RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

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A quadruple shot of crime drama! How strangely cohesive.

Here, let me remedy that by prefacing the reviews with something completely different:

OK.  I know that "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" is full of dumb questions, but while I had it on for background noise until CSI started, I heard the worst one ever: "A lamb is the offspring of what type of animal?"  WTF??  Even for a first-grade question that's ridiculously simple.  Even preschool-age children who have never been to school know the answer to this question.  In fact, the only possible ways you could not know the answer to this question are if you are dead (because you couldn't figure out how to breathe) or you don't speak/have never heard English.
Cold Case, 4.12, "Sabotage"
So...I couldn't watch CC on Sunday because despite the fact that it got delayed until after 8:30, my brother chose somewhere in the first ten minutes of the show to start, and promptly start throwing a fit about needing help on, his homework.  The chaos pretty much lasted the rest of the night.  After forever and a day I finally got my hands on this ep, but I kept putting it off to the very end of the night, and kept falling asleep before it was over and having to restart.  Fourth time was the charm, though.

As a result of the multiple startings, I got very, very attached to the cheerful young Big Box (HEE.  Also, NOT SUBTLE) employee in the teaser, and it made his getting blown up in a few seconds later worse every time.  And when, at the end of the episode, they included a scene showing that he hadn't been a hapless incidental victim but the intended target, it was especially heartbreaking.  Poor kid, he seemed very intelligent, rational and as compassionate as could be under the circumstances (because dude, the Customer From Hell was getting bent out of shape over the fact that he couldn't return a shower radio), but our Mad Bomber decides that for the crime of upholding the rules of his cruel and faceless corporate employer, the employee must die.  The people of 
[info] customers_suck have nothing on this scenario.

Speaking of things that suck, ADA Alex Thomas and her pseudo-relationship with Scotty.  My exact words at seeing her in the frame were "Oh, GOD.  Is Danny's dirty fling with the lawyer over yet?"  Because it is most definitely a fling.  They clearly have nothing in common, their chemistry is flatter than a sheet of paper, and her expression is so wooden that she might as well be a mannequin.  I don't understand.  Dinner?  Why are you trying to take this anywhere, Scotty, when it is so clearly doomed to fail?  I wanted to smile at his drawl of "I'm gonna have to requisition that shirt now, lady"...but alas, I could not, because he was talking to her and she is gross. 

So yeah, I may have done a little dance of joy when she (I'm sorry, her boss) brought in the Feds for a joint task force, and he promptly stormed after her with eyes blazing and jaw clenched to take her to task for it.  It's always fun to warn someone that they'll have blood on their hands, but when the person has that much contempt and revulsion in their voice when they say it, it's even better.  Oh-ho-ho, did she actually say "That's not my problem"??  FAIL, EPIC FAIL.  But don't feel bad, Alex.  You won't be the first woman in law enforcement to get dumped for valuing her job over a human being in the case; Rebecca Nevins knows all about that.

Once I finally got invested enough in the story (circa the halfway point, I think), I wondered what had taken me so long.  I mean the promo department deserves kudos for the way they set this one up, and I would have tuned in even if serial bombers weren't high on my list of fascinating subjects.  I did sympathize with Alessandro not wanting to give up his father's house - I hate the idea of old homes being destroyed for any reason, but commercial zoning is the worst - in large part because the house I've grown up in is the same one my dad did, and I have a vague notion of clinging to it forever.  But while I felt sorry for him losing his job and being told that his training was obsolete due to outsourcing, I don't think a complete mental breakdown (even if it was aided by his daughter's death) was a reasonable response.  Perhaps I'll have a different perspective in ten years, but as it stands, it still seems to me that jobs with sufficient pay exist in this country and employers have no obligation to keep you out of loyalty.  Adapt as necessary.

