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WendyCR72

S23.E01: And The Empire Strikes Back/S23.E02: Never Turn Your Back On Them

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Yep, a double-header season premiere. Airing on September 23, 2021:

And The Empire Strikes Back synopsis:

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Benson's loyalty to Garland is tested. Rollins and Carisi try to keep their witnesses on board when the congressman is identified as a suspect.

Never Turn Your Back On Them synopsis:

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The search for a missing witness leads Fin and Kat down a dangerous path. Chief McGrath puts pressure on Garland and Benson to get a conviction.

 

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I wonder how Tamin and Garland go out? In a blaze of glory or unceremoniously like Stabler (when he left the show) or Tucker by taking his own life?

I just hope they don't make it too political, because they already have by so many Gaetz comments. I thought they had a great one, a home grown one in their own backyard that was right up SVU's alley, the Andrew Cuomo case and his accusers. This would have made Benson a Super Saint.

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On 9/15/2021 at 1:21 AM, WendyCR72 said:
  Quote

Benson's loyalty to Garland is tested. Rollins and Carisi try to keep their witnesses on board when the congressman is identified as a suspect.

Well we know that Tamin doesn't buy it in the first episode, I wonder if she will buy it in the 2nd episode.

On 9/15/2021 at 1:21 AM, WendyCR72 said:

The search for a missing witness leads Fin and Kat down a dangerous path. Chief McGrath puts pressure on Garland and Benson to get a conviction.

How can Chief McGrath put pressure on Garland and Benson to get a conviction? Isn't it Carisi job to get the conviction?

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I’m not 100% sure about how Kat and Garland will go out, but I have a feeling they may kill off Kat - that’s just the feeling I have because I’m not sure what else they could do with her, they could have her transfer back to doing undercover work, but I don’t see her getting fired or promoted. So I’m thinking that SVU kills off a main character for the first time ever. I think that explains why there aren't many photos from the premiere being posted online. As for Garland, my most likely bet is that he quits in disgust with the higher ups and decides to go work as an activist for reform or run for political office or something.

As I’ve said before, I’ll miss Garland as he was good as chief but there isn’t a need for the chief to be in every episode, and I bet going forward the chief will be a recurring character again like it was during the Dodds era, I won’t miss Kat though, the writers really blew an opportunity with her, she could’ve added freshness to the show but instead she was a one note crybaby whose sole purpose seemed to be providing sex appeal and far left/SJW political views.

I’m just not very hopeful about this season of SVU - the show seems to be focusing more on relationships than on cases, and I think there will be even more pandering to the shippers of Stabler/Benson and Rollins/Carisi. I’m afraid this will be the season that the show officially becomes more about personal stuff than cases, it’s had way too much personal shit for a while but this season I fear the absolute worst about. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but no matter what, modern day SVU is a shell of its former self. 

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Don't like the looks of this with Fin making a racial remark and Tamin making a typical Liberal remark. Fin says "There is nothing sadder than watching white people congratulate themselves" and Tamin says something to the effect, that she and her partner will leave the country if a white Republican is elected. This maybe a harbinger for a definite political statement episode.

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1 hour ago, dttruman said:

Don't like the looks of this with Fin making a racial remark and Tamin making a typical Liberal remark. Fin says "There is nothing sadder than watching white people congratulate themselves" and Tamin says something to the effect, that she and her partner will leave the country if a white Republican is elected. This maybe a harbinger for a definite political statement episode.

Those lines were so unnecessary and so disappointing. 

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42 minutes ago, SuzieQ said:

So we never find out how many cops it takes to change a light bulb??????

The answer is "None". They bust the light bulb for being broke and bust the room for being black.

What really surprised me was that there was nothing even close to a trial, just the bail hearing. I thought for sure they would start out with a trial to show that the rich and powerful has to face the consequences of what they do..

Edited by dttruman
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I have no problems with cutting Garland and Kat. Never cared for either of those characters. 

