Law & Order: SVU, 16x09-16
16x09, Pattern Seventeen: first interesting not-technically-a-crossover case of the season. It really seems to help when they take field trips; I loved all of Amanda's uncomfortable interactions with her creepy Boys Club of a former workplace. I still don't know what that looming Council of Judgment that Olivia has to make reports to is -- it reminds me of the court in Harry Potter -- but I kind of like the fact that we're seeing the boring administrative side of the job now that we care about the person in the office. Could have done without the persnickety social worker (who is clearly way worse at arranging care for Noah than Olivia is at caring for him), though.
16x10, Forgiving Rollins: When this season offers original material for the A plot, it's like seeing a unicorn. Rollins' immediate reaction to the victim was heartbreaking, and how she worked with Taymoore to convince the latter to testify against the power abusing creeper Patton really appealed to me. I had never considered that she might have actually been raped, because I'm thick. I just assumed we were leaning on a heavy sexual harassment and/or propositioning history. That was a pretty awful story. And made even more intriguing by the fact that before it went south, she was willingly offering sexual favors to help out her sister, so I guess 15x17 was not an isolated incident. No judgment -- just honestly fascinated by how complex she's become since the days when I was calling her Blondie for lack of ability to remember her name.
Side note: I love that we still see her walk Frannie every so often.
16x11, Agent Provacateur: I just want to flail about the teaser for a million years. That was so beautifully, artfully, exquisitely done as a hazy montage of disconnected scenes, as if in a waking dream, to a haunting female cover of "Let Her Go." I rewound it three times just to soak it all in; it was like an official music video. A quick internet search informs me the vocalist is Jasmine Thompson, though not before finding out that there are about a hundred gorgeous female covers so I'm pretty sure I never need to listen to Passenger again (this one going by "Beth," for instance, is quite good too).
Tthe rest was a weird blend of original story and a James Franco/Shia LaBoeuf mashup that just needed more Jeremy Jordan. He didn't do anything for me on Smash, but now that I associate him with Smash, I appreciate his face when I see it in other projects. Funny how that works.
There was a quote exchange on the phone that made me laugh, though.
Olivia: It's Friday. How about we pick him up at the end of the day?
Barba: So he can't get processed until Monday, and has to spend the weekend in the tombs? ... Motherhood has really changed you, Liv. Brought out your sweet side.
Oh, wait -- I also liked Fin and Sonny going undercover as prisoners to trick LMZ Guy into blabbing about his source. Sonny definitely has not grown on me yet, but I always love seeing Fin trotted out to play stereotypical gang/thug-type lowlifes. Man has a gifted wheelhouse, and always looks like he's really relishing the part where he shows his true colors to the perps, all, "Surprise, bitch, my house is in order."
16x12, Padre Sandunguero: I loved getting to see Zara again, particulary because she was getting hugged a lot by her father in both happiness and reassurance. The rest, not so much. Even though it's not often we see the detectives actively trying to take their relatives down, I still got sick of his father's face and mumbling voice immediately, and lost interest in the story after the excitement of the teaser, when it became less about Nick defending women and more about crabbing at his boring old man. The only part I liked was Tucker's crack about how Amaro's up to 3, 4 IA files a year, before kindly taking his side for once.
16x13, Decaying Mortality: in which my first thought is "Oh hai Dr. Cooper! [Paul Adelstein] I know you and don't know anyone else, so clearly you did it," and my only other thought is, "Wow, that is so much more uncomfortable than I expected it to be." I certainly don't need more reasons to fear the dentist. However, Barba did get a good, snarky flippant exit remark in there about requesting them all not to talk if they come to the trial.
16x14, Intimidation Game: Boy, that escalated quickly. What started as a boring, buzzword filled retelling of GamerGate (one just as confusing and illogical as the real life version) exploded along with the flash bomb blackout into an eyeball-popping thrill ride of an adventure that might have been among the better episodes this season. Which ended in a much darker place than I expected from its ridiculous beginning, to the point where I'm still kind of haunted by it. I like the idea that Fin plays violent FPS games to relax and unwind after work, though.
Also! That one announcer guy, I know him from YouTube! Toby something...Toby Turner. Why do I know him? This is driving me crazy; I know it was something hilarious but none of these videos look familiar. [edit: I actually spent a half hour stubbornly digging through his channels until I concluded it was probably the Old Spice Remix, which is actually not as funny as I remember.]
16x15, Undercover Mother: Dare I say season champion? Between the return of Selena and the season premiere/finale underage prostituion ring, Sleazy Sonny doing the UC work he does best, Amaro the UC Beer Delivery Guy, Olivia Classy-Madam-ing it up, I was on cloud 9, and then we got SURPRISE UNDERCOVER DECLAN to just competely make my day. (he even pistol-whipped Sonny for me!) Followed by learning which particular evil criminal is Noah's father...wow. (also, that was just a real nice moment in the teaser of the next episode with Barba providing a very gentle and non-judgmental ear to hear her hypothetical information and clarify whether it would or would not have to be divulged)
16x16, December Solstice: Marcia Cross was fabulous, though the case was not. But I did get a kick out of Barba insulting Sonny's intelligence more than once without missing a beat, making wonderfully disgusted faces at the idea of the "electro" whatever, and having a personal life for possibly the first time ever. I have really grown fond of that guy! Even though it was a sad storyline, I like the idea of him taking care of family.
Also, I just learned this show has been renewed for next season?! Now I don't know if I should stop and wait until the season's over, so I can continue to neatly divide my viewing sessions into perfect thirds, or if I should try to stay on top of it for the rest of the year.