Talk about a high-stakes ending.  Admittedly, it seemed stupid to have a busload of people all crowding into the station where the Mad Bomber was sitting with what looked like another bomb on his lap.  You know, a bomb that might be set off at any time and kill everyone - wouldn't you want as few people there as possible?  What happened to megaphones and sealed perimeters?  Meh.  Long, drawn-out negotiation conversations bore me to tears unless it's Matt or Emily doing the talking, so I skipped most of the boss's attempt to talk him down from the metaphorical ledge, but then quite suddenly it turned out that the box on his lap was merely a harmless music box after all, and the bomb was...elsewhere.  Designed to inflict maximum pain on his unsympathetic brother.  "OH GOD, HE'S GOING TO BLOW UP HIS SISTER-IN-LAW AND HIS INNOCENT LITTLE NIECE!"

Expression twisted into one of horror (not the cute little "does that gun have real bullets?" girl!) that matched the father's, it was all I could do not to hit the fast forward button to escape the gut-wrenching suspense as Lily made a frantic call to Kat and Vera, even though the metaphorical ticking had already begun, and then...cut to the sound of an explosion over the phone.  Nooooo!  Great acting from the father there, a solid performance of shock, rage and grief as he started screaming "How could you do that?" and to be physically restrained from killing his brother with his bare hands.

I wanted to believe that the fact that we hadn't actually seen it happen left the possibility that the detectives had rushed inside in time to get the family out, but the longer the episode dragged on without showing us one way or the other, the more certain I became that they were too late to stop the tragedy.  By this point, I was actually moved to tears and had to pause it for a minute to prolong the inevitable, hoping against hope.  I was pretty much deflated by the time I saw the smoking wreck of the house, with only a dying ember of hope remaining that they'd come home and find the family safe and unharmed outside. 

The song playing over this scene was a nice touch; I hated it on So You Think You Can Dance but suddenly I found it very moving and appropriate.  "Too late to apologize" underscored the tragedy of the scene, while also serving as a very effective message from Danny to Alex.  The baleful look in his eyes was golden to me.  Unforgivable, this was, and while I'm still in sniffly tears, now I'm just a little bit giddy because the family might be dead, but at least the unholy alliance is broken.

AND THEN!  Wife and daughter, along the with the detectives, come down the front steps!  I'm not even going to complain about why they were still in there, because GIDDY GIDDY GIDDY!  So relieved.  I got far too emotionally invested in this family to have them written off, and I could not get enough of the ending, which filled me full of warm fuzzies.  The slow start to this episode was completely made up for by the final five minutes, and I declare it in the top tier of season 5 episodes.  I'm almost disappointed there's still one episode to go, because that ending would have been such a great way to close the season.  No way can they top that, and now we'll have to deal with fallout from the pseudo-relationship, and...yeah, bleh.  Let's just pretend it stops here.
CSI: NY, "Happily Never After" 

I was bouncing over to CBS during commercial breaks on Wednesday night, and I happened to see both the bit about the nitrogen pumps and the ending before I could watch the episode properly.  Luckily, it didn't so much spoil the episode as make it interesting to know what the clues were pointing to, as well as offer relief that the sweet-faced hotel worker with the lovely Irish accent was innocent.  Hey, CSI franchise, you know how you like to have guest stars from one show pop up again on other ones?  Could you possibly get her back?  I demand to see more of this actress.

So...this was one of those episodes where you either loved the gimmick or you hated it.  Personally, I loved it, even though despite the obvious Wicked Witch theme of the first case I could not stop thinking that this was an example of "Devil Wears Prada" instead.  Still, I loved all the little tie-in details, from the manner of her body's discovery (crushed by a house castle, while wearing red heels!) to being from Kansas and having a terrier whose name was an anagram of Toto.  Especially as, except for the red heels, I was not clever enough to realize any of this on my own until other people pointed it out, and then it was like "Oh!"  Most of the symbolism in the Wendy case would have gone over my head too, if not for the help of other people.  All the underlying analysis opportunities took this ep from an underwhelming average to a pretty solid B+; although it still didn't quite have the "pop" feeling I get from a great episode, it left me a lot more satisfied than some of the early offerings this year.

Let's cover Fiona's case which I mostly mean "Let us count the ways in which Flack brings the squee."   HIS EXPRESSION while looking at the appalling condition of the street vendors' carts.  "This is just wrong.  Seriously, no New Yorker should ever see this.  Ever."  Oh, Don.  Poor thing; clearly he has been emotionally damaged and scarred for life, as confirmed by his response to Stella asking if he's okay that "No, I'm not...I don't think I'm ever gonna be the same."

