Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×07 “All That Glitters” is a glittering example of what happens when bad faith happens to good viewers. It’s the epitome of “I went in with an open mind and ignored promo meant to rile people up. But evidently, that mind should’ve stayed closed.”
Of course, this is all about the absolute mess that is Elliot Stabler’s latest inconsistent, messy reveal: the Tia thing. In order to accurately describe just how awful of an Olivia Benson knockoff this woman is, I’d have to explain over a decade worth of inside jokes with my best friend. And, frankly, I’m not wasting the time or effort.
What I will waste the time and effort on, yet again, is dissecting just how laughable this all is. And I’m not talking about just this one story — that’s just a low-level generic. No, I’m talking about one of the best on-screen duos of all time being wasted. I’m talking about a fanbase that has followed that duo for so long, an infant born the day many started being strung along would be old enough to drink. Old enough to have graduated from college, might even have obtained a Master’s by now.
What’s truly just hilarious is how much setup there is with about zero payoff. “I love you” blurted out in the middle of an intervention never gets addressed. A whole speech by a super villain about “the one true love of his life,” abandoned. Invitation to a Christmas get-together? Not happening.
And no, we can’t ever, in any situation, take time out for a conversation. Under absolutely no circumstances will there be sufficient budget or scheduling ability for the discussions about the very bad things that happened to our former partner. (See also: “one true love of his life” clownery.) Phone calls are an impossibility, even if one-sided. Texts and emails? Also out of the question.
But the reason this is like “wtf do I even do with this episode” isn’t just any one of these things.
It’s not about just not getting anywhere (after over two decades), or just not following through on anything, or just having the Generic Odieia Batdaughter character come out of nowhere to be…whatever she is.
(See: That name’s funny to me because Benson is “ben” — son in Hebrew — plus “son,” and Batdaughter combines “bat” — daughter in Hebrew — with “daughter.” And, of course, “liv” gets replaced with “die” for…Well. Say it out loud: Live, die.)
It’s bringing in a female character as a device like this — which, for the record, isn’t a great look in general — in a way that paints the “hero” in a bad light no matter how you slice it. And…that…just…
No, really. What even are we supposed to do with this episode? We get it: All that glitters is not gold. And? So, the goal is making the fangirls venomous for not-golden reasons? After two decades? How original.
This ain’t “Nikki Heat,” folks.
We can’t go to therapy or do anything, whatsoever, to get out of our weird limbo.
But long, meaningful conversations about our
(awful) dead wife with our Italian…whatever-she-is? Well. Those are A-OK. Elliot even knows how to answer his phone in “All That Glitters,” something he most certainly couldn’t manage in 2011. Which, to be fair, he…apparently also doesn’t know how to return phone calls to former partners in more recent years because he apologizes to Tia in “All That Glitters” for not calling her back after she offered him her late condolences on his wife going boom.
Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×07 goes really hard on drawing parallels like that one, over and over again. Tia has the fond smirk, the banter, the heart-eyes for Stabler’s rolled up sleeves, the right arguments with him about things like coffee and who gets to drive.
She clearly means something to Elliot. Which, fine, have yourself a little friend or whatever. She’s a fine enough partner, even. Good to know someone looked out for him while he was away…
Although, considering he made it back in one piece, we probably could’ve inferred that one on our own. Regardless, Leonetti has Stabler’s back on this case and even saves his miserable life. We’ll probably even be happy about that when we’re done with the therapeutic rant.
And something about her admiring Elliot because of him being born to be a cop? She just knew he wasn’t going to quit for real? Funny, because he for-real-real quit on
Liv the NYPD without so much as a “lol bye” before.
We get it. She’s the Wal-Phed of Olivia Bensons, and she’s here with some unfinished, “this bald bitch” business.
A lot of this could, in a realistic timeframe without so much bad faith history, be entertaining as hell. Over 20 years in, however, not so much. There’s too much history — there are too many wasted opportunities and dangling threads — to pull this off. And, quite frankly, without Mariska Hargitay there to be the jealous and indignant version of Olivia Benson and make Christopher Meloni’s super hella red blush mean something, it’s just infuriating.
There have been various successful “let’s give them the Great Value Magic Treasures version of the woman they ship our main guy with” storyline. For me, Castle‘s “Nikki Heat” comes to mind. That’s a pretty damned fine example of how to do this right, actually. But, again, we had Lucky Charms to compare the Magic Treasurers to. Katic was there to be indignant about the whole thing, nobody hated Fillion yet —that I can recall. And we were in a true third season — not the third season of a spinoff of a series in its 24th. It’s also worth pointing out that Castle didn’t take itself seriously and didn’t try to make the whole thing…actually emotional for the dumb male protagonist.
Which, don’t get me wrong. Meloni? Chef’s kiss, as always. Especially when he just melts into a totally different tone when Tia brings up Elliot’s dead
gaslighter wife. But Stabler? Head. Ass.
Basically, we’re all Bell asking Elliot what that face was all about. It’s certainly not the “it’s complicated” face Benson and Stabler have always used when asked about each other. But…it’s also…not good, actually!
Nobody expected the man to have zero life while he was away for 10 years — though he would’ve deserved that. But he was married. And that marriage, while always miserable in New York, supposedly had some happiness in Italy.
