Friday, October 7, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: SVU' - Rollins Can No Longer Trust Her Instincts at Home or Work After the Shooting in 'Mirror Effect'

NBC's Law & Order: SVU - Episode 24.03 "Mirror Effect"

Benson tries to help a pop star in a volatile relationship. Rollins struggles with taking the stress of work home with her. Fin teaches a rookie a lesson in respecting fellow officers.

"Mirror Effect" was directed by Michael Smith with story by David Graziano & Julie Martin and teleplay by Julie Martin & Margaret Rose Lester

Rollins can no longer trust her instincts. She did everything right and still got shoot. She knows how to do this job. That's why everyone is comfortable with her returning to work so soon after the trauma. Her perspective on everything has shifted. This entire ordeal has revealed just how dangerous this job can be. She's terrified of losing everything good in her life. She believes that's inevitable because things historically don't work out for her. She doesn't want to be alone right now. However, it's better for her daughters to be with their grandmother as Rollins figures things out. Early on, the girls were afraid of the monster in their closet. Rollins ultimately becomes that monster. Her gun offers her so much strength and protection. It also serves as a weapon that terrorizes her family. She's not seen as the police offering assistance to those who need it the most. Instead, she is a woman inflicting trauma on her own loved ones. Rollins acknowledges her struggles. She talks to her therapist about moments of disassociation. She refuses to take medication to treat the problem. She believes she should be strong enough to get over it. The pills are an easy solution that only weak people should take. There should be no shame in taking the proper medication to treat conditions both physically and mentally. That remains such a profound hurdle for Rollins. She has never struggled in this way before. It places doubt in her police work as well. She has handled cases with celebrity victims before. She has dealt with "he said, she said" cases. She's pushed back against women who believe their abuser has the possibility to change. None of this is new terrain for her. Her reactions are remarkably different. She can't escape the work. Rollins and Carisi run into Kelsey as she's being kicked out of the limo. They insert themselves into her life just to get her home safely. That's what starts all of this. And then, promises are made about doing better. That may have been more sincere in this case than the previous times the concept has been explored. Austin sat down with Olivia to talk about the meeting he attended and his willingness to break free of the generational pattern. That unfortunately doesn't stick. As a result, Rollins is more cynical than ever before. The writing was on the wall. This twist was inevitable the moment Kelsey showed reluctance in pressing charges against Austin. She believed this behavior wouldn't happen again. It did and it was worse. More people became involved. It was all seen as a reflection of the trauma their parents endured. History was repeating itself. People are angry that their willingness to change isn't good enough to break free of those patterns. It takes more than strength and clarity to do that. Rollins admits she needs help. She also must lean on Carisi for support. His life is chaotic as well. He prosecutes this case. It's life-changing but that can't take away from what Rollins needs right now.

Kelsey and Austin are romantics who refuse to see the toxicity of their love. They live in the public spotlight. That means average people have massive opinions on their lives. Everyone wants to believe in the romance of this couple. They can only reveal so much of themselves online. It's not perfect. And yet, Kelsey is blamed for anything that destroys that image. That's the inherent misogyny of the world. The woman is blamed because she is the imperfection. Austin could never do anything wrong. They both came from tragic upbringings. She carried that forward in a way that was toxic while he remained absolutely pure. Of course, the story is incredibly different when they are both testifying. Kelsey is targeted by everyone. She receives comfort and support from the detectives. Meanwhile, Austin is trying to justify his behavior in a number of ways. He believes he could do whatever he wanted because she accepted the many promises he made to her. That's what their engagement was all about. She broke it off because she chose not to accept that kind of love in her life. She couldn't see things clearly despite her black eye in the beginning. Things escalated. She was sexually assaulted. She has complete clarity on that. Her mother serves as another witness who can validate the actions as they happened. Public perception still dictates the terms of the case. The jury opts to convict Austin on only the minor offense. The judge could go lenient on him in sentencing. It depends on what the prosecution recommends and what Austin pledges to do. He can't be trusted at his word. He has told many people that he will change. It hasn't gotten him very far. His father blames himself. That relationship remains distant even though they are both in the courtroom every day. Very little actually changes. Austin doesn't make that commitment. Even after all of this is over, he believes his romance with Kelsey can start over again. Everything can go back to normal. That's the fantasy world he is living in. He needs someone to remind him precisely what reality is. He lives in a bubble of support. That's encouraged by the fans who praise him solely on social media. Meanwhile, Kelsey doesn't know how she'll go on. Olivia offers her the sensible advice of figuring out how to love herself. She can still be a great artist. She can channel her emotions into her work in a new way. That is reassuring only to a point. The rest will be dictated on how everyone reacts. These traumas occur. Punishment is found according to our criminal justice system. That's never the end of the story. Life goes on. People have to live with everything that happens while the world remains complicated and confusing for so much of it.