As if I were not already in stitches from this oft-rewound scene, we then get the thrill of a chase scene, during which he gets to not only run but leap over obstacles, perform a spectacular shoulder roll (pausing to look down in disgust and shake off the hand that just touched the filthy ground), and throw a guy off the side of a ladder.  And he does all this while wearing a really attractive brown suit, which should not look nearly as good on him as it does.

Oh!  And because there are EVEN MORE THINGS about this case which are great, Fiona had an adorable little dog.  How happy am I about cute breeds like Norwich terriers getting highlighted?  If I see one more Yorkie as the dog of choice for rich people, ungood things will happen.  Anyway, since the dog was with her when she was killed, it naturally must be found and brought in for evidence-processing - by Lindsay, no less!  "OMG LINDSAY IS SO ADORABLE WITH OTTO I THINK I MAY DIE."  I always explode with squee when animals are involved, but she's so good with them, and the dog's constant attempts to lick her hands and face were nothing short of adorable.  People, this is an example of how to make a worthwhile evidence-processing montage.  I not only watched it, I watched it three times.

Also, it amuses me that this dog is very similar in size and coloring to Danny's dog (which NO ONE will ever convince me was not his dog).  I can't picture Danny and Lindsay with kids, but my fuzzy future scenarios are dead set on them having multiple small-to-medium sized canines in their household.  Besides, how CUTE was she carrying the dog back to its new owner there at the end?

Speaking of worthwhile evidence-processing montages, 1 out of every 40 times or so they manage to make themselves useful by providing good song recommendations.  Like this one, Silversun's "Lazy Eye."  (edit: which is actually much too long and a little bit annoying in places.  Good in snippets, though)

Oh yes, and a Quotable Quote --
Hawkes: ...are they applauding?  (audience keeps clapping) -.- They're applauding. 
(Flack's Expression: People disturb me.)

As for the other case, I was way off on the backstory for "Wendy"...I was so convinced that she was an actress appearing in a play somewhere, that I couldn't understand what was taking them so long to start researching local theaters.  I think the promos tricked me with suggestive editing on that count, but I also didn't see why it took so long to make the Peter Pan connection.  Or why Sid needed to waste time tracking down a visual aid - I'm assuming he didn't actually need to research the details of such a famous story...

Speaking of small tie-ins, I liked the "pocket full of posy/ashes, ashes/all fall down" connection, even though I thought that was going to be more significant than it was.  Really, I just loved everything about the Wendy case.  For example, it brought me ANGELL!  WOO!  More wonderfully, it brought me a Danny/Angell scene (damn it, I need my shippy kicks somewhere.  Don't judge me).  And all joking aside, I really thought that was a wonderful handling of the situation.  She expressed concern without being overbearing, and even knowing Danny would barely acknowledge her, it would have been remiss of her not to mention it.  I like the very careful control in his voice as he emphasized Ruben's name with a somewhat deadened sense of emotion.

I also liked the major HEE moment later on, as for the second time in the ep Mac breaks off conversation and stares intently at something above them, and Danny informs Angell, deadpan, that "He's been doing this a lot lately."

So, let me get this straight: a bunch of young people (possibly in their 20's, but they sure looked like teenagers) decide to recapture their childhood by dressing up in storybook costumes, getting high, and then dancing and playing around in kindergarten classrooms after hours.   Huh.  When I want to recapture my childhood I watch Garfield and set up my Littlest Pet Shops.  Or maybe go play on the elementary school swings, which requires no breaking and entering.

