Saturday, May 14, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Stabler and Nova Push Their Families Away to Keep Them Safe in 'Streets Is Watching'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 2.21 "Streets Is Watching"

When the task force discovers a threat to Stabler's life, the pressure is on to gather all the evidence to put Webb away for good. Donnelly gives the Brotherhood surprising news. Nova is forced to take a drastic step to keep her brother safe.

"Streets is Watching" was written by Erica Michelle Butler and directed by Sharon Lewis

Things have been tense and dangerous at the Stabler household for awhile now. Most of his children have moved out at this point. They are living their own independent lives. However, he is still responsible for Eli and his mother. They still depend on him. And now, he must send them away after Webb puts a hit out. Stabler wants to keep everyone safe. That so often means pushing them away. He can't allow anyone to get too close. He can't open his world completely to those he loves. He can only forge those genuine connections with people at work. He trusts Bell and Jet completely. They too are entitled to their responses. Stabler has involved Jet with his investigation into his father's shooting. He needed to know if it was staged. He needs clarity on whether he has believed in a lie. The fantasy has now been destroyed completely. His father was shot with a bullet from his partner's gun. The ballistics confirm it. Stabler has this access to the past. So little has changed in the years since. However, it means something to him. He simply walls himself off. His world is on the verge of being torn apart. He could lose his family. He pushes them away to keep them safe. And yet, they too are being watched and targeted. They've already been used as ploys to get to Stabler. He has had to worry about their actions. Any change in environment could drastically set off Bernie. Everyone wants to keep her calm. That gets more dangerous the more often life is disrupted. Stabler can still play out the routine that has always worked before. He can be very charming. But it also has fleeting success. His family knows something is happening. They see the aftermath on his body. He is beaten and bruised. He still won. He is alive. He returns home to them. And yet, their home has been destroyed in the process. It was invaded. Stabler knew what was coming. It was still a dragged out conflict just in order to prevail. That showcases the physicality and demands of this job. He is risking so much. It's all in service of keeping the streets safe. He has targeted organized crime and corruption within the police force. They are one and the same now. He can't decipher between them even though he once thought he was betraying his badge. This is necessary. He can rationalize this behavior. And yet, it may still always be a pipe dream to leave for a vacation with his family. Right now, the stakes are simply too high for him to ever break free of this life for too long. He can escape through undercover work. But that offers no meaningful connections or a way back to his humanity. Instead, he remains bitterly lost as everyone presents as nothing but lies.

Of course, Stabler is trusted to operate with all this power and discretion. He's the only man who can get close enough to Donnelly to take him down. He has the confidence to walk into Webb's office despite knowing he wants him dead. He leaves this encounter with all the evidence necessary to arrest the criminal too. All of this was obviously heading in that direction. That's the basic format of the show after all. Things may be difficult for the detectives from time to time. The odds may be against them. However, they can simply rely on the work Nova has been doing. That may be a little too convenient. So much of this current story arc has been focused on the Brotherhood. The Marcy Organization has continued largely lingering in the background. It has been important. However, the stories have been designed around Donnelly creating complications for Stabler. It's understandable how these two organizations are linked. But it's still ultimately necessary for Stabler to confront Donnelly over how he framed him for the heist. Stabler is left looking like the man who stole from Webb. Donnelly wants to create a convenient excuse. However, he knows it's time to run. He digs up the money he has been saving for years. He convinces his family that this is the smart thing to do. He wants to do things differently with his newest child. And yet, he makes promises with no intention of keeping them. He simply exists as pure chaos. That's the mood he has always operated with. And so, it comes as no surprise that he throws a curveball in deciding to leave the Brotherhood. That action is meant to give more importance and trust to Stabler. But this organization means nothing without Donnelly. He's the one truly being targeted. The other detectives are simply along for the ride. Right now, Stabler has the evidence to arrest Webb. With Donnelly, it's still completely up in the air. Stabler is the one trusted to do the necessary undercover work to build this case. Nova has done her job. It simply also forced her to shoot her brother in the leg. That was a huge moment of escalation. One that may threaten Webb's trust in her. He realizes she has this personal backstory that could derail what he has been building. He may realize that too late. His fate may already be sealed. Meanwhile, Nova wants to send her brother away. That's the answer to this problem. It's the same reaction Stabler has. Nova can be seen as a successful detective. She still devoted her life to being undercover. She has nothing outside of that. Her brother offered a glimpse at something more. But now, it too is coming at the expense of the job. She chooses differently than Stabler. Yet her work is stable while Stabler still has more he must do to close this case.