Ah, the twists and turns of a classic SVU storyline. You think you're getting an investigation into one crime, when another pops up seemingly out of nowhere.
"Learning Curve" was advertised as a dramatic episode for Fin and his gay son. Turns out, that plot was just the catalyst for another investigation. It wasn't necessarily a bait-and-switch (we did get some tense scenes in the hospital room), but the misdirect was somewhat unexpected.
After last week's episode veered away from the personal lives of our detectives, Fin's relationship with his kid (always a little rocky) became the focus at the show's opening.
While it was nice to see that Fin had worked through the majority of his problems with his son's sexuality, I felt like these scenes were included just to show us how tolerant he is now. Becoming an advocate for his son, he can't help but speak up when Rollins mentions Joanne Parsons closeted homosexuality and taking the opportunity to talk to Alejandro's father when he shuts Ken out of the hospital room.
Fin's scenes, especially his final speech to a comatose Alejandro, seemed more like his character's need to prove that he has evolved into a more open-minded individual.
Hopefully, Alejandro will recover, and Fin will get the chance to be closer to his son. But the question remains, was there a little too much emphasis on Fin's relationship with his son during the promos?
The main storyline involving an allegation of molestation at a private school seemed a little standard for the series at first. But, excitingly enough, it wasn't an open and shut case. This episode succeeded in keeping my attention more so than most of this season's installments because it didn't settle for the obvious answers.
Like many past episodes of SVU, this one ratcheted up the tension by moving unexpectedly from the hate crimes that victimized Alejandro to a mystery that continues to grow even as the detectives struggle to unravel it. From the moment the detectives interviewed Luca, there was clearly more to the story, and Amaro, always a keen investigator, picked up on the strangeness of the case. He was even provoked into outright verbally badgering the victim when things didn't seem right. The truth, it turns out, was far more complex and fiendish.
The strange relationship between Joanne, Natalie, and Luca gave off shades of the intense psychological drama Notes on a Scandal. Joanne, the high-strung and closeted lesbian, gets caught in an awful position when she witnesses her friend (and possible love interest) having sex with a student. Joanne may have called Luca the master manipulator, but it's clear that Natalie was really pulling the strings here. She kept control over both these victims until Luca snapped from the pressure of it all. The plot was incredibly powerful and well-thought out, giving a sense of both the drama of this twisted triangle of abuse and the social implications of Natalie's actions (high-fives for Luca instead of the therapy he will desperately need).
With SVU being picked up for another season, the show needs more exciting and complex narratives like this week's episode. Maybe then it could keep the fans happy and possibly even bring back those who defected when Stabler left. What do you think?