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Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Finale Digs Into the #MeToo Movement

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Sir Tobias Moore, an Englishmen with curly gray hair and a face that’s mostly teeth is the focus of the 21st season finale of Law & Order: SVU.

We were initially introduced to this Weinstein figure in Season 21 Episode 1 “I’m Going to Make You a Star,” where his habit of assaulting aspiring actresses was displayed. The connections he had with authorities only deepened as the investigation continued. Tapes of women who auditioned for him were voluntarily handed over by DA and former Judge, Alana Barth.

He evaded authorities at every turn until SVU sent in an undercover, (Kat from Vice) he attacked her and they arrested him. Knowing they still had to make a case he remarked to Detective Benson while in handcuffs, “there’s nothing as funny as watching a beautiful woman make the biggest mistake of her life.” Victim Gemma Brooks quickly turned around and made an announcement that what happened between Sir Toby and herself was a consensual affair.

Soon after she hopped a plane to New Zealand to direct a film for Moore’s company Picflix. Fortunately, that video announcement alerted DA Carisi to the updated furnishings in Sir Toby’s office. Footage was found of his assistant replacing the casting couch.

Law and Order Season 21 Finale Review

Ian McShane as Sir Tobias “Toby” Moore — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

We see the producer again in Season 21 Episode 21 “The Things We Have To Lose.” His trial was delayed for a year.

“Men’s reputations can be destroyed overnight, how many innocent men have been convicted in the name of the Me Too Movement?,” asked his female DA on the courthouse steps.

When Moore failed to show up in court due to a “worsening heart condition,” Carisi claimed this is another delay and obfuscation. One victim is stressed and terrified while another was branded promiscuous by the tabloids.  Benson said to DA Barth, “what do you need Alana because whatever Sir Toby is paying you, it’s not worth it.”

Finally, the trial is ready to begin but again, Sir Toby is absent. Carisi pushed the limits of the law saying, “your clients afraid to have the women he raped confront him in open court.” Despite Benson’s determination that has lasted decades on SVU, it seemed there was no justice to be served. Later, Detective Rollins sauntered by Carisi’s office to see if he’d like to go for a drink, further extending the ‘will they won’t they’ vibes carried throughout the seasons between them.

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC, Peter Scanavino as Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Joelle and young son André who we met in Season 21 Episode 5 “At Midnight in Manhattan” when her soon to be ex-husband, beat her while their 7-year-old watched prompting him to call 911.

It ended with Leon in jail. Episode 21 tells us that he’s been recently paroled. Joelle is under the impression that he was sentenced to a year but Detective Tutuola clarified it’s 6 months in and 6 months out, served with probation, and the order of protection still in place. Leon started showing up anyway. Tutuola is concerned for their safety. He gave André a phone for emergencies. The next time we see them Leon is holding Joelle hostage at knifepoint while the detective tried to calm him. “He’s my boy, not yours,” Fuller threatened, nostrils flared. Tutuola insists, “your son loves you that’s all he ever talks about.” André rushed to his father despite the warnings not to. Leon freed Joelle, now holding his son hostage.

Leon made a move and Tutuola fired his gun. André is left crying over his father’s body. Benson met Tutuola at the scene afterward and he told her, “the boy saw his father get shot. No child should ever see that.” Despite his best efforts to protect, effective yet tragic, Joelle sued Tutuola for wrongful death. Episode 5 ends with Deputy Chief Dodds stepping down and making Detective Olivia Benson, Captain.

Lakira, a transgender woman also introduced in Episode 5 reappears in the finale. She was assaulted with a flashlight by Paul Davies, a man Lakira referred to as “a blue-eyed vulture” he paid her off so she would not testify against him. Lakira didn’t see this as a loss but instead, “turning vultures into angels,” she twirled in the light of the setting sun on the pier, happy to have enough money for a place to stay. It’s not until Episode 21 that her tone changes. The lawyer from Westchester strikes again, assaulting another sex worker so brutally she had to be put into a medically induced coma.

