After a brief holiday hiatus, SVU returned with "Theatre Tricks," an episode that began with an interesting premise, although it concluded with a rather predictable resolution.
The complex plot about the betrayal of the young Meghan was dutifully performed by the all actors. However, while the episode tried to subvert our expectations by having Meghan's female roommate be the real criminal, it wasn't much of a surprise.
The story did have an excellent opening. As an avid fan of medieval literature, I enjoyed the use of Dante's Inferno for the innovative theater experience of "Nine Circles." At first, it did seem like a weird sex-club (not unusual for an SVU episode), but the scene quickly established the various "sets" of the circles of Hell as the masked audience members explored the theater space.
The rape itself conveyed the sense of horror and helplessness that Meghan must have felt, struggling against her attacker while the audience stood by and watched. When Benson interviewed her, Meghan seemed entirely broken by the experience. She was a naive Midwestern girl with dreams of making it big as an actress - the perfect prey for jaded New York predators like her director. Or so it seemed.
Rollins quickly picked up on the fact that every guy around Meghan was some kind of deviant. Jason became obsessed with Meghan and decided to put her under constant surveillance (for her own protection naturally). Her director was using every opportunity to shove his tongue down her throat. Even Judge Crane, a respected officer of the court, satisfied his unusual sexual proclivities on a woman he met through a website.
This assembly of pervy guys really disturbed Rollins who hasn't been in New York or in SVU for long enough to inure herself to the daily horrors of the job. As she took a long look at the still single Benson, it wasn't hard to see how the job could really damage any woman's trust in men.
However, it turned out that Meghan was victimized by her female roommate. Holly was frustrated that Meghan's life seemed so effortless while she had to degrade herself to make money and get auditions. Her irritation (and jealousy) with her roomie turned into hatred when Meghan strolled into her audition and stole the part from Holly. When Holly finally confessed to setting up the rape, Rollins was shook by her lack of remorse. It was shocking, but this kind of animosity between women is not that surprising. Unfortunately, sometimes a woman's greatest enemy can be another woman.
From the moment Holly walked into the apartment she shared with the much prettier Meghan, she stood out as the most likely suspect; however, this reaction was actually the result of watching this show for years. It wasn't until the fake "Sugarbabyz" account came into the plot that we could really connect Holly to the rape. That was really the only frustrating part of the show. We could tell Holly was going to be involved somehow just from learning the SVU formula.
There also wasn't a whole lot of interaction between our detectives this week. Benson and Rollins had some moments together, lamenting the constant victimization of women. Benson and Cabot apparently have a real friendship outside of work. It would be nice to see more of that in the future.
And Gilbert Gottfried returned as the TARU tech this week. He seems like such an odd guest star, and his presence is a bit jarring. I can't help but think of him as Gilbert Gottfried instead of as a random I.T. guy.
Do you like Gottfried on SVU?