The Inner Crab

CSI:

[Air Date: 09-21-06]

“Built to Kill, Part I”

The circus is in town! Hooray! Of course, we don’t know that yet – mysterious costumed people fly across the screen at odd angles, scale rippling silk walls, and prance around acrobatically on guide wires. It’s a little trippy, as if the Director of Photography got a wee bit stoned and decided to “freak out the squares.” A transition shot swings us through Vegas, the City of Gaudy Lights, and we land at a posh party at the Olympia hotel, casino, and convention center. The rich swells in attendance are getting a private show from some scantily-clad flaming-hula-hoop performers. Now we know where the Grinder Girl from Letterman went. I hope that’s an asbestos bra she’s wearing. Catherine’s rich casino-owning dad Sam walks in with one of Vegas’ ubiquitous arm-candy women. Cameras snap and flash as Sam tries to look respectable. His “date” smiles blandly for the paparazzi and her hair flutters in the breeze. No one else’s hair does – maybe that’s her party trick. One of them, anyway. Somewhere else, we see a man fiddling with a bundle of dynamite in a hallway. The hall is awash in red light, which we know means something wicked is going on. It makes everything else look red too, though, which could be a problem when you’re working with dynamite; what if the guy had grabbed a bundle of candlesticks from his bag instead? Back at the party, one of the hula girls is wearing a red halter top. She also has a red flower in her hair. I think they’re in cahoots. My suspicion is confirmed when she turns around; she has a tattoo on her left shoulder, and everyone knows that people with tattoos can’t be trusted. In between shots of the two cahooters (by which I mean the dynamite man and hula girl, not her…well, they’re probably in on it too), a young man in a tux and patterned bowtie turns away from the show and disappears into the crowd. It’s one of many quick little scenelets here, but I think we’ll be seeing him again.

Dynamite Man finishes up and leaves his very red hallway, and then we’re back at the circus. It looks like the players are having a mock battle, except they’re doing it in the vertical along a high wall. Crew people work the rigging, pulling people up and turning them around when needed, then sending them back down. We go back and forth between the three scenes quickly, circus performers, Dynamite Man, hula girl, circus, girl, dynamite, circ, hula, dyn, circdynhuladyncircadyndyn. And Sam. Dynamite Man pushes the buttons on his detonator. CGI’d electricity runs along the cables toward the dynamite, in case we were wondering how the dynamite would know to blow itself up just because some guy way over there pushed a button. We pop back to the party to watch the Rampart hotel implode. The party crowd cheers from their rooftop vantage point (the roof of the Olympia, not the Rampart, although that would afford a helluva view). The mystery of Dynamite Man and the Red, Red Hallway has been solved, and I feel a little cheated. There’s another shot of Sam and his lady friend, and she doesn’t look like she’s wondering how many of Sam’s old girlfriends were piled into the basement of the Rampart just before it came down, but I am. My guess is nine.

The circus isn’t done freaking out the squares yet, but the tables are about to be turned! One of the performers comes sliding down the tall wall on her belly, and the guide wires slow her descent as she gets near the bottom. She comes to a stop for a moment, looks down into the pit under the wall, and sees a bloody female corpse. She seems a bit alarmed, but then – yoink! – back up she goes. The crew up top laughs uproariously and crosses an item off their “hazing the newbie” list. Back at the party, an amorous couple walks into what’s apparently a make-out tent made of mosquito netting, where they notice another stiff sitting on the couch. The woman screams, because that’s what women do on TV when they’re not belly-dancing or inflating a rich man’s ego, and then we get a closer look at the couch guy. Apparently he was making out with a gun and got a little carried away. The gun is still in his hand, which you may want to make note of for later. At the bottom of the circus wall, a dozen crewmembers swarm around the corpse, because this isn’t the one they planted, and the performers dangle from their wires and look on in dismay and wonder how they’re going to get down now.

