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S22.E02: Ballad of Dwight and Irena

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Airing on November 19, 2020:

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Rollins and Kat respond to a dangerous domestic violence call while Fin gives his deposition in the lawsuit against him.

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It looks like this episode will have two plots, I hope the one Fin is in, isn't superficial and is given the proper attention. I don't want to see Fin's shooting incident labelled a "bad shooting" by the review board and it takes an inspirational speech by Benson convincing the deceased's wife to drop the lawsuit.

Edited by dttruman
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Damn it! I was so looking forward to seeing Tamin square off with the belligerent boyfriend. It would have been nice to see her knock him on his ass and then arrest him.

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7 minutes ago, Gigi43 said:

I'm okay with the level of Carisi in this episode. 

Agreed! He is intense this week, but not flying off the handle like last week.

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Liv can f*ck all the way off saying Carisi was another guy who the son was protecting the mom from. He was protecting the kid. He was the one unwilling to let the kid hang out to dry (yeah, I said it.) He suspected it and he was right. I thought Peter S. was solid throughout. Liked seeing Pippa again. They went for call backs throughout the episode, with Dodd's being mentioned.

 

I thought it was possible the ex-husband maybe did it. Over all it was an old school case. Liv being annoyed that Carisi seemingly wouldn't just act like the case never happened (that's not how the justice system works, Liv) and them going full blown Men = Controlling this week including the lawyer putting his hand up to Liv was the usual dose of too much. I wish Kat had gotten to mix it up more. They're over killing the hand hand washing and masks only to take the masks off during close scenes. Honestly, I wish they would ignore COVID unless maybe filming requirements in NY are mandating extras be masked? I don't know, the other shows I watch are in LA.

 

You can't show us a guy hold a knife to his son's -the same son who made a panicked 911 call to save his mom in a previous episode- throat and expect me to equate Finn with the kind of cops that make national news. At least Finn got with someone. 

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Damn I feel bad for Fin, even though he did the right thing as a black man I can see how he would feel conflicted. Having to shoot another black man in front of his son no less can take a toll. I can imagine him looking in the mirror and seeing every cop he didn't trust when he was growing up. He became a cop to be the exact opposite.

So Fin has woman now, I hope we at least get see some of the relationship play out on screen.

Edited by mommalib
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So Joelle got two million for manipulating the truth, taking advantage of the BLM movement, and using her traumatized son to get petty revenge on Fin for saving both of their lives? Battered woman or not, she can rot in seven hells.

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I didn’t think I would like this episode at the start, but it improved as it went on and I thought it was decent by the end. 

The best part was Carisi - he’s well suited for the ADA role and has settled in nicely, and I love seeing him act independently from the squad, acting with authority, not taking orders from anyone, not being shoehorned into scenes he doesn’t belong in, and getting to act as a prosecutor in court. This episode had a lot of courtroom scenes which I liked, and I have hope now that the writers have gotten a handle on how to write for Carisi and the legal stuff based on the first 2 episodes. 

The case was predictable, and I found myself not really caring who killed Dwight as he was an epic scumbag, and I had a feeling Irina did it the whole time, and I didn’t find Irina very sympathetic, yes she was abused but she wouldn’t stand up for her son for a long time and lied constantly. She didn’t get much sympathy from me, although her sentence at the end was fair IMO.

Every man in the episode seemed like an asswipe, not only Dwight but the ex who was a cop seemed like a prick and so was Irina’s lawyer, they sort of overdid that theme. 

Benson didn’t really irritate me in this episode, and neither did Rollins, which is always a good thing. 

It was interesting that they brought back Pippa Cox but barely used her, oh well, she wasn’t a very memorable character in the first place. 

I liked the continuity again with the reference to Mike Dodds. 

As for Fin, I didn’t find the lawsuit scenes very compelling since we knew what happened and that Fin did nothing wrong, Joelle was rotten to sue Fin and make her son testify. I didn’t like how it took Fin out of the case for the most part, and what was with Fin and Carisi having another heated discussion, it seems like there’s been a lot of tension between them since Carisi joined the DA’s office. I understood why Fin was torn up about the situation at the end though, and so Fin has a girlfriend now, Phoebe is his ex partner that we saw in the season 20 episode Brothel, I wonder when her and Fin started seeing each other. 

