Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 12 Review: Blood OutJack Ori at .
You're probably not happy if you were hoping for a Bensler-centered episode.
Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 12 featured the long-awaited Benson/Stabler almost-kiss, only for Benson to pull away, but it wasn't a significant part of the story.
Instead, Benson and Stabler had a two-minute conversation after the main action was over. It was more like an epilogue to the story than anything else.
When Stabler asked why Benson didn't call him, he meant that he wanted to help protect her and Noah from BX9, but there was a better reason she should have.
Stabler: Why didn't you call me?
Benson: Because I knew you would try to protect me.
Stabler works for Organized Crime. Taking down mob bosses and gang leaders is his bread and butter. Benson could have used those resources to nail Papas faster, especially since witnesses were either becoming too scared to testify or turning up dead.
If not only Stabler, but the entire Organized Crime Unit, had thrown its weight behind this investigation, maybe they would have got Papas without sacrificing Duarte's life. If anyone knows how to solve these cases without unnecessary loss of life, it's that unit!
But Benson didn't call because she didn't want Stabler to protect her.
This isn't surprising; Benson has been like that since the beginning of SVU 24 years ago! But in this case, she had a lot to consider besides her discomfort with his protection. Noah's safety, that of her witnesses, and neutralizing Papas should have been a bigger priority than her desire to do it all herself.
A Law & Order: Organized Crime crossover would have been more fun than the epilogue to a strange series of stories.
If a Bensler kiss or almost-kiss had grown out of the two working together on this case, it would have felt far more natural.
The entire Benson/Stabler setup felt like it came out of nowhere. Benson has been careful not to let Noah get too attached to Stabler, yet she asked Stabler to be the one to bring him home.
Although she claimed to be afraid of the relationship not working out, at the back of her mind, she had to be worried about them kissing while Noah slept in the next room.
The effect on Noah should also be a big part of her calculations. She has a kid who has been through a lot and has already lived through some of her other boyfriends disappearing.
Benson's guilt over how hard she was on the late Captain Duarte also has to be affecting her decisions. This isn't the time for her to start a new relationship. If anything, she needs a session with her therapist!
Duarte's death was confusing. I knew something was going to happen to him as soon as he left Benson in a cab and wandered into a convenience store, but he seemed aware of what was going on and shot at the attackers, only to bleed out in the next scene.
His inability to win the fight was off-screen; he seemed to have the upper hand before ending up in the hospital. So what the heck happened?
The aftermath of his death was also strange. His murder led to Papas pleading guilty to murder and agreeing to leave Noah alone.
Are we sure that Duarte didn't pull an Alex Cabot and fake his death as part of going into witness protection? That's the only way that neatly-tied-up ending after his death makes sense.
Fin and Bruno's story was far closer to what SVU is supposed to be about than all this gang stuff. I'd have liked the investigation to take up more of the hour.
Benson also never answered Fin's question about hiring Bruno. I agree with Fin that Bruno would be a great addition to the ridiculously short-staffed Manhattan SVU team; will it happen?
Fin: I couldn't just leave this case to some green Bronx SVU cop.
Benson: You leaving me too?
Understandably, Benson has abandonment issues. Rollins left, Stabler ghosted her for years, and she grew up with an alcoholic mother who wasn't consistently there for her.
Still, she never used to come off as quite so needy. Benson has always been a strong woman who turned her traumatic childhood into determination to protect other victims the way she couldn't protect her mother.
Lately, she's overly worried about people leaving, and her disappointment over Rollins quitting SVU feels out of proportion.
The Olivia Benson I'm used to would have reacted with empathy for the victim Fin was helping, not worried that he would transfer to the Bronx because he was helping out. She also would have been thrilled to invite Bruno to the team.
Can we have that version of Benson back, please?
Maybe now that Papas' threats against her and Noah are resolved, she can destress and act more like herself again.
What's going to happen to Velasco? His decision to give drugs to a witness was reckless, and now he's in trouble.
It doesn't appear that anything's happened to him yet from the trailer for Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 13, but Benson can't ignore this.
It's not the first time Velasco's gone to extremes to close a case, and giving a witness controlled substances isn't going to fly with 1PP.
When Carisi said to play dirty, he probably didn't mean THIS, and Benson can expect a visit from McGrath over it.
What did you think, SVU fanatics? Did you enjoy the end of the BX9 trilogy? Are you glad SVU will be getting back to more standard cases? And were you disappointed in the Bensler moment?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know! But first, watch Law & Order: SVU online.
Law & Order: SVU airs on Thursdays at 9 PM EST / PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.