18 March 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
Although Season 1's quality was higher and more consistent generally (writing and story that is, the production values got more refined in the second), Season 2 was solid viewing as well. It did very well with having to deal with a lot of change and while the quality did dip a little after "God Bless the Child" for a bit, the season got back on track with "Heaven" (a second season and early season gem). "His Hour Upon a Stage" could have been better but was still pretty good.
"Star Struck" is more than pretty good. Actually thought it to be a great episode and up there, as far as previous Season 2 episodes go, with "Confession", "Asylum", "God Bless the Child" and "Heaven" as one of the season's best. With it being one of the episodes up to this point of the season to be more than very good, most of the previous Season 2 episodes being that or a little bit less (no misfires, true for the whole of Season 1 as well).
Everything, well very, very close to everything, is done right. More than right, brilliantly even. If the very beginning (the first 10 minutes) got going a little quicker and had a little more of the tension seen particularly once the perpetrator is caught and brought to trial, it's very competently done but on the ordinary side, "Star Struck" would have been even better than it was. While a season high point, it just falls a little shy of being an early season one.
What always worked in the early seasons and still mostly continued to work in 'Law and Order's' run works brilliantly here in "Star Struck". It is slickly shot with a more refined visual style than with the first season. The music didn't feel to me too much, used sparingly and only properly dramatic, without being overly so, when all is revealed. The direction is accomodating but also alert.
The episode is very intelligently written and never feels over-simplified or muddled. Some may find Stone's writing at the end on the pragmatic side, to me it was quite powerful and honest and is hardly irrelevant today. Same goes for the story, not an easy subject and partly based on a taken from the headlines story still felt deeply at the time but handled tensely and sensitively. Nothing is too obvious but it's not hard to follow, one roots for the case to be solved too.
All the characters are written well, have always really liked Stone and the perpetrator is a genuine creep. The chemistry was understandably not completely settled at the beginning of the season but has gelled well now, which makes make the procedural/investigative elements intriguing. For me though the second half had more tension and excitement, which was actually true of a good deal of the early season episodes. It is a very well acted episode, Michael Moriarty really does sell it at the end and Bradley White is suitably unsettling.
In summary, great and one of the season's best. 9/10