January 28, 2014
SVU Thriller, He’s Watching You: We All Wear Masks
Summary: Despite the fact that William revealed his name to Elizabeth in his last stalker note, she hasn’t put 2 and 2 together yet. Not that she would worry if she had, since she believes William is tucked away in an institution, not out and about following her and plotting the deaths of all her friends. He still has an employee, Andrea, under his thumb, and keeps borrowing her car to run errands. Evil errands.
Todd is also out and about, running into a supposed former Big Mesa student, Henry, who thought Todd was a good basketball player in high school. They get coffee together and talk about sports. Todd has to go back to campus for class, so Henry offers to loan him his car. Todd doesn’t find this TOTALLY WEIRD. He borrows the car, but something’s wrong with the steering wheel and he crashes it. When the police show up, they tell him the car was reported stolen and arrest him.
Elizabeth and Alex see the whole thing and go to the police station with Todd. Noah worries that this means Alex still likes Todd (remember, they hooked up a bunch of times), and that Alex isn’t interested in guys who aren’t surrounded by drama. See, girls, guys get insecure, too! Todd’s behavior after the crash doesn’t help him out; he’s angry and even makes his lawyer wonder if he has mental problems. Elizabeth wonders, too, and even thinks that Todd’s the one who’s been leaving her notes. It turns out that Henry was actually William! He loaned Todd the car he keeps borrowing from Andrea, and he rigged it to crash. I’m not really sure why, though.
While Liz is at the police station, Tom and Jessica hang out at a park, and Tom ends up playing some football. He admits that he misses it. Back on campus, a guy named Bob calls Tom, saying he knows he’s a reporter and wants him to do a story about sports at SVU. More specifically, he wants Tom to find out how the other football players feel about James being kicked off the team for raping Maia. He suggests that Tom rejoin the team so he can report undercover. Tom decides this is a great, NOT AT ALL WEIRD idea. Elizabeth is mad that Tom made the decision without consulting her, like he needs to get her permission or something. I’m surprised he doesn’t tell her about going undercover.
The SVU mascot is something called Braino, and the guy who usually plays him has to have surgery, so he’ll be out of commission for a little while. Denise encourages Winston to try out to be his replacement. This is all contrivance for the second half of the book.
William leaves Elizabeth more mutilated dolls, which she still thinks are from Todd. I don’t know why he would get released from the police department and then bring her dolls, but whatever. Todd’s been suspended and has to move off campus. He has no idea what dolls Liz is talking about. More dolls show up later, and Elizabeth tells Jessica that she thinks Todd is messing with her. Jess is the first to suggest that it might be William.
The twins call his institution but are told that he can’t come to the phone. Their strange logic makes them think that that means he’s there. I don’t know. It’s really because Andrea is still keeping William’s little escapes secret, and has been keeping his messages from Celine from him.
Speaking of Celine, she’s still trying to help William, even though she can tell he’s getting creepier and creepier. He asks her to get rid of the wheelchair he was using while he worked at the library. She’s not sure she wants to keep helping him, so he uses a Barbie to threaten her. Celine goes to the institution to see William, and Andrea sees them kissing. When she confronts him later, he kills her. Then he steals a car, drives it into the gorge around the institution (I knew it was a bad idea to have one of those!), and fakes his death.
A guy named Tim calls Danny to suggest that he get a bunch of Tom’s friends together to go to the football team’s big game against State. I’m not sure why none of Tom’s friends thought of this, since the game is a pretty big deal. Nice friends, huh?
Liz still thinks Todd is leaving the dolls, since William is “dead” and Todd is still hanging around. “Dead” William is actually back at the library, drinking champagne with Celine to celebrate his freedom. Except the champagne is just a way for William to poison Celine and get rid of anyone who can rat him out. Later, Todd spots William (who he thinks is “Henry”) at the bar where he’s working and living, and chases him but can’t catch him. When he gets to his apartment, he finds Celine’s comatose body. When the police show up, Todd bolts.
William goes to the hospital to pay Celine a visit (and finish her off). He disguises himself to look a little like Todd so if anyone sees him, they’ll think that’s who he is. He almost finishes Celine off, but he gets spotted and has to run. His plan works, however, and everyone thinks Todd was at the hospital to kill Celine. Elizabeth and Alex disagree about whether he’s capable of something like that. Noah goes to the institution to talk to William’s doctor, Dr. Hemphill, but that’s just another contrivance.
Anyway, football! The twins, Danny, Isabella, Alex, Noah, Denise, Winston, Nina, Bryan, and Maia are all going to go to the game together and surprise Tom. But Winston and Denise will be going as Braino and…Braino’s assistant, I guess – Winston gets the role. Later, he sort-of-jokingly-but-kind-of-seriously proposes to Denise, who only gets the sort-of-jokingly part of it. Whatever, Winston, you’re too young.