Finally we get to the damned CSI part of the show. Catherine and Grissom come in through a loading-dock door. Catherine says she’s always liked the circus. Grissom notes that he always liked figuring out how the magic tricks work, and Catherine grumbles that that takes all the fun out of it. Looks like Sara made Grissom shave off his beard…for her pleasure. They meet up with Sophia and the dead woman, whom Sophia introduces as Jane Doe. I wonder what they do if someone dies whose name really is Jane Doe? Does it say “Jane Doe (seriously)” on her toe tag? Catherine notices green powder on Jane’s dress. Grissom asks if she was with the show, and Sophia says that the circus says that she wasn’t. Catherine notes that there’s lots of surveillance, but Sophia tells her the body was discovered backstage. Grissom wants to know why it was moved, and Sophia refers him to the circus manager who’s waiting nearby. He takes them backstage, past the jugglers and dancers and two musicians playing an accordion and a guitar. On the way, he tells them that the circus has a special arrangement with Clark County: because the backstage can be so dangerous to someone who doesn’t know their way around, any accidents that happen are under the circus’ jurisdiction. Incidentally, they refer to the circus as the Cirque du Soleil a few times; is this product placement? If it is, it’s a first for this show, I think, but I also think that the French are probably completely indifferent to the endorsement. He adds that they dragged—er, “transported” the corpse outside and called the paramedics, who arrived shortly thereafter…but it was too late. He doesn’t know who she is, and he knows everyone on the circus staff. He takes them down into the bowels of the circus, which is full of heavy machinery. “During the performance, the stages are always moving,” he says. “We found the body here, in the crush zone.” Guess what happens there. There’s blood on the floor. Grissom and Catherine shine their flashlights around and wonder where the victim came from. They ride one of the moving platforms up to the top of the stage and large amphitheater. “Where would you like to start?” asks Catherine. Opening credits, maybe?

Sara and Warrick are in the make-out tent. They’re not making out, though. Right about here is where my friend Anastasia probably stops reading and sort of stares off into space for a half-hour or so, having read “Warrick” and “make-out tent” in the same sentence. Or “Warrick” in the same sentence, for that matter. The two CSIs discuss the unlikelihood of the gun still being in the guy’s hand after shooting himself. Sara says she hasn’t found a suicide note, and Warrick wonders if the suicide was staged. David shows up to examine the corpse, apologizes for his tardiness, and explains that he was busy meeting his future in-laws and regaling them with stories of detached eyeballs and necrotic guts over bouillabaisse. He tries to pry the gun from corpsey’s cold, dead hand and it goes off, shooting another misplaced hole in the guy. David looks mortified. Get it? Because he’s a coroner, see, and…fine. Shut up and read. Sara runs out to calm the agitated crowd. Warrick pats David on the shoulder. “At least we know one person who shot the dead guy.” Snerk.

Outside the tent, cops zip around taking pictures. Sam and Brass are talking by an architectural model of what we’ll learn is Sam’s next casino project. Sam tries some friendly chat to allay Brass’s suspicions, which arouses Brass’s suspicions. The dead guy, Robert O’Brien, was one of Sam’s investors in the new casino, called the Eclipse. Sam says he didn’t hear the shot, and guesses that it happened during the Rampart implosion. Brass wonders why a guy would shoot himself when he’s about to make a bunch of money on the casino deal. Sam says he hardly knew the guy or his partner, Joe Hirschoff, who we see briefly popping some pills. Can’t say I blame him. He explains that he sold the men a few shares in the project at $2 million per share. The captions here say “You want it?” which I’m guessing was supposed to be “You want in?” but Sam doesn’t say that out loud, which is too bad, because I think that would be a little funny. It would be funnier still if Brass whipped out his checkbook.

Nick has joined Catherine and Grissom in the bowels of the circus. He says that the place reminds him of an aircraft carrier, and kind of snidely points out that one was built for national security while the other was built for entertainment. I think there’s a case to be made that if we had more circuses and fewer aircraft carriers, the world might be a better place, but I’ll leave that to the philosophers. Grissom schools his young padawan thusly: “The Cirque’s about the power of imagination – it’s how we were able to put a man on the moon.” Word, G. Besides, if TV has taught me anything, those Navy guys mostly spend their time engaging in well-choreographed swab-and-dance singalongs up on the deck. Catherine, who has probably had an entirely different set of experiences with a crowd of sailors, stays out of the conversation. She finds a pendant necklace on the floor. The pendant is a monogram of the initials “afd.”

