Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14 Review: Post-Graduate Psychopath

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What a creepy blast from the past!

Henry Messner freaked out audiences and terrified everyone around him at the age of 10, so his return on  Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14 was bound to be disturbing.

And he not only fooled a ton of psychiatrists but also targeted Rollins' daughter before going on a violent killing spree. What a frightening beginning!

Is Rollins Being Targeted? / Tall - Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14

If you were expecting an hour of pure horror, though, you might have been disappointed.

Henry's murder of his family was gruesome, but pretty soon the story shifted to a two-person play in which Rollins got Henry talking about the origins of his psychopathy.

The "hostage situation" was one of the least violent SVU had ever had.

When Henry was a little boy, Rollins had a soft spot for him and didn't believe a child could be so unapologetically evil and now their roles appeared to be reversed.

A Psychopath Returns - Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14

It was interesting to hear Henry's perspective on his life, but I'm not sure how I felt about these scenes as a whole.

I love the ocean. You know why? The ocean doesn't give a crap about you or about anybody. It does whatever it wants and you just have to along with it.


Henry appeared to be targeting Rollins and her family early on, yet she was the only person he didn't hate enough to seriously harm.

It didn't make sense. Psychopathic villains can have their own internal logic that doesn't track with the rest of the world's, but this didn't make any.

Dealing With a Dangerous Situation - Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14

Why give Jessie a stuffed animal he had stolen from a previous victim if he wasn't trying to send Rollins some sort of message? And why have it in for her and not SVU as a whole?

Sure, Kat was new, but Benson and Fin were both on the job when Henry was arrested the first time. Yet his obsession was only with Rollins and his feelings toward her seemed mostly positive.

It seemed like this was a setup for Rollins to threaten Henry at the end.

Let's hope he doesn't turn up dead any time soon. Rollins was already falsely accused of murder once thanks to Kim and we don't need a redux.

Girl In Danger - Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14

In any case, I agreed with Dr. Lindstrom that whoever let Henry out should have had their license revoked.

Henry supposedly was the only person in 30 years to fool the head psychiatrist and all her staff, but how did people who are supposedly experts in psychopaths get so easily tricked?

And how was he cleared to live with his parents without anyone thinking that if he relapsed he could get violent toward them and that it could be deadly?

Talk about malpractice. Geez.

Preying on the Vulnerable - Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14

There was more than enough incompetence to go around, with the Nassau PD unit assigned to protect Ruby and her friend's family from Henry being easily tricked into leaving their posts and the non-SVU cops at the amusement park chomping at the bit to take Henry down violently.

That's always a problem with these kinds of over-the-top stories. 99% of the time, SVU does a great job of presenting situations realistically. But when they want to make a big splash with something like this, they have to do things like make everyone except the SVU detectives totally incompetent.

It's distracting from the story when they do that. This isn't Days of Our Lives; it's supposed to be a more plausible drama than that.

Also, someone needs to have a word with Rollins about a few things.

Kat vs a Psychopath - Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14

She was not paying any attention to what Jessie was doing while she was in the park and turned her back on her younger child to search for the older one when Jessie disappeared.

Any parent can get distracted, but you'd think an SVU detective who has seen the worst horrors the world can inflict on innocent victims and has been assaulted herself on more than one occasion would be more careful, not less!

She also entered the funhouse without backup after being told to wait, which could have gone far worse if Henry actually had it in for her, and then she made the equally boneheaded move of threatening him in a facility that probably has audio and video recording.

She's just asking for extra trouble!

Carisi Protects Rollins - Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 14

I would have liked Carisi's comforting her to be on air, though. Sooner or later he and Rollins need to hook up and this might have been a step in the right direction.

Other than Rollins' ridiculous move once Henry was medicated, the last ten minutes of the hour were easily the most interesting.

I'd have loved Dr. Hwang's take on Henry's behavior, especially since Lindstrom used to just be Benson's personal therapist and not affiliated with the department. But the question of mental health treatment vs incarceration was an interesting one anyway, and in this case, it had no easy answers.

Rollins seemed to think Henry going to a mental facility again wasn't punitive enough and was somehow a win for him. But the jail system simply isn't set up to deal with severe mental illness, and neither Henry nor other inmates would be safe if he were in a traditional jail setting.

The issue isn't so much that Henry belongs in a secure mental health facility where he can't harm anyone ever again -- there's no question he does.

The issue is that the last facility used ineffective and outdated therapies with Henry and was staffed by incompetent psychiatrists who were easily bamboozled into thinking Henry was cured.

Something tells me this isn't the last we've seen of Henry. There may be a trial or another twist in this story later on, especially given Rollins' hatred of him.

Your turn, Law & Order: SVU Fanatics.

Did Henry's return satisfy you? Do you think he'll be back again, and do you want him to be? And what consequences do you think Rollins will face for her threats against him?

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.

Want to refresh your memory first? Just watch Law & Order: SVU online right here on TV Fanatic.

Law & Order: SVU's historic 22nd season continues to air on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST.

Post-Graduate Psychopath Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (8 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 22 Episode 14 Quotes

Jessie: Look what I got!
Rollins: You found that? Maybe we should leave it for the other kids.
Jesse: A nice man gave it to me.
Rollins: What man? Someone's daddy?
Jessie: No.
Rollins: Point him out to me.
Jessie: He's gone now. But please can I keep her? He said her name is Snowball.

Kat: What the hell happened here?
Finn: We're dealing with a psycho.