And let me make one thing perfectly clear:
I am not a whore to the Emmy hype nor am I going to give automatic props to a show just because I happen to like a character. I am an Olivia fan. I love Mariska Hargitay. But I am not an NBC slut and I won't say a show is stellar when it clearly isn't just because that's the hype.
If you don't like that, don't read my reviews.
Summary of Episode:
Just as Olivia is getting into a car with some Useless Dick, Cragen calls her back in to take a phone call from a child (who, btw, made voice talent wages until the last scene, when she had exactly one line. poor kid got shafted.) who apparently doesn't know where she is and is hungry. Through the course of the episode, Olivia discovers that the child is being held prisoner by a Big Bad Pedophile. And that Spamalot probably wouldn't have been as exciting a way to spend two hours.
DiNovia's Content Commentary:
Squad to Olivia: We're behind you. We requested you to take this call. We trust your judgement and know your skills. We'll do everything we can to--oh, never mind. It's a hoax. There's no way we can justify the manhours on this when it's so obviously a hoax. Why would you even ask this of us, you bitch? If you want to spend time on a phone with a pervy 40-year-old gadget monkey, go right ahea--oh, never mind. We're behind you. Look, pictures. You found pictures. How very eidetic memory of you. Wow, you really do have many skills. Oh, is that someone else? Anyway, we're behind you. Here are all the resources you could ever want, need, request, including the FBI. And by the way? You are now above all rules and regulations in any way associated to your badge. Just bring the baby home, okay?
I feel the need to point out that Casey never doubted Liv. And I point that out because I am a diehard Limer. Not for any really practical reason. ;)
The acting was pretty solid. Unfortunately, the hype ruined this episode. Note to producers: hyping an ep like this with multiple "In this year's Emmy worthy episode..." ads will a) make you look like morons (it is, after all, suspiciously like the "In a very special episode of 'Friends'..." ad and b) will ruin the episode outright because I don't care how solid and consistant Mariska is, she can't live up to hype like that. Meryl Streep, okay. Sally Field, possibly. Glenn Close, maybe. Hell, even Jodie Foster could give it a run. But notice how those actors typically stay away from hyped-up projects?
While the acting was pretty solid, the plot was not. Writers, please go back to remedial "believability" and start from chapter one, "Why we should not use too many technobabbly moments in our work." And follow that chapter immediately with chapter three: "Deus Ex Machina is NOT our Friend".
I like the splitting up of Liv and Elliot this season so far. I like that we're getting to see more Fin and...and...well...Fin. O_o Where is everybody else?
The continuation of "tourdeforce" episodes will quickly burn out your a) actors, b) audience, c) sponsors, d) writers, e) catering personnel or f) ALL OF THE ABOVE, FUCKTARDS. With next week's "Elliot descends into Hell to ask for his soul back" episode, this season will so far be comprised of FOUR and a HALF character-centric episodes: "Demons" (aka: Elliot visits The Dark Side), "Design" (aka: Olivia re-discovers that she is a CHILD OF RAPE), "Flaw" (aka: the Revenge of the Oliksa), "911" (aka: Mother Oliska Saves the Little Children), and whatever next week's is called (aka: Elliot faces off with Satan but is redeemed in 42 minutes or less). That's how many again? Oh yeah, 4.5 episodes out of 4.5!
Warner has a spot in the damned credits but Mariska Hargitay's eyes alone have had more screen time than the entire actor, Tamara Tunie. This should not be allowed. A single part of an actor's anatomy should NEVER have more screen time than any other member of the cast. Ever.
I am about to SPOIL THE ENDING, so if you haven't seen the ep yet, DO NOT READ THIS!