Grissom and Sara are interviewing Robert’s partner Joe. Joe says the two of them came to Vegas together for the event, and Joe was with him most of the time. Just before the implosion he left to get them some frosty margaritas, and when he came back Robert was gone. The actor, Kevin Rahm, reminds me of a young James Spader. He went looking for Robert, but clearly didn’t find him in time. Brass asks if he’s taking any medication, and Joe pulls out a bottle of prescription-strength Aflazafl. Aflazafl should not be taken with monoamine-oxidase inhibitors, some blood pressure medications, or pie. Side effects may include gout, sterility, and blowing gobs of money on wheezy old mob-coot casino projects. Talk to your doctor about whether Aflazafl is right for you. Aflazafl: Because today is Monday! Joe says it’s for stress, and his job is very stressful. Well, that checks out, then. Brass wants to know if Robert owned a gun, and Joe shakes his head and says that they both hate guns. That’s kind of misplaced hatred, don’t you think? I mean, it’s not the guns that kill people; it’s the bullets. I’m just saying…don’t hate the playa. Sara asks him to hold out his hands for a GSR test. You know, to “help prove he’s innocent.” She dabs his hand with her GSR doodad, and we get a lingering shot of a wavy ring on his other hand. Sara takes a whiff and asks if there’s alcohol on his hands; he tells them he spilled the drinks when he saw Robert.

Doc Robbins has the corpse-cam up for his new web show “SquishedGirl15.” He needs to work on the story a bit; all he does is describe the medical facts of her squishedness. There’s a flashback shot of her getting pressed to death, a la Giles Corey (Salem witch trials? The Crucible? Anyone?). I think I’ll add that to the list of ways I’d prefer not to die.

Catherine, Nick and Grissom are still at the Cirque. They rehash the fact that she probably wasn’t with the circus, which we already knew, by pointing to the well-marked crush zone and noting that the circus folks would know that when it says “Crush Zone,” it means “Crush Zone.” Grissom finds some more blood on one of the moving platforms. “It might have been unavoidable,” he says. I get what he’s saying, but I disagree: if her agent had gotten her a guest spot on “Numbthreers” like she wanted, this never would have happened. Commercials.

Doc Robbins and Catherine are examining the dead circus woman. He tells her that the woman was indeed squished, but that’s not what killed her; she got whacked on the head first. Stupid grammar checker…I’m not trying to say “headfirst,” dammit. And “dammit” is a perfectly legitimate word, damn it. They ogle her firm, toned, supple young dead body (hey, they said it, not me) and determine that she was probably a dancer or gymnast, based on the calluses on her hands and feet. Seems like a convenient guess to me; she could be a longshoremanwoman for all they know.

Brass and Sheriff What’s-his-face walk and talk. The sheriff is played by Nick Searcy, best known (to me, anyway) for his role as the rabidly anti-commie security chief from “Seven Days.” He doesn’t seem to get many roles where he’s not a stiff law-and-order type. He wants to give Brass a medal and a public ceremony for his role in the Willie Cutler hostage rescue from last season. Better hope it’s made out of a base metal, Brass (that would do), or your skank-ho daughter might come grab it to sell for drugs and flea collars. Brass isn’t happy about the idea and tries to duck out of attending the ceremony, but the sheriff steamrollers over him. He’ll be there and he’ll like it. “My office will call you to set it up,” he says as he walks away. “I was gonna vote for you anyway,” mutters Brass. Snort.

Grissom and Hodges are examining the green powder from the dead woman’s clothing. Hodges says it’s a type of foam used almost exclusively in floral arranging, because it holds so much water. Hodges gives a pointless half-anecdote (an anec? a dote? A necdo?) about some water-retaining florist he knew in college. Grissom gets a brain-twinkle; he recalls a security guard saying he let a young woman with flowers in at the artists’ entrance and escorted her to the Green Room. The guard said he didn’t remember seeing the woman leave. “Ah, the old flower delivery trick,” says Hodges, recalling the many holodeck adventures he’s had playing Bond to Grissom’s Blofeld. “Works every time.” Shut up, Hodges. Grissom gets thoughtful-looking and wanders off.

