Thursday, January 20, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Stabler Warns Angela About Her Unhinged Ex-Husband in 'As Iago Is To Othello'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 2.12 "As Iago Is To Othello"

Stabler asks Bell to have his back when they're called in to defend their actions. Jet and Malachi work together to pin down Wheatley. Cho and Maldonado go undercover to watch Angela.

"As Iago Is To Othello" was written by Rick Marin and directed by Fred Berner

Stabler and Richard are desperately trying to get into the other's head. They want to manipulate their personal relationships to distort their reality. They aspire to turn their trusted partners against them. It's an attempt to expose how truly awful the other is. But it's also brought forth from personal vendetta. Stabler seeks vengeance for Kathy's death. Richard goes against the man he blames for losing everything. One of them has better standing when it comes to making that argument. Richard can sometimes come across as a mustache-twirling villain. But the severity of his threats is very real. Stabler is putting people's lives in danger by taunting Richard. That's the reality he must accept on this job. This obsession may be proven correct in corroding his objective perspective. He can't be trusted to handle this investigation. It's all too personal to him. Of course, he and Richard are making it more and more personal with each passing episode. Stabler wants to manipulate things to make it seem as if he and Angela are in a sexual relationship. It's all done to piss off Richard. It puts Angela's life in danger. It makes it so she has to submit to sex with Richard just to ensure more lives aren't lost. She is put in that perilous position because of Stabler. He can't trust anything she says. He wants her to be careful. All good will between them is gone. He can assume that Richard won't kill his greatest love in this particular moment. But things will escalate. That's how it plays out when Richard does interact with Angela again. He tosses her around. He brutalizes and demeans her. Stabler's work in SVU may have taught him to carefully handle complicated domestic relationships like this. However, he has now conditioned himself into seeing Angela as an active participant in it. She is to a certain extent. She helps Richard obtain his ultimate goals. She does so because she doesn't see a better way to survive. He remains disruptive to her life. All it takes is him walking into the room for her expectations to immediately be shattered. He controls everything. She feels powerless as a result. She is a victim in this situation. She still has agency because she can manipulate events as well. She doesn't trust Stabler because he too has betrayed and used her. All of that is playing out in the open because Stabler is expected to be better because he's accountable on the job. The police need to be held to a higher standard. Stabler wants time to prove that he is right. He fears the downfall of the financial markets. And yet, Sebastian has already collected millions from this hack. He is giving it away while Richard is collecting billions for himself. That comes when the experts believe that the volatility of the market can still be explained away. It can be recovered. Life has already changed. Richard and Sebastian have executed the hack. They have done so while continuing to trigger Stabler. It's easy to invade his life as well. All it takes is planting someone as a nice new neighbor to get close to Bernie. That's terrifying for the future. Stabler can only handle so much loss. That's already changed him too. People can see it. They worry about him. He is becoming a liability. He is becoming what they all feared he still was when he rejoined the force. He could no longer be accepted as a rogue cop who took justice into his own hands. And now, he is obsessed with Richard Wheatley and willing to do anything to him. That may result in a legal arrest at some point that can stick when the charges are brought to trial. That's not the focus for Stabler anymore. It's a personal vendetta. Bell is worried about him. He doesn't have the clarity to appreciate and acknowledge her concern. It's simply him asking others to compromise themselves and join him down this path. They all make difficult choices in this job too. Hopefully, they can bounce back from them. It's just hard for Stabler because the stakes of this game only continue to grow more personal and potentially devastating. That's strong storytelling. It creates a foreboding sense of dread. Sure, it also sets up expectations of continuing melodrama - especially whenever the show moves away to discuss the other cases the task force works on. But it's strong in individual moments while creating the looming fear that all of this will only end up killing more people.