That had to be awkward!
Benson has been keeping Stabler at arm's length, pushing him to get help, and mostly ignoring his calls... only to have to work with him.
And when she learned on Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 13 that her brother Simon's death was no accident, it put her in the same position he was in: wanting justice for a dead loved one while the rest of the police force wanted her to back off.
In a way, Benson and Stabler already suffered similar types of grief and guilt.
While Stabler has blamed himself for Kathy's death since it happened, Benson consistently regretted leaving Simon an angry message just before he died.
That seemed to be the entire point of Kat's cousin being called into the station, as the only information she had related to Xavier's death was that she'd had a fight and left him an angry message soon before his murder.
That was a bit of a coincidence, as it didn't seem to be part of the women's MO to target men who had just had blow-ups with their loved ones.
It did its job, though, triggering Benson's feelings of guilt so that she was ready to get justice when she discovered a link between Simon's death and Xavier's.
Still, though, having to turn to Stabler for help after rejecting his insistence she does the same for him was all sorts of awkward.
Benson: Elliot, did you hear anything we said to you the other night?
Stabler: I don't want to talk about the other night.
Benson: You have to take care of yourself. I am begging you. Slow this down. Go home. Eat something. Get some rest. Do it for yourself. Do it for your children.
Stabler: Okay. I hear you. We good?
Benson: I hope so.
Not that Benson was wrong.
Stabler's obsession with catching Kathy's killer has led him to lose all sense of boundaries. He's staying up all night and asking Benson to help him get around the barriers to him but handling the investigation himself.
So she had to put her foot down about more than one thing, refusing to answer late-night calls and making it clear she wasn't breaking the rules for him.
And yet, minutes after she told him that literally, everyone is warning her to stay away from him, she needed him to help her find Simon's killer, and unlike her, he didn't hesitate to jump in.
I was expecting her to make the connection between his pain and hers, which didn't happen, but some strong police work did... and maybe a few bricks in the walls between them came down, too.
I also had to wonder if this was the writers' plan for Simon's murder all along.
It seemed strange to me that Simon had been brought back only to die of an overdose. At the time, it seemed pointless -- why not leave him alive and well and far away from Benson if he was going to die after only a short appearance?
It wasn't that it wasn't believable; after all, Simon always wreaked havoc with Benson's life because of his drug issues and his status as her only connection left to her family.
But it seemed random and unnecessary. And now we know why.
(As an aside, Warner's cameo was long overdue. The more Tamara Tunie we get, the better. Bring her back again soon, please.)
Anyway, the rest of the cops were as skeptical of Benson's belief that Simon had been murdered as she was of Stabler's that Kathy was the intended target the night the bomb went off.
Turning to Stabler made sense not only because he's investigating Wheatley's drug activities but because he was the only one who could understand.
Fin picked up on the irony right away, too. I loved it when he told Benson that he was giving her the same advice she gave Stabler!
I wasn't sure what made any of the OD cases SVU cases in the first place, though.
Yes, the men had had sex right before their deaths, but there was no evidence or suggestion they had been raped (although considering how out of it they were, a case could be made for that.)
The only reason for SVU's involvement seemed to be that the latest victim was dating Kat's cousin. That wasn't a good reason, especially not with the department wanting Stabler far away from a case he has a personal connection to.
The whole Kat angle disappeared quickly, too, as soon as Benson became aware that Simon's overdose was anything but accidental.
I'm not complaining. Kat tends to be irritating, and her cousin was doubly so last time she was on, claiming Xavier raped her and then retracting it because he was a rich guy who paid attention to her.
But it was weird how Kat's connection to any of this more or less evaporated within minutes, and it made it obvious that the only reason Xavier was the victim instead of some random dude was that it was a convenient entry point into the story of Simon's death.
Anyway, once Benson and Stabler began working together, things got intense quickly!
Listen, man. We put you back on the streets, you're dead. We put you in prison, you're dead. You have only one option.Finn
Felix was a dead man walking no matter what, so I wasn't surprised he got killed, but the cops should have been more prepared for the possibility.
That's what the IAB investigation during the first few minutes of Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 1 Episode 5 should have focused on, not why Stabler didn't jump out of the car to confront the shooters when he had very little backup.
Your turn, Law & Order fanatics!
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Law & Order: SVU's historic 22nd season airs on NBC on Thursdays at 9 PM EST/PST.