Saturday, November 19, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Bell Makes a Career Decision That Impacts the Other Detectives in 'Whipping Post'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 3.08 "Whipping Post"

When Pearl falls mysteriously ill, the task force is dragged back into the corruption of New York's first casino development. Bell tries to keep rumors from swirling when an important decision must be made.

"Whipping Post" was written by Jorge Zamacona and directed by Sharon Lewis

All of the detectives at the Organized Crime Task Force could deduce that the higher ups in the police department were trying to shut them down. It was a fairly open secret. Bell thought she was keeping that threat to herself. It wasn't a done deal. She didn't want to tell her colleagues until it was certain. However, she's the only one with a choice in the matter. She stands to benefit with a promotion. This move will be good for her career. The department is looking out for her. They want to advance her. That also comes with the perception that Bell and Stabler are the only people who can run this task force. That simply isn't true at all. And yet, they both project personal ownership over it. The task force was formed in the first place because of the murder of Stabler's wife. They've moved on from that work to investigate more cases. It's all been done under Bell's successful leadership. This task force has impressed tons of people. Jamie and Reyes joined because they were inspired by the work being done. And now, they may have to transfer yet again. Their careers will have to start over despite making this recent move to the work they wanted to be doing. Stabler trusts that Bell has her reasons for not sharing with the unit what's going on. Her perspective is understandable. She advocates for her detectives. She wants control over what happens to them. However, they are justified in their anger to her as well. They were left out of the conversation. That leads Jamie and Reyes to believe there are reasons beyond the task force's work that are causing it to be shut down. All of this is happening out in the open. Previously, it was all about Jet overhearing the secret and internalizing those fears. However, these detectives are all suppose to be seen as good at their jobs. As such, it makes sense for everyone to put the pieces together. It's easier to solve than realizing Pearl had been poisoned by her scarf. It also runs the risk of being an empty threat as well. This show is all about New York's finest investigating organized criminals. If this task force were to dissolve, then the show wouldn't exist anymore. That hollows out the threat because the viewer knows the basic fundamentals of the premise can't change too much. However, it can still have a ton of meaning for the characters involved. They each have a choice to make. Bell has yearned for promotions to continue lifting up and celebrating diverse voices throughout the department. That's come at the expense of her own marriage. Meanwhile, Stabler has the confidence to go rogue whenever he feels like it based on the gut instincts he has developed on the job. Everyone has a rational mind that informs their behavior. It just doesn't line up with the people they are suppose to trust on the job completely. As such, that creates tension for them even if things happen to resolve nicely in the future.

Those personal relationships matter too. Stabler and Tia shared a night together. They are too drunk to remind all the details clearly. The big moments they do though. That includes Stabler admitting that he's in love with someone else. That's something he could admit while in that altered state. It provides clarity to Tia. She won't find a reason to prolong her stay in the United States from him. They work well as a team. However, they aren't destined to have a romantic future together. Of course, they still find connections from their prior casework to remain involved. That's enough for a distraction. They still lead with clarity over what this relationship is. Stabler isn't quite ready to admit all of that sober. As such, viewers probably shouldn't expect some profound declaration of love towards his former partner, Olivia Benson, anytime soon. However, those feelings are present. He still has more work to do on himself. He needs time to grow. Work provides him with a way to focus his energy. He fears Pearl was targeted because she began cooperating with the police. Teddy could have ordered the hit. The narrative has certainly spent time building him up as the most immediate threat to her life. However, he has always come across as too erratic to be able to pull off those moves. Instead, it's always been reasonable to assume his father, Robert, has been pulling the strings. When Pearl is in a coma, Robert is coldly telling his son to divest her assets to ensure her family can't steal anything from them. Teddy can't comprehend how his father could think about that at a time like this. And yet, those are the cold and calculated decisions he has always made in business. Stabler and Tia see him as the man he is. He shouldn't be trusted no matter what. His son deals with the consequences. Teddy attacks the man responsible for poisoning his wife. He didn't take her up on her offer to leave this life for good. He's left not knowing if she will visit him in prison. She may not want anything to do with him ever again. Meanwhile, Robert has fled. The police don't know if he will ever be caught and held accountable. Of course, some twist is likely to come. Otherwise, the information Pearl passed along that Jet has been trying to decrypt would have been useless. So many connections have already been prominent. The mob ties the Silas family have were also prominent during Stabler's work in Sicily. That's how he knows how these individuals operate. That's a meaningful resource to have at this moment when lives are at stake. He has the skills to apprehend those responsible. He provides clarity as to why all of this happened. That's still not reassuring enough given the perceived happiness this family was so close to achieving with the completion of the city's first casino. That was never going to satisfy them in the ways they crave. Turning on each other doesn't provide that either. It's what their fates have ultimately become. Stabler identified the corruption. He couldn't stop it before lethal consequences occurred. He was wrong about Teddy but still right about the lengths this family will go to in order to prevail in business.