I’m not excited about the new guy, Q. Is he going to be a regular? 

I feel like more should have been accomplished given this 2-hour season opener. 

When I was in grad school, I took a theatre class, and chapter one of the textbook said that conflict is the basis of drama, and writers should create characters to care about. There were so many people on the screen that I really didn’t care about. I should have cared about the 15 year-old and her family, but I didn’t like any of them. Whoever is in charge of casting has missed the mark.

The Carisi/blondie relationship is already stale. Lipstick on the collar? 🙄

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Well that was political. Naming Matt Gaetz, casting Howard to look like him, Gold threatening to bring down an ex-president and and his relatives.

I'm going to miss Kat and Garland, I barely got to know them. I'd rather Rollins and/or Carisi had gone.

I'm really not feeling 'Q'. Too much too soon.

Already had too much of Benson/Stabler. The time has passed and it feels like pandering now.

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I am going to miss Garland, he was was a good chief and he was someone that saint Olivia seemed to respect. I don't care abut Kat and I'm not interested in this Rollins and Carisi thing, I don't like the new guy and I hope he's not sticking around. 

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I liked Q. But he kept reminding me of Danny Zuko. 😆 I don’t like Carisi and Rollins together because Amanda and her family have always been a hot mess. I suppose she’s settled down a bit, but I think Carisi could do better, and I feel like she’ll probably break his heart in the end. 

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Here are my thoughts on this 

3 minutes into the premiere and I’m already disgusted - I don’t like Rollins/Carisi together, and Benson dreaming that Stabler was with her after her car crash, that was just more pandering to the shippers. And why was St Olivia’s presence needed at the DA’s office? She’s not a DA, they can make deals without her.

The whole thing was predictable - it was obvious witnesses would get killed/intimidated, and it was obvious that the higher ups would shut down the case. And who exactly killed Ortiz and Machado? That part seemed to be forgotten about. I get sick of stories about corrupt elites covering each others asses, it’s stale and overdone. I cannot stand McGrath, it’s obvious he’s a sleazy bureaucrat and I don’t look forward to seeing more of him. I’ll admit I laughed at how they mentioned the lawyer had dirt on an ex-president and his family without mentioning his name (we all know who he is). It was accurate that the Attorney General and DC bigwigs would shut it down, the elites always protect each other because they don’t want anyone going after them at some point. It was nice that they didn’t mention Hadid’s name, and that it wasn’t the DA’s office who shut down the investigation. 

I’m not sure why they got rid of Garland, I liked him, but I correctly predicted the way he would go out, I think Garland will be an activist or maybe run for office. I really wonder who they will bring in as the new chief overseeing SVU, I’ve liked both Dodds and Garland, so I hope this new chief is compelling. But I don’t look forward to seeing more of McGrath (that actor has played an asshole villain in every role I’ve ever seen him play).

And Kat departed in exactly the same way as Garland - I wasn’t sure if she was going to die or not, so that was suspenseful. And of course Kat’s departure has to be all about St Olivia and how wonderful she is, I get so sick of that, why does every character have to worship at the altar of St Olivia?

It may seem like I hated this episode from what I’ve said so far, but there were some good parts - I liked seeing Carisi act as an ADA with authority, they’ve gotten a much better handle on how to write him lately after basically writing him as still part of the squad in season 21. Fin was good, I liked that he had the sense to take Benson to the doctor, and I liked his scene with Kat at the hospital, Fin is the most stable and consistently good part of the show. And I liked the scene at the hotel where they were conducting the sting, no St Olivia and everyone doing their jobs. 

I actually like Joe Velasco, the new detective, I think he could be a jolt of new energy the show needs. At first I wasn’t sure if he was good or bad, but it looks like he’s a good guy and I hope he stays that way, his tie to McGrath is suspicious but he seems upstanding. Either way I already like him better than Kat, I won’t miss Kat and her trite “woke” dialogue and disrespectful attitude. So I’m glad Velasco will be sticking around, he’s intriguing and an intriguing new detective is what the show needs.