In the Pervasive Surveillance Room, Greg is reviewing 20 cameras’ worth of backstage video footage with Grissom and Nick. Greg says the circus uses the footage for performance reviews, and after reviewing it all he’s no longer impressed by Siegfried and Roy’s disappearing elephant trick. “I’ll tell you how they did that later,” says Grissom. I bet it involved some kind of illusion. Greg shows the other two some footage of a woman and man coming in through the artists’ door. The woman has the same type of dress and hair color as the victim, he says. The two skulked around backstage for most of the show, which seems kind of dull to me since they were below the goings-on and couldn’t see much, but what do I know. Maybe he had a risk-of-getting-caught-having-sex fetish, and she had a Cirque fetish, and they decided to combine the two, like peanut butter and chocolate except with thrill-sex and circuses. The guy left alone later on by the same entrance, Greg says, and there aren’t any good shots of his face. However, there is a bit of footage of the two people up on a tower/catwalk, where she appears to get too close to the edge and he grabs hold of her from behind to steady her/cop a feel. At that moment, the woman’s purse goes tumbling down into the entertainment abyss (no, not UPN). Grissom says they didn’t find a purse. Well, now you have an excuse to go back! There’s another brief shot of a tilting platform pouring sand off it. Nick asks for a time code from when she dropped her purse.

Doc Robbins and David peel back the wrapping on the party guy. Doc calls it a burrito, but when the layer of plastic is pulled back and the guy is floating in a rich red sauce, I’m reminded more of an enchilada. Now I want an enchilada. Doc asks why the guy is marinating in his own blood, and David sheepishly says he must’ve forgotten to tape the guy’s wound shut. That’s one of those little fact-of-the-job tidbits that I like, because I never would have thought about it otherwise. I probably would have just tied a rope to his legs and dragged him back, because touching corpses is kind of gross. Doc snaps that the blood on his hands ruins any GSR evidence there might have been, and tells David to clean it up. David looks ashamed. He’s not having a very good day.

Music montage time. Warrick processes the handgun while Doc Robbins works on Robert’s corpse. Doc finds a few sesame seeds in the victim’s mouth under his tongue, and sets them aside. He takes a whiff of the bowl of stomach contents, then pours it through a strainer. It doesn’t look like there are any sesame seeds in the strainer. Warrick takes the guy’s bloodstained clothes out of a bag and hangs them up in the glass-wardrobe thing, the purpose of which I forget, and then Sara kills the montage. She wanders in and asks Doc whether it was suicide or homicide. “Neither side,” he says; it’s too soon to tell. The vic did have a lot of alcohol in his system, over double the legal limit. Doc guesses, based on his whiff of the stomach contents, that he was drinking tequila. Sara is impressed, and confirms that he’d been drinking margaritas. I’d be more impressed if he could tell the brand. Robert also had Aflazafl in his system. Sara tells him that Joe had the prescription, and he was also the one keeping Robert’s glass full. Well, that’s not suspicious, that’s just being a good buddy. They get a trajectory straw and poke it through Robert’s head, then prop him up so they can see the, you know, gun-shooty-line thing. It’s roughly horizontal, and Sara speculates that it would’ve been easy for someone to stick a gun in the seated Robert’s mouth because he was so wasted. We even get a little flashback of someone doing exactly that and then putting the gun in Robert’s hand, as the implosion crowd cheers in the background. I don’t think I’d want to die with people cheering in the background. I’ve said it before, but my preferred death would be a heart attack while underneath a woman still partially-dressed as a sexy Romulan commander. In that scenario, I suppose, people cheering in the background would be okay, maybe even appropriate. Doc shows Sara the sesame seeds and confirms that he didn’t find any in the stomach. “It’s hard to swallow when you have a gun in your mouth,” she says. Unless it’s one of those licorice guns; do they still make those? Commercials for licorice guns and peppermint hollow-point bullets follow.

