April 22, 2014
SVU #16, The Other Woman: Jessica Wakefield’s 568th Poor Relationship Choice
Summary: Jessica and her new honey, Professor Louis Miles, have no willpower, so they make out in his car, despite his protests that he shouldn’t be dating a student. Jessica gets very “he is my one true love and if I cannot be with him, I shall surely perish.” Some of the Thetas develop crushes on Louis, which just makes Jessica feel worse. Then Jess sees Louis with another woman and feels even worse.
Louis tracks Jessica down on the beach and they…well, it’s not said explicitly, but I’m pretty sure they have sex. Then he swears her to secrecy and makes her leave. Nice guy. He thinks his mystery woman is approaching. Jessica mopes around her dorm room for a while, waiting for Louis to call. Angsty, lovesick Jess is easily the most annoying version of that girl. Liz thinks she’s in love, but Jessica denies it. That’s the kind of relationship every girl dreams of – the one you can’t even tell your sister about.
Louis tells Jessica straight out that they can’t be together. She thinks it’s because he’s a professor, but he’s trying to keep her away from his mystery woman (whose name we learn at one point is Chloe). Jessica gets more and more ticked at him, and blows up at him after a class about chivalry. Later, she goes to his house for more possible sex (the book is really vague about it), and these two are starting to remind me of Liv and Fitz from Scandal, with all their “we can’t be together! But let’s just sleep together one last time!”
On her way to her dorm, Jessica realizes that a car is following her. She tries to flee, but the car just speeds up and chases her. Louis gets a call from Chloe, who brags that she’s chasing Jess and is going to kill her. She does try, running Jessica off the road, but Jess is fine. Chloe approaches and warns her to stay away from Louis…who’s her husband. Yep, Jessica’s sleeping with a married man. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. (I’m only surprised this is the first married man she’s dated.)
Elizabeth and Todd’s investigation into the possible SVU sports scandal is heating up. They question Daryl, a former basketball player, about why he left the team, wondering if it was because of drugs. Daryl takes them to his house to show them that he’s the only adult taking care of his brothers and sister. His sister also has physical problems and therefore big doctor bills. Daryl dropped out because he didn’t have time to practice, and because he needs to make sure his brothers stay out of trouble. Elizabeth still wonders if Daryl fixed games because he needed money.
Todd doesn’t want Gin-Yung involved in the investigation, since it’s already proven to be dangerous, but Elizabeth convinces him to bring her on board since she knows so much about sports and SVU’s sports program. Todd and Liz meet with Santos (the guy Todd was supposed to meet with in the last book when he was attacked), and he agrees to let Todd rejoin the basketball team – if he and Elizabeth stop snooping around and calling former players. Todd says no.
Mark is back in the picture, so Todd suggests that they and Elizabeth talk again. Mark continues to deny that he accepted any money or bribes while he was at SVU. Todd won’t let up, and Mark gets so mad about his accusations that he punches him. Ha! Now you know what it’s like, Todd.
Liz and Todd go back to Daryl’s, and this time he tells them that he’s still getting money from the school, even though he no longer plays for them. Basically, he was paid off to leave the team. Next, Elizabeth and Todd talk to a former SVU student who now goes to art school. He’s happy not to play basketball anymore – and in fact, SVU financed his transfer. Todd realizes that a bunch of students were paid not to fix or throw games but to leave the team altogether.
Meanwhile, Mark asks Santos to let him rejoin the team. Santos easily agrees, not least because Mark is mad at Todd and Elizabeth for snooping. Until Mark can transfer back to SVU, he’ll be an assistant in the athletics department, and get paid to keep an eye on other students. After he leaves, Santos enlists someone else to follow Elizabeth. But apparently he doesn’t know she’s a twin, because he just tells his minion to keep an eye on a freshman girl named Wakefield who drives a red Jeep. This leads to a nice fake-out when Jess is being followed by Chloe but we’re led to believe it’s Santos’ minion.