So while I found the episode rather predictable and the material rather stale, it wasn’t horrible. I’m not sure why they wrote out Garland and Kat, probably the budget played a role, but I think Velasco will make things interesting. However I’m afraid we will just get more of these stale stories with a side dose of Benson worship and soapy drama, next week looks like exactly the same type of case, I know it’s a crossover with OC so hopefully it will be something different. But I don’t have high hopes at all for season 23.

Edited by Xeliou66
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Team of one. I like Rollins and Carisi together. He looks so happy. Hope it doesn’t go south.

Gold has always been on the show. Is he going to be gone now?   
I like the new detective but why this new chief?  I don’t get how that saves on budget. 

Edited by GussieK
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40 minutes ago, GussieK said:

Team of one. I like Rollins and Carisi together. He looks so happy. Hope it doesn’t go south.

Gold has always been on the show. Is he going to be gone now?   
I like the new detective but why this new chief?  I don’t get how that saves on budget. 

Newer actors with fresh contracts (as I guess the detective guy is) means less money to pay than it would have if Jamie Gray Hyder (or whatever her name is) and the actor playing Garland had remained, is my simple guess.

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6 hours ago, Neiman said:

There were so many people on the screen that I really didn’t care about. I should have cared about the 15 year-old and her family, but I didn’t like any of them

I thought the father was a really big jerk, very unlikable. I kept thinking he is going to do something that gets his daughter killed and blame the police.  IMO, the writers and director went too over the top to make him unlikable.

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9 hours ago, pezgirl7 said:

I liked Q. But he kept reminding me of Danny Zuko. 😆 I don’t like Carisi and Rollins together because Amanda and her family have always been a hot mess. I suppose she’s settled down a bit, but I think Carisi could do better, and I feel like she’ll probably break his heart in the end. 

He can definitely do better.  Given Rollins's track record with men on this show, I'm waiting for her to hook up with this new detective.  

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6 hours ago, dttruman said:

I thought the father was a really big jerk, very unlikable. I kept thinking he is going to do something that gets his daughter killed and blame the police.  IMO, the writers and director went too over the top to make him unlikable.

The father was a jerk, and it did not feel authentic to the story.  The abortion story was insane, what with the Congressman suddenly complaining about how his child was killed? 

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I'm just going to say it:  Rollins is a stupid slut, who makes really bad decisions.  She just is.  I don't hate her, believe it or not, she just is who she is.  It makes no sense to me that uber Catholic Carisi would consider her relationship material.

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34 minutes ago, SuzieQ said:

I'm just going to say it:  Rollins is a stupid slut, who makes really bad decisions.  She just is.  I don't hate her, believe it or not, she just is who she is.  It makes no sense to me that uber Catholic Carisi would consider her relationship material.

Yes, but deep down she has a good heart and cares for her kids.  Hey, I'm just an old softie.  I don't want to see my Carisi get hurt, believe me.  Carisi and I went to the same law school! 

Edited by GussieK
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30 minutes ago, SuzieQ said:

I'm just going to say it:  Rollins is a stupid slut, who makes really bad decisions.  She just is.  I don't hate her, believe it or not, she just is who she is.  It makes no sense to me that uber Catholic Carisi would consider her relationship material.

I understand and agree. I don't know where she gets it from, maybe her father, but it's that self-destructiveness that is so annoying. and I know the writers will sooner or later write a scene where she gets fed up with things and she goes out and has a one night stand. To make matters worse, it will be while Carisi is watching the kids.

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7 minutes ago, GussieK said:

Yes, but deep down she has a good heart and cares for her kids.  Hey, I'm just an old softie.  I don't want to see my Carisi get hurt, believe me.  Carisi and I went to the same law school! 

