It looks like Benson was right.
She was worried that Stabler would lose his identity if he were undercover for too long. After the case wrapped up on Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 Episode 8, he seemed overly nostalgic about his time with the Albanian mob.
Weirdly, the mob bosses he arrested seemed to have a grudging respect for him and few hard feelings over his having screwed them over.
For the most part, this story was an extended chase sequence. Stabler and Bell spent a ton of time running from one place to another to get Kosta and Albi.
They quickly got the bad guys, considering how violent the Albanians had been toward anyone they even suspected of interfering with their goals.
Also, surprisingly, the mob members mostly acted like Stabler’s status as a police officer was a minor inconvenience and treated him like he was still family.
That didn’t quite fit with the KO’s code of honor, but it made for a compelling, if not entirely realistic, dynamic.
In a way, it did make sense. Kosta had a grudging respect for Stabler because Stabler was one of the only people to get one over on him.
Stabler: On your knees! Hands behind your head!
Kosta: Good game. You almost had me fooled, Eddie Wagner or whatever your name is.
It was almost as if he acknowledged Stabler as a worthy adversary despite never having trusted him in the first place.
And Flutura was half in love with Stabler’s alter ego, plus she might have seen a parallel between what he did and what the mob does.
Stabler told her that he did things he wasn’t proud of to get the job done, and while she was outwardly disdainful, she must have realized that the KO also does whatever it takes to get their way.
She might have been able to respect the code he lived by even if she didn’t like being used as part of a sting operation.
As for Albi, when he said he’d be seeing “Eddie” again, I couldn’t tell if that was a threat or more grudging admiration.
Stabler kept Albi’s secret til the bitter end, going against protocol and cutting the feed so that no one would know that Albi’s hostage was also the mobster’s lover.
On some level, Stabler demonstrated loyalty to Albi even though he was instrumental in bringing the Kosta Organization — and Albi himself — down.
Albi is a man who acts based on loyalty regardless of whether it’s in his best interest.
He let the kid whose house he’d broken into live cause the kid was Albanian, and he may decide to do Stabler a favor someday because Stabler kept his secret.
Despite the number of gunfights and chase sequences, catching these guys seemed almost too easy, especially when there were fifteen minutes left in the hour after Albi’s arrest.
Stabler’s flashbacks of his time with the mob felt more like filler than anything else as if there was too much time to kill, so the show included a bunch of old footage, including that horrific tongue-cutting scene that was hard enough to watch the first time.
On the other hand, this may be a set-up for significant problems later on.
Richard Wheatley’s trial is coming up, and Wheatley loves to press Stabler’s buttons, so if he gets wind of Stabler’s mixed feelings, he will torment him.
Plus, Stabler’s supposed to be back to “normal,” whatever the hell that means, and he’s not equipped to be a full-time father to Eli and take care of his ailing mother while he has this longing to go back to the mob on his mind.
He’s shaved his beard and is supposed to be back in Stabler mode, but can he make the transition?
And not everyone in the mob offers him the grudging respect that Kosta and Albi did, either. Agnes considered Stabler a traitor and tried to kill him.
I don’t know where she got that gun from, but she had to know it was an exercise in futility to try to shoot up a courtroom while handcuffed and in a wheelchair.
Her behavior was most likely a warning as well as a way to satisfy her anger. The Albanian mob may mostly be in jail, but they’re not done yet, and Stabler will need to watch his back.
Organized Crime also made a point of catching up with Reggie after he went into Witness Protection.
It seemed like the series was wrapping up Reggie’s storyline, but it also felt like his gas station job was more significant than it appeared.
Reggie is far away, alone, and stuck pumping gas in snowy weather, but who will he come across that’s either going to try to kill him or try to drag him back into trouble?
The next eight episodes will focus on Richard Wheatley’s trial, but could the final arc in the last third of Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 have to do with Reggie’s new life?
Your turn, Organized Crime fanatics!
What did you think about how this arc wrapped up, how friendly the Albanian mobsters appeared to Stabler or the quick glimpse of Reggie’s new life? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.
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Law & Order: Organized Crime airs on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST. The next new episode airs on December 9, 2021.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.