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WendyCR72

S16.E16: December Solstice

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A woman is accused of abusing her elderly husband, who's a famous author, and his health and his fortune become the focal points of a battle between his wife and his daughters from previous marriages. Meanwhile, Barba defies his grandmother's wishes.

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Hell, I hadn't considered that, thanks for breaking my heart worse!

.

Sorry. But at least I'm not alone in my worse heartbreak. Either way. Poor Barba is going to feel so very guilty.

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So Am I correct in my assumption that Barba's grandmother committed suicide rather than go to a home?

That's what I thought, but I would assume she was Catholic and wouldn't...

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Robert Vaughn was my first TV crush on Man From U.N.C.L.E. in the 60s. I can't bear to watch it now because of the stupid stories, gratuitous violence, and lack of production quality, and so assumed the acting was sub par too. But wow. Can the man get a guest star Emmy for this? I was shocked at how he looked, having seen him in something else not long ago when he still looks almost dapper. But I'm guessing the appearance was part of the persona he wanted to project.

I loved the bit at the end when the daughter gave Parisi the autographed book and said she wished he had known her father when he was of sound mind, and then Parisi turned over the book, revealing to us the picture of young Robert Vaughn and said, "I did."

I also adore Barba, but didn't get any real emotion from him regarding the family situation. He seemed so detached. Was that accidental or on purpose?

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I also adore Barba, but didn't get any real emotion from him regarding the family situation. He seemed so detached. Was that accidental or on purpose?

On purpose I believe. He was numb. First when she had to go in the home (and notice that that phone call's when he shows the most emotion, you can see it on his face) he tried to convince himself he was absolutely right doing what he was doing, so he pushed aside all his emotions. You can see little hints of doubt and frustration, and most of the truth comes out when he talks to Olivia in her office. He says himself he's overcompensating with his grandma. Then when she dies... he just got the news. He didn't have time to process it himself especially since he was so busy comforting his mother. The emotion was there, but dulled over by his determination to get through it.

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Geez louise, that was positively brutal!  I liked the case of the week, because I figured there was more going on there than met the eye, but it was by no means cut and dried.  The Marcia Cross character, when she was all gloat-y about having a pregnant surrogate, was still way creepy even though it appeared by then that she probably wasn't a monster, and probably did have her husband's best interests at heart (at least sort of).

 

But the Barba stuff was heart-breaking.  As a daughter trying to contend with aging and infirm parents who still want to live their own lives, and I still want to live my own life, it really hit me where I live.  It was exactly true to my experience: I can't carry their groceries up three flights of stairs twice a week (given that we live on different continents), but what am I supposed to do when they fall out of bed and can't get up by themselves?  I can't order them to leave their home, but I also can't help torturing myself with the consequences of their independence.  Wow, I so get it.

 

And that moment in Liv's office, where Barba asks what they'll be doing when they're 85, and Liv says they'll still be squabbling, and Barba gives her this look that I can only describe as wistful, and says, wouldn't that be nice?  Oh my God.  If those two don't end up as a couple at the end of the show, I'm gonna be SO disappointed!

 

 

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This seemed like a Kasey Kasum ripped from the headlines case.

 

Barba and his mother could have explored other alternatives to putting Granny into a nursing home. They could have hired a home health aide for a few hours a day to do the cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping. That is what I did for my mom who lived in a different state and it avoided an assisted home for a few more years.

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That last scene was so heart wrenching I didn't realize until the 10th time viewing it that Rafael was wearing jeans. I was like "Oh he's wearing his 'day off' puffy coat. OH, he's wearing JEANS!"

When he ran up to his mom and hugged her and we just see his eye area over her shoulder. Oh the pain on his face. Then when he pulls away and faces her he's trying to act so strong for his mom.

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Barba holding Noah? Best.Scene.Ever.

(still lmao because of his facial expression)

 

The case was alright. The Barba stuff was heartbreaking. But I'm so glad the writers didn't screw Barbas character up! Jeez, I just love Raúl Esparzas acting choices...that man is so talented. Every scene with him was (as usual) a pleasure.

 

That def was an episode for Barson shippers.

 

What are the writers intending to do with Carisi?! Is he supposed to seem like an annoying child?

 

All in all, nicely done!

