Law & Order SVU
Original Air Date: Sep 22, 2010
Caitlin- Associate Staff Writer
Law & Order SVU is now beginning its 12th season, but I’m just taking it over this year. I have to say, after watching the two hour season premiere, I’m not really sure what I got myself into. Following the plot is a bit like trying to watch the entire series of Lost in a mater of days and understand it without any help.
I’m writing about both episodes together since…well if you’ve seen them, you know. In the first, a girl is taken from her mother’s house. When Elliot and Olivia investigate, mom tells them their other daughter was taken 10 years earlier.
Once they find out her parents watched her every move and see some video of her running off, they think the girl- Mackenzie- ran away on her own. She’s at Grand Central Station with a guy named she was supposedly talking to online under the name “Eddie D”. Mackenzie at first says the guy, Eric, was Eddie D, but he denies it, and says he’d never be a child molester because his sister committed suicide after a rape. He also hits on Olivia, asking her on a date. At this point, you think Eric is creepy, but totally forget about him. I mean, he disappears for the rest of the episode. So obviously he’s just one of those overly detailed red herrings the show likes to throw in, right? Right?
Moving on. They track the real Eddie D down to a foster home after Mackenzie talks about how they used to wrestle. But he’s her foster brother and they really were just wrestling. Turns out Mackenzie wound up with her current parents when they adopted her from her last home. But the detectives find a note Mackenzie left for Olivia while talking to her at the station. The note claims that things were put inside her and she’s being trapped. So now we’re on the parents.
When Olivia goes to investigate this, she eventually works out that Mackenzie’s parents have turned her into a carbon copy of Ella, the daughter they lost, right down to a hairstyle change and nose job. (The “thing” put inside her was a computer chip.) An investigation into Ella’s disappearance casts suspicion on the mother, who completely breaks down over how nobody believes her story about Ella disappearing with a red-haired girl and being kidnapped by a man with a camera. It sounds fishy. Really, really fishy. So of course, it’s true.
They find the camera man, but he was just taking artistic shots. He does, however, have a picture of the red-haired girl, who’s identified as being named Darla, once forced into child pornography and now a masseuse. When Darla is taken in, she confesses that her father made her lead Ella into a trap. He married Ella, and, according to Darla, eventually killed her. When they go to his farm, though, they find Ella, alive but convinced her kidnapper really is her husband. Thankfully, when she is reunited with her parents, she seems to recover from her brainwashing and remember them.
But wait, there’s no time to find out the foster parents will treat Mackenzie better now that they have Ella back, or to wonder about the real, foster brother, Eddie D. It’s time for episode 2. A girl is found in a store, terrified and bleeding between the legs. At the hospital, she won’t speak except to say that the man who attacked her took photos of her. She doesn’t give a name, so the detectives knock on random doors until they track down a couple sitting on their couch, playing a video game in which they try to save their own fake child from death.
The girl, Rose, is the woman’s real daughter. Unfortunately, due to an accident, she thinks Rose is an imposter. It looks like her boyfriend was the one hurting Rose, so they set her up behind a door to talk to her mother. Without seeing her, she believes Rose is her daughter and was attacked by her boyfriend. But when Rose bursts through the door, she rejects her again. Later, Rose says it wasn’t the boyfriend who attacked her, but rather another man. The parents, despite the mother’s state and hey boyfriend’s…well, everything, really are a red herring.
This tip leads to a play park where a mentally ill teenage boy would up on the sex offenders list incidentally, and is now being targeted by a watchdog group called COAP- that Eric from last episode is a part of. When confronted, Eric admits his group has gone too far, especially when a member turns Rose’s picture over to the media. In the middle of all this, another girl is raped, and the detectives decide Eric and the information he’s gathered as a watchdog might be a help as much as a hindrance. Indeed, when Olivia goes to his house, she finds he’s invented a program displaying the hard drives of sex offenders- including one with pictures of both raped girls.
The man behind that hard drive has a pregnant wife and a host of other charges. Unfortunately, when he’s jumped by a cop whose daughter was friends with the second victim, he winds up released on bail. He’s confronted by COAP outside the courthouse and then by his wife in her car. Suddenly, he takes her car and crashes it into a trailer truck. Before anyone can get to him, everything goes up in flames. He must have killed himself over guilt, right? Oh no. When Olivia has Eric talk to the second victim about being in her karate class, she becomes terrified, and once they all leave, they see she wet herself- because she recognized his voice.
They confront Eric in his home, and he snaps when accused flat-out of raping the girls. He goes on about his sister, but she walks in through the door. He was the one who raped her, and who later painted a picture of her. He starts to fall apart and moves toward Olivia, who knocks him unconscious. The sister approaches him with a weapon of some type, but just ends up slashing the picture apart and breaking down.
I’m not really sure what to say about this episode, mostly because it left me feeling as thought I’d been clubbed over the head just by trying to understand what happened. Multiple victims, rapists, false suspects and all the personal lives of characters connected to all these characters. And then there’s Eric. At first, I thought he was innocent, then creepy, then a nuisance, then misunderstood, and then…
At one point in the first episode, I’m fairly sure I considered whether he might be the real rapist. But then I thought “No way, that’s too contrived even for this show.” Next week looks like an emotional, powerful episode. But please, I just want it to make sense.