“Law and Order: SVU”: Theatre Tricks

This discussion contains episode spoilers. If you’re looking for more of a full-length recap and not a discussion (or you just need a little refreshing), this is for you.

I really really liked this episode for a lot of reasons (even though I, and I suspect most others, saw the twist coming from a million miles away, or at least as soon as roommate and fellow aspiring actress Holly walked into the apartment and didn’t seem at all interested in her roommate’s misfortune). First off, I enjoyed Amanda and Olivia’s brief but telling conversations about their trust/distrust of men. Though Olivia has been doing this for thirteen years (more, actually, but I don’t know when exactly she started working in the Special Victims Unit or as a cop pre-series), she hasn’t completely lost hope in men. I’m really glad that the show brought this up, because it’s not fair to making sweeping generalizations about all men because of the sick puppies that Olivia deals with on a day to day basis. She cites Elliot as an example of a man she trusted. There are tons of decent, trustworthy men in this series. SVU is by no means a man-hating show, though most perps are male. Though there was a female villain in this episode, I think it would be really interesting to see future cases that focus on a female rapist/male victim, or female rapist/female victim. Playing around with different and more complex dynamics would make really interesting and thought-provoking television. Though the interactions between Amanda and Olivia weren’t full of chemistry and my screen didn’t sparkle, I thought the conversations were necessary to have and realistic. People are prone to generalizations, and Amanda is no exception.

SVU also is really good about playing up the grey area. Sometimes a case is black and white and it’s a technicality in the courtroom that makes the episode compelling, but other times the compelling aspect is about whether or not a case is so cut and dry as rapist/rape victim. This episode was no exception. At first you think that Judge Crane is bad—not only did he rape a woman, but he raped her in public, during her performance. He humiliated her while she screamed and cried in protest. But then the plot thickens. Judge Crane doesn’t hide what happened, in fact he says that Megan asked him to fufill this fantasy of hers. We’ve heard this one before on SVU many times, but this time Crane actually has…proof. He’s been corresponding with Megan on a site called SugarBabies, which sets up young women with wealthy older men (yes, sites like this actually exist, and it’s totally gross, and as Amanda not-so-subtly states, it’s basically prostitution that they can’t prosecute), and Megan has explicitely asked Crane to fulfill this fantasy during this specific performance. Upon learning the truth about what’s going on, Crane is remorseful, distraught, and completely helpful in finding out who set both himself and Megan up. Though this man is technically a rapist, he isn’t a bad man, and he too was a victim. He too was manipulated and taken advantage of. I actually think in a way he was raped too—he was manipulated sexually and mentally. Though he wasn’t physically forced or coerced, he too was violated.

I have to backtrack a little, before it’s discovered that Crane is the one who physically raped Megan, we’re introduced to super creepy Jason, Megan’s IT guy, who set up survelliance cameras all over her house. He claims it’s for “security” and “to keep her safe”. Oh, ew, Jason, god. Gross. But Jason isn’t the rapist. And in fact he ends up helping them find the real rapist. Jason is totally gross and messed up, but in his warped mind he really does think he loves Megan and wants to help her. So disturbed? Mentally ill? Oh, duh, but not really evil. NOT LIKE HOLLY!

In addition to Judge Crane and Jason, there’s Ted, Megan’s director. Jason’s (now helpful and convenient) cameras reveal that Ted has come onto Megan and been rejected by her. Clearly he is the mastermind behind all this! Also the SugarBabies account writing style is similar to Ted’s speaking/writing style. Except it turns out that Ted is icky, but also not a mastermind. IT HAS BEEN JEALOUS HOLLY ALL ALONG! Men have used her, she has had to be slutty to get auditions, but Megan just walks in to help her run lines for her audition, and then Megan gets the part! Ug, Holly, it’s not your face that makes you ugly, it’s your insides. I swear to god a little eyeliner, better clothes, and a smile would do you wonders. Also, maybe if you have to be a total slut-bag for acting that you claim to be so so good at, it’s time for a career change. Not time to get your roommate raped. You are gross.

Characters kept commenting on how many gross men Megan had in her life, it’s true, but it seemed a bit over the top. Also, Judge Crane wasn’t really in her life, that was all because of the fake account. Jason was by far the creepiest, Ted was just the cliché lecherous!director. Everyone encounters creeps in their life. The guy who actually raped Megan wasn’t even in her life at all. The show was all, “Wow, all these creepy men, and it’s a woman who sets her up!” Yeah, yeah, we get it show.

Though I did like the different dynamics the show played around with and the different shades of good/bad/in-between, I was totally not blown away with the conversation between Amanda and Olivia at the end about how women should look out for other women instead of getting them raped or whatever. We get it. Women are bitches to other women. It’s true. We’re terrible to each other. However, I don’t think it’s about women sticking with women or men sticking with men. How about people just be good to other people? Or how about people just be good to other living creatures? I’d be cool with that. It’s not a feminist issue here. Men can be bad to women, men can be bad to men, women can be bad to me, and women can be mad to women. Let’s leave gender out of it and make it a human issue.

Overall, I liked this episode. It kept me entertained the whole time, and I liked that it challeneged our detectives perceptions about crime and what shape and size the bad guys come in. Some of it was dumb or forced, especially when I’m thinking about it now, but I’d definitely recommend watching it. This season of SVU has been really enjoyable, and this episode was no exception.


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