Edited by myKingAndQueen
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...Barba and his mother could have explored other alternatives to putting Granny into a nursing home. They could have hired a home health aide for a few hours a day to do the cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping. That is what I did for my mom who lived in a different state and it avoided an assisted home for a few more years.

That's what I've been suggesting for a couple of years, but, like with mtmjr, not even on the same continent, and my mom keeps saying "we don't need that yet" and "we lean on each other and hold each other up."

In both of the episode's stories, the elderly wanted to die with dignity, and for both that meant not in the hospital or nursing home. It would have been more realistic if the rich guy's wife had successfully hired legitimate health care workers to helicopter him to their lake in Quebec, and it would have contrasted more with Barba's grandma's choice of a smelly nursing home with grimy windows. But then we wouldn't have had the twisty plot reveal.

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     Yep, Barba's grandma killed herself. "Good," I thought. (God will forgive her.) She wasn't demented, so they had no right to take her away by force from a living situation she badly wanted. Quite right that for the same money or less they could have just got her a home health aide who came in daily.

 

     Nonetheless, of course Barba and his mother were both good people and it was awful for them. I, being blessed with no other immediate family ties, was able to keep my mother with me with the help of home health aides, even though she did get demented, till her good death in her own bed. If I had had to put her somewhere, the ending of this episode would have ripped my heart out even more than it did.

 

      That author was totally Norman Mailer, of course. Nice writing where his last lucid moment, talking sadly to Carisi about being dominated by women at the end of his life and what a comedown it was from his idea of manhood, made me feel (a) sad that he realized he had to sum up his life in that way, (b) satisfied because the idea of manhood he had was one nasty worldview and it's so glorious that times have changed.

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     Yep, Barba's grandma killed herself. "Good," I thought. (God will forgive her.) She wasn't demented, so they had no right to take her away by force from a living situation she badly wanted. Quite right that for the same money or less they could have just got her a home health aide who came in daily.

 

     Nonetheless, of course Barba and his mother were both good people and it was awful for them. I, being blessed with no other immediate family ties, was able to keep my mother with me with the help of home health aides, even though she did get demented, till her good death in her own bed. If I had had to put her somewhere, the ending of this episode would have ripped my heart out even more than it did.

 

      That author was totally Norman Mailer, of course. Nice writing where his last lucid moment, talking sadly to Carisi about being dominated by women at the end of his life and what a comedown it was from his idea of manhood, made me feel (a) sad that he realized he had to sum up his life in that way, (b) satisfied because the idea of manhood he had was one nasty worldview and it's so glorious that times have changed.

Nothing about Barba's situation made me go "good". I felt awful for all involved. Barba had good intentions. But, I think Barba was thinking that removing his grandmother from the apartment all together would help out in the long run. His mom would probably still be trying to help constantly either way. But, yeah, I feel terrible for everyone. Also, not once did I have any thought that she killed herself. I still don't really. Not saying you guys are wrong. But, she was quite ill it seems anyway. I just figured she past away before she could move out.

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Yep, Barba's grandma killed herself. "Good," I thought. (God will forgive her.) She wasn't demented, so they had no right to take her away by force from a living situation she badly wanted. Quite right that for the same money or less they could have just got her a home health aide who came in daily.

Nonetheless, of course Barba and his mother were both good people and it was awful for them. I, being blessed with no other immediate family ties, was able to keep my mother with me with the help of home health aides, even though she did get demented, till her good death in her own bed. If I had had to put her somewhere, the ending of this episode would have ripped my heart out even more than it did.

That author was totally Norman Mailer, of course. Nice writing where his last lucid moment, talking sadly to Carisi about being dominated by women at the end of his life and what a comedown it was from his idea of manhood, made me feel (a) sad that he realized he had to sum up his life in that way, (b) satisfied because the idea of manhood he had was one nasty worldview and it's so glorious that times have changed.

My first impression was that Barba's Abuelita killed herself. Probably took some pills and laid down to die. Now I'm not as sure as I was.

According to the title card Abuelita's name was Catalina Diaz. Catalina, makes me think of a nice warm island. Ahhhhh, can't wait for this freezing winter to end. To bad they didn't name her after Raúl Esparza's Abuelita (America) as a tribute to her.