Nick is working from one of the control towers under the circus stage. He’s got a headset radio and screenshots from the video footage, and on the other end of his headset one of the circus crew (I assume) gets ready to move the platforms around. The crewman moves one of the decks into position, and Nick drops his own little black purse down onto the deck. Hope you took your keys out of it first, Nick. The deck is covered with what looks like sand, although we’ll learn shortly that the circus actually uses ground cork. That makes a lot of sense; easier to clean up, no dust, and not as heavy. Since it’s a French circus, they probably just recycle their nightly wine corks. The purse lands on the deck and Nick radios to move it into the next position. The deck moves up and rotates, and then it tilts and pours the cork/sand into padded containers below, making a sheet-of-sand effect for the audience. Suddenly Nick is down in the bins too, shoveling cork around. Sophia exposits about the cork, and Nick invites her to jump in and help him. She laughs at him. Now, Nick just laughs back, but I’d be like, “A, I’ve got a big shovel in my hand, and B, you’re just STANDING THERE! Now hop in and make with the helping.” And then I’d get fired and she’d have to get in and shovel the cork and I wouldn’t, so problem solved. Unless she shot me, but I guess the end result is the same. Nick finds a little black purse buried in the cork. “This isn’t the purse I dropped,” he says, possibly not for the first time, so he just assumes it must be the dead woman’s. Shouldn’t you check with Cirque to see when was the last time they shoveled the cork for purses first? I bet it’s been a while; they could have been piling up in there for months now. Ah, the magic of television; I wish I could just say, the next time I misplace my keys or get lost in a strange neighborhood or can’t find anyone to take home and the bar’s about to close, “well, the episode only has a half-hour left, so we need to wrap this part up,” and have the situation resolve itself. Nick gives the purse to Sophia, who digs out a wallet and IDs our dead gal as Celia Noel of the Wisconsin Noels. No, not those Wisconsin Noels; the ones in Kenosha. Nick is disappointed that the “afd” from the pendant doesn’t match her initials. Maybe they’re the initials of her porn name. Sophia finds a bunch of tickets to other Cirque shows in Vegas; there’s one for a Beatles “Love” show done by Cirque. If that’s a real thing, I’d kind of like to see that. I like the Beatles, and I’ve been meaning to see what all the fuss is about this “love” thing I hear people talking about. Nick makes some dumb joke as I’m typing, but TiVo has already gone past it and it’s too late to go back now.

Finally, after all of Brass’ prima donna stomping and whining about it, the city is finally going to give him his damned medal. I hope this shuts him up. The event is shown on a flat-panel TV in the CSI lounge. The ticker at the bottom of the screen says that this is Channel 8 (“The Ocho”), and guess who they’re an affiliate of? CBS. That’s just funny. Shameless plugging of your own network within one of your own shows just seems a little meta to me. “You’re watching CBS. Watch CBS!” Warrick and Sara are taking their network-mandated CBS break and watching the show. Warrick says Brass looks like he’s about to puke. “Or punch someone,” adds Sara. We all watch the presentation for a bit, and after the Sheriff hands the plaque to a tight-lipped and unhappy-looking Brass, Sara turns off the TV. Grissom comes in with some take-out boxes and hands one to Sara. “I got you a veggie burger,” he says. Warrick asks where’s his nasty affront to burgers and God, and Grissom replies “I didn’t know you were here. Soy sorry.” Sara purses her lips as if trying not to smile. “Where’s the love?” laments Warrick, and Grissom walks out. I’d forgotten that Sara’s a vegetarian. That would go a long way toward explaining her drinking problem. Warrick doesn’t notice the little hearts beaming back and forth between Grissom and Sara during the exchange, and instead opens a folder on the table and starts talking shop. The gun that killed Robert had a melted sesame seed in it. Sara tells him about the seeds Doc found in Robert’s mouth. Warrick says there’s not much chance of fingerprints from the gun because the grip is checkered, but it was registered in California to Robert’s business partner Joe. The same Joe who said he hated guns. Sara has found out that Joe and Robert bought their casino shares jointly, so Joe’s now the sole owner of the shares. Warrick thinks it’s a great reason to kill.

So does Brass, who’s now interviewing Joe a little less casually than before. Joe says he bought the gun when he moved to LA to defend himself from the pimps and the CHUDs, not realizing at the time that CHUDs are found in New York and in LA pimps are called “agents.” He put the gun in a closet and forgot about it, and he doesn’t know how Robert got ahold of it. There’s some speculation that the two of them were also in the closet, and assuming there was a light in there I think it’s only natural that one would start rummaging around eventually. “Neato! A gun!” I’m still wondering how Robert managed to get a gun that wasn’t his aboard a plane, even if it was in his checked baggage. Brass mentions Joe’s pills in Robert’s system, but Joe doesn’t know how that happened either. Brass flips another card from the Deck of You’re Screwed; Joe was in debt for over a million dollars. “I’m leveraged; so what?” says Joe. He’s got a swanky LA lifestyle to keep up, that’s all. Brass lays it all out: Joe wanted Robert’s shares in the casino, so he slipped some pills in Robert’s frosty margarita, put the gun in Robert’s hand and the nozzle in Robert’s mouth, then pulled the trigger. I’m trying my hardest to think of a catchy tie-in to the old Big Mac song with the line “sesame-seed gun” in it, but it’s not coming. I’ll leave it to future generations. Meanwhile, Joe wants his lawyer.