As for who killed her...dude, I refuse to believe that having sex with a girl who's high while you are not automatically constitutes rape.  It apparently was in this case, since she somehow came around long enough to shriek and protest, but in Fail.  Being less inhibited does not make you brain dead; even high or drunk, you can still feel like wanting to sleep with someone you're attracted to.  Anyway, I'm bothered by that ending because I can't figure out how, without a confession, they had proof that he killed her.  Was his DNA and/or fingerprint on the murder weapon?  Did he have her blood on his clothes?  I not understand how his DNA on a hat found at the scene sealed the deal, motive or not (besides, I thought the hat was *in* the bus and Wendy was *on* the bus.  Could have been left behind at different times.  Or maybe as part of their trippy childhood roleplaying, they pretended they were riding the bus before they went back inside and hooked up).  Why would he confess? 

A smattering of other things
-For once I didn't mind the set-up in the teaser because the boyfriend/girlfriend pair were actually rather cute chasing each other through the winter wonderland

-I SO wanted the pink, furry-collared coat that the girlfriend was wearing.   I also wanted Stella's gray overcoat.  And Lindsay's wine-colored one was to DIE for.  Most of these coats come in cuts that wouldn't like good on me at all, and yet I cannot stop envying them.

-While we're on the subject of clothes, I love and actually want Lindsay's teal sweater with the crocheted collar and sleeves, and the scarf she wore while checking out the nitrogen tanks.  And Stella's black top looked good for a classy party, even with its racer back, but was not so much with the workplace appropriateness.   "Don't go to the Miami place, Stell."

-So of course she makes sure to do just that, prompting a cry of "Holy cleavage factory!" from me in regards to her next shirt, with the neckline halfway to her navel.

-You know, with all the sneaking-up-on from the former and the awkwardness and uncomfortable pauses of the latter, Mac and Adam are turning into Grissom and Hodges.  THIS IS MORE UNBEARABLE THAN USUAL.  Mac is still a bit more indulgent with his fanboy tech, though.

-I've always wanted to try hot roasted chestnuts.  I don't know where I could possibly find them around here, but it's high on my list of foods I'm desperate to try.  Right behind lobster and tiramisu.  (clearly all of equal quality, these three things)

-I find it amusing that I scribbled that down as an offhand comment, and the chestnut vendor ended up being the whole reason for the murder in the first place.
CSI: 8x11, "Bull"
How dare you change this title from "Booty and the Beast!"  That was a great one!  Anyway.

So, as of two days prior to this episode's airing, I learned Jewel was going to be on it.  I ran around squealing giddily for two days because I adore Jewel and was curious to check out her acting chops, only to discover that her appearance was a cameo, singing the national anthem in the beginning, never to be seen again.  DISAPPOINTING, and not least because I think I have actually heard our anthem sung so many times that I'm sick of it.  C'mon, her entire last album was country; surely she could have been the one on stage during the bar riot instead of the lousy band we saw?

But apparently Jewel doesn't exist in CSIverse (which is sad, really), since Ty Murray was also in this episode, but while he had a much more fantastic role as the victim of the week, he was basically playing himself.  Except not really, since he's retired from competition (I am not looking this stuff up on Wikipedia at all), so he was more playing a past version of himself, a character with the same name and profession.  And nobody outside the other rodeo people commented on his fame at all.

So, let's talk about how I feel about rodeos.  On the one hand, I hate them because there seems to be a quite a wide basis for cruelty.  I mean, it's not quite on the same plane as dogfighting, but it's still not a fun place to be if you're a cow.  On the other hand, some of the events clash with my sim horse club background, and the pride I took in raising Mustangs to be champions in calf-roping and such.  But both my hands agree that the bucking events, bronco or bull, are mean-spirited and moronic displays of nothing more than human arrogance, and I could have done without shot after shot of bulls breaking from the gate.  Remember how I said the dogfight was okay because it wasn't being done just for atmospheric effect?  Gratuitous footage of bucking bulls is not okay, especially as most of it looked like real stock footage.  The only way I get through it is by believing that cattle have dimmer brains, and at least the bulls get a chance to try and vent their rage on the people tormenting them.  (go ahead, try and tell me you didn't snicker when Ty got face-stomped by a thousand-pound hoof.)

