Saturday, November 5, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Reyes Must Confront His Past to Help the Task Force Find Vaughn in 'Blaze of Glory'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 3.06 "Blaze of Glory"

After the task force is caught in a shootout, Stabler is on a mission to find out how the perps are connected to the NYPD. Reyes is determined to put the aggressors of his past behind bars, even if it means going against orders.

"Blaze of Glory" was written by Daniel "Koa" Beaty and directed by Anna Dokoza

Vaughn inherently believes he should wield power over others. He was drawn to the police force under the belief that would validate that mentality for him with no limitations. He could rule over society enforcing the laws however he saw fit. He washed out of the academy. The practices used to force him into compliance were heinous and should be illegal. This show continues to be inherently skeptical of the institution of policing. It's a corrupt force. It only takes a small nudge for one person to fall down that path. It's almost inevitable. In fact, Stabler now sees it everywhere. People within command refuse to see the true scope of the problem. They want to believe it's only a few bad apples. They will be held accountable once they abuse their authority. That's the wrong time to begin addressing these issues. Yes, part of it stems from rooting out the people who don't deserve a badge and gun when they first apply. This job comes with a lot of responsibilities. They should be held accountable by the public. Instead, far too many people see those basic attempts at oversight as misplaced criticisms after the fact. Too few people know the reality of what it takes to do this job. And so, the police should be trusted no matter what. Plenty of them lie though. They do so in order to make their cases or explain something that would otherwise look bad in their conduct. None of this can be solved if the people in power are ignorant to the issues. It's still easier to see Stabler as the problem. He's the one stepping out from the norm. He helped take down a gang of corrupt cops. He remains haunted by what he had to do to expose the Brotherhood. But now, he's not receiving the support and backup he needs. He still faces plenty of threats too. He needs to know he can count on his fellow officers. They are being targeted. Vaughn makes that clear when his house is raided. It's not some inferred threat either. He says it directly. Bell and Stabler still have to make their case to the people who can actually spread this message to everyone in danger. Anyone on the job could be targeted at any time. Bell and Stabler don't want cops to be killed because one person has a vendetta against them. They are dismissed as being hysteria. They are blowing this case out of proportions. Of course, they eventually get the support they need. However, the task force is much more efficient on their own. Its members are responsible for arresting everyone involved in this scheme. It's not some outcome that could only happen because the police force redirected all of their resources towards this manhunt. It carries personal significance for the members of the task force. As such, they step up and reveal who they are truly are. Those personal morals matter even if it goes against what the police culture demands from them in carrying out this job every day.

Reyes was physically abused by his foster parent. He endured the same pain as Vaughn, Dante and Manny. He was in the same environment with them. And yet, he went on to join the police while they never amounted to anything more than a life of crime. The day Dante was released from prison he was pulled into this new scheme. He had no other choices. His foster brother demanded loyalty from him. Dante spoke out against what Vaughn was doing. He was shot and left behind. He ultimately dies. The doctors couldn't save him. Reyes hoped to share the news that Leonard wouldn't hurt anyone else. It was too late. Reyes went rogue in the hopes of preventing the cycle from repeating. He didn't know that more kids were being placed in Leonard's care. He was also confused as to why he wasn't sexually abused. That was the main difference between him and his foster siblings. Leonard suggests he wasn't as bad as they were. As such, he wasn't deserving of that punishment. Leonard proclaims he had to behave that way to get them to become outstanding citizens who belong in society. Of course, that logic is faulty. They were abused. They could never escape from the trauma done to them. That limited their lives. The opportunities to heal just weren't present for them. Reyes has support. He has built a life for himself. He's still haunted by what happened all those years ago. It continues to happen with Vaughn too. He encourages the suffering. He unified his brothers by talking about the abuse and the righteous anger within them. And yet, he continued to see Leonard. He allowed the abuse to happen to more kids because it became something he wanted. He wanted to feel bad in order to be justified in his stance of the world being against him. As such, he could take out his frustrations however he wanted. That's an insane psychology. It results in a lot more harm being done. Reyes has to reckon with that now. He has the opportunity to kill Leonard. He doesn't take it. He trusts that the system will believe him. He doesn't have the same confidence that the SVU detectives have after years of working cases just like this. He only trusts that his team will support him. He's still new to the unit. That trust has already formed. That's true with Whelan as well. Stabler appreciates how his new partner reacts in the field. They are against a heavily armed assailant with a vendetta against them. They find a way to exploit those connections in the hopes of getting Vaughn to drop his guard. He does exactly that. In fact, he's pompous with his declarations. He survives all of this because of how easily available tactical gear was for him. This is the moment where he is stopped. It could have happened before but the belief of how to discipline and be a man are so corrupted that they only made the situation worse. Stabler has history and experience in that regard. In the end, his good work comes from holding the system accountable even when the odds seem stacked against him at all times. He frequently emerges victorious nevertheless.