17 April 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
Definitely didn't leave me frozen
Quite the opposite actually, in fact it melted, or should that be broke, my heart even as somebody who hasn't been in the situation. Even reading the plot synopsis alone prior to watching "Cradle to Grave" is enough to make anybody a lot of both heart-break and anger. If anybody feels those emotions just reading the plot synopsis, wait until one sees the episode itself. Both of those emotions are still there but multiplied to the maximum degree.
"Cradle to Grave" is not just one Season 2's best episodes, it's also one of the most emotionally powerful along with "Asylum" and "God Bless the Child". And quite possibly one of the best episodes ever for anything to deal with this challenging but still relevant, and worth addressing always, subject. Am not an expert when it comes to rent control, but one doesn't have to be and "Cradle to Grave" does a great job at making this interesting and accessible.
As usual for 'Law and Order', the production values are solid, not too drab or confined which is great for such an intimate approach. The music never feels too constant or too loud, while the direction allows one to take in everything going on, and there is as usual a lot to take in while never being pedestrian. As always for the show, "Cradle to Grave" is talk-heavy, but it doesn't feel overly so and the writing intrigues and doesn't ramble.
The story makes one feel a wide range of emotions and is both gutsy and heart-breaking, it is hard not to relate here and one doesn't have to been in the situation to be heart-broken. Bringing a pulling no punches approach to sensitive material, which one of the show's main strengths when on form. What it has to say about rent control and such educates and is handled accessibly but not simplistically. It is also done in a non-biased way, even when one hates the responsible.
Paul Sorvino and Chris Noth succeed in bringing edge to thoughtfully written material, while Michael Moriarty and Richard Brooks (the latter having one of the episode's meatier and most satisfying moments) deliver their juicy dialogue with intensity. Karen Lynn Gorney quite frighteningly portrays one of the most hatable female supporting characters, maybe supporting characters full stop, of the season.
Overall, a truly powerful, tear-jerking and wonderful episode that one of the early seasons' must sees. If anybody has just gotten into 'Law and Order' and the franchise and has only seen Season 7 onwards, "Cradle to Grave" is proof that the earlier seasons should not in any way be neglected. 10/10