"Valentine's Day" is usually for lovers, but on this week's episode, it's for liars.
SVU has a long history of showing the ways in which victims can be undermined by a clever rapist and/or good defense teams. Sometimes, the show plays with the issue of victim's reliability. The episode "Doubt" in Season 6 really highlighted the problems of a "he said/she said" crime, and it ended with without giving the audience the jury's decision.
Tonight's episode tried to introduce the same element of doubt and uncertainty into the rape victim's claim, but it wasn't nearly as effectively presented. While we got the jury's verdict (or rather lack of a verdict), the case itself was never fully resolved. In fact, the episode's ending felt abrupt, unfulfilling, and frustrating.
From the moment I saw Chole Sevigny's Christine being accosted by masked man with a gun, I was pretty suspicious of the circumstances. With her husband out of town and her daughter staying at grandmother's, she chose to relax around the house in sexy lingerie. Granted, watching SVU for years has made me approach all of the cases with a bit of cynicism. But there was something about Christine's character that seemed a little off.
It wasn't surprising when the detectives discovered that she led a double-life. Benson was skeptical after interviewing Christine because her years of experienced told her that something wasn't quite right about her statement. From her drug use to the frequent "lunches" with her husband's partner and best friend, Christine wasn't the most credible of victims.
What was surprising was Christine's persistent denial of the charges against her. With nothing to prove her side of the story and a mountain of evidence against her (including video), she continued to claim that everyone else was lying. Unlike the female victim in "Doubt," we had no reason to believe her cries of rape. Christine was completely unreliable, and there wasn't one occasion where I found myself beleiving she was the victim of a crime.
I also couldn't understand why that one juror was so hung up on her. She seemed to have an uncanny ability to bewitch men, but it was little ludicrous that she could convince this one man of her innocence when no one else was buying it. Did you believe her?
Both Novak and Christine's attorney claimed they were waiting for the other shoe to drop, and frankly so was I. Will this case come back to haunt the detectives and/or Casey? It might improve the episode if there was some kind of followup in the future.
Slightly more interesting (but just as frustratingly unresolved) was the return of Amaro's wife. She's having a trouble adjusting to life in NYC, and Amaro notices that she seems a little distracted. He follows her one day, noticing that she enters some mysterious house before the screen fades to black. Why is he so suspicious? And where was she going?
She's more than likely just going to some support group, or meeting with someone who can better understand her situation. The whole scene just felt like a needlessly staged moment of marital discord, and the lack of resolution was annoying.
After last week's so-so episode, SVU really needs to pick it up before the end of the season, or people just might stop watching.