The case was actually fairly entertaining, overall, especially since Your Tax Dollars at Work did not have especially relevant spoilers - well, they were relevant, but they didn't fall into place until about the 3/4 mark - so I was pretty much going in blind.   I like this treading of familiar ground; I may not know a great deal about bull breeding but I know horse breeding, so that whole subplot there made sense.  I like when I know things before the exposition kicks in.  :D  And I like seeing animals in any context, because I think cattle are beautiful.  Bulls with thick horns and huge humps are somewhat homelier than, say, Jersey cows, but they have the same appealing face.  Plus I'm stealing Wind Twister for a horse name.

I loved the return of Precious Ricky (pity he got blown away, though...dude!  You don't randomly bring back a recurring character just to kill him off!).  I was incredibly disappointed that Cash ended up being involved in the bull-semen-stealing.  I also learned that bulls "go homosexual in captivity," which I was completely unaware of and feel needs further research to determine the extent of its truthfulness.  In case you can't tell from the disconnected rambling, I'm tired and impatient to get to the golden bit of this ep.

(Disclaimer: I only read the initial spoiler at YTDAW; I didn't go back to check the later additions.  So I had absolutely no idea that this was coming.)

At first I was just bemused by the idea of Grissom liking cowboy poetry - fits with him being a childhood fan of Roy Rogers - and trying to imagine him poring over a collection of it.  I was still writing this thought out when I heard something POTENTIALLY HUGE.  And by "potentially huge," I mean I could have sworn I heard Nick say something about making sense of your girl leaving, and Grissom responding with something about how poetry "helps with that too."

Doth my ears deceive me?  "Oh - OH!  NICK'S EXPRESSION SAYS IT ALL; THAT WAS A THINLY VEILED REFERENCE TO SARA.  GRISSOM HAS BEEN WRITING POETRY.  I FIND THIS AWESOME.  And fear the *crap* out of what is about to hit"  I also predict that one person will actually be able to write poet!Grissom well, and that it will be amazing.  I can't wait to find this person.

Really, though.  THANK YOU, WRITERS.  For a minute there I thought my wishful thoughts had misinterpreted that scene, but then I saw Nick's expression twist into one of equally suspicious puzzlement; he was clearly making the same connection, so it was deliberate.   Which made me all kinds of happy.  You see, I've come a long way since my miserable and pessimistic howling in GGaL.  I choose to believe that this isn't literally coming to terms with being dumped, or even being on a temporary break, but simply dealing with being alone again for a while.  And from the context of the conversation, I choose to believe that he's actually writing it, not just reading it (note to the bad!fic writers: just because I think he's writing it doesn't mean I think he's showing it to anyone, including/especially Sara.  It's an exercise in reflection, meditation; not unlike journaling.  And NO, HEY, NO GRISSOM DIARIES EITHER).

In other news, Wendy's way-too-long story about the guy involved with bestiality was...disturbing, not least because of the fact that she can still remember these details rather than actively scrubbing and/or bleaching her brain to remove them...but totally worth it to see Nick and Greg's increasingly desperate interruptions and attempts to shut her up, as they got slightly green around the gills. 
Greg: We get the picture!
Nick: I wish I didn't.

When we got to the letter at the end and discovered it wasn't about either of the women in his life, I steeled myself for Brokeback Mountain.  When we discovered it was about the bull, for one terrifying minute, I thought we were going to go back to that horrible bestiality place...but luckily, it was just his platonic love for the creature.  Okay, I can relate to that.  Except not, because that is totally misguided.  That's like hunters claiming to love nature by shooting bits of it.  Some people, most of them men, are just nutjobs.

A smattering of other stuff
Grissom, even though you and your Trigger club story are precious, I'm not sure it's every kid's dream to become a cowboy.  Other than kids who are raised on ranches, I think that might have been just you.

I really love the CGI where you could watch both the bull's and the cowboy's skeletons in motion during the ride and the subsequent chin-vision.  I dubbed it skelevision, and demand to see it more often.

Hodges: I'm gonna need another piece for comparison.
Catherine: You forget how to use the scissors?

8:40: Oh hey, Warrick!    I forgot he existed.  That's...probably not a good sign when I don't notice his absence for 2/3 of an ep.

I love that Nick talked the suicidal cowboy down by relating to him as one Texan to another.  Yay, references to childhood!  But boo to long and boring segments of talking guns out of peoples' hands.

