Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 Episode 18 Review: Change The Game


Bell should save her breath.

Every time a mission gets dangerous, she offers to abort it, only for the cop in question to refuse.

It happened again on Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 Episode 18, with good reason.

Donnelly made Stabler his number two man and tested him by bailing during a key operation.

If Stabler had listened to Bell and pulled out, it would have made him look weak, and Donnelly would never have trusted him again.

The mission could have been a set-up, but Stabler had to take that risk or lose everything he’d worked to gain so far.

I don’t know why Bell didn’t understand that.

As it was, the cops showing up to help Stabler out of a jam could have gone badly.

Braden wasn’t the only one who was paranoid. A guy like Webb has to assume everyone is out to get him, and since the cops showed up on Stabler’s watch, he’s probably already suspicious.

Webb played it cool, at least compared to what we know he is capable of. Merely threatening Stabler with a sharp knife rather than killing him on the spot was a sign that Webb trusted him more than he let on.

Stabler curried favor with Webb in a complicated manner: looking out for Cassandra’s interests.

Cassandra’s flirty tone with Stabler made me wonder if she is the next suspect he will have to feign interest in.

He slept with Angela and did his best to get out of doing the same with Flutura. Will he have a similar escapade with Cassandra?

She seems interested, and letting mob bosses’ wives seduce him seems part of Stabler’s job description!

OF course, that makes it harder for him to develop a real relationship with Benson or anyone else. It’s a good thing he didn’t start this job while Kathy was alive; if she were jealous of his relationship with Benson, she never would have put up with these mob women hanging all over her husband.

The other question here is whether Stabler is again falling into the trap of becoming his undercover persona.

He and Donnelly are forging a friendship, just as he did with Reggie.

One of the suckiest parts of Stabler’s job involves betraying people he has come to care about, which might be even more complicated this time.

Donnelly is a cop and a connection to Stabler’s father. Stabler hungers for that connection and doesn’t think his dad would approve of what he’s doing. So when the time comes, it’s going to be next to impossible for him to do the right thing.

It doesn’t help that Donnelly is one of those likable villains. He’s not a megalomaniac like Richard Wheatley, and while he isn’t opposed to violence to get his way, he doesn’t go to the extremes that Webb does.

He’s got that one-of-the-boys persona down so that you can’t help wanting more of him despite knowing he’s into bad stuff and deserves to be arrested.

Stabler’s affection for him is probably genuine even though he knows what he must do.

It would be hard not to become friends when he and Donnelly spend all that time together. Kathy’s death weighs heavily on Stabler’s mind, and Stabler wants to encourage Donnelly not to take his wife for granted the way Stabler did with Kathy.

Without Stabler’s interference, the task force wouldn’t have gotten anything out of Santos. This doesn’t bode well for the operation in general.

Bell: He’s going to throw his whole life away. And for what? Loyalty and a tattoo?
Stabler: That’s how strong the Brotherhood is.

Santos was willing to sacrifice his freedom to keep the Brotherhood’s secrets, and anyone else the cops arrest will likely have the same sense of loyalty.

So it’s unlikely that anyone will flip on Donnelly or anyone else involved with the Brotherhood. That makes Stabler’s role in this investigation even more vital.

Donnelly works for Webb or did until Stabler managed to take over, but other than that, it’s not clear what the connection between the Brotherhood and the Marcy Killers is.

If anything, Webb is at war with the Brotherhood since they keep ripping off his stuff. He’s as cunning and twisted as Wheatley, if not more so.

That means that he’s likely aware that Donnelly and Stabler aren’t to be trusted and is using them for his own purposes.

Strangely, Nova was nowhere to be seen during this storyline.

She’s the closest analog to Stabler, having been promoted to Webb’s number 2 recently, and it seemed strange that she wasn’t in attendance at any of his meetings.

If I were Webb, I’d be suspicious if my right-hand woman disappeared immediately after a crate of guns went missing. But no one even mentioned her.

How bizarre! Hopefully, her absence will be explained soon.

Finally, a couple of odds and ends were thrown in about Stabler’s home life.

Bernie: Eli reminds me so much of you at that age, always demanding answers of your father.
Stabler: Let’s not talk about Pops.
Bernie: Your father loved you so much.
Stabler: It would be nice to have ever heard it from him.
Bernie: You need to let go of the past or you will never get free of it.

Bernie made a good point that Stabler’s anger was depriving Eli of knowing his grandfather. That’s probably why Stabler had those home movies digitized.

Eli’s been moody and rebellious for a while, so I’m curious where all this is going.

Also, Bernie seems to have recovered remarkably well from her then-boyfriend helping kidnap her less than a month ago. She doesn’t seem to have any sadness, anger, or disappointment over it and instead is offering advice about relationships to her son.

Your turn, Organized Crime fanatics!

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts about the latest in Stabler’s mission to bring down the Brotherhood.

If you need to refresh your memory first, watch Law & Order: Organized Crime online right here on TV Fanatic.

Law & Order: Organized Crime airs on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST. The next new episode airs on April 28, 2022.

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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