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT — “The Things We Have to Lose” Episode 21020 — Pictured: (l-r) Gisela Chipe as Ramona Diaz, Peter Scanavino as Detective Sonny Carisi — (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/NBC)

Lakira blamed herself. If she hadn’t been too afraid to testify after her own assault, “he’d be in jail. Dakota would be alive.” As expected, Davies pleaded not guilty but his bail was denied and DA Carisi felt optimistic. “So they believe us?” Lakira asked.

“The Things We Have To Lose” ends with the same song heard at the beginning, the haunting chorus of ‘Holy Water’ by Freya Ridings.

The episode wasn’t the intended finale and was actually supposed to usher in the return of Stabler after almost a decade of the character being of the show. Stabler’s time-away seems to have done well for him as his character scored his own spinoff on NBC with a 13-episode order. 

It remains unclear if he will return in Law & Order: SVU Season 22 or how his story-arc will be reframed to lead into the aforementioned spinoff. 


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Batwoman

Batwoman Review – Bat Attack (2×02)

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Batwoman Season 2 Episode 2 Review Prior Criminal History

Bats are attacking Gotham City and the only person that can stop them is Batwoman… the new one, who is deathly afraid of bats. 

Alice’s plots are always so poetic, you have to give her credit for bringing the creativity and keeping the town on its toes. 

We already know Alice is deranged, but Batwoman doesn’t waste a moment trying to remind fans just how next-level she really is. The way she strapped that rat to Mouse and then unleashed bats onto his body was, well, disturbing. And we’ve come to expect nothing less. 

But the remainder of the episode fell flat since she unleashed a plague and delivered the cure in one fell swoop. Sophie and Mary know that Alice is too cunning and must have a larger motive, which we learn involves triggering Safiya, so while her “master plan” was just the opener to something bigger and badder, it felt wasted in the context of the episode. 

Also, was it Alice’s plan to make Hamilton Dynamics look like the heroes by delivering the cure? Or was it just an unforeseen outcome of “doing the right thing?”

Or will the Desert Rose eventually prove to have some undisclosed side effects that will take a toll on Mary and the rest of Batwoman’s supporters who suffered bat bites? Because then, she’d be exacting revenge against Safiyah and taking down Hamilton Dynamics at once, which is, well, bloody brilliant. 

Alice’s plan isn’t entirely clear at this point, but she seemed to achieve part one which was getting Safiyah’s attention. Why was she so upset about the Desert Rose being used? What does Alice hope to gain from their meeting? Does she think that Kate is still alive and Safiyah has her?

Ryan Wilder stepped in to save Gotham from Alice’s wrath, and while wanting to be a hero surely played into her decision to step into the batsuit again, she was also ecstatic over the opportunity to throw some punches Alice’s way. Plus, she now knows that Alice is responsible for killing her mother and Mary’s mom, so she has a lot of rage inside. 

And I definitely enjoyed someone confronting Alice who actually has the guts to kill her. Yes, Batwoman’s M.O is “do not kill,” but isn’t it just a little fun when Alice knows that the new vigilante won’t hesitate to kill her?

Ryan once again proved that she what it takes to wear the suit. She put the people of Gotham first and chose to save them instead of pursuing Alice when push came to shove. She also thwarted the danger by successfully luring all the bats into a bus using the frequency that was attracting them to the rally. 

And she provided us with a pretty cool Batmobile scene. Not to mention she did all of this while still being affected by her kryptonite wound. She might want to take care of that sooner rather than later. 

However, taking on bats as an enemy is not like taking on Gotham’s worst criminals. And despite her desire to kill Alice, Ryan proved that she may need a little more training. 

She has martial art skills and a firm understanding of the bad guys having spent most of her life around them, but the dangers looming over Gotham, like Safiyah, are a little above her pay grade. As Luke mentioned, Kate was at the top of her class and still struggled sometimes. 

Ryan can definitely handle it — plus, it’s all they really have at the moment — but she’s going to need to lean heavily on Mary and Luke as they help craft her into the hero that can handle whatever and whoever comes her way. 

As Mary helps Ryan get the ropes of this Batwoman thing, maybe Ryan can return the favor and give Mary some self-defense training? Mary has put herself in some dangerous situations over the years, and as she comes face-to-face with Gotham’s worst, like Alice, who seems drawn to her to replace Kate, she’s going to need to know how to fight back and protect herself! 

