CSI: Miami - 6x15, "Ambush"
*takes a deep breath* *slowly exhales* Oooooooooh boy. This is going to be difficult.
Firstly: Remember all the stuff I mentioned in last week's "previously on" segment? Well, this week ALL of it will be shockingly relevant (which begs the question of why they didn't wait a week to come back after strikegate and swap 6.14 to put it after this 2-parter, because in retrospect, that's really choppy). Also relevant will be PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING THAT EVER HAPPENED ON THE ENTIRE SERIES.
Secondly: Guys! I think The Recapist stopped doing recaps for this show (I like to pretend that last one was so bad it got her fired. Do not correct me if this untrue). This makes me quite sad. What will I mock now?? And can you even imagine what a mess she would have made of this episode? God, the lulz that never were. I'm imagining something like "Julia, looking heartbroken, tells Horatio it's for his own good. You can tell this is killing her." Or maybe just "Who the f*** is Marisol?"
Thirdly: I was actually doing pretty well in the first half of the episode. I was entertained, if not completely blown away yet. The second half is where things began to happen with increasingly shock value. I think the simplest way to tackle this...is with an extended running commentary.
1. Bodies underwater are the SCARIEST DAMN THINGS POSSIBLE on a crime show. I'm still not over "Pirated," and now I have a new terror to haunt the everliving daylights out of me. I am not even kidding here - that shot made me shiver in pure terror. Of course, I also made the mistake of watching it at 5 AM in the deserted computer lab, and 5 AM does not feel like morning when it's still pitch black and you've been up all night. The point: Kathleen's body was reeeeally legitimately terrifying.
Which made me wonder why the kid who swam down there freaked out so much - dude, an arm popped up to the surface. What did you think you were going to find? Discarded shop window dummies?
Also, I'm still kind of amazed they found her body at all, because I thought for sure she was going to escape somehow. Well played element of surprise, show.
2. Ouch, so Eric's still dealing with the brain damage, then? Still, a year later? I don't know whether to be annoyed at the way they use it as a plot device, or impressed that they're keeping up the continuity. On second thought, because I am determined to adore this episode as much as possible, I think I am impressed. I like that Calleigh picks it up, and curiosity turns to realization turns to a slight frown. This is so very far from good. And, come on, it's just a little bit heartbreaking to see it all spelled out in such clarity - these aren't even hints to jog the memory, this is an extensive checklist. Probably just in case, but the fact that there are cases...
3. Wait, wait, wait - A WEEK? Dude, I know you work at an expedited rate down there, solving cases in half a day, but 3 months passed in the strike. You could EASILY have called her missing for 3 months in order to catch your show up to present timeline, and you choose A WEEK? Please tell me there's a really good reason for this. Like maybe this episode unfolds over 3 months.
4. HORATIO. LAB COAT. EVIDENCE MONTAGE. WHAT IS THIS; I THINK I MAY DIE OF SHOCK. We will elaborate on this, and other things, at the Fashion Show.
5. You know, in theory, stealing money from a dead woman doesn't seem quite as reprehensible as Calleigh makes it sound. I mean, she's dead. And since her body's at the bottom of a lake, the money is just sitting there being useless anyway - it's not like anyone else is going to miss it. Possibly my moral compass is a bit off-center, but still.
6. Don't say it, don't say it, please don't say it...UGH. Kyle keeps using that word "Dad." I wish he would stop. It never sounds natural, and makes me squirm uncomfortably. "I'm not gonna let you use me against her!" Because she's not using you against HIM in the slightest, no sirree. Why does Kyle have to be such a stupid, sulky brat of a character? Meanwhile, it pains me more and more to think of Horatio ever hooking up with Julia under any circumstances.
7. "Solve a crime with Calleigh?" This is actually really compelling; I'm impressed. You could just watch my jaw drop lower and lower as they revealed all the details of the site, and between that and Calleigh looking like she'd been punched as she stared at it...wow. Between this and the earlier scene of finding her blacked-out photos, right here is where I hand Emily Procter the Best Acting award of the night, because she usually plays Calleigh tough as nails, as she should, but then there are moments like this where she becomes totally vulnerable, and looks like she might break in the face of a light breeze. She does a really nice job of wavering on the line here, trying to keep up a brisk exterior while hesitating every time Ryan reminds me of the seriousness of the situation.
In a related note, Ryan is the King of Painful Exposition in this scene. So clumsy, between "this video makes it look like you need help remembering how to process a crime scene" (DOES IT REALLY? I WASN'T QUITE SURE WHAT I WAS SEEING) and "we're lucky we have the [transportation records] because the department usually throws them away right away." (um, OK? Is it significant that this is lucky?)