It's just her actions that tick me off. But considering all the mistakes she has made in the past, I thought she was kind of condescending to the new detective.

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Did anyone notice that when Benson was up on the balcony with Garland talking about the apparent suicide that Benson mentions to him that the "ME is looking into trajectory and force of impact"? Wouldn't that be Forensics that does that and the ME just determines the injuries and cause of death?

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20 minutes ago, GussieK said:

Yes, but deep down she has a good heart and cares for her kids.  Hey, I'm just an old softie.  I don't want to see my Carisi get hurt, believe me.  Carisi and I went to the same law school! 

She does and is trying, but I feel like there' a chip she's missing.  Sooner or later her self destructive streak will come back.  I understand how she got there as her parents and sister are all a mess.  I think Carisi is probably really good for her but she is terrible for him.

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Look for Olivia to develop a dependence on painkillers. Notice how she threw down a pain pill, before she took off to do something, saying her broken ankle didn't hurt? I bet it hurts plenty. She told Fin when he asked what the doctor said, that she's a fast healer. No one heals that fast. No boot, no brace? Didn't anybody in that squadroom have a broken ankle or know someone who did?

I broke my ankle 2 years ago. It didn't break clean through , but a piece of one bone broke off. I had to wear a boot all the time, except for showering & sleeping. Then after a certain amount of time with the boot, the doctor switched mee to a lace-up thing. I couldn't wear a normal shoe for months. I have a high pain tolerance and didn't use a lot of pills but in my slightly knowledgeable opinion, Olivia's broken ankle was worse than mine. She doesn't want to be inconvenienced by the ankle and she will pay the price.

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I don't like Kat but if this is the exit, knowing JGH wanted to stay that scene where Liv is trying to get Kat to stay and telling her how important and needed she was, was awkward to watch, knowing they gave her the shaft IRL. Surely they'd have to know JGH would publicly state she didn't want to go but I also wonder if they thought that scene would translate to making fans think it was the actresses choice to leave. I'm glad FInn was spared not watching Kat die, I was afraid they'd put him through that a year after the shooting, and right after the not-wedding.

 

I'll miss Garland. If McGrath is sticking around to be a foil this season will be old fast. 

 

Q??? C'mon. Be original. There are more letters to use.

 

Liv dreaming of Stabler. Uhg. Please stop. Same with Rollins/Carisi (I gotta say it, how long until she starts to look at Joe the new detective?) FInn can't even get a day off after his non-wedding. 

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The Good:
Kat and Fin, There was more chemistry there than any of the ships they were actually pushing. Of course all the characters work better when they're paired with Fin.
Kat in general. It's a shame it took writing the character out for the writers to remember how much potential she had.
Carisi as ADA. I would have liked to have seen him in court a lot more, but it was nice to see him actually being a prosecutor and in charge of the legal side.
Rollins was mostly off to the side during the investigation so other than the scene with her talking about the right way to do things (really Rollins you think you're one to talk?) she was only ruining the Rollisi scenes and not the rest of the episode. Addition by subtraction.

The Bad:
The shippy opening. I loved Rollins and Carisi as subtext and an organic product of the actors chemistry and the writers making Carisi an almost impossibly nice guy. And I also like Benson and Stabler together, but not like this.
I liked the story more than most of you seem to, but there just didn't really seem to be enough there to need to be a 2-parter, Actuall y 3 including last season's finale. It was 5 pounds of crap in a 10 pound bag.
The ending. Carisi taking ethics advice from Rollins? Kat leaving because she didn't see complete social change and solving sexual abuse in a year? The new boss practically dragging his knuckles on the way out of Liv's office?

Overall this was OK I guess. It could have been a really solid hour if they dropped the soapy romance nonsense and the unnecessary padding including the whole supervillian conspiracy stuff. Instead it was a mostly competent 2 hours that does nothing to get me excited for another season. Hopefully we will remember this as the bumpy start that was overcome rather than a harbinger of things to come.

 

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