The Commander was mostly in the shadows this episode, but he did grill Mary and Luke about Kate Kane being Batwoman. Obviously, neither of them talked, but if he wants to avoid history repeating itself, he needs to focus less on trying to find Kate and bonding with Mary, the one daughter he still has left. 

Batwoman Season 2 Episode 2 Review Prior Criminal History

Batwoman — “Prior Criminal History” — Image Number: BWN202fg_0014r — Pictured (L-R): Rachel Skarsten as Alice and Christina Wolfe as Julia Pennyworth — Photo:The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

While the Crows clearly use Mary’s clinic, he still has no idea about her work there or her involvement with Batwoman, which once again makes him the father that’s out of touch with his own daughter. And isn’t that a huge chunk of the issue in the first place?

Unlike Alice, who was just a child when she was kidnapped and tortured, Kate is a grown woman who is more than capable of taking care of herself. If she’s alive — and big “if” because obviously, Ruby Rose has left the building — she doesn’t need to be saved the way Alice needed it. And holding out hope instead of embracing the present isn’t any way to move forward. It’s dangerous for the city.  

Also, is it me or does he still seem to hold resentment for Batwoman? Even the new one. Maybe he should try to work with her this time around to truly right the mistakes of his past. 

Sophie is logical 75% of the time, but then she goes and pulls a stunt like ambushing Alice alone without any backup. I can understand not wanting to bring all of the Crows along, but why wouldn’t she at least bring Julia?

They may have had a personal falling out, but professionally, Julia is still her best and biggest ally. Also, it’s petty of Sophie to hold it against Julia that she kept Kate’s secret. If the roles had been reversed, Sophie would have kept Kate’s secret from Julia in a heartbeat. Why? Because they both loved Kate and wanted to protect her. 

It wasn’t Julia’s secret to tell, and she shouldn’t be faulted for it. If anything, Sophie should be wondering why Kate never thought she could trust her enough to tell her the truth? Maybe it was all about protecting Sophie, but her anger should be more directed at Kate for lying. 

Unfortunately, Kate is not around so Julia is Sophie’s punching bag. I’m eager for them to get past this and work together again cause I actually like them as a couple. 

Hitting “reset” with a new caped crusader gives Batwoman a chance to right the wrongs of season 1, which alienated a huge chunk of the audience. However, these weak plots simply aren’t cutting it, and the series is still repeating the same mistakes instead of elevating and taking the show in a new direction. 

My suggestion: spend less time talking about Kate and what Kate would do (she has her chance to do plenty) and embrace the new administration. Change is inevitable and also exhilarating. Ryan offers a new perspective and a new way of doing things, which may take some getting used to, but it’s necessary. She has a new skillset, a past that influences her decisions, and a new approach. The series needs to let her do it her way! 

What did you think of the episode? Hit the comments with your thoughts! 


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Walker

Walker Series Premiere Review – Cordell Walker is a Stale Texas Ranger (1×01)

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Walker Pilot Review Season 1 Episode 1

Jared Padalecki has held many impressive roles in his career. Some may think of him as Dean from Gilmore Girls, while others only see him as Sam Winchester on Supernatural. 

But now, he’s stepping into the shoes of the legendary Cordell Walker on The CW’s Walker adaptation, a role previously held by the Chuck Norris on Walker, Texas Ranger, a beloved action drama with a premise that’s occasionally viewed as problematic for its portrayal of good guys versus bad guys.

In the 1993 series, the idea of justice was always painted with a black and white brushstroke, but in 2021, we know that’s not the case. 

That’s why The CW’s version aims to stay true to the original with a dedicated cop who takes down the bad guys with roundhouse kicks, while also infusing the modern-day version with more progressive viewpoints. The pilot alone touches on the topic of undocumented immigration and introduces Walker’s partner, a Mexican-American female ranger, along with his gay brother. 

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from The CW series going in, but even without fully knowing, it seems I set my expectations just a bit too high… like those famous roundhouse kicks.

