The pacing makes it a bit confusing and it's hard to believe that some of the characters really have the motives that the story gives us for their various actions, or perhaps that's just because a lot of the acting is extremely weak, namely the bleeding heart principal of the high school that the suspects attend who is a one woman cliche factory. If the writing on this series was ever to be considered sub par it would doubtlessly be this episode's fault. It has a stiffness to it that feels like an amateur wanting to write a deep and twisted "Law And Order" plot, but only managing a twisted "Law And Order" outline. Good ideas surely went to waste this go-round.
The start of the episode was innocent and later chilling. A boy was burned alive, what would make a person so angry to burn him. We soon find out but I won't spoil it for you. This episode was amazing the characters, perps, the principle each had great depth. The explanation for the gruesome crime is that surprised me and probably surprise you as well. The episode grabbed from the beginning and really touched me at the end. When the killer maned up to his crime and his mother cried for him to come back. The episode showed that the detectives and the lawyers dedicated to their jobs and don't let many cases affect them. After the case they go on with their lives and take on a different case.
I definitely enjoyed this episode- it was mysterious-even though the DA's office was fairly certain of who was responsible, it was also a constant question- which I feel is reflective of real life- seemingly good people can do atrocious things. My gripe with 'Boy on Fire' was that they missed out on so many opportunities to humanize the characters- especially the 'bad guys'- because in this episode, they were basically misguided kids and the crime was monstrous- so it begs the question, 'how did they get to the point where they burned another kid'. The following details would have made this a perfect 10: 1) They needed a scene where Able (the young boy's brother) expresses hatred for the private school kids, says 'they aren't like us', gives evidence of an inferiority complex over how he's been treated, and says he wasn't going to let his brother become one of 'them.' (this is one instance where the writers should have shown the motive (prejudice) in action, not just told us it.)
2) They needed a scene where they tell the principal that while she was busy teaching her students pride for their school- she was also teaching them prejudice and hatred for the children at other schools. ( I can't believe they never made mention of the move 'Lean on Me' in this ep.)
3) Finally, they needed a scene where the girl who watched as her friend's murder (and was later raped to silence her), shed her tough exterior and broke down about the whole thing. Even if she wasn't the victim's girlfriend, she could have sobbed about how 'he didn't understand that we come from two difference places, and we couldn't be seen together, never mind be together. that he was sweet but stupid (for thinking he could be with her).' I think with those additional dramatic flourishes would have taken it to a deeper level and made this one truly unforgettable.
Finally, Law and Order is back! Sure, it has only been on hiatus for a few weeks, but that is far too long for a show that has finally gotten its groove back. The current cast is perfect and while I still yearn for the days of Lenny, this is not the worst group of cops the show has ever had by any stretch. The case was entertaining tonight, but I have to wonder if this was better suited for Benson and Stabler over at Special Victims Unit, what with the kids being involved and all. But good nonetheless.
While the cast is good, I am starting to miss Jack McCoy going nuts on some defense teams though.
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