Law & Order: SVU Recap: Liv and Let Liv?

NUP_157498_0330.JPGNBC kicked off Law & Order: SVU‘s 15th season with two back-to-back episodes. This recap only covers the first of those hours.

As one would hope, the 15th season premiere of Law & Order: SVU resolves the cliffhanger with which the 14th season finale left us. But, as absolutely no one would hope, before that happens, we’re forced to watch Olivia get tortured for an hour. Here’s the blow by (sometimes literal) blow.

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RUDE AWAKENING | As the episode opens, a bloodied and bruised Liv regains consciousness only to discover that serial rapist Billy has her tied to a chair in her apartment. “Leave now,” she more or less suggests, “and we’ll pretend this never happened.” When that tactic doesn’t work — and Billy reveals that Brian left a message saying that he’s working a double shift — Liv panics. “You think you put people through hell,” she hisses. Hurt a cop, and “it will rain back down on you!”

PLAYING DETECTIVE | Meanwhile, at the precinct, everybody figures out that, er, nobody’s heard from Liv in awhile, so Cragen sends Finn and Rollins to check on her. Discovering Liv’s place trashed — and Liv herself MIA — her colleagues begin a manhunt that takes them from Billy’s halfway house to his lawyer’s parents’ home. (The dad, Billy’s murdered; the mom, he’s raped… while making Liv watch.)

MIND GAMES | Cuffing Liv to an iron-frame bed in an unoccupied beach house, Billy delights in informing her that she won’t survive her ordeal. In response, she says he might want to keep her alive. She’s done so much research on him that, better than anyone, she knows what turns him on. Unfortunately, he wises up by the time she asks him to uncuff her so that she can struggle the way that he likes.

DO-OR-DIE TIME | When a cleaning lady and her little girl show up at the beach house, momentarily distracting Billy, Liv manages to break the bed and get the drop on her assailant. But what does she do next? What should she do? Waffling aloud, she admits that she envies Stabler, because he, of course, would know exactly what to do in this situation. “That,” Billy groans, “is the saddest thing I’ve heard in my life.”

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IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ’EM… | Finally, after relating the tale of the first rape he ever witnessed (courtesy of dear ol’ dad), Billy pushes Liv too far by scoffing that she doesn’t “have the balls” to do him in. Which she kinda doesn’t. Though she beats him till she thinks he’s dead… he still lives. Later, she lies to IA that she pummeled him because he tried to escape custody and gives herself a bob a la Newsroom’s post-traumatic-stressed Maggie.

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the season premiere? Certainly, Mariska Hargitay did some fine work, but the episode as a whole was hardly SVU at its best, was it? And, since Billy lived, don’t you imagine that we’ll see him again, probably as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against his “attacker”? Vote in our poll and then hit the comments to support your grade!