Football fever spreads across campus, and everyone buys Braino masks. This works out well for William, who can move around undetected. He alters his plan a little, deciding to spare Jessica. Todd also tries to move around undetected, trying to find out who’s leaving Elizabeth the dolls. He’s not much help.
On game day, Tom confirms that this story he’s doing for Bob is totally legit and he’ll get paid and everything. You keep telling yourself that, Tom. Everyone else prepares to take a van to the game, except Winston, who has to drive the Brainomobile. While he’s getting that car ready, William knocks him out. Jessica shows up to give him something and gets knocked out, too. Later, Winston delivers the van to the others, but it’s clearly William pretending he has a sore throat. Darn those Braino masks, concealing everyone’s features! He tells the others that Jessica’s not going to the game.
The only problem with this plan is that now William has to be Braino. He screws up his act with Denise, who thinks “Winston”‘s mad that he has to work with a partner. Dude, he told you he loved you and proposed! What’s your damage?
Then there’s football, but before things can get too boring, Tom gets a concussion and has to leave the game. While Danny and Noah are chatting with him in the locker room, they realize that Bob, Tim, and Dr. Hemphill all have the same last name. They decide that Elizabeth is in danger, so they tell “Winston” to take her back to campus in the Brainomoble while they head back in the van. Oops! They’ve done exactly what William wanted them to do.
In the car with “Winston,” Elizabeth slowly realizes that something is off. When she tells him he’s acting crazy, he flips out, because there’s nothing a crazy person likes less than being called crazy. The others load up the van and find someone in the luggage compartment: Winston. Poor guy was stuck there the whole day. Unfortunately, the group still thinks Todd is the one they’re trying to protect Liz from. Meanwhile, back at SVU, Jessica is freed from the closet where William stashed her, but she doesn’t see her savior. My money’s still on Mike.
Back on the road, which happens to be winding and treacherous and on a cliff, of course. William reveals himself to Elizabeth and commits the ultimate villain sin: telling her his plans. He was going to kill everyone, frame Todd, and flee the country with Liz. Elizabeth thinks fast, pulling William’s mask down so he can’t see, then grabbing the steering wheel and crashing the car. They drive into the side of a cliff, where William is killed. Allegedly. (Hey, I know two of the books in this series have his name in their titles. I’m not as dumb as Liz.)
But the drama isn’t over! Todd was suspicious the whole time, so he went to the game and followed the Brainomobile when William and Elizabeth left. The people in the van catch up with Liz and Todd, but it soon becomes clear that William tampered with their brakes. Then they see Todd and think Elizabeth is in danger. Todd and Liz try to direct the van to a road away from the cliff, but Danny (driving the van) thinks Todd kidnapped Elizabeth. Liz tells Todd to take his hands off the steering wheel so everyone can see that he’s not holding her at gunpoint. That Liz, always thinking.
In case you were worried that this book would end with a dozen fiery deaths, it doesn’t. Elizabeth gets Danny to realize that he needs to let Todd pass so they can follow him. Despite his reservations, Danny does so. But then there’s more drama! They’re going up a hill, and they’ll start rolling backwards and off the cliff! I…don’t understand. It would have made more sense if they almost drove off the cliff, and everyone had to get out of the van before it fell.
No time for logic – we need more drama! Everyone’s getting out of the van when Danny suddenly has an attack of the chickens. Tom can’t get him to budge, so he punches him in the face, knocks him out, pulls him out, and ends up knocking himself out. I’ve lost count of how many people lose consciousness in this book. A while later, Elizabeth wraps things up with some exposition that doesn’t really matter. And then she finds out that William left his whole estate to her. Which doesn’t matter, since we know he’s not really dead, but that’s for another day.
Thoughts: For Christmas, Ned and Alice gave Elizabeth gold silk pants and a matching jacket. Do they hate her?
William has convinced Andrea that he’s a political prisoner and the country’s trying to keep him from exposing terrorists in the government. Well, yeah. I mean, who wouldn’t fall for that?
Everyone rides to the game in a purple van. Was it Crunch’s?
I have to quote melody_powers from 1bruce1 re: William and Barbies:
Okay, time out. I want you all to do something with me. Close your eyes and visualize a busy Toys ‘R’ Us. Something by Hannah Montana is playing over the sound system, little kids are running around and screaming, and there are people with plastic nametags selling loud electronic toys to frazzled parents.
Now, standing in a long line at a cash register is William White, looking kind of crazy but holding it together because he’s in public. His arms are overloaded with hot pink Barbie doll boxes, stacked so high they almost reach the top of his head.
Seriously, imagine it. Hannah Montana. Screaming kids. William White. Barbies.