Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, November 21, 2018

“Law & Order: SVU” Recap: Pornstar’s requiem



_Note: the following post contains spoilers for season sixteen, episode five of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," entitled "Pornstar's Requiem."_ I don’t remember a season with more “ripped from the headlines” episodes in a row. The results have been mixed , but some, like this gem and last week’s episode, have worked. If you’re a college student and/or Internet junkee, the name Belle Knox probably sounds a little familiar to you (missed pun opportunity)!. If it doesn’t, go Google her and then prepare yourself. As with many prior “SVU” episodes, “Pornstar’s Requiem” begins at a party with two predators disguised as college students. They rape freshmen Evie Barnes (Hannah Marks, “Awkward”), and almost get away with it. The detectives question the two boys and manage get one to turn on the other, making the case a seemingly easy win. But Evie Barnes is known on the internet as Roxxxanne Demay, a pornstar known to act out rape fantasies. Over the years, “SVU” has moved slightly more quickly than society. For instance, in this episode, and in recent “SVU” episodes, the writers have given the benefit of the doubt to the pretend juries. Victim shaming, at least in “SVU” world, doesn’t work as a defense for a rapist. The jury finds Evie Barne’s rapist guilty. But since this is “SVU,” and the Belle Knox story hasn’t been exploited to its fullest, the judge overturns the guilty verdict. To top if off, the dean of Evie’s university expels her for violating the code of conduct, but the audience, and Olivia, know it’s just a bunch of victim shaming nonsense. In this case, SVU goes beyond the shock ending. Evie feels she has no choice but to go back to porn. Unlike the empowering feminist decision Belle Knox did, Evie has nothing left. _Tune in to "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC._ ""

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