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Law & Order: SVU Review: No Boys Allowed

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After a promising episode last week, SVU's "Child's Welfare" was a disappointing waste of an interesting opportunity.

When Simon first appeared in Season 8, he caused all sorts of problems for Benson. It's been five years with no communication, which should have made for a good show. Instead we were treated to uneven episode that had two competing narratives. The back and forth between the case of the abandoned child and Benson's brother was ineffectively presented.

Troubled Benson

Most of the time the shift from one plot to the other was rather distracting. It was difficult to get really invested in one storyline because of there wasn't enough time to develop either one. The abandoned child/abducted girl story was both intriguing and disturbing. The creepy abductor's insistence that there are "no boys allowed in the house" was an unsettling statement, and I really wanted to know the backstory for this strange rule. 

Simon's return only showed us how little he has changed despite his new baby and fiancee. Simon and his troubles were a distraction for Benson, keeping her from doing her job for most of the episode. From the moment the call came in about the abandoned baby, Benson chose to put her estranged brother ahead of her police duties. Throughout the investigation, she absentmindedly questioned people while constantly checking her phone.

It was rather annoying behavior from a veteran detective. However, it was also completely understandable. We all know that Benson's big weakness is family. She had a horrible childhood with a mother who made her feel unloved and unwanted. When Simon first appeared, she quickly latched on to the idea of having a family, despite the fact that he was suspected rapist. Simon was eventually proven innocent, but his immature and rash behavior (as well as Benson's unprofessional conduct) nearly ended her career.

Benson should have learned her lesson and kept some professional distance between them this time. Instead, she immediately called in favors from David and Bayard. Luckily, this family reunion didn't affect her new relationship. Bayard seemed a good fit to help out because the case did have some racial overtones. However, Simon didn't really make himself an easy client for Bayard, and it must have been a little embarrassing for Benson.

Simon seems to know that using the family angle is the best way to get to his sister. I felt like he was really manipulating her when he introduced Benson to her niece (conveniently named Olivia) and said they should have weekly family dinners. Maybe Simon really wanted to change, but that hasn't stopped him from making horrible decisions. Convinced he won't get his kids back right away, he did the worst possible thing and kidnaps them. He's a serious liability, which is something his fiancee realized.

It seems like Benson is figuring it out, too. She tells her brother to grow up, but still she's sympathetic when he understands just how much his reckless actions have cost him. Simon wanted to change and Benson wanted to believe he could change. Where does that leave their relationship? Do we even want to see him again?

Sadly, there was no David Haden this week. It would have been nice to see Benson get some distance from this family drama by going to a more stable source of support. Perhaps we'll see their relationship progress in the next episode.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.2 / 5.0 (22 Votes)
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hello
what is going on with Law/Order SVU? is olivia staying or leaving?
there have been no new episodes for the past 2 weeks.
jeff

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I agree as far as the storyline and how they had two different story plots going..they didn't do a good job on giving enough info. between the two different scenarios this episode. Im used to them having more than one story plot but this time was just not good...I enjoyed Simons come back but not the was he played his character I agree there wasn't much emotion. I miss ELLIOTT SOOOO MUCH!!! I really wish they would bring him back (or he would come back) Olivia just isn't the same without him...SVU for that matter isnt that same without him!!! I would like to see the new show he will be on when will it air?

Terrie

I miss Stabler too but if you haven't heard Christopher Meloni (Stabler) is goign to be on True Blood next season.........

Lboogie1582

Lol @DCB Three Homeless Men and a Baby" ...AWESOME :-) P.S STILL MISSING STABLER. :-(

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Great episode. Mariska Hargitay as always superb. I was pleased to see his brother. I like when it shows a bit of family life of the detectives. They are human beings and need of family ties. Eliot had more family problems that Olivia. I remain faithful to SVU, a great crime drama.

Terrie

I think I have to agree......definitely not as good as last weeks episode.
I was disappointed in the return of Simon. Him suggesting Sunday dinners just seemed lame and with no feeling. Anyone know if Harry Connick Jr. is going to be back? And WHY no new show next week and on an hour earlier?????

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I get what people are saying. Simon idea good; but to have two simultaneous storylines, without being able to focus on one hurts both storylines. The pace of the story was better. The plot moved. It had a different feel to it. Not sure I liked how easily Simon got caught. I think it would've added some drama, if the detectives had to work to find Simon. They actually could've had the baby story for another ep and JUST focused on Simon and the government removing minority children from their homes. More Munch and his conspiracy theory and Finn's smooth lines! I really like Ellis too. Kinda strange to see the defence get so much airtime; but I don't mind. I'd rather see him than David who seems to know nothing about being a prosecutor besides smiling, looking good in front of a camera and wooing Olivia. All in all, writing's not there; but its definitely better than a lot of the trash they've been airing this season.

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This show is so frustrating to me! I miss the balance of the original L&O, as well as so many prior seasons of SVU: the police investigation and then the prosecution. Even though the last couple of episodes were the best of this season, they still really lacked in balance for me. And I definitely rolled my eyes when all the Simon issues were shown...how do you name your daughter after her aunt, who you've failed to stay in contact with over the last 5 years? Just silly...

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Although I've always loved Michael Weston (Simon) in shows like 'Scrubs', 'House', and especially, because of the name thing, 'Burn Notice'. On SVU, not so much.
I originally loved the L&O franchise because it DIDN'T focus too much on the cops' feelings, family drama, etc. The moment Olivia's family issues started dominating the scripts was when I first started losing interest in the series. I want to see complex crimes, keen sleuthing and engaging characters, not family/relationship drama... I can get enough of that without a television set.
This episode had a potentially great plot line, the babies showing up... When the first one was dropped off at the church steps and the street people discovered it, my son and I had an idea for a great sitcom "Three Homeless Men and a Baby" Hilarity would ensue almost immediately!
Anyway, I would loved to have seen more of this plot line and less, much less of the other.

Aries93

I have to agree. I mean, I thought it was a great storyline in regards to both cases, but they both would have been even better with 40 minutes each of their own. It could have easily been done. They both felt rushed and I didn't really feel the whole "holy crap, what's gonna happen next?" vibe. It was all easily predicted and moved to fast.
I do hope that the show revisits Simon and his family. I think it was stupid with what the parents did. I mean, I don't have kids, so I can't imagine what a parent would do if their children were taken away, but to resort to taking them with they have one of the best attorney's in NY? Stupid move. I think it's even worse to hurt a character like Simon who constantly tries, but has failed. Refer to season 8 if you don't believe me.
In regards to Ellis and Olivia, does anyone else predict a love-triangle between these two and David? I sure do.

Law & Order: SVU Season 13 Episode 16 Quotes

Rollins: What are the odds on that?
Fin: (Meaningful look)
Rollins: It's just an expression.

You want to be a good father, Simon. Grow up.

Benson
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