Overall: Well, I wouldn't call it super exciting, but this was a pretty solid installment.  I found it a little disappointing for a final ep in terms of all-around content, but YTDAW has since assured me that Grissom's reading of the cowboy's poem at the end was meant to mirror his thoughts about Sara (not so much literally on every line, but in tone and sentiment).  I didn't pick up on this, but I can be thick-headed, and I was thoroughly convinced once I heard it again with that perspective in mind.  Yay keyrran for transcribing --

I can't help now but wonder what your brown eyes were concealing
Our bodies close together like my ride hand in my glove
Heart pounding with excitement and dare I say it love
I know I'll never own you it's your nature to run free
But I'll pray the lord above that one day you'll come back to me
Then we'll ride off in glory until our time is done
And I will be your hero, your cowboy in the sun.

Hearing that David Rambo, Unofficial Manager of GSR, wrote the episode just sealed it.  It's a very artistic and subtle but lovely thing to do, and that wraps the season fittingly, so now I am mostly content.  Not at all bitter that CSI only made it as far as 11 to Miami's 13 and NY's 14.  And thus does the season maintain its record of being FRUSTRATINGLY STILL AWESOME in post-Sara era.

P.S. It's been four fucking episodes since Sara left, the first one of which we almost universally agreed was fantastic despite her absence.  Please stop bitching about how the show has "gone downhill" and now it just feels like "a hollow shell" and you have to go seek comfort in your reruns and DVDs.  Because, FOUR.  FUCKING.  EPISODES.   God knows I pitched a hissy fit about her leaving, and she's my second-favorite character, but the show did not change overnight simply because she left (apparently we don't remember all those episodes where she had like 3 minutes of screentime with no character development included).  You don't have to love the last four eps like I have, but it would be nice if you would actually give it some time to establish a direction before declaring it unredeemable crap.  You're not a FOX network exec with an ax. 

The above rant was not directed towards any one particular person, but it was most definitely inspired by YTDAW at large.
Without a Trace, 6x11, "4G"
1. Booooooooring.
    1a. Seems Eric Close, i.e. "a series regular," directed it.  Which explains everything, really.

2. What was up with the fugly black glasses Jack was wearing?

3. Oh!  It's that girl!  The dirty and haggard girl they found in the cage!  That seems like it happened a really long time ago.  Hang on, this was the only part of the episode that was slightly interesting at all, so I'm going to sub-number the hell out of it.

    3a. Google-fu says it was in last season's finale.  Really?  Oh yeah...I just don't remember it because I chose to only focus on Danny and Elena.  Which I was perfectly justified in doing.

    3b. You know, this is one of those times where it would probably have been helpful to have thrown in that "previously-on" segment you're so fond of using these days.  Because the name "Terry Long" meant nothing to me, and not even the sight of the girl triggered a connection without the flashback.
    3c. What was up with the forced hugging there?  I mean, I can vaguely understand the idea that Jen might actually connect with the detective who found her; Horatio accomplishes this all the time, but while her cliched angry outburst of "Get out get out get out!" dissolving into tears was to be expected, I didn't quite make the jump to him pulling her into his arms in what looked like a fairly crushing hug.  That seems like a less-than-helpful approach to a girl who was (I presume) sexually abused. 

4. Elena had a scene spoken in Spanish.  Minor glee, but I take my glees where I can get them.

5. There was a Jack/Sam scene.  It went exactly nowhere towards convincing me that they have any sort of connection at all.  Ho -hum.

    5a. BUT!  I did immediately notice the pictures of his daughters in the background, which was wonderful and reminds me - you know how I loved Laura on the original cast of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"  Yeah, a while back, I discovered (to my chagrin) that it's because she was previously known to me as Jack's younger daughter.  I also recently discovered that she now plays the daughter on Back to You (God, show, three awesome actors AND YOU STILL SUCK.  It pains me that you suck).

    5b. The point is, I miss seeing Jack's daughters on this show.
Tags: are you smarter, cold case, csi, csi: ny, tv commentary, without a trace

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