Recap/Review of Law & Order: SVU – “Blood Brothers” – 10/5/11

First things first…Novak is back! I love Casey Novak. She has balls, brains, and brawn. And Diane Neal is gorgeous, with her smirks and eyebrow raises. Ok back to the show…

“Blood Brothers” was a show of many victims. We’re introduced first to Ella Mendez, a 13-year-old Catholic school girl. It’s determined that she is about 8 weeks pregnant. Olivia Benson and Nick Amaro work together on this case. Benson, at first, wants to handle it alone, but Cragen makes Amaro tag along because “his Spanish is better” than Benson’s. They start looking for older men in Ella’s life, but eventually come back to Ella for more information on the father of the baby. Ella is someone who wants a fantasy life. She is obsessed with the Royal Wedding. When questioned by Benson, who has grown more motherly in the last few seasons, Ella claims the baby is a gift from God, then recants and says that she had sex with her Science teacher, Mr. Cordova. But Benson, always the one to see thru a story, quickly gets Ella to admit that she was with someone rich and handsome and “she’s going to be his princess.” Flowers sent to Ella are traced back to a posh florist and sent to Ella from the account of Ambassador Andrew Raines, played fabulously by Kyle McLaughlin, who is a member of the NY elite royal families and about to run for state Senate.

Jump with me to read more.

After a lot of back and forth and up and down Manhattan, Benson and Amaro question Ella’s best friend, Arturo, who took her to a party hosted by 13-year-old Trip Raines at the Raines house. Trip Raines is a cocky little twerp, to say the least. He claims he “threw her some charity” by being with Ella. After Benson and Amaro catch Ella’s grandmother trying to force her into getting a Raines-induced abortion, Ella finally tells the truth. Trip showed her around the Raines house and took her to his bedroom, where he plied her with drugged lemonade. He abuses her and tells her to clean herself up and it’s her fault he couldn’t stop himself. After all this, Ella still believes that Trip cares about her because he sent her flowers.

Novak has always been one to ruffle feathers, specifically those of Benson. Casey has made mistakes in the past that she is obviously still trying to make up for, but when she sees this case thru the eyes of the court, it appears it’s not a rape case, but a consensual sex issue. When Olivia calls Casey “counselor,” we know it’s not going to be good. Olivia is certain that it’s rape, while Casey insists that because of Ella’s actions, it wasn’t. Olivia and Casey have never been really good friends, but when Casey suggests to Olivia that her emotions are too raw and Olivia’s been “going through a lot” and she’s “off” her game, we see fire in Olivia’s eyes. The fire that Elliot would have loved.

Trip knows he’s in trouble and runs away. His mother and father try to makes excuses for him, but it’s obvious they are scared. We learn that Arturo used to live in the Raines’ house because his mother was a maid there. This is when “ripped from the headlines” and “Arnold Schwarzenegger” popped into my head and everything started to click. I knew where this was heading now. Arturo and Trip were brothers thru Ambassador Andrew Raines. Andrew and the maid, Inez Ramirez, had a supposed one-time affair. He paid off Inez and bought her a condo to keep quiet about his illegitimate son.

Search and rescue combed Central Park looking for, the still missing Trip, after his credit card turned up being used at a gay bar. I think this “gay bar” and “homosexual area” of Central Park was used to pay tribute to the passing of the legalization gay marriage in NYC. It was subtle, yet out there enough to realize what they were trying to show.

In the end, Trip was found bludgeoned to death by several blows to the head with a rock. Arturo, under questioning by Benson and Amaro, confesses to killing Trip because of how he treated Ella and underlyingly because Arturo was a Raines, too, but was not treated as such. Arturo admitted to his mother that he got a toothbrush from Andrew Raines and conducted his own DNA test to prove his paternity. Behind two way glass, Andrew broke down as he heard his illegitimate son “talk” to him about just wanting to be accepted as his son.

This episode was chock full of Schwarzenegger-ish details. But truth be told, this circumstance happens in more households than we could ever guess. The young man who played Arturo is the best young actor I have seen in a dramatic role in a long time. And it goes without saying how great Kyle McLaughlin is in dramatic roles.

I don’t believe Elliot’s name was mentioned this week, and the only time his presence was felt was during the confrontation between Benson and Novak. I hope they don’t put up a wall between Casey and Olivia. Olivia needs friends. She is such a introver,t and now with Elliot gone, it’s hard to imagine how alone she feels right now. So I hope, and I’ve said this before, that SVU addresses Olivia’s internal issues with Stabler being gone.

Next week: T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy) appears in what looks to be a very intense DNA-inspired episode. And Diane Neal will be back, as well.

– Tara

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