Saturday, February 18, 2017
An 'SVU' Episode Hardly Upsets Me Any More! But This One Did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not since the classic 2005 "Cold Case" episode, "A Perfect Day," where Michael Rodrick played scumbag abuser Roger Mulvaney, have I seen as harrowing a depiction of family abuse as this past Wednesday's episode, "Great Expectations." The title's use however, is as far from Dickens and Miss Havisham as one could get. Unless you want to think the father was grooming his sons, like Miss Havisham groomed Estella. I would have stayed with Miss Havisham, darlings.
So much bothered me about this episode, whose story was predictable. Nevertheless, it was a series of superb performances by Brent Sexton and Amy Spanger as parents Jim and Helen Turner, plus Lincoln Melcher as Kyle Turner, Ben Cook as eldest son, Adam, and Maxwell Kenneth Owens, as baby brother Mark, which made things work. They are the family under siege. Their counterparts, the Wilsons, were played by Brian Hutchison and Erika Rolfsrud as parents Frank and Linda, and Christopher Paul Richards, as their son, and victim, Jack Wilson.
Before getting into things that bothered me, here is a summary of what went down.
Jack Wilson and Kyle Turner, both 13-years old, play for the Whitecaps, a New York state youth hockey team. At a recent game, Jack misses a goal that cost them the win, and his father, Jim Turner, plus his teammates, are less than thrilled. In the locker room, the boys verbally harass Jack, but Kyle, supposedly Jack's best friend, sticks up for him. Later, Jack is seen leaving the playing space with his mother, Linda. He is having difficulty walking to the car, in the parking lot, and, when he collapses, Linda discovers he is bleeding through the rectum!!!!!!!!!!!!
Enter dour Olivia and crew at the hospital, where she immediately cries "Sexual assault!" She is right, of course, but much more turns out to be going on here. Kyle and his father Jim, out of concern for Jack, come to the hospital. The Wilsons seem less than thrilled, especially to see Jim. Eventually, Jack tells the truth--two boys held him down, while Kyle Turner, his best friend, inserted a hockey stick into his rectum.
As soon as Jim Turner described his parenting as "old school," I knew what was going on. Things get worse, but Jack takes a turn for the worst, and dies. Now, Kyle, who had been facing assault charges as an adult, is now going to be charged with homicide--and Daddy Jim seems all too willing to throw his son under the bus. Why?
During the indictment scene, the answer is uncovered. Eldest brother Adam storms out of the courtroom, telling Kyle his father does not deserve to be protected anymore. Turns out the father has enslaved his family to the notion of making his sons into a hockey dynasty, because he lost out on going pro. Uh huh. This is sandlot fatherhood taken to the extreme.
Helen Turner is the abused wife in denial, who knows what's going on, knows she should take the boys, but is so horribly paralyzed, psychologically. If the boys weren't in such danger, I might have felt sorry for her, but after allowing her husband to beat the hell out of Adam (recorded in a shocking video) this woman lost my sympathy, and I felt she should have been charged too.
Kyle agrees to set up his father for arrest, even though he still vows he loves him. When the cops come for Jim Turner at last--he lunges at Kyle, saying he set him up, asking if he is wearing a wire. His last words amount to "look what I did for you!" Yeah right. Kyle's words are truly sad. Even at this juncture, his last words are "I'm sorry I let you down, Dad."
Brent Sexton's performance as loser Jim Turner made me hate him so much I wanted to strangle him through the TV screen. As Helen Turner, Amy Spanger's denial in the face of reality caused me to hate her. Speaking of Jim, it is never discovered how he supports his family. We know he lost out on the chance to go pro, but what did he do instead? I got the impression Helen is not allowed to work, and, of course, when three boys were born to them, he was going to make them over. During the episode, concern kept being directed at youngest brother Mark. What would happen to him, once he got older? Well, of course, Jim would have started on him, too, but let me tell you, it is already happening to Mark, who has already seen and heard far too much of what a child should not see. Didn't anyone stop to consider this?
Adam was right, when he called his father a loser. Most abusers are, to an extent. And the abuse of the Turners was trickling down to even Jack Wilson, who keeps on calling Kyle his best friend, and when Benson and Company go to speak to him, Jack says, "Tell Kyle I know he didn't mean it." So Jack is in thrall to Kyle's abuse, too. And Father Frank Wilson demonstrated he knew what was going on, when he called Jim Turner a "son of a bitch."
This is what bothered me, yet maybe this was the point. Everyone seemed to know what was going on around them, yet it took a tragic assault, and then irrevocable death, to get anyone to act.
As I said, the story was predictable, but the performances are superb. One thing I wanted to know was what would happen to Helen and the boys. She has no job skills. It was mentioned, at the height of things, that Mark was sent to her mother's. Bet Granny knew what was going on. Bet they try and start their lives over with her.
I would also like to have known Jim's story. Who abused him, because an abuser is often one who has been abused. And he couldn't handle not going pro? Get over it! I never made it to Broadway, but you don't see me going psycho about it.
One thing for sure. Jim will get plenty of attention in prison. When the inmates hear his story, more than hockey sticks will be plunged into him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!