Overall this episode was okay despite their being little suspense and little investigation, mainly because we got a lot of good courtroom material to make up for it.

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I enjoyed this episode, wow, that's two in a row now!  Carisi rocks all over the place.  My main man Fin is happy with Phoebe.  I loved Fin telling it like it is, or was, at the end of his scene with Joelle; he was never gonna let you two walk away.  She's just an opportunist bitch using her son to make big bucks out of a situation she winds up being better off for in the first place.  Benson wasn't too bad although she left her desk to do investigative work again or give someone a pep talk, I forgot.  I didn't like her accusing Carisi of being another ogre to the son though.  No Rollins drama and No Noah!  I liked the story because I seem to like the dysfunctional family stuff more than political statements and SJW and virtue signalling.

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The Good:
The COTW, It was nothing special or new, but it was nice to see them doing a classic SVU plot without trying to pile up twists, and to show how current circumstances affect the same old patterns of dysfunctional behavior without overtly pushing an agenda or presenting every speculation from social media as fact. Plus everyone involved was competent and it didn't have St. Benson saving the day as a resolution.
Carisi! He was really good this week and so was the legal side. It is nice to see Carisi, not as an adjunct of the squad who still works for Liv even if he now has another evil political lawyer boss as well, but as separate, yet equally important, representative of the people in the criminal justice system.
Fin. While I thought that the lawsuit plot never really elevated above meh it was nice to them promising a Fin story and actually delivering, plus Ice-T actually getting something to do is always worthy of kudos.
The guest cast. Specifically Riki Lindhome and the kids. They did a nice job with what they were given and sold it without overacting. Plus Jason Kravits was solid as always. The rest were solid, but didn't really elevate the stock characters the writers gave them.
They seem like they are actually going to try to keep continuing with having Benson being a hands on leader instead of a superhero and an actual human who learns from her mistakes! I think they've tried to do this before, but they've always gone back on it immediately. And a Dodds Jr. reference to boot! Continuity twice in a row too?!
It was nice to see the show seeming to realize that a woman can be a victim of abuse and still bear some responsibility and moral culpanility for her actions. Everyone was acting like investigators with empathy and an understanding of the emotional and psychological dynamics of abusive relationships and not activists with badges.

The Bad:
With the exception of a few of the Carisi scenes the dialogue seemed a little flat. In fact the writing overall. If you are going to try for a classic SVU feel, which I wholeheartedly support, with the smaller cast and budgets of the current era you really need to elevate your game. They didn't and competence is no longer enough.
The confrontation between Benson and Carisi, It felt unnecessary and didn't ring true to their established relationship. It was like a repeat of Fin and Carisi from last week without the excuse of emotions running so high that people would lash out and say things they know aren't true and don't really mean.

Overall it was solid, if unspectacular and gives me hope that they are going to keep going in a good direction. I'm hoping they can build on this at some point and give us a truly great episode.

Edited by wknt3 · Reason: cleaned up and added a couple things
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11 hours ago, mommalib said:

So Fin has woman now, I hope we at least get see some of the relationship play out on screen.

Same! I loved the episode where Jennifer Esposito played Phoebe. I thought she and Ice had really good chemistry. By the end of that ep, I was shipping them. Hard. I hope they bring JE back and we get to see Phoebe and Fin together.

Don't have much to say about this episode, as I didn't find it engaging. The actress who played Irena was good, though.

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Part of me did wonder if the results of the lawsuit would have been different without the summer we all experienced, particularly those in law enforcement.  That ending with the 3 at the bar leads me to think that it would have. 

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Poor Fin, he doesn't deserve this at all. I know that Joelle was abused and I guess I should feel bad for her, but from where I'm standing, she is an opportunist who took advantage of the BLM movement, the NYPD's desire to deal with optics, and even her poor traumatized son to get a big paycheck, throwing Finn under the bus to do it despite everything he did for her, including saving her sons life. No good deed I guess. Oh, she "didn't want her son to see his father bleeding to death"? Would she have preferred her son to be the one bleeding to death on the kitchen floor? I guess that was alright with her, it was truly her awful abusive husband who was the real victim. I mean, not even the kid sounded like he bought the whole "I knew my dad would never hurt me even as he held a knife to my throat", it sounded so obviously coached. I can understand why Fin still felt bad though, not only is killing a person, no matter how justified, a hard thing, but he does suck that he had to shoot a black man as a black cop, especially after issues of police officers shooting black people has become such a part of the national conversation. Even if he knows he did the right thing to save the kid, that's still going to be hard. At least we find out that he is dating Phoebe now, which I am thrilled to hear!

Case of the week was actually pretty good, it was nice to see them doing an old school SVU story with domestic abuse and involving kids without a lot of overly dramatic twists. I knew right away that it was Irina that killed him, and I don't even think that the show was trying to hide it that hard, both Olivia and Carisi seemed to be (correctly) convinced that Will was covering for his mom, I just kept waiting for her to finally admit it. I feel bad that Irina was abused and that she grew up in an abusive home, but that kind of just makes it worse that she let the abuse continue as he physically and emotionally abused her son. She apparently knows what its like to be an abused child, and now she is letting her boyfriend abuse her son, and things only ended when Will almost snapped and she killed Dwight to keep him from doing it. If Will hadn't almost killed Dwight, would she have ever tried to stop? Plus letting him take the fall for most of the episode was horrible, even if it was to continue to establish how she always listens to abusive men and follows them, was terrible, even if she did come around in the end. At least she finally realized she had to stand up for her son by the end. Poor Will, just surrounded by adults who failed and abused him left and right, so much that he feels like, as a kid, he has to always take care of his fragile mom. Mom's abusive boyfriend abuses him, Mom lets it happen, his dad seems like a jerk and apparently his step mom doesn't want him around, I wonder about what will happen to him and his sister other than getting therapy. I guess they will live with his dad, and considering he seemed like an ass, its still not a great situation, but hopefully things will be better in the future when they all get counseling and Irina gets out of jail. The acting from the guest cast was all really strong, and the story was pretty compelling, if not extremely memorable. I also thought the squad acted professionally for the most part, not a lot of drama or Its Personal stuff, especially from Rollins, considering that one episode where she decided she thinks abused women are losers. 

I think the show has finally gotten Carisi as the ADA down, he was doing lawyer stuff all episode instead of being a cop again for no reason, he did a good job with the questioning, and was certainly fiery in the way that he is, but was also professional and showed a lot of competence. Its clear that he didn't want to charge Will, and I think he figured out quickly that it was really the mom, and was going hard on him to try and finally get Irina to be a mom for once and protect her son. 

Of course, Olivia apparently didn't notice that, because her "He's protecting her from you" was so ridiculous, and was one of those scenes that the show feels like it needs to add for extra drama, like that pointless argument between Fin and Carisi last week when Fin implied Carisi was a racist out of nowhere. Even in good episodes, SVU just cant help adding in at least a few stupidly on nose lines and stupid over the top moments just to make sure that we got the incredibly obvious point. The evil lawyer was so slimy you could feel him dripping off the screen, and also nice how he coincidentally threw the same "how dumb are you" at Irina that Will's dad threw at him. Wayne was mostly well done as a toxic abuser, but the "you can beat your wife in West Virginia on Sundays" line was so stupid and muhahah that I actually laughed. Like, we get it show he's a redneck, we got that from his Hee Haw accent and white trash gear. Also, I did in fact look that up, and I didn't see it anywhere in Wester Virginia law on domestic violence, so I have no idea what the point of that scene was. We already know this guy is an abusive scumbag, you showed us that, you dont have to remind us. I also thought that his pregnant wife served no real point, and have no idea why she was included beyond showing Irina that the guy who hits her son might be a bad guy. Even when this show actually does a mostly good job with making their point and in an episode mostly free of over the top ridiculousness, they just cant resist the urge to throw in some more cackling villains villains and painfully awkward dialogue to just make sure that we get it. 

We get Pippa, a reference to Dodd, and find out that Fin is dating Phoebe? They should really keep this new continuity person on staff, they are doing a great job. 

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Only partway though the episode, and I have to say:

Fin and Phoebe?? Yay!

 Okay, Liv, all the RBG paraphernalia is getting a bit cheesy

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On 11/20/2020 at 1:09 AM, Xeliou66 said:

Every man in the episode seemed like an asswipe, not only Dwight but the ex who was a cop seemed like a prick and so was Irina’s lawyer, they sort of overdid that theme.

