Okay ... what the heck was that?
Law & Order: SVU Season 21 Episode 15 had one of the most bizarre cases in recent memory, if not over the course of the entire 21 seasons.
It featured an unlikeable victim and an elaborate scam, but at least DA Hadid was on the right side for once.
SVU generally doesn't wander into the territory of people making false rape accusations.
It's happened a handful of times over the past 21 years, and with good reason. False accusations are statistically rare, and SVU's mission is to help empower rape survivors and shed light on the problems related to sexual assault.
That's part of why this story was so surprising. The way it was set up, either Luna or Tasi would have to have made a false accusation.
Benson: She's spent her whole career empowering women and now she just falls apart? Either she has a split personality -
Carisi: Not likely.
Benson: Or she's having a breakdown because her employees are accusing her of things she hasn't done and she's being gaslighted.
By making Luna the victim here, SVU tried to address the problem of gaslighting of victims, but the story was so convoluted and weird that it didn't quite work.
From the beginning, something was strange about Luna's claims.
It was quite the coincidence that minutes after joining Luna in some sort of discussion about sexual assault, Benson was called to the scene of Luna's rape, especially since Luna seemed to be a borderline obsessive Benson fangirl.
Benson: Survival takes strength.
Luna: Survival takes strength. Wow. Brilliant. Mind if I steal that?
And her scene with Bobby certainly looked like she was setting him up, not the other way around.
That doesn't mean she deserved to be raped or that her case shouldn't have been investigated, but her strange behavior screamed publicity stunt, and nobody considered that for a second.
The case just got stranger from there.
Everything Luna said and did was so scripted that I was sure she was pranking Benson or taking advantage of Benson's desire to help.
Bobby's claims seemed plausible, and so did Tisa's. It appeared we were in for another incident in which the original case was forgotten in favor of a shiny new case a quarter of the way through the hour.
I didn't guess that Tisa was making up her own rape. There are so many stories in the news about rich men who use NDAs and large settlements to keep their victims quiet, so why couldn't a rich woman do it to another woman?
And Luna was into sex toys and kink, so it wasn't out of the range of possibility for her to use bondage tape to restrain an employee the way Tisa suggested.
Even after Luna denied knowing anything about the NDA or the payments, it didn't register that Tisa was lying until Hadid and Carisi confronted her with inconsistencies in her story.
She seemed like an unflappable liar who was as pathological as she claimed everyone else was.
And Hadid was right -- that conspiracy to frame her was so elaborate that it was hard to believe.
Hadid: Prep all four witnesses for a grand jury.
Carisi: Why? So they can all nail down their stories, get immunity from prosecution?
Hadid: If they're going to lie, I want it on record.
Speaking of which, Hadid finally took a step toward redemption.
Throughout Law & Order: SVU Season 21, Hadid has been a giant pain.
She tends to be shady, reluctant to do her job, and associated with too many shifty ultra-rich people.
But this time, she was solidly on Luna's side, even though it didn't seem like it at first, and her plan to catch the co-conspirators lying on the record was a good one.
It's not enough to get her totally out of trouble, but it's a step in the right direction. Let's hope she keeps it up.
The case itself had too many twists and turns to keep up with.
Luna was really Laurie from Hackensack, which should have been an irrelevant detail, except her childhood best friend turned evil co-worker was a huge part of the plot against her.
The plan was to accuse Luna of rape and then oust her from the company -- but first, accuse her of embezzlement, and apparently, Bobby went rogue when he raped Luna.
And Melanie's motive for helping engineer her friend's downfall was ridiculous.
Melanie's speech about why she did it was probably not meant to be taken literally, but either way, she was nursing a grudge from childhood, and this was a bizarre way to get even.
Did Luna steal Melanie's necklace when they were kids? Maybe, maybe not.
Was that a reason to help falsely accuse her of rape? Definitely not.
Since Melanie got immunity, maybe she can use her newfound freedom to see a therapist, because that's a bizarre thing to throw away a career and a friendship over.
And what was SVU doing at Luna's business in the first place?
It didn't seem like the kind of venue that Benson would normally give a speech at, though I guess she wants to empower all sorts of women, so she might.
But it seemed unlikely that Benson and Luna would cross paths before Luna's rape and Luna certainly didn't seem to take Benson's words seriously during the presentation.
SVU was so out of place that I thought they were undercover, looking for sex workers who were getting raped there or something.
This was the biggest weakness with this story: Luna was so unlikeable.
Benson learned some 21 years ago that "you can't choose your vic," but this particular victim was so annoying that it was hard to feel more than detached, general empathy for her.
She was a liar and a drama queen that I hope never graces our screens again. Yet I'm glad that it turned out she wasn't making up the rape accusation, mostly because I hated the idea of her taking advantage of Benson's desire to help.
Your turn, SVU Fanatics. What did you think of this strange story?
Hit SHOW COMMENTS and share your thoughts.
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Law & Order: SVU continues its historic 21st season on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST.
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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