So, having any kind of hint at a hint…at a hint at something with anyone else while he was away is decidedly not good. Especially when, during those years, Olivia Benson was kidnapped and tortured for four days while he either never knew — by some bizarre sorcery, considering he had family back home in New York. Or, he did find out and didn’t even care enough to send a Late Show with Stephen Colbert “First Drafts” edition of a sympathy card. Either way? Gross. That is, of course, just the worst of what was going on back in the U.S. It was, overall, an almost never-ending decade of pain.
But Elliot was living the life!
Kathy loved Tia or some mess, so that means she wasn’t a threat. But…then, back to that face we’ve never seen before, all the flirting, and this woman just showing up at his door more than once.
So, there was one-way possibility, at least, back then? Someone had a crush on Zaddy? Did Kathy not recognize it? Or did she just not care? Neither situation jives well with a woman who was petty enough, after a decade of radio silence, to want to hurt the person who repeatedly saved her marriage and — oh yeah — saved both her life and her baby’s that one time.
But maybe Kathy loved the generic partner because the attraction was totally one sided, and she knew she “had” her man — that Elliot wasn’t interested. Great, yet another pathetic woman used as nothing more than a “pathetic woman” plot device? Riveting.
What I’m saying here is nothing about this is creative, new, good for the main character, or respectful of a longtime audience.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m going with brain bleach for Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×07. At least for the broad majority of it, which is a shame considering how great the cast is and how interesting some of those tidbits about Jet were. But uh…Hard no.
And WTF with “are you going to let me in” as a cliffhanger? First off, it paints this woman as some kind of creepy stalker who, after previously just dropping by and discussing El’s “special” relationship with his wife — betting my descriptor of “special” and hers for that marriage are different, here — is back just begging for a piece of that cake. Again.
But also…literally no one wants it. Cliffhangers on will-they/won’t-they are fun when it’s something viewers actually care about.
No one is actually invested in Dr. Smart when they’ve had Dr. Pepper dangled in front of them for over 20 years.
Or, if we need to get into that longtime inside joke with my bff I mentioned at the top of this: Exactly zero people asked for Captain Huddle House’s stale-ass waffles and plastic eggs. Or, none of us wanted to see poser Elliot’s brand new fake Chucks; we want him rocking a filthy, beat up, pair of the real ones in this pit.
The shiny things that distracted us during Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×07
- Task force finds a skull in a furnace. Me: God, please let Lestat “we sell incinerators” de Lioncourt show up. I’m begging.
- Jet and Whelan undercover as future marrieds? Far more compelling than “Elliot’s former partner who isn’t the former partner viewers keep asking to see him having a conversation with.”
- “That’s really cute. They’re having their first fight.” Ahhh, to go back to the beginning of this episode when Elliot was “smug sonofabitch” (fond).
- Extra salt int he wound: Everyone but Benson gets to kick this man’s ass, huh?
- Danielle Moné Truitt deserves better than to be “she is us” with all the reactions to whatever that dynamic was supposed to be. So does her character. But she nailed those looks, at least? Yay.
- “She called him Elliot, bro.” At least it wasn’t El. I might’ve actually exploded my TV.
- Her wardrobe is even a weak imitation of the Captain’s current looks. So. Much. Yikes.
- “I do hope you and Jet make up.” Cute heart there, Baldy! You broke Liv’s in 2011, but you…don’t care.
- Bless Jet for the sarcasm when she was reading that weak AF undercover profile.
- “Never seen that face before.” And I literally never want to see it again.
- “This is not the cop I remember.” That’s because he…is apparently capable of maturing in that department. Just not emotionally.
- That Scream (1996) line about “that woman was slutbag whore who flashed her shit all over town like she was Sharon Stone or something,” only it’s us telling the Stabler kids about their father.
- Bald bitch is going to be “a lonely bird” forever.
- “You two were special together.” Me at 1.0 EO, nostalgically.
- “You’re special.” Me at Elliot, hatefully.
- Y’all aren’t ruining coffee for me.
- Pearl: “…and I am very disappointed.” The fandom: Get in line, lady.
- “What’s so special about her…” She reminds him of someone, in a Chanel vs. Walmart kind of way. But nobody thought to try to save this mess by putting a line of dialogue about that into one of the three yenta detectives’ mouths.
- “I was burnt out. She just…She helped me get my mojo back.” And?
- Jet was what at the what age now???? We’re just…dropping that? Ok.
- “Huge mistake!” Sums it all up.
- At least they got an actual Israeli to play the Israeli crime dude. The way he pronounced those Rs…yeah.
- Not this woman trying to poach Jet.
- Human trafficking. No SVU involvement. Ok.
- Again, if you’re gonna do “Nikki Heat,” you need the genuine version there to be react.
- “I want you off the streets for now.” Sergeant Bell is still keeping a tight leash on Detective Reyes after his recent outing. Continuity is possible!
- Pearl asking Teddy to run away to Europe, just as Elliot’s dealing with the Wish-Benson fallout of his attempt at running away. Yikes.
- “Felt good. Working as a team again.” No but the complete audacity.
- The tight white tshirt isn’t saving you this time, buddy.
- “Are you trying to get rid of me already?” I mean, I sure am.
- “Partly why I don’t want to go back.” “What’s the other part?” “You.” I mean, at least he looks extremely uncomfortable here, to the point where I want to believe Meloni’s giving…something.
- But also: ????????
Thoughts on Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×07? Join us in the “Elliot Stabler is about to be over” party in the comments.
Law & Order: Organized Crime airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.