Credit: Michael Parmelee/NBC

Law & Order: SVU‘s season 15 premiere picked up right where last season left off, with Olivia Benson in the all-too-creepy hands of William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber), the rapist/murderer who seemed to know just what to do to avoid a guilty verdict. Hour one of the premiere followed Benson as she was tied up, force-fed alcohol, drugged, and beaten by the man Orange Is The New Black fans will recognize as pornstache. And while Benson fought to stay alive, her colleagues tried desperately to find her.

All in all, hour one of the two-hour premiere had suspense, danger, and all the things you could want from an emotional SVU episode. Well, other than a Stabler scene, because I don’t know about you all, but I wanted NOTHING more than to have Stabler show up after Benson was rescued. I mean, she did talk about him with her kidnapper, and did you notice that moment when she got defensive of him? Ugh, of course she’s always thinking about Stabler, a.k.a. her soulmate, but I digress.

Even without Stabler, hour one was full of unforgettable moments that came to a head when Benson defeated her kidnapper. Watching Benson fight back only to win physically and lose emotionally was heartbreaking, and Hargitay was (as always) phenomenal.

But I can’t say the same wonderful things about hour two. First of all, I don’t feel that it needed to be a two-hour premiere considering that these two hours felt like completely different episodes. By the end of the first hour, Benson had beaten her kidnapper (who somehow survived and was arrested), and returned to the real world. The second hour kicked off with her in therapy, and then eventually returning to work, where she took on her first case about a young boy who had been kidnapped and given a “new family.”

Sure, the show tied it all together with flashbacks to Benson’s traumatic experience and the whole are-you-ready-to-be-back-on-the-job angle, but I didn’t see the connection. Even the case wasn’t all that similar to Benson’s, so it didn’t actually bring up that many memories. It was really just her first case back, which is great for her — way to get back in the saddle! — but not something that had to air back-to-back. As horrible as it sounds, I would’ve preferred for them to build more suspense with the will-she-escape thing by having the entire two hours be about Benson and her kidnapper. It all felt like it was resolved too quickly, and then hour two was just too dissimilar.

Plus, I never got my Stabler moment.

What did you think of the two-hour premiere?

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