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aratledge

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4 reviews in total 
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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Drawn-out., 13 May 2011
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to disagree with previous reviewers of this episode: although Dennehy's performance certainly is good, I found the episode overall to be very disappointing. Unlike other episodes of SVU, it all unrolls very slowly, through hacking cough-laced conversations with a bed- ridden Dennehy. I know it was supposed to be dramatic, a sort of slow build toward a compelling, emotional ending, but throughout the episode, all I felt was frustrated. (Frustrated like the detectives!) It went so slowly, had so many moments of getting stopped just before finding out something interesting... I am not one to ask for explosions and revelations in every minute of every single episode, but I felt like this didn't give the payoff that drawing up so slowly should really promise.

Stabler is roped into the case when his priest asks him to visit a geriatric cancer patient, Dennehy, who has said something in confidence that the police should investigate. Dennehy plays a (very boring) game of cat and mouse with the detectives as he slowly reveals hints about his criminal past. The detectives initially find that he was part of a team responsible for a string of bank robberies; the fact that he admits to them allows them to close dozens of still-open cases. However, the revelations continue, including one familial crime that is much more aligned with typical SVU cases than the average bank robbery. Strong performances abound in this episode, and the tragedy of nearly-failed legal wrangling toward the episode hits home, but this episode is far from SVU's strongest. I would also guess that there is nearly zero re-watch value (unlike the average SVU episode) because you already know what the big reveal will be, and have to suffer through endless minutes of Dennehy falling asleep mid- sentence to get there.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Olivia's back!, 13 May 2011
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Overall an excellent episode: a twisted love triangle is to blame for a beautiful woman's death, but as Benson and Stabler unravel the relationships and deception at play among a married couple and the wife's dance instructor, it is their relationship and the way they ease back into their roles upon Olivia's returns that brings the episode to life. I have long been a fan of Benson and Stabler, and seeing them as people who have to readjust to working together after her months-long absence. The only thing that could improve the episode would have been appearances from Fin or Dr. Huang — not seeing Dr. Huang for an entire episode is quite disappointing, no matter the episode's topic.

And I would be remiss not to mention the great guest performances by Bob Saget and Catherine Bell, who really shines as Naomi. They are introduced as happy, New York yuppies, but hey, this is SVU, and you know there's more to them than meets the eye. His career in microchips leads to a very cool "creepy technology" twist in the story, which, despite inciting the standard lecture on Big Brother from Munch, brings up some interesting questions and really does add something original to the episode. The whole business at the end with the stereotypical overworked, extremely conservative corrections bureaucrat is pretty clichéd, but don't let that stop you from enjoying this highly entertaining episode of SVU.

Intriguing., 28 April 2011
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An unidentified teenage girl is found murdered. Detectives Benson and Stabler trace the girl back to an elite gym training Olympic hopefuls, including a quasi-abusive gymnastics coach, a mysterious, rich benefactor and a bitter rival.

An overall intriguing episode, although those hoping to catch a glimpse of gymnastics routines or depth in the gymnasts will be disappointed. Not among SVU's best, but putting the crime in the context of the gymnastics world definitely elevates it above the average procedural episode. That said, the "big reveal" of the victim's secret past isn't much of a reveal at all -- it may be relevant to her gymnastics career, but it doesn't play much of a role in the episode.

As always, solid performances by all the regulars, and great support from Tamara Tunie as the ME, who really begins to make the role her own in season two of SVU.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Stunning., 28 April 2011
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of my favorite episodes of SVU, due in no small part to the actors. I agree completely with the other reviewer: the lead performance by Richard Thomas is astounding, one of the strongest and most haunting SVU roles delivered perfectly. Karen Allen gives her role a seriousness that few others could pull off. The interplay of these two is also compelling, showing how a mature love can remain despite turmoil. The revelation of Thomas's condition is astounding. You will not quickly forget this episode.

Four brutal murders are traced back to Thomas, who has been living in a church since he began to mentally deteriorate a few years before. His behavior has been increasingly erratic, according to his wife, and he admits to committing the murders. But the reason for his personality change and violent behavior must be unearthed by Dr. Huang, who believes that something very serious is at work.

(Note: The plot move at the very end to arresting the life insurance CEO is the only lame aspect of the episode. When it comes on during USA marathons, I typically stop watching at this point. I understand Olivia Benson's anger, but honestly? Thomas is a scene-stealer, and moving away from what happened to him is a flaw in the writing.)