Over in the Rummaging Room, Sara and Warrick are going through a bunch of stuff they snagged from Joe and Robert’s hotel room. Warrick says he didn’t find a suicide note, not even in the Bible. Do hotels in other countries have a copy of the Torah or Koran or I Ching in them? Or is ours the only country that does that? Yes, I know…”Christian nation,” blah blah blah. It’s still weird. Sara pulls some stuff out of a suitcase and finds an oven mitt. She takes it out and shines her flashlight into it. The CSI Thrill-cam takes us on an exciting journey deep inside the oven mitt, and at the bottom we see sesame seeds. The sesame seeds at the bottom of the mitt are of the Gujin variety, however, and the seeds found in Robert’s mouth were clearly Semlessa, so that’s a dead end. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true since I made both of those names up.

In the Light Table Room, Nick ponders a Cirque ticket in a plastic baggie. Catherine comes in with news: the blood on the “afd” necklace was Celia’s, and “afd” stands for the Arcadia Federation of Dance. Federation? Is it a dance group or a country? I think they had an “afd” necklace in the props box and made up the name to fit it, rather than having a necklace custom-made for the show. Celia was a citizen of the Federation and a dancer, hence her interest in Cirque. Nick asks whether Catherine still likes to dance and gets a “What did you just say??” look in return. He hems and haws and says he didn’t mean dancing in the athletic-ho sense like she used to do, but dancing in the more general sense. Like at tribal ceremonies, maybe. She remembers that it’s poor naïve Nick asking the question, and pats him on the shoulder. She does still like to dance, she says. Nick smiles in relief over still having his nads attached, and segues abruptly into some evidence he found. She bought three of the four tickets in her purse herself, but the fourth ticket was purchased by Arnie Clifton of Eagle, Nevada, 89109. There’s a picture of a ram on Arnie’s Nevada driver’s license. I didn’t know there were rams in Nevada, although it is pretty mountainous in parts, so I suppose that makes sense. As with most of Nevada’s surviving indigenous wildlife, I suspect that the remaining rams are radioactive.

Arnie works at a swanky shoe store. I’m annoyed that I have to type the phrase “swanky shoe store” – they’re just shoes, people, and no, your feet don’t deserve the very best that Malaysian sweatshops have to offer. He tells Sofia and Nick that he met Celia at work; she tried on 20 pairs of shoes, giving him an hour to fondle her feet and admire her “toe cleavage.” I guess if you’ve got a foot fetish and don’t have the schooling to work for a podiatrist, a shoe store is the next best place. Personally I’ve never really understood fetishes, the Romulan thing above notwithstanding, but whatever. Arnie says that Celia invited him to the show and he bought the tickets, because he’s a “gentleman.” Yeah, a gentleman looking to get into her socks. Sofia asks what they did after the show; Arnie says they had a good time at the show but then she split, and he hasn’t seen her since. Sofia tells him they’ve seen her, and she’s off her feet permanently. Arnie suddenly has to get back to work. Nick’s bionic eye spots some tiny cork chips caught in the laces of Arnie’s shoes. “No, we’re not done here,” he tells Arnie. “You got sand in your shoes.”