Elizabeth is summoned to see Dr. Beal, the head of the administration, who tells her to back off of Santos or he’ll have Jessica expelled. He accuses Jessica of helping Winston cheat, since she was the one who let him into Stark and Louis’ office. He also has another card up his sleeve: pictures of Jessica and Louis making out in his car. If Elizabeth doesn’t drop her investigation, everyone will find out about Jess and Louis. While she’s leaving, Liz runs into Mark and learns that he’s working at SVU. Mark sees the photos, and Beal warns him not to make any trouble.
Lila and Bruce move into their new beach house together and quickly start decorating. But then the landlady tells them that Bruce’s check bounced. It turns out that, though Bruce has a trust fund, he’s only allowed a certain portion of it every month. His uncle holds the purse strings and doesn’t like that he’s moved in with Lila. Bruce asks for more money, but his uncle refuses. Lila doesn’t have access to her money either, since it’s all in Italy, and can’t get more from her father. For the first time in their lives, Bruce Patman and Lila Fowler are broke.
This means they can’t stay at the beach house, so they have to scramble to find a place to sleep. Lila, to her credit, tries to be optimistic; it might be romantic for them to have to suffer and struggle together. The lovebirds get a little apartment together, but right from the start, things are bad. Lila almost blows the place up because she doesn’t know the difference between a gas oven and an electric oven. They barely have money for food. The roof starts falling apart, and since it’s been raining, everything gets wet. The hot water goes out. They lose phone service because the last tenant has an outstanding bill. And the landlady’s out of town, so she won’t deal with the repairs she should be financing.
But Lila remains optimistic and even enjoys herself, despite the crumminess of her living arrangements. (Seriously, if it were me, I’d be on the phone with my landlady demanding that everything get fixed, and I wouldn’t hang up until it was.) I’m mostly surprised that Bruce and Lila are both willing to slum it for more than two hours.
Winston feels guilty about stealing the physics test, but not guilty enough to not cheat. After all, if he fails the class, his parents will make him leave SVU, which means he won’t be able to date Denise anymore. (His parents would make him leave school for a bad grade in one class? Huh?) Winston aces the test, but his professor knows he couldn’t have gotten so smart overnight, so he’s immediately accused of cheating.
Winston won’t come clean, only saying that he went to Stark’s office to get the study guide, and that Jessica let him in because she was there to see Louis. Stark calls in Winston’s parents, warning that this could lead to expulsion. Winston breaks the news to Denise, who has zero sympathy for her boyfriend. She tells him to be a man and deal with the consequences. Those consequences involve being placed on academic probation, which, frankly, is better than Winston deserves. Mr. Egbert agrees, announcing that Winston will be joining ROTC to learn how to develop character and be a man.
Instead of the Mulan-like music montage I was hoping for, we get a scene of Winston showing up for his first day in ROTC and discovering that Denise has also enlisted. I look forward to Winston failing miserably at even the smallest tasks while Denise gets to be a star.
There’s some stuff about Tom while he’s hanging out with other student journalists in Vegas, but unless he hooks up with one named Christine, I don’t care. At one point he calls Gin-Yung to find out if Elizabeth and Todd are hanging out. Gin-Yung promises that it’s all platonic, and Tom hopes she’ll let him know if that changes. I hope that Tom stays in Vegas forever because he bugs me.
And now I have that Mulan song stuck in my head.
Thoughts: Elizabeth: “[Tom’s] not Superman, and we’re not Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.” But wouldn’t it be fun if you were?
“I’d give my life for you.” Jessica, you’ve known him for five days. Tone it down.
“He’d never liked Elizabeth much. He thought she was uptight, sanctimonious, and humorless. The type who was always sneering at people who weren’t like her.” I’m not really a Mark fan, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so…
“I’m so glad I didn’t die. Not now that I’ve found Louis.” Because life is only worth living if you’re in a relationship. If Jessica were single, SHE MIGHT AS WELL JUST KILL HERSELF.