Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 4 Review: Revenge

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Some men believe they have a Constitutional right to sex with any woman any time they want it, regardless of her opinion of the matter.

They get online in their mothers' basements and make plans to rape each others' rejects.

According to Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 4, there's a whole subculture of men like this who are more or less domestic terrorists, breaking into homes, attacking boyfriends and husbands, and raping women who live there.

Investigating the Incels - Law & Order: SVU

I'd like to think this is just fiction, but unfortunately, that's not the case. "Incels" really exist, really do feel entitled to sex, and really do endorse violence against sexually active people. This sub-group is so violent that the Southern Poverty Law Center includes it on its list of hate groups.

I'm glad Law & Order: SVU shined its light on this little-known corner of the dark web.

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I had no idea this really happens before watching "Revenge," but SVU sucked me right into the story and kept my attention for the whole hour.

I liked that the detectives learned right along with viewers what was going on.

Fin: The pizza guy called Rick Chad.
Benson: And he kept calling Anne Stacey.
Fin: You thinking what I'm thinking?
Benson: This guy hit the wrong apartment.

They went from thinking there was one rapist who got revenge against the wrong people in a tragic case of mistaken identity to learning about the incels to figuring out that at least three rapists were working together to get revenge for each other for perceived snubs.

The cops were at a loss for most of "Revenge," and so was I!

Arresting the Wrong Suspect - Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 4

Brianna provided a red herring with her affair and stalker story, and Jake didn't help anything by running away on his bike.

Brianna: I couldn't say anything in front of Chad. I mean... I love him. I'm a horrible person.
Benson: Brianna. You're safe here.
Brianna: About a year ago I had an affair.

We never saw him again, and in real life most incels are white. But I did wonder if he might end up being part of the incel group sooner or later since he was stalking Brianna as obsessively as the other guys were stalking their women.

Riley: There's no such thing as rape.
Carisi: I gotta hear this.
Riley: It's in the Constitution. It says all men are created equal and we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That means sex.

The incels felt super entitled to women's bodies and hearts for a variety of reasons. The small glimpse we got into Tony's world through his mother suggested that the issue is more complicated than men just feeling they have rights to women, though that belief doesn't help anything.

Melanie: Sorry, I'm not one of those mothers who... what do you call it, who hovers?
Fin: Helicopter?
Melanie: Yeah, I'm not one of those. He lives his life, I live mine. Though I can't say much for the one he chose.

Tony's mom thought her son was a loser who was more a burden to her than anything else, and she had a ton of resentment towards his father, who had left when Tony was five.

I wondered how these dynamics played into Tony's behavior and belief system. That backstory was a small part of the hour, but it was there for a reason, and I'd have loved to have known more.

Of course, that doesn't tell the whole story either.

Chris seemed to be close with his mother, and I wondered how he reconciled his abhorrent beliefs and behavior with his feelings towards her. He cut a deal after learning that his actions had put his mom's living situation in jeopardy and he apologized to her when he was arrested.

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We got to meet two different lawyers during this messy storyline, and it was fun to watch Stone go up against Mr. Do-What before dealing with the tough-as-nails attorney played by Callie Thorne.

Despite Olivia's claims to the contrary, though, the cops really should have known what did and did not require a warrant when it came to cell records. It was inevitable that the judge would throw out their case against Tony based on that stupid mistake, and Carisi was lucky they got a second chance to nail him!

Carol: But it's not fair!
Father: It's the law, Carol. Why would you expect it to be fair?

John's family was rightfully angry that Tony seemed to get away with killing their son. It was also lucky that the case was closed without needing anything else from them since they weren't likely to cooperate further after that fiasco.

I hate the trope of idiots ignoring their lawyers and blurting out lengthy confessions. It's right up there with villains who waste time bragging about their brilliant plan until help arrives to thwart it.

But I guess there was no other way the cops were ever going to get Tony, so I'll overlook it.

And I have no idea what to make of that ending scene. I guess it was a tragic case of mistaken identity after all since Tony called a wrong number 10 years earlier and set all the events in motion that caused him to take his anger out on Carol's fiance. But at the same time, did it matter?

Tony was made up of equal parts rage and entitlement, and he was obsessed with Carol. So sooner or later his rage towards her fiance would have boiled over anyway.

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If there was one thing that was disappointing about "Revenge," it's that there were no personal side stories during this episode.

I wanted to know more about what was going on with Rollins and her baby, and we haven't seen Noah since his angry outburst at the end of Law & Order: SVU: Season 20 Episode 2.

Even Stone seemed back to his usual self, focused entirely on the case as if Pam had never died.

"Revenge" followed the tried-and-true Dick Wolf formula of crime, investigation, resolution, but I'm in it for the characters, and I missed these side plots.

What did you think, SVU fanatics?

Are you in disbelief that incels exist, and did you think SVU did a good job of depicting this problem?

And did you miss the side stories, or do you prefer stories that focus just on the case?

Weigh in below, and don't forget to watch Law & Order: SVU online if you missed anything!

Revenge Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
  • 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (12 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Law & Order: SVU Season 20 Episode 4 Quotes

Fin: The pizza guy called Rick Chad.
Benson: And he kept calling Anne Stacey.
Fin: You thinking what I'm thinking?
Benson: This guy hit the wrong apartment.

Benson: So Anne, I know this is difficult, but I'm going to ask you to describe this. Any little thing you can remember may be helpful.
Anne: He made me tie Rick's hands with those plastic things.
Benson: Okay. Was he white, black, Hispanic?
Anne: He was wearing a helmet. Do I have to do this now?