Transition shot, then Sofia and Arnie are playing footsies under the table at the police station. Except instead of tickling him with her feet, she’s tickling him with interrogation. The cork in his shoes matches the cork used at Cirque, she tells him, which places him at the crime scene. He admits that he was there, but going backstage was Celia’s idea. She was really worked up about the show, he says, and he figured he might get a little sumtin’-sumtin’ for his trouble if he played along. That’s unimpeachable logic for most men; it’s probably for the best that he’s being interviewed by a woman. She let him in the artists’ entrance and they wandered around backstage for a while. We cut to a flashback, and she’s dragging him along in the near-dark. She stops to leer at the circus performers, face aglow in ecstasy, and then one of the moving platforms bonks her on the head. She falls over and lies prone on the platform as it continues on its merry way down to the Crush Zone. How she got off and then under the platform isn’t made clear; you’d think that if she’d rolled off the platform as it poured out its cork/sand, someone in the audience would have noticed. Maybe among all the whirring gizmos down there, there’s a pendulum swinging back and forth that swept her off and then rolled her under. Arnie says that he freaked out at that point, and bailed. He had tried to rein her in, he says, but she kept wanting to get closer to the show. “Yeah, and you let her,” snaps Sofia, which I don’t think is necessarily an indictment of guilt in this case; it’s not like he pushed her into the oncoming platform, and the video footage from earlier showed that he did pull her back when she got too close to the edge of a catwalk, so he probably would have tried to pull her away from the moving platform if he’d seen it in time. It’s not like he was rubbing his hands in glee waiting for her to get bonked to death so he could suck her toes in peace. Arnie rubs his face in dismay anyway.

Hodges is snipping away at the oven mitt and chittering on about perfecting his “butterfly technique” on chicken breasts while Warrick looks on. I know a butterfly technique too, but it’s not used on the breasts. He’s giving Warrick tips on cooking to “drive the ladies wild” (and adds “Well, Mom,” two little words which explain a great many things about Hodges), as if Warrick needs any help there. As near as I can tell, Warrick could drive the ladies wild just by reciting a study on cave mold. Hodges finishes cutting up the mitt. “Now, say the magic words,” he says. “’Shut up, Hodges’?” says Warrick. Ha! Hodges is not amused; his magic words are “open sesame.” That’s actually a little bit funny, but not as funny as Warrick’s. Hodges opens the mitt and tweezers out a sesame seed. Warrick sprays the inside of the mitt with ferro-trace, and the outline of a handgun appears. Warrick confirms what we all figured out already, that the gun was transported in the oven mitt. Why there were sesame seeds in the oven mitt is anybody’s guess. The only remaining question, Warrick says (aside from the one about the sesame seeds), is “who brought it to the party?” Commercials.

I like Quizno’s just fine, but I think offering a free sub if you’re not satisfied with the first one isn’t a very compelling promotion. I’m just saying. And putting “deli-style meat” in Hot Pockets is a bit like stirring delicious candy into a bucket of hospital-grade pus.

Back to the show, where the camera wanders past all of Robert’s bloody clothes in the clothing humidor. Warrick opens it up and takes out Robert’s tuxedo pants to check the pockets for sesame seeds. Several seeds fall out, proving conclusively and for all time that the seed-covered gun was in Robert’s pocket. That, or a sesame-seed bagel. Sara gives Grissom the final report: Robert committed suicide after all. Grissom is still puzzled about how the gun managed to stay in Robert’s hand, but Sara has that covered too: Robert had early-stage Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that affects the tissues of the hand in a way that’s convenient to the plot. His hand had a natural tendency to curl, in other words, which kept him from dropping the gun when he died. Grissom wonders if there’s any evidence as to why he killed himself, but the lazy lazy writers make Sara throw Grissom’s long-ago words about not being in the business of ‘why’ back in his face. Then her pager goes off, and she leaves.

But then she’s back, giving Joe the bag containing Robert’s personal effects. Joe takes a wavy ring just like his own out of the bag and slips it onto his ring finger on top of the other one. Anastasia feels this is evidence that the two were married, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in the interest of balance I’d like to point out that they could have simply been BFF. Either way, Sara realizes that Joe lost more than a business partner, and she tells him she’s sorry for his loss. He stands up and glares sadly at her, which he’s entirely justified in doing, and then leaves without saying a word.

Warrick drops by to visit Brass and take a peek at his shiny new plaque. Brass pulls it out of a drawer. Warrick admires it and wonders why it’s not up on the wall. Brass says his 23 years of experience made him sure he knew what Willie was about, but Willie played him like a rookie. He asks Warrick what his biggest mistake was, and whether he’d make that into a poster and put it up on his wall. Eh, Warrick’s wedding photos are probably already up on the wall. Brass puts the plaque back in his drawer and thanks Warrick for coming by. Warrick says “All right” and leaves, because what else could you do?

