Plot: A trio of girls go into the woods looking for the “Glasgowman” – one of them ends up stabbed and left for dead while the other two go missing.
If a show ever need a week off, it was Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The past few episodes – “Holden’s Manifesto,” “Pornstar’s Requiem” and “Producer’s Back End” have all been hampered by either half-baked stories or some pretty shotty acting. Luckily, “Glasgowman’s Wrath,” despite the awful name, is a terrifically acted, tense and well thought out episode.
The “Glasgowman” is a stand in for The Slender Man and the episode eerily mimics the details of the recent case involving three girls who went into the woods in search of the fictional character. Now, if you know anything about that case you know how this episode of SVU plays out. That knowledge alone should make this a ho-hum episode. However, the direction of Jean de Segonzac (an SVU vet) made it special – he was able to create a real air of tension and suspense. Throughout the episode you really wondered which way they would go with the outcome – would they take creative liberties or would they adhere to the actual case? Would they actually find these girls? Were two of the girls making this up or did this crazed vagrant in the park attack them? The tension and suspense rides out till the very last, chilling shot of the episode.
Well done, SVU, well done.
This was quite possibly one of the best installments of the show in God knows how long. When was the last time we were tense watching this show, especially when it didn’t even a trial? Exactly. It’s been too long since we had this kind of episode.
Major credit to the episode’s success (outside of the direction) belongs to the chemistry between mentally disturbed vagrant Charlie Dorsey (Will Harris) and Sonny Carisi (Peter Scanavino). Harris is able to take such a cartoon character of a role and make it one of the more sympathetic characters the show has seen in some time. Yes, he has all the weird and expected paranoid conspiracy theorist qualities, but Harris also imbues this sense of humanity into Dorsey. You feel for him instead of fearing him.
Scanavino really complemented Harris perfectly. His usually brash, over-the-top portrayal of the now mustache-less Carisi was toned down and we saw a more human, sympathetic and compassionate character. Carisi has been blunt force trauma all season, but here he’s more subtle and it’s compelling to watch. His interactions with Harris, particularly when Dorsey asks Carisi to “adjust his eye patch” were particularly nice, gentle moments. The Carisi character needed this so bad – he’s been such a weird character – at times he’s on point and enjoyable to watch and others he’s been an unbearable Super Mario Bros. caricature.
SVU has really regained a lot of the momentum it had at the beginning of this season. Next week we’re going to see a three-night cross-over with SVU, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire. Not sure how that last one will fit in, but the dynamic of these two casts should work out pretty well as the more methodical approach of SVU should be bolstered by the brash nature of Chicago P.D.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Constantine, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom