Law & Order SVU: Florida
The writers and Mariska Hargitay did a spectacular job convincing me that she had completely lost her mind. Det. Benson appeared to be blindly helping her brother evade the law because she couldn't believe that he was a rapist, just like their father. After the last episode with Simon, I fully believed that he was guilty and I thought she did too.
Olivia was so screwed up for so much of this episode! First, she helped her brother jump bail even though she knew the evidence was stacked against him in a rape case. Was it intuition? Did she truly know he was innocent, or was she just not herself?
Then, when she starts to believe that her brother is guilty, she starts to doubt her mother's tale that she was raped and became pregnant with Olivia. She doubts this because her father, whose name was Joseph Hollister, kept track of her during her lifetime. She asks Wong, "What kind of rapist keeps track of his victim?" It's a question that rocks her entire foundation and she goes on a quest to determine whether her mother lied about the rape. She listens to her mother's interrogation and, even though she finds two other women who were raped at university dining halls, she questions their stories, too. At that point in the episode, I didn't know what to think. Could her entire life be based on a lie told by her mother? It seemed awfully far-fetched that three women who worked in dining halls were lying about being raped.
Yes, it was all wrapped up in a neat and tidy way, but it didn't seem hasty. The final stand-off scene where Olivia is talking to her brother and Julia, whom he shot, unraveled in a pretty compeling way.
The only part of this episode that I actually figured out ahead of time was that Julia (Delaney) was also working "off the books". Her reaction to Olivia's comment that her brother was headed to "Route 94 to Florida" made it obvious that she had figured something out. I knew that she was going to kill Simon, but what surprised me was that she admitted to framing Simon for rapes in retaliation for Simon's "rape" of her sister. During the stand-off, we learn that Simon really didn't rape anybody and that Julia's sister was molested by their father. Julia knew it all along, but was blinded by love for her family just like Olivia was the beginning of the episode.
The final scene also made it clear to Olivia that, yes, her father was a rapist. She is the result of a rape. Why would her father track her life and even tell his wife that he has a daughter in the city? I don't know. But, he was obviously tormented by either his depression or his actions, because he committed suicide just like Olivia's mother.
Overall, this was a great episode. I tend to enjoy the Olivia-centric episodes more because I think Mariska Hargitay has a very complex character with very conflicted emotions. I think it will be interesting to see whether she has acheived "closure" on her past and is finally able to move forward and have a relationship with a man. I'm giving this episode a 7 out of 7 for all the wonderful twists and turns in the script, and for the outstanding acting done by Mariska Hargitay. This episode could get her another Emmy nomination.
Next Week: Christopher Meloni gets his dramatic episode, too. Looking forward to it!