Home Health Care aids are great. However, they can't carry an 85 year old woman down 6 flights of stairs when she needs to go to a doctor's appointment. If she had lived in a building that had elevators it would've been entirely different. They could've hired someone to come in and help her and take her to her appointments. She could have lived in her apartment for a few more years maybe, if she didn't have mobility issues and live 6 floors up with no elevator. I'm almost 50 (birthday is Tuesday) and I've had the knees of an 85 year old for over 10 years (I need knee replacements. I have no cartilage left) I could get up one flight of stairs but no more than that. Unfortunately even if they don't go out much old people go to quite a few medical related appointments.

Edited by Dot Com
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I thought it was a good episode; it was an interesting topic not including the ripped from the headlines drama.  I liked the interactions between Barba and Olivia, and I liked the comments made to Olivia by Barba's mom.  

 

I liked that they're starting to use all of the characters in each episode again, although Fin and Amanda weren't shown as much as Amaro and Carisi.  I liked Carisi's interaction with the author and his daughter.  Based on his interactions with the daughter, especially the first interaction when she mentioned she was in law school and he was asking her more questions, I wouldn't be disappointed if she appeared in another episode.

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So a few weeks ago we're to believe that Fin is into video games and this week we're to believe that Carisi is a big literature buff. Sure.

 

Marsha Cross intent on having a baby reminded me of the movie "Baby Mama" . "I'm expecting again." "Expecting what? A social security check?"

Edited by Kbilly
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I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.  I actually like the "ripped from the headlines" stories with the L&O twist away from the real deal.  The original Law & Order was promoted as being "ripped from the headlines" so I don't believe it's a copout or a negative approach to writing the stories.

 

Barson = maybe.  I loved the way Barba said, "Wouldn't that be nice."  He was a hoot with Noah though, not really Daddy material, is he?  LOL  Loved the puffy jacket again!  It's his out-of-the-courtroom look people!  He can't be expected to roll around town wearing his dandy duds all the time.

 

The story being a takeoff of Casey Kasem and that whole sordid real-life situation was interesting, with the twists of course.

 

Did Barba's Abuelita commit suicide or die of natural causes?  I think she died of natural causes, in her own home on her own terms, because she was ill and succumbed to death like old people are wont to do.  I don't think Abuelita would have been so selfish as to kill herself and leave her daughter and grandson in that kind of grief.  Also, if she was Roman Catholic, at her age, she wouldn't have done so if she was true to form.  I agree that the idea to get granny out of the firetrap with no elevator was the reason they felt the need to relocate her; Barba even mentioned the elevator.  Everything Dot Com said above about this issue is correct.

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Barba and his mother could have explored other alternatives to putting Granny into a nursing home. They could have hired a home health aide for a few hours a day to do the cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping.

 

This issue is a very delicate one, and only each family can decide for themselves what is right. Sadly, what I've seen in my own life is sometimes you're dealing with an elderly person who is insistent on being "independent," which means no help from anybody but family, but they don't realize that by not considering a home health worker or assisted living that they're actually putting quite the burden on loved ones.  I think that Barba was simply trying to help his Mom because she seemed to be the main caregiver, and he knew what a strain that was on her.  Not that family minds helping, but if something can be done to help everybody, then I think it's a good thing. 

 

In a lot of cases, the child ends up becoming the parent because the actual parent is incapacitated in some way.  Tough choices have to be made, and sometimes the parent fights it, but it might be the best solution for that person - especially if it makes them safer.  Again, I've been on the side of trying to help an elderly relative and neighbor, so I can sympathize with all those involved with these difficult decisions.  Sometimes what the elderly person wants isn't necessarily the best thing for them.  They can become very stubborn (I say that lovingly!)  Anyway, I thought that Barba's grandma died of natural causes.  I didn't get the sense of a suicide. 

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I think the reason I assumed she killed herself was that Barba and his mother were so devastated by her death. It seemed as if they thought, rightly or wrongly, that their trying to move her out of the apartment hastened it, and they seemed to be full of guilt. So maybe she didn't actually kill herself actively-- the points about her being Catholic and it being such a horrible thing to do to them are good ones-- but the uprooting fatally shocked her. Terribly sad in either case, but perhaps not as sad as her dying in exile.