That's one of the areas I was talking about when I said they need to up the level of writing. I have no problem with her ex being a prick too since it's not an unusual dynamic at all for people to go from one controlling abusive relationship to another. It would have been nice to have seen some debate about reporting the ex to the brass and how he was the type of cop who made SVU's job harder. Or to mention that the lawyer was role playing a bit,seeing how easily she was manipulated by controlling men to try to win the case and carrying zealous representation a bit too far. So instead of being the same type of asshole as all the other adult men involved in the case he was a mirror of the protagonists using his insight to try to push the victim into doing what he thought was necessary. Or at the very least a different type of asshole.
 

On 11/20/2020 at 1:43 AM, CrystalBlue said:

 I liked the story because I seem to like the dysfunctional family stuff more than political statements and SJW and virtue signalling.

No no no! For the love of all that is holy never publicly say that you like dysfunctional family stuff on a Warren Leight run show! That type of encouragement only increases the likelihood that we see another Kim Rollins arc or Sheila coming back and kidnapping Fin's grandson...

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27 minutes ago, wknt3 said:

That's one of the areas I was talking about when I said they need to up the level of writing. I have no problem with her ex being a prick too since it's not an unusual dynamic at all for people to go from one controlling abusive relationship to another. It would have been nice to have seen some debate about reporting the ex to the brass and how he was the type of cop who made SVU's job harder. Or to mention that the lawyer was role playing a bit,seeing how easily she was manipulated by controlling men to try to win the case and carrying zealous representation a bit too far. So instead of being the same type of asshole as all the other adult men involved in the case he was a mirror of the protagonists using his insight to try to push the victim into doing what he thought was necessary. Or at the very least a different type of asshole.
 

No no no! For the love of all that is holy never publicly say that you like dysfunctional family stuff on a Warren Leight run show! That type of encouragement only increases the likelihood that we see another Kim Rollins arc or Sheila coming back and kidnapping Fin's grandson...

I doubt if WL listens to me!  😁  I mean the COTW dysfunctional family stuff, not interdepartmental drama.

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1 hour ago, preeya said:

Do ya think this was intentional??

 

vlcsnap-00018.jpg

Considering the RBG figure (holding an axe) on Benson's desk and her frickin purse with the lace pointed right at the camera, I'm pretty sure it was. 

Edited by Zoe
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I too liked all the continuity.  Dodds has been mentioned, I vaguely recognized Pippa, and I had to Google who Phoebe was but then I kinda remembered that too.  Can I say that I liked it when I had to double-check it? 😉  We've seen the judge played by Kathryn Kates before too.

Overall, yeah, a pretty good old-school-ish episode.  I think the folks who say above that the current teams just needs to throw out a few extra big dramatic moments per episode are right on the money.  The pregnant widow added absolutely nothing.  Neither did "and now you're another man he's trying to protect his mother from."

I "caught" Mariska retweeting a fan who was just in awe of that line.  Also read that, of course, all the RBG paraphernalia was at her suggestion.  I didn't notice it last week, but it really jumped out at me this time.  I know many folks who would really have these things in their office (not that I know for sure, we haven't seen each other in person for months) and I certainly share the sentiment, but it's just a little bit overdone.  I don't know, I like her more than many others.  I think she is a good actor and someone genuinely trying to make a difference in the world.  If I had her kind of influence and adulation, maybe I'd get a little drunk on myself too.

I've decided I'm just not going to let the mask stuff bother me anymore.  It'll drive me nuts if I keep trying to parse the way they're doing it.  I think I wouldn't be unhappy if they had decided to set this season vaguely in Jan or Feb 2020, but they like to be on the pulse of social movements too much, and perhaps as suggested above extras had to be masked or something.

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7 hours ago, 853fisher said:

I've decided I'm just not going to let the mask stuff bother me anymore.  It'll drive me nuts if I keep trying to parse the way they're doing it.  I think I wouldn't be unhappy if they had decided to set this season vaguely in Jan or Feb 2020, but they like to be on the pulse of social movements too much, and perhaps as suggested above extras had to be masked or something.

Nah, it’s still annoying me. Either set it in a post-COVID world, (or even a COVID never happened world), or wear your frickin’ masks! Stop taking them off to talk to each other!

