Did anyone else catch last night's "Chris Brown and Rihanna"-themed 'Law & Order: SVU'? NBC's hit crime drama has tackled many issues, often based on real-world controversies -- one example that comes to mind was that Jerry Sandusky-themed episode at the beginning of season 13. And last night, they continued this theme with the episode titled "Funny Valentine," which mirrored Rihanna's past abuse by Chris Brown, and our question is, did series creator Dick Wolf finally take things too far with the depiction or was it a hefty sized pill we all needed to swallow?
You can watch the entire Chris Brown/Rihanna 'Law & Order: SVU' below and read our thoughts on last night's episode.
[Beware of SPOILERS!] For those who did not see the 'SVU' episode, here's a quick, not-too-in-depth recap:
The "Funny Valentine" storyline focused on the young and abusive relationship between fictional music icons Micha Charles and Caleb Bryant (note the initials). Following a scene where the duo recorded a song for Micha's upcoming album, the episode kicked off with a drunken Caleb physically beating his girlfriend in front of an opportunist backup singer and a studio engineer.
But just so you know, these aren't supposed to be Chris Brown and Rihanna -- just based on them. To make that distinction more clear, one of the detectives, Munch, remarks, "They should double date with Chris Brown and Rihanna." ("Oh s---!" seemed like a legit reaction after that oneliner.)
The majority of the episode thereafter was taken up by Olivia Benson (played by the lovely Mariska Hargitay) attempting to persuade Micha to face her boyfriend by testifying in court. This proves to be a nearly impossible task as the singer can't seem to break from Caleb's hold and [SPOILER ALERT] she doesn't. However, while 'SVU' has always stressed the difficult task an abuse victim has to face when confronting her/his attacker, "Funny Valentine" brought up a valid issue -- Rihanna (we mean Micha) is a role model to millions of girls, and by refusing to make Chris Brown (we mean Caleb) face his crimes, what kind of message is she sending to her fans facing this same dilemma?
Now this might be the biggest "Holy s---" moment of the episode: the finale. Caleb goes crazy and shoots Micha's producer/father figure in front of partygoers at Micha's album release part, after he stands up to Caleb for breaking the restraining order once again. Despite her familial relationship with her producer, Micha, manipulated by her abuser once again, proceeds to lie in court so that her and Caleb can runaway on a romantic trip to the Bahamas together. AND HERE'S THE MAJOR KICKER -- as everything seems to be back to normal as the two are on their yacht, Caleb gets a text message, prompting Micha to ask, "Who's that?" This simple act re-ignites Caleb's anger and he kills her in a rage. Yes, 'SVU' saw Chris Brown kill Rihanna!
We're still reeling from this episode, and so now that you're all caught up, do you think 'SVU' took things too far? Overall, it was a valiant effort in tackling this major issue of the day, but we can't decide if they succeeded in properly depicting the situation -- which might hint that they didn't. Many valid questions were raised in the show's attempt, though. In one scene, the district attorney prosecuting Caleb tries to cooers a deal by recommending he owns up to his crime in public and issue an apology. "Everyone loves a redemption story," he says, but can an abuser achieve redemption after physical abuse -- especially for someone like Chris Brown?
Rihanna's character, in turn, endured a complicated situation on top of the abuse, which was the negative attention she got from fans. Being a public figure living constantly in the spotlight, there was zero privacy for her, even when it came to hospital photos of her abuse, which were leaked to the press. Some Caleb fans were lashing out to her on social media, saying she should forgive their beloved singer. Should Micha have had to suffer that much mental exhaustion just because she's a celebrity?
There are many more questions on our minds when we think of 'SVU's' Chris Brown and Rihanna episode, and while we don't have many of the answers, we want to know what you all think. You can watch the entire episode below, and be sure to give us your thoughts in the comments.