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Law & Order: SVU – Recap & Review – Betrayal’s Climax

photo: nbc
photo: nbc
Law & Order: SVU
Betrayal’s Climax

Original Air Date: Jan 29, 2014

Caitlin – Senior Staff Writer

We open with Olivia taking her oath as sergeant. The audience includes the fellow cops now under her command- all except Cassidy, which the others are pretty miffed about. They’ll be less happy about getting called out on a case in the middle of it.

A girl named Avery has seemingly disappeared in the middle of the night- seemingly, because the detectives aren’t as convinced as the parents that she’s been kidnapped. Still, they’re very wiling to accept that her boyfriend is bad news and could be involved.

Going off the possibility that Avery and Manny may have run willingly, the detectives start checking their activities and talking to their friends. After finding out Manny spends most of his time taking care of his grandmother, they turn to her. She doesn’t believe he’s capable of wrongdoing, but there are signs he might be in a gang (after his brother was killed by gang violence)

Soon, they find Manny- by taunting another member of the gang- but he claims not to know where Avery is. He was carrying drugs, but there’s reason to believe him, showing up in the form of Avery standing on the edge of the roof and crying. Her parents watch from below (who approved that?) while Amanda tries to talk her down. She believes Manny is dead, won’t believe Amanda telling her otherwise, and jumps- right onto the landing pad set up for her.

Olivia and Amanda go to visit Avery in the hospital. She tells them about the night before, and how three guys broke in, trashed the house, raped her, and left with Manny. The next morning, they called her and told her Manny was dead. She agrees to a rape kit and is fully defensive of how much Manny loves her. He does seem reasonably distraught over what happened to her, and shoots down the detectives’ accusation that he was friends with the gang members.

We turn our attention to finding them instead, something they seem eager to help us out with by talking about their actions in an online video. It’s pretty easy to track them all down and arrest them after that- one of them in front of his girlfriend and her young child. They claim the sex was consensual, which is obviously devastating to Avery for many reasons- including the fact she experienced orgasms with them after never having done so with Manny.

Barba thinks their case is solid and isn’t too sympathetic about Avery’s unwillingness to testify. The detectives are much more willing to believe Manny is a good person now, but they still have to follow up on his gang involvement. He may have lost a lot of money by screwing something up with them. Another gang member turns them on to the fact he did indeed mess up a drug bust, shooting a gun into a wall and asking a pharmacist for illegal drugs.

Manny is being held at Rikers and, unfortunately, it seems Avery might be right about his anger. She shows up to apologize and defend herself, which she totally shouldn’t have to do. She asks Manny to testify in court, but he refuses, at which point I stop feeling sorry for him at all. Her parents are even less kind and flee town her for a few days. As they try to do so, gang members corner them on motorcycles and start to attack their van.

Somewhat miraculously, the family is rescued in time. Avery’s parents refuse point-blank to let her testify now. In the midst of all this, Nick theorizes that Manny’s brother might have been killed by his own gang. He talks with another (unwilling) source about a potential “community” gun. Manny isn’t willing to listen to this theory. He believes Jesus died shielding another member of his gang from enemy fire. Nick shows him that the bullet from that crime and the one he shot into a wall are the same.

Eventually, Manny reveals that he knew ahead of time that the gang was coming over. He doesn’t want to testify because she’s afraid Avery will hate him. He agrees to video testimony, but takes the time to give her a message first. It doesn’t stop her from feeling betrayed by what she learned. Then Amanda is called out to learn that Manny has been murdered, which was probably a foregone conclusion to all this for a while. His tongue was also killed out, because apparently Riker’s inside killers read a lot of Shakespeare.

Barba is plenty pissed, but there’s very little room for them to move now. Their best bet is to turn the other gang members on eachother. They tell the one’s girlfriend about how attracted he was to Avery. When she calls him, he tells her about having Manny killed. When he knows he’s caught, he remains calm and threatens Olivia. She doesn’t take any of it, telling him she can bring the power of the NYPD on them. Meanwhile, Avery is despondent, knowing Manny died because he testified to protect her and that he may well have thought she didn’t love him anymore. At least she doesn’t pull a Juliet and kill herself to join him. That’s as close as we’re getting to good news here.

Next Week: Wednesday’s Child

  • Dallas Anderson

    The episode highlights young romance and naivety on both the parts of Manny, who essentially allowed his girlfriend to be assaulted and Avery, who swears Manny was not involved in what transpired. Things are further complicated due to the fact that Avery had multiple orgasms during the assault, something she had never had with Manny who was forced to watch, and the three gang members accused of the act use this as their defense that Avery had ‘wanted it’ because she was ‘coming like a freight train’ and that Manny was the one who invited them over. I thought the episode did well in exploring a very touchy subject (female orgasms during a violent assault) without being too graphic or focusing too much on the gory details. There is a lot of misunderstanding about orgasms during rape but what people need to understand and what the show tries to highlight is, rape is rape, an unwanted sexual act, and that does not change even if the victim orgasms during the assault. Well done SVU.

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