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"I think he had a wig. Here's a recent photo: http://www.biography.com/people/robert-vaughn-20996359"

Don't think so. not clear when that photo was taken, but here's one from about a year ago: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2577542/Robert-Vaughn-returns-London-Olivier-Awards-shortlist.html

Yes. I stand corrected once again. But that just makes me think even more that his performance was noteworthy.

Ah, Napoleon Solo. I knew ye when...

Edited by shapeshifter

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Speaking of literature...I wasn' t thinking of Casey Kasem but rather "King Lear.". Yep, fights between family members over inheritance goes back to Shakespeare's time and beyond.

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Sadly, what I've seen in my own life is sometimes you're dealing with an elderly person who is insistent on being "independent," which means no help from anybody but family, but they don't realize that by not considering a home health worker or assisted living that they're actually putting quite the burden on loved ones.

 

I think the key to remember is that being elderly doesn't render a person incompetent.  We all want what is best for our family members, but if they are competent and they don't want something, that's basically it.  It may be a bad decision on their part, but that is just how it is.  

 

I was honestly underwhelmed with Barba's storyline.  It felt like a clumsy introduction to his family, followed by a rushed conclusion.  I thought they might have been setting up a future nursing home sex crimes storyline, but then they just killed off grandma so quickly, it almost felt like a time filler.    

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I was honestly underwhelmed with Barba's storyline.  It felt like a clumsy introduction to his family, followed by a rushed conclusion.  I thought they might have been setting up a future nursing home sex crimes storyline, but then they just killed off grandma so quickly, it almost felt like a time filler.    

Totally agree. I loved it because Raul knocked it out of the park, as usual... but the writing was so clumsy. Maybe if they had cut out the, what, fifteen? minutes of Carisi being a fanboy to Briggs that acted as a time sink, we could have gotten this storyline properly fleshed out. This was no "Barba centric episode" like Warren Leight et al promised.

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The Good:
Lots of Barba!
Lots of Carisi!
Not much Noah and no shoehorning the Benson baby saga into the case.
Every member of the squad was well written and likable.
Solid acting from all the guest stars.

The Bad:
No Fin
Some odd pacing. Some parts felt a bit rushed while others seemed a little padded.

Overall it was a good episode that continues the upward trend this season. Like every episode this season it felt like it could have used another draft or some sort of tweaking somehow. The story was solid and it was well acted, well shot, etc. but just a little polishing and this very good episode could have stacked up with the classics from earlier seasons.

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Really aggravating case of the week. I get that "golddigger marries horny old goat twice her age (or more)" is not news, but it's still annoying. And to see her win out in the end...ugh.

 

Oh well, lots of Barba. Yay! I totally thought Granny killed herself - it's too big of a coincidence for her to just die of natural causes right before she very reluctantly moves out of her beloved apartment.

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"Did Barba's Abuelita commit suicide or die of natural causes? I think she died of natural causes, in her own home on her own terms, because she was ill and succumbed to death like old people are wont to do. I don't think Abuelita would have been so selfish as to kill herself and leave her daughter and grandson in that kind of grief. Also, if she was Roman Catholic, at her age, she wouldn't have done so if she was true to form. "

That was my take away, as well. I never considered the possibility of suicide.

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tumblr_inline_nketh4ERI01rnv9ze.png

Writer Kevin Fox answered another fan's question on Twitter. I am a bit relieved I must say. Barba doesn't need any MORE sadness to deal with.

Edited by RafaelBarbas
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I'm not a Noah fan, and he may need a haircut, but that was a really kid.  I don't remember him being so cute before, so I think they changed babies.  

 

I almost didn't recognize Emily Bergl as not annoying trash.  She cleans up really well.  Between Tammi (SouthLAnd) and Sammi (Shameless) she's been typecast in my head, so it was interesting to see her in another type of role.  I guess I don't have to avoid everything she's in now.  I really could not stand her due to how annoying both Tammi and Sammi were/are, especially Tammi. 

 

It is interesting to me that the daughter ended up being the cause of the estrangement in this fictionalization.  Given everything I've seen and heard about Casey Kasem, his wife seems like a real nut job and I sided with the kids.  Then I heard his daughter on the radio a few times and she seems pretty crazy too, so I don't know what side I fall on in the real life issue.    