Nick and Catherine are out at a club. Nick wonders if Grissom will show up, and Catherine says “Not if he thinks he has to dance.” They should have told him it was Entomology Night at the club; bring in a dung beetle and there’s no cover charge. Musician John Mayer has a cameo in this episode, and this is it, so he starts singing (a “soulful pop melody,” according to the captions) and Nick and Catherine go out to the dance floor. I like the song because I don’t have to recap it, and it eats up some time. Oh, and Brass gets a tattoo of the date he was shot under his bullet hole. When the first song ends, Nick and a woman he knows notice each other, and Catherine hands his leash to Nickchick so they can dance to the next song and she can go get a drink. At the bar, some guy comes up to Catherine and says that another guy down the bar a ways wants to buy her a drink. She waves noncommittally at the second guy and politely declines. Mayer keeps singing. Catherine sips her drink. She starts to look sluggish and blurry. Nick waves goodbye as Nickchick drags him off for a night of mild sex and her subsequent death at the hands of a jealous ex for which Nick will be blamed but ultimately acquitted. Catherine keeps getting blurrier, and then there’s blackness.

The next set of scenes was confusing the first time I watched, because there’s no transition between the two locations involved, nor any clarification that they’re not related even though they’re not. Sloppy work, if you ask me, which you didn’t, but I just stuffed it into your brain anyway, so I win.

Closeup of Catherine’s closed eyeball. She wakes up slowly, and blinks at the sunlight streaming in through a set of tattered drapes. She’s naked and in a strange bed.

The camera travels slowly around what looks like a kitchen, past the shelves and bric-a-brac, stopping for a moment to gaze at the puddle of red stuff on the floor next to a person’s foot. We rise up the pant leg slowly, and when we get to the face part we finally realize that this is a model; the man slumped over the kitchen table in a pool of his own blood is a tiny figurine. The camera pulls back a bit to show us the diorama in full, and then an eyeball appears in one of the kitchen’s windows. Now we switch to a top-down view, where we slowly expand to take in not only the model crime scene but also the real crime scene, which the model has duplicated down to the smallest detail. A real man is also slumped over a real kitchen table in a pool of real blood next to his real plate of breakfast which must be real cold by now. Sophia and Grissom are investigating. They are impressed and terrified by the level of detail in the model. Sofia asks Grissom the old chicken-and-egg question. Grissom says he’s an ovum guy, but in this case he’s not sure. Plus, which one is the egg?

Catherine sits up rather groggily. She grabs her purse and dumps it out on the bed, then looks through her wallet. Her credit cards and cash are all still there. She wraps the blanket around herself and peeks out the window. A dry swimming pool is in the foreground, and beyond that is (presumably) another wing of the building she’s in, which looks like a cheap motel or cheap apartments.

Grissom photographs the crime scene and the mini-crime scene. There are several gold records hung up on the wall, awarded to “Izzy Delancy.”

Catherine examines herself in front of the mirror, then dials the crime lab on her cell but hangs up when someone answers. She looks around the room and MacGyvers together an evidence kit from towels, tissues, a pine cone and the moon’s gravitational pull. She starts gathering evidence from herself; why she didn’t just have someone come down and do a proper collection is beyond me, because of course none of this would be admissible in court. It’s a scary and humiliating and all-around unpleasant situation to be in. There are male victims and female perpetrators of sexual assault too, and no matter the gender dynamic involved, studies show that such crimes often go unreported. I certainly understand why a person, male or female, might choose to just suck it up and live silently with the shame rather than opening themselves up to the unwarranted stigma many victims feel. But Catherine works in a crime lab, for hell’s sake! She should know better than just about anyone that something like this can be handled with discretion and professional detachment. It irks me that the writers keep putting this character in the position of making such bad decisions, both personally and professionally. Catherine keeps collecting evidence while I rant.

Grissom is still photographing the crime scene. Each time we come back to this scene, we see more detail in the model and the corresponding detail in the house.

Catherine is now in the shower, washing away any remaining evidence, crying because she’s probably pissed at the writers’ hatchet job too. I missed the “To Be Continued” text that flashed up on the screen the first time I watched this, and I was worried that this weird layout to the show (ending the story line at the 45 minute mark and starting on another story line but leaving us hanging at the end) was going to be some goofy gimmick for the season…but it’s not. Tune in next week and see what happens!

 

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