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16 hours ago, Zoe said:

Considering the RBG figure (holding an axe) on Benson's desk and her frickin purse with the lace pointed right at the camera, I'm pretty sure it was. 

I noticed Capt. Benson has a framed RBG portrait on her office credenza.  Good catch!

15 hours ago, 853fisher said:

I too liked all the continuity.  Dodds has been mentioned, I vaguely recognized Pippa, and I had to Google who Phoebe was but then I kinda remembered that too.  Can I say that I liked it when I had to double-check it? 😉  We've seen the judge played by Kathryn Kates before too.

Overall, yeah, a pretty good old-school-ish episode.  I think the folks who say above that the current teams just needs to throw out a few extra big dramatic moments per episode are right on the money.  The pregnant widow added absolutely nothing.  Neither did "and now you're another man he's trying to protect his mother from."

I "caught" Mariska retweeting a fan who was just in awe of that line.  Also read that, of course, all the RBG paraphernalia was at her suggestion.  I didn't notice it last week, but it really jumped out at me this time.  I know many folks who would really have these things in their office (not that I know for sure, we haven't seen each other in person for months) and I certainly share the sentiment, but it's just a little bit overdone.  I don't know, I like her more than many others.  I think she is a good actor and someone genuinely trying to make a difference in the world.  If I had her kind of influence and adulation, maybe I'd get a little drunk on myself too.

I've decided I'm just not going to let the mask stuff bother me anymore.  It'll drive me nuts if I keep trying to parse the way they're doing it.  I think I wouldn't be unhappy if they had decided to set this season vaguely in Jan or Feb 2020, but they like to be on the pulse of social movements too much, and perhaps as suggested above extras had to be masked or something.

I like your entire post, but I think it's time for MH to put down the bottle.

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17 hours ago, preeya said:

Do ya think this was intentional??

 

vlcsnap-00018.jpg

To tell you the truth, I never thought that about that. I kept wondering if the judge was Sally Jessy Raphael with dark hair

Edited by dttruman
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10 minutes ago, dttruman said:

To tell you the truth, I never thought that about that. I kept wondering if the judge was Sally Jessy Raphael with dark hair

Without the red glasses!  This went right over my head as well.

Edited by CrystalBlue
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There have been a few comments about the inconsistent use of social distancing & mask use in the first two episodes and they are well founded. I don't know about the rest of the commenters, but It appears to me that it is very hypocritical on their part. I guess I can understand how it can affect an actor's screen time when you only see half of his (or her) face, but it does appear to be a double standard to some of the viewers.

What I like about this episode are some things that they did do and what they didn't do. As for the plot, it is something we have seen before but they are bound to rehash certain plot lines, considering how long this show has been on, but I like the way they put in some subtle twists and turns without making too much of a political or social issue.

What I am very glad they didn't do, let me first refer everyone back to the previous episode where Benson and Noah were discussing the social issue Benson was dealing with near the end. In this one I was just waiting for Noah to conveniently meet the brother & sister at the trial and he would give a inspirational speech to them, so the truth would be revealed. Thank Heavens it didn't happen!

Edited by dttruman
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On 11/22/2020 at 5:12 AM, The Wild Sow said:

Nah, it’s still annoying me. Either set it in a post-COVID world, (or even a COVID never happened world), or wear your frickin’ masks! Stop taking them off to talk to each other!

Yes. It was a little less annoying in this episode than the first but they are still modeling the wrong behavior and I find that problematic and somewhat irresponsible.

Other than that, though, I actually liked this episode.

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On 11/22/2020 at 4:16 PM, CrystalBlue said:

I kept wondering if the judge was Sally Jessy Raphael with dark hair

It's not her.  And can you believe Sally Jessy Raphael is 85 years old?  Wow!

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On 11/23/2020 at 8:07 AM, dttruman said:

To tell you the truth, I never thought that about that. I kept wondering if the judge was Sally Jessy Raphael with dark hair

The last time I saw SJR was on an episode of 'Sabrina, the Teenage Witch', where Sabrina put on a red pair of glasses and then the real SJR appeared.

 

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4 hours ago, jabRI said:

I'm still watching this, but I have to ask, why can't these women brush their d2@m hair??? drives me batty

Are you talking about the detectives or the women involved in this case?