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I cant believe that I can now say that SVU has done two episodes where sticking a cattle prod up someones rectum to induce ejaculation has been used as a major plot point. THATS the well you go back to SVU writers?

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Writer Kevin Fox answered on Twitter. I am a bit relieved I must say. Barba doesn't need any MORE sadness to deal with.

I'm relieved as well. However there still is most likely going to be guilt on Barba's part. It's just a human thing to do. I know that if I was pushing my mother (whose 81) to go to a nursing home and she didn't want to then she died before she could go. I would think that I broke her heart making her leave her home of (in our case) 50+ Years. Especially if she was in rather good health. Actually my mom said "put me in a nursing home if you have to. I don't want to be a bother". And she was a nurse in a nursing home for several years.

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So I guess Barba and his Mommy didn't make enough money to get Abuela an apartment in a nice retirement community with graduated assisted living? Well, maybe not in NYC. Nursing homes are not all there is. Anyway, glad she didn't commit suicide since Barba's reaction wouldn't have seemed strong enough for that.

...I almost didn't recognize Emily Bergl as not annoying trash.  She cleans up really well.  Between Tammi (SouthLAnd) and Sammi (Shameless) she's been typecast in my head, so it was interesting to see her in another type of role.  I guess I don't have to avoid everything she's in now...

My thoughts exactly. Kudos to her agent maybe? Edited by shapeshifter

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So I guess Barba and his Mommy didn't make enough money to get Abuela an apartment in a nice retirement community with graduated assisted living? Well, maybe not in NYC. 

Definitely not in NYC. That's a luxury here for the very wealthy only, unfortunately.

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Man poor Barba.  I have a similar situation with my grandma, so I really felt for him.  I'm glad that it was apparently natural causes and not suicide.

 

I hope the Noah drama doesn't get worse.

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Barba holding Noah? Best.Scene.Ever.

(still lmao because of his facial expression)

 

 

So funny! "What...what IS it? What do I do with it?"

 

That author was totally Norman Mailer, of course. Nice writing where his last lucid moment, talking sadly to Carisi about being dominated by women at the end of his life and what a comedown it was from his idea of manhood, made me feel (a) sad that he realized he had to sum up his life in that way, (b) satisfied because the idea of manhood he had was one nasty worldview and it's so glorious that times have changed.

 

 

My first thought was shameful--"You got what you deserved." I liked how this episode showed all the women in his life still dancing attendance on him because that's what they think a relationship with him is--especially the daughters. My God, this man threw Delilah's mother through a plate glass window and not only would he never man up and admit what he'd done (even in the after death video he dismisses it as "the incident") she STILL sees her only chance at success or happiness through his eyes, whether it's battling him or kowtowing to him. None of them seemed to have any lives outside his orbit, even if they say they're in law school or a playwright or whatever. Even the wife saw her end goal as producing one more child for him.

 

But I felt bad for him too. Because those moments of clarity showed that he may have lived his life the way he wanted, but...what good did it do? He achieved everything a man, his version of a man, could possibly achieve, but he still had no one who was his intimate partner. Wives were just there to prove what a hot stud he was. Daughters were there to name after Biblical women and dismiss as "less than." His success and wild anecdotes were slipping through his mind like invisible little fish, back into a past that won't support him. His mind was slowly strolling away from him, leaving him gasping after it, too old, too slow. 

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I did get chuckle out of Marcia Cross's character being 45. Yeah, so's my Aunt Fanny!

Yeah, according to imdb she was born March 25, 1962. So she'll be 53 in about a month. So the character is 7 years younger than the actress.

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I won't say much about this ep cause I don't really have anything nice (or witty) to say, just found it boring. Not even Barba's snark could save this one for me. The absence of Fin was disappointing, and the underuse of Amaro & Rollins. I usually like Carisi but not so much in this episode.

I too was disappointed in this first Barba centered episode, well family centered at least, October Surprise gave us a ltl Barba insight. Mercedes Ruehl was brilliantly cast as his mother though, I sure hope we get to see her again. I'm glad Barba don't seem to have a screwed up family, and I can see how his special (& great!) persona comes from being raised by strong females. Really sad about his abuelita & I hope she didn't kill herself (I guess she didn't if Kevin says so?)

Can't believe we have to wait almost a month until the next ep but maybe it's a good idea since Empire slays Wednesdays these days :/

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