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I finished out the season of Law & Order: SVU, which more to the point means I caught up on the first 3 episodes fairly soon after they aired, and then when I came back this weekend to start with episode 20, I was confronted by a little "part 3 of 3" symbol that meant I had to rewind and go round up the other parts of another double Chicago crossover to get the whole story. This one was a lot more involved than the last one, so it's a really good thing I didn't listen to my impatient gut and skip them.


First of all, Chicago Fire was just as wonderful as before, if not more so thanks to shiny new light of my life "Chilly," otherwise known as DON'T CALL ME JESSICA, who is such a cool chick that it took me 5 seconds to wish she was real so we could hang out. I don't understand the cold shoulder from all the dudebros there, because the guy she replaced was, if I recall, likeable, but also not even one-two hundreth as immediately charismatic and wonderful as she was. Y'ALL OBVIOUSLY JUST GOT A COLLEAGUE UPGRADE, CELEBRATE IT.

I'm going to save most of Chicago Fire for another post, though, because after a really and truly great fire setting for the tragedy (plus a nice fun side of Dawson saving a suicidal man by convincing him the blaze was not his fault), P.D. is where it brought the pain. I had no idea if Nadia was an actual major supporting/recurring character on the show or more of a 1-note, but I hoped for the latter, because HOLY ELEPHANT COJONES, SHOW. How much steel nerve do you need to not only kill a major character of one show on a different show, but provide the graphic and explicit details of how she was raped and tortured prior to her murder? Apparently the amount this show has, because IMDB says she's been in about 15-20 episodes.

I can't even imagine. And I'm from CSI: New York*, which killed a main character and let the team find her burned corpse, and also made a long-established and friendly lab tech a serial killer. Those aren't anywhere near this realm of sadistic. I am so, so glad I did not have any former attachment to her (and actually was kind of thinking how perma-stoned she looked prior to her abduction), because I do not think I would have made it through Warner's testimony if she were a beloved person to me. WOW. The five people on Tumblr who watch this show seem pretty mad about it, too.

*I suppose Criminal Minds has also done things of similarly evil shock value, but they do them so often that it somehow feels less brutal.

I mean, that detachment allows me to be super impressed from a storytelling perspective, but I've been reeling over it for 2 days straight now. I don't know how to balance my shock with my awe.

Random Episode Thoughts:

* I really like the idea of Erin & Nadia being friends, given the 11-year age difference. That's so me!

* Erin turning 30 is actually in line with her having had her 10-year-reunion last fall, I'm impressed. FINALLY, SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS HOW AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOLS + BIRTHDAYS WORK.

* The shot of the smashed birthday cake was extermely poignant.

* That scene with the idiot accepting the explanation that it was Yates' dog in the backseat (really? don't you think a dog big enough to rock the car would be big enough to see through the window? of course not, you're an idiot) was awfully hard to watch. I still wish we'd gotten some follow-up on whether that guy ever spoke to police or not. But I liked her hellcat spirit when she refused to let him scare her.

* I quite enjoyed Barba's cheerful, "Nah, I'm good," in response to the judge casually inviting him to object to Yates asking over and over again, in gloating manner, how much pain and suffering Nadia must have been in.

* This was the first time I really quite enjoyed Voight's unsanctioned police brutality. If anyone deserved some casual strangling, it was this guy.

* I was very impresed by linking it back to a 10-year-old SVU case. Was that a real flashback or a fake one? It looked real, but I'm also not used to this show not providing an ultimate resolution with a neat and tidy bow by each season's end, so I don't know what to think. [edit: fake-via-editing flashback. allthingslawandorder.blogspot.com has a detailed analysis. They know this show like I know Glee, it's amazing.]

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As for the other SVU episodes: bite-sized snapshots it is.

16x17, Parole Violations: that is way more than I've ever cared to know about Sonny's family, but I did enjoy seeing the creepy power-abusing female parole officer get taken down.

16x18, Devastating Story: Skipped. I'm taking a hiatus from college-rape stories, real or fabricrated.

16x19, Granting Immunity: Teen sexting gets mixed up with an anti-vaxxer cover-up among rich snobs. All the right people are blamed, and Olivia gets her blood angried up over Noah's unfair exposure to what is an entirely preventable disease. Missy Pyle was especially great as the self-righteous anti-vaxxer.

16x21, Perverted Justice: You know, it's at the point where I feel like if I see a black victim or suspect in the first 5 minutes, I should just turn the episode off to eliminate the risk of hearing effing Reverend Curtis again. Is this really the message you want to send, SVU?

I didn't, and at first I was glad because I thought I would have been disappointed to have missed such a magnificent Robert Sean Leonard the Lawyer episode on top of a pretty great Ellis, Project Innocence Attorney episode, especially with the cute Noah baptism scene. But then they went and made it all weird and creepy by having the daughter question her memories of whether the abuse really didn't happen, or if she blocked it out.

(and I know it sounds impressive, but seriously, how is "remembering something didn't happen" TECHNICALLY, ACTUALLY different from "not remembering something happening"? Like literally how would you justify that, unless the person could remember every exact minute of their life and found there were gaps in that timeline. I really need to side with the father. Let me have this.)

16x22, Parent's Nightmare: a sad little "nobody wins" episode that had a lot of good suspects and possible story twists -- truly excellent as far as plotting, with the spacey mom (but is it an act??) and the nanny with access to her personal info and the nanny's sketchy boyfriend for whom the mom might also have the hots, and a possibly-sketchy foreign-born dad, and said dad having a connection to the sketchy boyfriend -- that boiled down to a custody battle and sadly wound making the dad the technical bad guy. I feel like that was not the best way to go when you set up the possibility of unfair racial profiling/bias in favor of the white woman.

But still, well done. I especially enjoyed Olivia's soft voice when speaking to adorable kid Owen, and how for the first time ever, manchild Ciresi did not annoy me. Apparently his one surprise talent is engaging with male children. I'm not even going to tie it into how I initially identified his appearance as "sex offender."

Noah scene of the week: dropping him off at daycare for reasons I am not fully sure I understand, but I presume that the extra expense of a nanny can only really be justified on a single mother's public servant salary when your kid is younger and can better benefit from one-on-one attention.

Season finale, Surrendering Noah: That title gave me way more heart attacks than it should have, but ultimately it was well done to see Johnny D . go on trial, get dragged through the mud, and ultimately die before he could make Olivia's life very messy at all. Shame on you for non-fatally wounding the WORLD' BEST JUDGE LADY. Also, I really like IAB Tucker now, against all odds (she needs a friendly villain friend!), but I did not know that Danny Pino was leaving the show, and now I am sad.

I mean, I'm happy that the character is finally getting his family back and will hopefully acheive peace of mind, but sad for me because after Sonny Boy, god only knows what sort of monster this show will hire. I loved the last scene with Olivia. I howled with laughter to think of the rage in Elliot/Olivia shippers' eyes upon hearing that she "grew more with Nick in 4 years than she ever did with her old partner," but it's KINDA TRUE. I really loved their friendship. Not gonna lie, there was potential for flirtation, too. I respect they never hinted at it, but they have good chemistry on every level.

All in all, a very solid and non-cliffhangery finale. Plus now Olivia is now Officially A Mom Forever & Ever, awwww.

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