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I said I was done with SVU just like I gave up on all cop shows but I'm bored in lockdown and craving new content so I decided to watch.

I share the concern about mask usage. Watching people maskless in interrogation rooms drove me crazy. Same with the deposition scenes. I'm assuming those were taped before COVID and the show just decided to use them but I really need them to do better.

If SVU is going to lean in to copaganda, then the least they can do is handle COVID better.

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4 hours ago, marceline said:

I said I was done with SVU just like I gave up on all cop shows but I'm bored in lockdown and craving new content so I decided to watch.

I share the concern about mask usage. Watching people maskless in interrogation rooms drove me crazy. Same with the deposition scenes. I'm assuming those were taped before COVID and the show just decided to use them but I really need them to do better.

If SVU is going to lean in to copaganda, then the least they can do is handle COVID better.

I am pretty sure many are criticizing the show for it's very hypocritical behavior. I wonder if they plan to address this in the upcoming episodes. Do you think it's a "do as we say and not as we do" thing or do you think it's the actors who want to do their scenes without a mask, so they will be recognized better for their performances?

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7 hours ago, jabRI said:

I was referring to the detectives.  I don't know what look they are going for with Rollins especially. 

 

Do you think that they were going for a more realistic appearance? You know, mother with kids and a job that can be stressful and normally has long hours. 20-30 years ago lady cops use to have styled hair all the time and must of had a ton of hairspray on it.

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On 11/20/2020 at 10:33 AM, mtlchick said:

Part of me did wonder if the results of the lawsuit would have been different without the summer we all experienced, particularly those in law enforcement.  That ending with the 3 at the bar leads me to think that it would have. 

My thoughts exactly. There was no ambiguity or grey area here, Fin shot a man who was holding a knife on his child's neck. 

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Quote

Yes. It was a little less annoying in this episode than the first but they are still modeling the wrong behavior and I find that problematic and somewhat irresponsible.

In fairness, this is the same show where cops who were supposed to be specially attuned to issues concerning sex would regularly threaten suspects with prison rape.  My only point being that I would not look to the show to model how a normal person should act in any given situation.     

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Did anyone else immediately think it was Rollins in the dude's bed when they first saw the blonde hair? 

I'm glad the Fin storyline is over. I couldn't stand that weak lying woman. But now I'm really questioning the writing of the character. Through all her trifling deceit, she never broke character that I recall. She always played the victim, but not as a character flaw. It was a one note portrayal in contrast to what the character was actually doing. The case against Fin was nonsense. Unless the show writers were trying to argue that Black women and children don't deserve protection when the assailant is Black, I don't understand why it was written so unnuanced.  

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3 hours ago, Iguessnot said:

Did anyone else immediately think it was Rollins in the dude's bed when they first saw the blonde hair? 

I didn't even think about it at the time, but it would have been another familiar scenario where Rollins gets herself in trouble (as in the episode with her father and sister), tells her superiors she messed up and it will never happen again, and nothing comes of it later. Oh, this scenario will occur right after Rollins has another argument with Carisi or she turns down Carisi for a date

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I didn't really care for this one. The mom getting a year in prison seemed weird since I feel like there have been a bunch of episodes where a woman has used battered spouse syndrome as a defence for killing their partner. Plus there have been a ton of times where Benson has warned women in abusive relationships that there partner will eventually kill them. So how was this not that kind of self defense?

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I was finding this to be a pretty decent episode until the end. When Irena fired her attorney and they couldn't get her a new one fast enough. They were basically helping in her defense. If she were a man Benson would have had him in cuffs right after he confessed on the stand.

I was thinking...Wow. A female perp. I didn't know this was allowed anymore. Let's see how they screw this up...

>Criminally Negligent Homicide. Only gets one year.

And there it is.

And at the end when Kat and Rollins are talking to Fin...

Rollins: "It was an impossible summer. Things are going to calm down"

Kat: "I don't see that happening. The way the NYPD handled the demonstrators..."

Rollins: "We were under attack. What do you want us to do...sit there and take it?

Kat: "We're supposed to de-escalate. Be aware of our biases."

People like Kat are why things will never calm down because they won't let it.

This will make me unpopular, but people need to stop complaining about "inconsistent mask usage". It's a tv show. You won't get sick.

Edited by ShepardRahl
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