed weaponry at the beginning - for which I kind of hope she was politely kicked out of that particular group in order to put the women back at ease - but if that's the only thing she does to tick me off, it's a good day.  Besides, the rest of the time she was so obviously wrong that it was nice to just sit back and watch her figure that out.

Oh, and there were the obnoxious ZOOMING CLOSE-UPS and wavy-sounding voices to demonstrate Olivia's PTSD, but I chose to ignore/block those from memory since this case didn't seem particularly relevant to her experience with assault - you want next week for that - and it seemed an odd time for her reaction to suddenly kick in.  Aside from the convenient parallel to combat-related PTSD, if you squint.

But hey, beyond that, we got to explore a Fin/Benson pairing all hour, and it was delightful!  I love Fin.  Have I mentioned that?  He's a complex character, able to throw quips and mock wannabe rappers with special irony one week, and be a gruff but genuinely concerned partner the next week.  He's so the guy I want backing me up.  And this pairing is pretty much the greatest thing I have ever seen, especially when he serves as guide/pillar to gently help her access her un-crazy side, while still being willing to put his foot down if she goes too far over the line. 

Also, much love for Pruitt (the good soldier), especially now that Recapist has validated my suspicions that he might have been sort of flirting with Olivia a little bit...he has kind eyes. Much love for the rapist/murderer actually being an evil jerk, with an equally evil wife so you don't even have to feel sorry for her.  (oh, crap, but they had kids.  let's pretend they didn't)  In fact, I'd say it was about as straightforward and happy as a murder case can be, with an extremely satisfying conclusion.  That in turn makes me happy and satisfied.  Excellent ep!

Plus we got the JAG/SVU battles, with mention of NCIS, which I loved.  Reminded me of all the seemingly much more civilian cases NCIS has taken over if the victim has any connection, past or present, to the Navy.  Stretch definitions to accomodate your show's particular focus; everybody does it!

10x10, "Smut"
I have a suggestion for this episode, too - if you haven't seen it, skip it entirely.

Ew.  And ew some more.  That was one of the nastiest episodes I've ever seen, in terms of how unclean I felt during and after watching it.  Surprisingly, this show does not actually make me feel that way most of the time.  There often tends to be more blood than anything, which of course I am thoroughly desensitized to.  But this?  Major do not want.

You'd think at some point, watching videos of Mr. Lutz pinning women under his body, ripping their shirts open, and shouting humiliating abuse at them would get old.  But no!  Over and over, we get to watch such footage - sometimes the same footage - just to make sure it's really thoroughly embedded in our heads.  Look, I had enough problems with its explicitness the first time.  I mean, network TV, so it's not that explicit in the usual sense of the word, but the implications were more than enough.  It made me realize we usually don't get to see the victims until after they've already been attacked, and that's a trend I'd like to get back to ASAP.

Incidentally, "porn made me do it" is the dumbest defense I've ever heard.  Setting aside technical legalities and going to Entitled Empress Stephanie Land, rape-porn-addiction not only shouldn't be considered something valid, but even if porn was addictive enough to make you do whackjob things, you should still be held responsible because porn is gross.  (the distinction here being that fine, we won't make porn illegal, but God help you if it leads to anything...sort of like how you can get in trouble for not wearing a seat belt, but only in conjuction with something else) 

Stephanie Land has arbitrary rules and you should probably be glad I don't have any such control yet.

Also, if this post pops up when random people search for "porn," I am going to be super ticked.

However, that did make for a rather fun part of the trial - and the only good line Greyleck's ever had - "an objection's not the only thing you're raising."  As Nelson Munce might say, "Ha-ha!"

I suppose I can give the episode kudos for more-or-less staying on a single storyline again, even though this was one where I would have happily abandoned it in the middle to find out that, say, Kelly Sun was faking the whole thing to draw attention away from her secret underground whorehouse that snatches babies to indoctrinate them from childhood.  I'm pretty sure that would actually have ended up being less squicky.

And...yeah, I think that's all I'm going to say about this one.  It was filthy, I felt unclean, and since much of the internet agrees with me I don't think I need to dwell on it any further.  *pours bleach on brain*

I guess I should just be happy that Huang was finally back in an episode, yay?

Last thing: does it seem weird to anyone else that Liv keeps merrily telling strangers about how she was sexually assaulted?  I mean, silence for six months and now twice in two weeks.  What gives?--

Comments

laguera25
Dec. 25th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
I didn't even bat an eyelash when the first battered wife got a fatal knife to the chest for going back to her husband. I just kept thinking "Huh, you know, Olivia probably should have spent some of her many hours hanging out in that concealed room to quietly pick the lock on that door and make sure she could get through it as soon as she heard a disturbance in the other apartment." Those precious seconds she spent breaking it down might have saved the gal's life.

SVU's record of protecting folks sucks ass. In "Folly" in S2, they sent Tommy Dowd, a naive male escort into an apartment with his evil pimp while he was wired. Rather than don disguises and linger in proximity to the danger zone, Benson and Stabler hung out in a van across the street. They heard the sting going bust, but didn't leap into action until after Dowd had gotten a faceful of boiling pasta water for his pains and suffered second and third-degree burns that would scar him for life.

Yes, sir, that's ace protection, that is.

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