Law & Order: SVU Season Finale Review: Unfortunate Twists of Fate

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I have to admit I had my doubts when Benson walked into yet another hostage situation. Ever since her ordeal at William Lewis' hands, she's gotten herself into this kind of situation at least once a year. I was worried that this was going to be another stupid Save Benson story.

I'm so glad I was wrong!

Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 22 featured an intense hostage situation, but Benson more than held her own, while Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 23 dealt with the question of whether Miguel actually raped Lourdes and what was going to happen to her now.

A Hostage Situation - Law & Order: SVU

The idea of someone live streaming a major criminal act could have gone in so many different directions. 

There's something to be said for technology being a double-edged sword, and there have been news stories about people committing suicide on camera and live streaming their deaths on social media.

I expected the story to touch upon that, so having Lourdes hold Miguel hostage to punish him for allegedly raping her was a welcome surprise!

Just so you know, you kill an NYPD lieutenant, you go to jail and you don't get out.

Benson

Benson walking into a hostage situation without backup was predictable since the cop in charge told everyone not to do that.

That was the one weak point in an otherwise engaging story, but there was really no other way to get her involved. Before that, all we had was a dialogue between Miguel and Lourdes while the cops searched half of New York for the right apartment.

Watching a Shocking Livestream - Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 22

Lourdes' treatment of Miguel felt more like something that would happen on Criminal Minds than on Law & Order: SVU. It was over-the-top violent and it wasn't clear whether or not she had the right man.

Stone: I'm going to have to drop the charges against Miguel.
Benson: So he can run back to Mexico.
Stone: We don't know he's going to do that. He's a website designer.
Benson: Who has business associates with cameras on the dark web. They are hiding something.

Miguel was a good liar. I believed he was innocent for most of the two hours. His repeated claims that he didn't know Lourdes and hadn't ever been to Texas rang true, and even his confessions seemed more like they were an attempt to survive than anything resembling the truth.

Benson: You can't forget the sound of his voice, or the way he grunted, or the smell. I have the same nightmares as you. I wake up in the middle of the night, shaking and gasping for air. But this is not the way to get justice.
Woman: Who would believe me?
Benson: I do.

When Benson said that she believed Lourdes, I wasn't really sure what was going on.

I had no doubt Benson identified with the woman, but I also thought she might be using psychology to defuse the situation.

Plus, her own PTSD could have been clouding her judgment even if she did believe Lourdes.

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Either way, that was an intense scene on the terrace!

Criminals forcing their hostages at gunpoint to do something fatal never made sense to me before. When other shows have done this sort of thing, it left me wondering why the hostage complied when what he was being told to do wasn't going to increase his chances of survival.

In this case, though, it made perfect sense. Miguel knew Lourdes wanted to kill him either way and was hoping for some sort of intervention before he fell off the ledge.

Benson talking Lourdes out of going through with this plan while handcuffed herself was impressive, even for her. And I loved that she was able to protect herself and that Fin and the others coming to rescue her was mostly an afterthought.

A Dangerous Criminal Network - Law & Order: SVU

I was looking forward to Miguel's trial and to finding out whether he actually raped Lourdes. But Lourdes being the one on trial was a more compelling story.

So Miguel walks and you're putting a victim on trial.

Benson

Stone's insistence that Miguel was innocent was the strongest evidence he wasn't since Stone sees the world in overly simplistic terms and has since his Chicago Justice days.

So the more he dug his heels in, the more I knew that Benson was right and Miguel was guilty.

Yet Benson's insistence on being right was a red flag that turned out to be a red herring.

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If there's one thing that SVU has drummed into my head over the past 19 years, it's that believing rape victims' claims is important. Benson and Rollins often are the only ones who believe a victim, and usually, I side with them.

But in this case, there was so much ambiguity that I wasn't sure who to believe.

Stone was being naive, but he also did have reason to doubt Lourdes' story. There was no evidence whatsoever that he was lying rather than being the victim of a delusional woman except for Benson's gut feeling.

And Benson seemed to be over-identifying with Lourdes because of her own ordeal, so it wasn't at all clear whether her judgment on this one was sound.

Benson: This is the Mexican drug cartel we're talking about.
Stone: And this is New York City, not Mexico. We don't drop charges because of ultimatums from organized crime.

Once the Mexican cartel threatened Stone, all bets were off. It was obvious they meant business, and him ignoring the threat was stupid. Yet even that didn't necessarily mean that Miguel was the rapist Lourdes thought he was.

After all, Lourdes had killed a highly ranked member of the cartel. That's the sort of thing that can get you killed. Plus her behavior had exposed her to them, and they had an issue with her from years ago.

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In any case, I knew that Stone deciding not to tell anyone but local police about the threats against his sister were not going to end well.

Pam's death was surprisingly sad, considering she was a minor character that was only recently introduced to viewers.

I couldn't help thinking that this was the second close family member Peter had lost within the space of a few months, plus he blames himself for her death.

And he has to be kicking himself for not listening to Benson and taking the threats more seriously than he did.

I'm interested in how this will affect his character going forward into Season 20.

Since Olivet was back for the second time in Law & Order: SVU Season Season 19, I wonder if she will work with Stone next season, or at least refer him to someone else. 

Was "Remember Me" a satisfying season finale for you?

And what are your predictions for Law & Order: SVU Season 20? Share them below!

If you missed anything or want to make the long summer hiatus pass faster, don't forget you can watch Law & Order: SVU online.

Remember Me Too Review

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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Law & Order: SVU Season 19 Episode 23 Quotes

Benson: The hospital just called.
Stone: Jorge Diaz?
Benson: Died on the operating table. What does this mean for Lourdes?
Stone: I have to charge her with murder.

Lourdes: I didn't want any of this. I didn't ask for any of this.
Stone: You could have walked away.
Lourdes: I can never walk away. They said that if I run, they'll kill me.