Nothing about Walker’s pilot episode drew me in (or made me want to keep watching) despite it being the network’s most highly-anticipated show of 2020, and there’s nothing legendary or iconic about Padalecki’s performance… not yet, at least. 

Padalecki’s Walker is angstier and less carefree than Norris’. He comes with a lot of personal baggage inflicted by the mysterious death of his wife, Emily, which spirals into his struggle to raise his two children, Stella and Augie, without her.

One major flaw off-the-bat is that the writers and creators assumed audiences would care about a lead character when much of the action — his wife’s death and his undercover mission following her death — happens off-screen or in “flashbacks.” Instead, we’re provided context upon Walker’s return 10-months after his mission through a series of “heartfelt” talks with his family that often miss the mark. 

It’s an action series with minimal action that relies more on telling, not showing. It’s a surefire way to alienate a fan-base coming to see a character famously known for being an ass-kicking badass. Especially since we barely see that side of Walker.

Instead, we’re given a protagonist that ran away from his problems by throwing himself into his work while the rest of his family — his parents and his brother, Liam (Pretty Little Liars actor Keegan Allen), who works as a DA in the liberal city of Texas — stepped up to the plate to raise the children. 

Sadly, both Walker and the series struggling to juggle the work-life balance.

In short, it’s unclear what the main focus of the show is supposed to be. Is Walker a man who wants to repair his relationship with his kids? Is he a man who wants to protect his reputation as ranger and focus on justice and equality? Or does he want to solve his wife’s murder, which is strung along as an overarching plot to unravel over the course of the season? 

If he’s all three, the show needs to find better ways of communicating it because right now, it feels stiff and falls flat. 

Padalecki doesn’t seem to have a full grasp on who his character is or where his priorities lie either, which means that while his shortcomings as a father and a ranger are brought up, he shows no emotional depth. It’s a tough pill to swallow for an actor who has nailed the whole “brooding” persona far too many times. 

It’s also hard to figure out what narrative the show wants to push forward. At one point he’s patted on the back and given promotions for being “the best of the best,” but scolded and called out for his “problematic” and “rule-bending” behavior in the same breath.

Walker Pilot Review Season 1 Episode 1

Walker — “Pilot” — Image Number: WLK101a_0140r — Pictured: Lindsey Morgan as Micki Ramirez — Photo: Rebecca Brenneman/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

One thing that’s hammered home is that he hasn’t been a very present father and his daughter, Stella, faults him for it. She may be rebellious, but so far, Stella’s brush-in with the law only serves a potential storyline in which Walker and Liam help her best friend’s parents, who are facing deportation because the crime she committed is now on their record.

It’s also hard to get invested in the mystery of his wife’s death considering we only saw their relationship briefly in the first few minutes of the episode. And it was expected the moment he told her to “be careful.” Other than that, we have no idea what her job entailed or what led to her death, but if we never find out, I’m not going to lose any sleep about it. In fact, I found myself more intrigued by Jerry, the woman that was with Emily the night she was murdered. Walker doesn’t seem to hold any resentment about her involvement and there even seemed to be some sparks flying between the two of them.

The personal aspects of Walker’s life completely overshadowed the case-of-the-week, which was haste and lacking. It was an afterthought when it should have been the selling point for a series pulling inspiration from police procedurals and a crime-fighting icon. 

The case served up a few fight scenes, which yes, included a roundhouse kick, but it mostly allowed Walker and his new partner, Micki, to get to know each other and connect, a little too quickly, if I might add. Instead of giving their partnership time to evolve, it seemed expedited and by the end of the hour, Micki attempts to be the “buddy cop” next to Walker’s brooding one. They even banter as though they’ve been partners for years, which feels off considering she scolded him for his behavior, which also seems misplaced considering he outranks her. 

That’s more of a casualty of the writing than anything else because for the most part, Micki sells is more intriguing as a character even with limited screen time. She has more riding on the line than Walker, and one could make the case that she should’ve been the lead of the series rather than being reduced to a conflicted, emotionless man’s sidekick. Not only is she more secure and confident, but she’s also complex. She worked hard to climb the ranks as a woman in a male-dominated career, and she won’t let Walker screw that up for her. In addition to validating her career choices to her family, she also wants to prove herself to a system that would love to see her fail.

The case resulted in a mind-numbingly generic storyline about a drug cartel, which may or may not serve as a future plotline. And that right there is the biggest issue. A pilot episode is supposed to sell you the idea of better episodes in the future. It’s supposed to entice you into coming back again, but the identity of the series was so vague, we don’t actually know what we should expect from it (and Walker) moving forward. It’s equal parts something we’ve already seen before and equal parts forgettable. 

iZombie, for example, adopted a case-of-the-week format that fed into the overarching plot more and more with each passing episode.

Walker can succeed if it finds the right balance of action scenes, intriguing cases, personal development, and a stellar supporting cast. But so far, it hasn’t sold us any of that. 

And Padalecki can’t rely on his fans from shows prior to make this a hit. 

What did you think of the pilot episode?


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Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew Premiere Review – A New Mystery Unfolds (2×01)

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Nancy Drew Premiere - The Search for the Midnight Wraith (2x01)

A new mystery unfolds as Nancy Drew kicks off its second season. 

Competing with the spine-tingling Lucy Sable mystery is a tall order, but it’s a challenge that the writers and the Drew Crew are up for! The Nancy Drew Season 2 premiere delivers an exceptional mystery with the same amount of scares we’ve come to expect. 

Though the Drew Crew tackles a brand-new case when a mystery woman runs out from a forest and mutters Nancy’s name, it all ties back to the Aglaeca curse introduced in the latter half of the first season. 

For those who don’t remember, here’s a quick refresher: Nancy and friends performed a ritual that upset a vengeful sea spirit. When they failed to pay the blood toll, it not only killed Nancy’s boyfriend, Owen Marvin, but it triggered a deadly curse that saw the rest of the group having visions of their untimely death: Bess was burned alive, Ace was hung on a meat hook, George and Ned drowned in his pick-up, and Nancy fell off the cliff just like her late mother, Lucy.

So it’s not surprising that their main priority is to stop the Aglaeca curse before it wipes them off of the face of Horsehoe Bay. 

But how does one even begin to fend off an evil spirit? With Nancy, answers tend to fall into her lap. This time, however, they come at the hands of Bess, who utilizes social media to get some help. Bess really is the MVP of the crew even if the way she goes about it is a bit sloppy. 

Nancy Drew Premiere - The Search for the Midnight Wraith (2x01)

Nancy Drew — “The Search for the Midnight Wraith” — Image Number: NCD201c_0420r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Leah Lewis as George, Tunji Kasim as Nick, Kennedy McMann as Nancy and Maddison Jaizani as Bess — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The answers are directly connected to the case of the missing Jane Doe, which leads Nancy and the team to the Gorham Woods during a full moon where legend has it, a wraithe is said to feed on fear. 

The self-awareness of the series is one of the reasons it’s able to sell the urban legends and the idea of supernatural ghosts and spirits haunting the town. The team is all too clued into the dangers of their “missions” because past experiences have proven that urban legends are not legends in Horseshoe Bay. If they know it’s outrageous and accept it at face value, it’s easier for the audience to digest that there’s some creature lurking in the woods ready to attack them at any moment. 

It also allows audiences to understand why they keep putting themselves in danger; they don’t have much of a choice as their very survival is on the line.

Wanting answers on how to defeat the Aglaeca, they locate the spot where Jane Doe, whose real name is Amanda, was attacked, and conveniently find a cellphone with footage of her conversation with her twin brother, Gil, which pretty much clues them into everything that the twin-duo had planned. (I’ll ignore how convenient all of their findings are because it’s necessary to help usher along the story and get some real answers about breaking the curse.)

Other items they find to help them solve the mystery include an insulin pump, which forces them to race against the clock because if they don’t find Gil in time, he won’t make it to give them they answers they’re looking for or the mirror her promised that can break the curse.

QUIZ: Which ‘Nancy Drew’ Character Are You?

Ace, who clearly knows the grounds better than anyone thanks to his boy scout days, suggests that maybe Gil ran to the hunting lodge in the area. 

