Warning: This publish accommodates spoilers from Legislation & Order: SVU’s Season 23 finale. Proceed accordingly.
Law & Order: SVU‘s Season 23 finale spent lots of time hinting that Olivia Benson’s love life is likely to be a extra fecund discipline sooner or later, and it sowed two main seeds within the type of returned former assistant district lawyer Rafael Barba and the absent — although no much less a presence — Det. Elliot Stabler.
On the prime of the hour, Olivia’s remedy session with Dr. Lindstrom revealed that she was feeling sad, and he theorized that it’d stem from having no closure relating to her anger with Barba over his role in the Wheatley case. Or perhaps her emotions have one thing to do together with her previous associate?
“I feel that you just and Elliot both have to see if there’s extra there or transfer on,” Lindstrom informed her. “This idealized relationship that’s hanging over you prevents you from true intimacy, Olivia, both with him or with anybody else.”
How handy, then, when a sufferer of home abuse wanted a top-notch lawyer, and Rollins was in a position to get Barba to take the case. (That basically irked Carisi when he discovered, however don’t fear: ‘Rollisi’ recovered and even exchanged “I like you”s by the top of the hour.) In fact, Barba triumphed within the courtroom. But it surely was the scene between him and Olivia at Forlini’s on the finish of the episode that basically grabbed us. When she reiterates her disappointment about how Wheatley’s trial went down, Barba countered with: “What I don’t get: Why you are feeling extra anger at me than you ever let your self really feel towards Stabler.” Pictures fired!
The pair stated lots of issues to one another, however finally Rafael informed her that he understood why she defended Stabler, as a result of “That’s what you do while you love anyone unconditionally.” After which the charged dialog ended like this:
BENSON | Please don’t inform me how I really feel.
BARBA | On this case, I can, as a result of I do know what it means to like somebody unconditionally. Whenever you’re able to cease feeling betrayed by me, I’ll be right here.
BENSON | Rafa…
BARBA | What?
BENSON | I miss you, too.
So yeah, we jumped on the probability to debate all of it with Raúl Esparza, who introduced Barba again to the procedural for the second time this season. Learn on for his ideas on the finale.
TVLINE | I’m by no means happier than when SVU goes full “Let’s speak about our emotions.” So, as you may think about, the finale made me very excited.
Yeah, it doesn’t all the time work. [Laughs] However I’ll inform you when Warren [Leight, showrunner] despatched me this explicit script, I believed it was simply lovely.
TVLINE | Barba comes again into Benson’s orbit. Do you suppose he takes this case particularly for that objective?
On this case, personally, I feel he takes it for her. Often, Barba’s the type of man who will take a case, particularly, simply to show that he can, and to do one thing that nobody else can do. In fact, he’s drawn to that, however there’s subtext all through the script [that] it’s actually about Benson.
Additionally, it follows on so fully with the episode that we did… the one the place he was defending Wheatley, clearly, that complete story.
TVLINE | Proper.
And I feel the followers have been simply up in arms. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Do you suppose he regrets taking the Wheatley case, primarily based on the way it affected his friendship with Olivia? Or would he do it once more if he needed to?
I feel he’d truly do it once more if he needed to. What’s been most fascinating about Barba as a personality, and it was undoubtedly what Warren created when he first wrote it, is that he’s a little bit of an antagonist. He was all the time written as somebody who would go head-to-head with Benson’s perspective, which was obligatory. After Stabler left, there was no actual stability within the factors of view that the present needed to preserve. I feel the nice, nice secret to SVU’s success is that it by no means actually allows you to off the hook.
Benson is a personality that forces you to empathize and care, versus different iterations of Legislation & Order, the place it’s actually simply concerning the mental curiosity within the case and what occurs. Right here, it’s like there aren’t any simple solutions, they’re all the time dwelling in a grey space, and she or he’s the hook. However Stabler was the fury and the other place. And with out him there, I feel the present clearly wanted some kind of grounding within the ensemble that was created. And I really feel like Barba — not attempting to interchange Stabler in any approach as a result of it’s not the identical viewpoint — however Barba labored rather well, and he was in opposition to her. And so, typically I feel it’s not so fascinating once they’re one of the best of mates, as a result of that’s not nice tv. [Laughs]
TVLINE | It was fascinating to me to listen to Barba speak about Stabler from the attitude of somebody who grew up round bullies, as a result of that’s not a perspective we get rather a lot within the SVUverse.
No, by no means. And I feel it’s what’s thrilling and intimidating about [Benson and Barba’s] relationship, and a part of the explanation why they grew to become a very good crew collectively through the years. Although, I couldn’t have articulated that whereas I used to be [a series regular], , since you’re doing so many episodes. And it’s simply I wouldn’t have thought there was a sport plan, and I feel there was. [Laughs] I feel perhaps these showrunners know what they’re doing.
TVLINE | This episode places a extra definitive more-than-friends framing on Benson an Barba’s relationship than we’ve seen earlier than. Whenever you obtained the script, did it shock you to see the issues that they’re saying to one another right here?
I feel that it may be taken in a variety of methods. So, it stunned me to have it introduced out so explicitly, nevertheless, however not an excessive amount of. There are followers which have all the time needed to type of spin off that story. And Mariska [Hargitay] and I type of laughed about it, too. Like, “Nicely, are we all of the sudden in a triangle right here? What’s occurring?” [Laughs] Which is hysterical, as a result of it actually isn’t how we play it. I feel she and I all the time play it as finest mates and virtually brother and sister typically. Nonetheless… I don’t know, I do know what I used to be considering once I stated the phrases that I stated onscreen… I like that it may be learn in variety of methods.
TVLINE | I used to be fascinated by the circumstances under which Barba originally left, and whether or not they have been the type of factor that modified him essentially. Do you suppose that he would really feel this manner about her, or be on this scenario together with her, had he not had that have?
I feel that’s a great query, and I feel that you just’re proper. He wouldn’t have felt this manner, or been as emotionally out there, had these experiences not occurred. She undoubtedly modified him through the years. The man who got here in was ballsy and fairly smug, which he nonetheless is; that’s probably the greatest issues about him, that chip on his shoulder. He’s obtained lots of stuff to show, he clothes to intimidate, he generally is a d–ok — like, that’s all nice, ? And I used to be sarcastic, and that fixed kind of pseudo-battle with Carisi, which is simply enjoyable, .
TVLINE | The episode, and Olivia’s conversations together with her therapist particularly, very a lot units up the chance of one thing between Barba and Benson. Have you ever had any conversations about coming again in Season 24?
No, we haven’t. We haven’t mentioned it, truly. You understand lots of occasions I really feel like Barba may be very a lot a figment of Warren Leight’s creativeness. [Editor’s note: Leight announced in May that he would step down as SVU showrunner at the end of Season 23.] I do know that Warren has thought this by, so who is aware of? However he’s additionally a part of the universe of Legislation & Order in each worlds and a really much-loved character… so we’ll see.
Now it’s your flip. What did you consider the finale? Grade it, and the season on the entire, through the polls beneath. Then hit the feedback together with your ideas!