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'Law & Order: SVU' needs to talk about Holden

Season 16 | Episode 4 | “Holden’s Manifesto” | Aired Oct 16, 2014

Rejection is a powerful thing. If you’re a certain type, it stays with you. The average human being feels hurt, maybe gets drunk, and then moves on with his life. Not for some guys. And not for Holden March. A thinly veiled take on spree killer Elliot Rodger, Holden is angry. And he’s doing what an unfortunate few with mental illness and a glacier-size chip on their shoulder have done. He’s gotten up the nerve to vent that anger.

Holden (eerily portrayed by John Karna) shoots the latest episode of Holden’s Revenge Hour in Central Park. He has so much to offer, he asks his camera, so why don’t girls like him? I’m going with the whining and the narcissism. ‘Cuz that’s not much of an offer. All the lovey couples around him enrage him. Overly enthusiastic PDAs skeeve me out, too. That’s still no excuse for attempted rape and counting the thrusts out loud as you stab a woman. You know SVU only hires writers who are macabre enough to dream up that little detail.

WAIT! WHAT ABOUT NOAH? WHAT OF BABY BENSON?!? He’s alive, and in the NICU. He developed a serious fever, so Lucy the Nanny (whom I pray doesn’t turn out to be Lewis’ niece, or something equally ridiculous) brought him to the hospital. He’s going to be okay, but Liv doesn’t have time to mother. Holden’s victim has been found in the park.

She survived with multiple but minor stab wounds, and describes her attack for the detectives. Besides oddly fumbling the rape and keeping a charming tally of his stabs, her attacker referred to her by a nickname. Did he know her somehow? This sounds frighteningly similar to another young lady in an ER across town. She too was stabbed by the nightmare version of Sesame Street’s The Count. (“Vun stab vound! Two stab vounds!”) He also referred to her by name. That sound you hear? It’s the plot thickening.

As another woman reports an attack by someone who referred to her by her initials, Holden has adjourned to his apartment to continue the creep show. The couple next door is engaging in some kinky sex. They’re really loud, and Holden has never had sex, so why should they? Kinky next-door neighbor, you in danger, girl!

Liv goes to check on Noah and has to deal with an abrupt doctor experiencing bedside-manner fail. They’ve discovered that Noah has healed rib fractures. Liv explains his history (drug-addict mom, human trafficking, Amaro coming over to whine a lot), but the doctor still wants to keep him another night for observation. Liv recruits Amaro’s mother to stay with Noah.

The third victim worked at a restaurant where Holden was an ice-water-flinging-at-horny-couples busboy. We have an ID! It’s too bad that Peter Gallagher’s character is here to act like a complete ass. Seriously, did he just quit smoking? He makes snarky comments about Liv not being at the precinct to meet him, and criticizes her work so far. He makes Holden seem pleasant.

Disgruntled Boy’s background is typical. Mom is very, “It’s everyone’s fault but Holden’s.” That’s a parenting outlook that always ends well on a cop show. Holden might be on the autism spectrum, according to Mrs. Self-Deluded. Her husband (Mr. Had Enough of This Crap) just thinks he’s evil.

Liv and Amaro confront Holden getting astride his rage-bike outside his building. It’s readily apparent that We Need to Talk About Holden, ‘cuz dude is whack. The suspect breaks out his cam and starts filming while accusing the cops of bullying. The hubbub attracts the attention of Ferguson-era bystanders, and they have to let him go.

Holden is fingered by two of his victims, so there’s justification for a warrant. Peter Gallagher is being such a dickus at the precinct that Liv probably preferred discovering Holden’s brutally murdered neighbor to talking to him. It doesn’t help that she gets chewed out simultaneously via phone by CPS because she’s not at the hospital with her kid. I respect Liv’s patience, because I would be all, “Hey, everyone, I’m trying to FIND AND STOP A VIOLENT RAPIST-TYPE. So, Pete Gallagher’s character and CPS Lady? You can have several seats.”

A 300-page manifesto (wow, can Rollins count fast) is found with the dead neighbor and her still-handcuffed-to-the-bed (and also dead) sex partner. The document points them in the direction of people from their perp’s past.

Holden kills the music-teacher husband of an English teacher he had a crush on. He should have gone to my high school. All the teachers were old, ornery, and highly crush-proof. Bloodshed could have been avoided. Amaro and Rollins find Holden in a Home Ec classroom, where he’s holding a gun on several female students. And we have ourselves a hostage situation!

Holden makes Rollins handcuff her secret beau, Nick, to a cabinet. He really doesn’t like Amaro, who represents every jock who dated or had sex with every girl who was in no way ever going to date or have sex with him. Rollins, being the smart, To Kill a Mockingbird–referencing cookie that she is, begins to play the disturbed young man.

Holden is no dummy. Or he’s just a really good guesser. Or he’s a telepathic X-Man, because he totally knows Rollins and Amaro are a thing. This adds another psychosexual dimension to an already bad sitch. Rollins feigns disgust with Amaro, and is able to get Holden to release him and the hostages.

Outside, Peter Gallagher is still acting like everybody’s mother-in-law. “This pasta is overcooked, does he ever plan on asking for a raise, take the head shot, damn it!” Inside, Rollins is the scared-but-sexy police woman, suddenly realizing that Holden is misunderstood and not at all demonic. Like most horny guys, he totally buys what the hot blonde is selling. She moves forward to kiss him and end this, but receives a face full of blood for her troubles. Peter Gallagher’s nagging finally paid off. And yes, I yelled out loud ‘cuz the bang scared the Rice Krispie Treat out of me.

All’s well that … actually, it’s not ending well. Rollins looks like she’s on the same makeup regimen that Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett were on in American Horror Story: Coven. She’s traumatized and wants Amaro not to touch her. Brains flying about is always a relationship-killer.

Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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