And again, that conveniently connects to the Hudson family. Then again, what in this town doesn’t? 

The Hudsons – which we now know is Nancy’s biological family – have their hand in everything. This is why you never trust a town’s founding families. 

Including the Hudsons in this mystery is very clearly a ploy to include Ryan Hudson in Nancy’s life in a meaningful way. They have a lot of catching up to do, and if he’s not included in her mysteries, there wouldn’t really be a chance for them to get to know each other. 

But he also comes to her aide twice in the premiere episode, so maybe having a Hudson on her side will prove to be beneficial or, at the very least, to get her out of trouble, which she always seems to find herself in.

The first time around, Ryan protects her and her friends after they trespass on Everrett’s property. The second time, when Nancy is arrested for “stealing” the mirror, a Hudson family heirloom, he bails her out. 

For now, Nancy’s identity is a secret that only a handful of people know about in this town, but it’s a powerful weapon, especially for Ryan, who proves that while he’s trying to make good with his biological daughter, he isn’t above “threatening” her adoptive father, Carson Drew. 

This makes is harder to root for Ryan since he teeters the line of being a good guy versus being just like his father. However, his hostility towards Carson is understandable as he was stripped of being a father and lied to his whole life by someone he trusted. Their beef isn’t just going to go away, but eventually, they’ll have to put their differences aside for Nancy and to take down Everrett.

I can’t help but feel for Carson, who not only had his reputation ruined by being accused of a murder he didn’t commit, but is now on the outs with his daughter because he did what he thought best. Nancy may feel betrayed, but Carson thought he was protecting her and acting in her best interest. At some point, she has to acknowledge that. He’s always been a good dad to her.

Nancy Drew Premiere - The Search for the Midnight Wraith (2x01)

Nancy Drew — “The Search for the Midnight Wraith” — Image Number: NCD201e_000945r2.jpg — Pictured: Riley Smith as Ryan — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Nancy also doesn’t want her true identity getting out simply out of the fear that people will think she’s just like her blood relatives. And there’s nothing worse than being compared to a Hudson. 

When Ace suggests she’s just like her grandfather leading them into danger, it really takes a toll on Nancy. 

Ace may be Nancy’s right-hand man, but his fears and frustrations are understandable, also. This isn’t the first time Ace and the team almost died because they decided to help Nancy. Once again, it’s refreshing when characters don’t sugarcoat that their lives constantly revolve around shady situations that could get them killed. It humanizes the characters and shows that the supernatural occurrences aren’t just something you can “get used to.”

We often wonder why the supporting cast always does everything to help the heroine, and while that proves that they are great friends, it doesn’t mean that she should always expect it from them. 

Nancy attempts to payback the favor by facing the Wraithe alone and saving her friends, but it also comes off as simply a gesture to prove to herself and everyone around that she’s nothing like the Hudsons.

It also doesn’t seem like we’ve seen the last of Gil. He may have a rap sheet and seized the opportunity to extort money from Nancy, but he knows more about the Hudson family than he’s letting on. Plus, there definitely seemed to be some sparks with Nancy as he ran onto the bus to save her. 

And he actually delivered on his promise since the mirror actually gave them the next step to beating the Aglaeca: a sea shanty.

Seeing as Nancy is able to solve any mystery quicker than the police and the newest detective Demora, who is already weary of her probably because of her sleuthing reputation, it likely won’t be a challenge for her. It’s just like solving a riddle only this time, it’s a sing-songy riddle.

But will they find the sea shanty before any of those death visions come true? Let’s hope so!

Other Musings

  • What is Everett Hudson up to? Why does it feel like he also knows more than he’s letting on? 
  • Nancy would have to be blind not to realize that George and Ned are an item. There’s no use in hiding that relationship anymore! I may be mistaken, but I feel like she gave them her blessing back in season 1 and made it clear she’s moved on by dating Owen. 
  • Ace continues to provide tense moments with some comedic relief. Telling Everett that he has a “lovely home” and asking if there’s a “meat hook” in the house were two highlights the episode. 

What did you think of the Nancy Drew season 2 premiere? Sound-off in the comments, Cravers! 


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