Law and Order: SVU Season 14 Review “Funny Valentine” – Deadly Attraction

Is it clever or lazy to mention the real-life couple around which your ripped-from-the-headlines story is based over the course of telling said story? Either way, the writers of “Funny Valentine,” this week’s episode of Law and Order: SVU, made it absolutely clear to anyone who has been living under a pop culture rock for the past few years that they were trying to tell the story of Chris Brown and Rihanna, or at least the worst case scenario of what could happen between them.

It’s hard to argue with their logic, but at the same time, it’s also hard to imagine that even Chris Brown would be dumb enough to murder a man in the middle of a crowded party or strangle his girlfriend on a romantic cruise for two. That is what we were supposed to swallow with this whole story, and I really think that going so over-the-top did the very serious topic a disservice.

The most frightening thing about the true-life story on which this episode was based is that it happens all the time, over and over again, and the reason the men involved get away with it is because they are a hell of a lot smarter and smoother than the clown in this episode. They are master manipulators, convincing not only their victim that they are sorry and that they have reformed, but a large portion of their blindly devoted fan base, most of whom are young women who are now vulnerable to the exact same kind of abuse in their own lives.

That is what I wish this episode had focused on. Instead of showing us ridiculous loyalty on the part of the victim, near bi-polar highs and lows on the part of the abuser, and selective ignorance on the part of the people who were supposed to love and protect the victim, the episode could have been crafted in a much more realistic manner by showing the long-reaching effects of the average teenage girl watching a respected celebrity return to her abuser. I felt like this episode was aimed at Rihanna (as if she’d actually be watching), when it might have had a more receptive audience in her fans.

Of course we all hope that the real-life story won’t end with two deaths, and it probably won’t, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss this episode out of hand, either. Yes, it was seriously flawed, but the message was true. The ability to abuse doesn’t develop overnight and it doesn’t go away overnight; it’s something deep within the abuser, and it is not the responsibility of the victim to heal the abuser with their unconditional love. Anyone who says or thinks otherwise is caught in the cycle of abuse themselves, and judging by how many young girls fanatically support Chris Brown and Rihanna, that cycle will go on for generations.

What did you think about the episode? Let me know below. And remember you can always follow me on Twitter @krieli1 so you never miss a review.