Why is it if I want to watch current episodes of L&O SVU , I have to purchase them?
Because that's what the provider is asking.
When I browse the On Demand menus on my non-X1 box, I can access episodes 1901 - 1905 for free; episodes beyond that are purchase only.
However, if I use the SEARCH function and keyword "SVU", I can access the most recent episodes: 1906 - 1908 for free.
Out-of-date folders are a chronic problem. I hope this "work-around" works for you.