Unless there was a Touched by an Angel Halo around Liv's head that I didn't see, that kid is dead. Honestly, people, the prevalence for forensics shows has absolutely ruined us for the Willing Suspension of Disbelief that was required for that ending. In actual lines from the episode, the detectives posit that Big Bad Pedophile Guy has had Maria for at least an hour. At least. A chloroformed child wrapped in a plastic bag and then buried in the ground will not survive for an hour. Period. Even if two weak-assed chest compressions and a half of a breath blown into her mouth were to bring her back to life, she would barely--BARELY--be able to remember how to breathe on her own, let alone remember the names of cops she's never met or even speak for that matter. It's called Long-Term Oxygen Deprivation and it usually equals severe brain damage. It wasn't even cold, so the writers don't have hypothermia to fall back on here. WEAK, people. DAMNED SLOPPY. YOU SUCK.
DiNovia's Other Commentary:
The Limer Goddess was in FINE FORM tonight. I wanted to marry her when Cragen asks her (regarding the Honduran ambassador), "You know him?" and she says, "Not yet." The show gets a Lime of Loveliness just for that line alone.
Also, in C/O-Yay joy and squeeness, Casey put her arm around Liv to comfort her. In a show that not only frowns on interpersonal physical contact of a supportive nature between ensemble cast members but actively goes out of its way to AVOID it, this is a BRIGHT SPOT IN AN OTHERWISE DISMAL EPISODE. (Lime of Loveliness number two.)
Thanks for the Useless Dick, Ironbone. Here's a suggestion. Why don't you take out a full-page ad in Variety claiming that the fictional character Olivia Benson is fucking men, thankyouverymuch, and SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY? Are we going to have to suffer through this EVERY episode until Mariska and Peter announce that they are pregnant? Cuz if so, I'm gonna need dramamine to watch the show. (Lemon of Suckage number one.)
Remember my last review? Here's a redux of one part of it. Still as appropriate today as it was then:
Everybody watch Olivia on the phone with the little girl. As she goes from solicitous to worried to angry to pushy to desperate to frantic to crying to despondent to singing to maternal to defensive to maternal to maternal to maternal to materna... Yeah. Got the point. Point gotten. Thanks for sharing. Got it, thanks. No, really. I mean it. We get it. We understand--we see wha--OKAY OKAY!! OLIVIA WANTS A FUCKING BABY! WE FUCKING GET IT! SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!! Jesus. (Lemon of Suckage number two.)
Okay, so in the 16th Precinct, city, state and federal laws apply to the officers unless one of the following occurs: a known rapist is paroled and suspected of a recent rape, a man is suspected of being a pedophile holding a small child with a phone hostage, a smart-assed perp outwits the system not once, but TWICE, while on your watch, or--well--really, no laws or procedure apply to our detectives in the 16th. That would crimp our dramatic style, bay-bee! (Lemon of Suckage number three.)
However, all laws and procedures, no matter how obscure, apply to Casey Novak alone, effectively ham-stringing her abilities and causing her--thanks to the plot weasels--to consistently look like an incompetent attorney when SHE SO CLEARLY ISN'T.
Whew. No unStabler in this episode. I am so--sees trailer for next week's episode--awww, fuck. Some body stab me in the eye with a broken Vodka bottle, will ya? Shitfuckdamn. More Elliotangst. Just what I wanted, how did you know?
Mariska Hargitay can act. Very well. I was thrilled with the nuances of her performance in this episode even if I was desperately disappointed by the plot/writing/lines/ending problems inherent in what should have been a good episode. (Lime of Loveliness number three.)
No matter how desperate Olivia gets, she is still able to control her baser instincts. Unlike unStabler. Which is why Big Bad Pedophile Guy is still alive, though sporting a nicely shattered nose courtesy of a well-aimed elbow strike. I like this about the character. (Lime of Loveliness number four.)
I'm sure I'm missing something but I have $100 in gift certificates literally burning a hole in my pocket and I want to go shopping. If there's something glaring that I overlooked, please let me know. I'm sure to have an opinion on it.
So let's do the math: 4 Limes of Loveliness minus 3 Lemons of Suckage equals ONE Lime of Loveliness.
So much for Mariska's Emmy this year. But I already felt like she had her work cut out for her after seeing Monday's Medium, which was fantastic.