I felt a bit let down by this season opener. Yes, they obviously spent quite a bit of money on production values and to hire the guy from Terminator, but this ep fell flat when it came to storyline and character development.
Usually after watching SVU I feel chilled and disturbed. But not after this episode. There was no real tension or menace here. Even the Stabler character who we've seen get genuinely overwrought, obsessed, insert any other intense descriptor here, before was flat in this one.
Plus, I really didn't buy the way in which the sex offender character behaved. He seemed innocuous enough at first - I know, I know, the show's heavy handed message was that sex offenders seem just like everyone else (how original) - then we saw him seemingly struggle to control his demons and then as the hour neared its conclusion it was as if he just threw up his hands, said 'what the heck' and went off to track and abduct a teenage girl. Just too quick a switch for my taste and we are never shown what might have triggered it.
Then to top it off he went from pedophile sex offender to gun-wielding homocidal maniac trying to kill Stabler. And then he didn't actually do anything - he didn't beat or torture Elliot, he didn't kill him, he didn't even secure him well. Didn't make one bit of sense.
Believable and creepy would have been having the 'perp' continuing to struggle with his demons yet still going ahead with abducting the girl. Not as believable but even more creepy would have been if he had been revealed to be some sort of consciousless, cold psycho. We got neither.
A good and believable end to the episode would have been him killing himself or trying to rather than going back to prison - I mean, he's facing trial for abduction and attempted rape of a minor plus kidnapping and assaulting a police officer. Grim prospects await.
Also the 'perp' suggests that Elliot has fantasies just as dark as his own - but that seems like complete bunkum. Especially since the writers answer that question for us by having him grab Elliot's crotch only to find that Stabler is not aroused.
I hope next episode brings back the high suspense, tension and psychological deviance I tune into this show to see.