8a. Wha - bluh - NO ONE TOLD ME YELINA WAS BACK! NO ONE!!! *flails*
8b. *squeals* MENTION OF MARISOL BY NAME, WHEEEEEE!!!!! *flails more*
Seriously. Yelina makes magic happen. She even almost humanizes Horatio, with her quiet line "I never asked you about what happened in Rio." That, right there, is different from the entire tone of the rest of their conversation, or the episode, of the recent half of the series. I don't know how to explain the shift, but it's perceptive, inquisitive, seeking. Their conversation thus far consists of Horatio curtly listing questions, and Yelina dutifully feeding back expository information. And, well, she actually does it better than that, because she is Magic, but she's talking to Season 6 Horatio, and Season 6 Horatio ruins everything. But that line, it heralds back to the Old Days. They could almost have a real conversation here.
But then a second later she brushes it off, shakes her head and cuts off the opening long before he can react, and the moment is lost. It's more than a little bit frustrating, especially given that this is her only scene in this episode.
9. God, Julia makes my skin crawl. Is that just me? She really makes my skin crawl every time she appears on screen. And yet, when she tells Horatio, "You murdered this man," all he can do is offer his sickened smile. It's the kind of grin that's supposed to suggest he's in control and think your little game is very amusing, but you know what? HE SO DID. No getting around that, Horatio (yeah, yeah, I know, part 2). You had vengeance in your eyes and thoughts of justice in your heart, and despite the convenient "he was trying to shank Eric a second ago and had two knives in his hands when he came at me" excuse, you killed him in cold blood. I saw your eyes as the Jesus Statue glowered down upon you. I saw Guilt, in flashing neon colors.
Also, I think it's kind of funny how she keeps growling at him to leave her alone, considering that the way she sniped Kyle out from under him guaranteed that he'd take a lifelong interest in her.
10. ZOMG WTF COOPER?!?!?!?! Mind: *IS BLOWN*
This is when the episode officially started to get out of control with the mindspins. I still haven't gotten over what he did last time we saw him, and now he's like fifteen times more evil and/or crazy. Since when was he a sarcastic, passive-aggressive little bitch?! And - "JUDGMENT ERRORS?!" COOPER. I think your little twin terrors of theft and credit card fraud, not to mention the emotional blow you dealt your coworkers, went a bit beyond "judgment errors." And, really, nothing you did was illegal? Not even the part where you stole crime scene photos? I think the law frowns upon that. Wow. Just...way to make his character completely irredeemable, TPTB. Why could you not have done this to Natalia the Effing Mole? When, precisely, did you start viewing Cooper as this giant scapegoat? I remember when he used to be just a big dumb lovable Lab tech. I reeeeally did not ever envision him capable of the sheer twisted madness that is this website.
At least Calleigh is scary and bad-ass in this scene. And even then, she inexplicably tries to be understanding and reason with him, rather than coming up with a reason to slap handcuffs on him and drag him down to talk to Horatio.
11. Kristine Huntley seems to believe that Julia is to be pitied, or something, since she's clearly under Creepy Ron's thumb. In fact, the exact phrase she uses is "did anyone really think a woman Horatio once loved could truly be evil?" Which: a) "loved" is a strong word, there, no matter what he claims, and b) did anyone really think a woman Horatio has been suspecting this hard could truly be innocent? My immediate response to her saying "it's for your own good" was YOU. EVIL. BITCH.
This is the part where things very rapidly explode in a hailstorm of shock and amazement.
12. STETLER! Stetler looking pensive and worried and caring!
13. HORATIO/CALLEIGH OMG I THINK I AM ABOUT TO DIE, DIE, DIE OF SHOCK. He's being dragged off to the wild vigilante world of Brazil - and the last person he talks to is Calleigh, letting him know that they'll be there for him no matter what. I have missed these two speaking to each other so much more than I ever thought possible. And the way she just gazes after him until he gets in the car? Ahhhh, love.
14. ZOMG!!!!!!!! JOHN HAGEN! JOHN! FREAKING! HAGEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(insert brief lull to call paramedics, restore me with nutrients and sleep, wrestle any products containing caffeine away, and wait for a doctor's note to clear me for watching the rest of the episode)
Natalia: Has Cooper lost his mind?!
RS: Good question, and the answer is: um, yeah. LOW. BLOW. That is low. If I had any lingering doubts that Cooper had transformed into anything but an unrecognizable slimeball, they are completely gone now. Gross. I realize you weren't there, you twitchy little freak, to see what how badly that incident wrecked her, but it was not good. She practically went into catatonic shock. She walked out for the entire summer. MAKING SARCASTIC LIGHT OF IT IS THE CRUELEST THING YOU COULD POSSIBLY DO. (However, writers? Referencing things that happened in season 3 is awesome, and I am highly impressed that so far you have not expressly busted out Raymond's name even once)
15. Whoa! And you even threw Jake's picture in there? Show, show, I cannot take this much awesome in 39 minutes!
16. Oh my God - Eric kicking down Cooper's door, yelling, coming in swinging?! I AM DEAD. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? DEAD RIGHT NOW. I am like, squeaking out my dying breaths in a pure overdose of squee, and NGH and just, just, bljaskldfjaskl;dfjklasd!! MY HIP-HUGGERS SHIPPER SIDE IS EXTREMELY FREAKING HAPPY JUST NOW THANKS.
I've got a thing for angry, protective alpha males, especially when they are usually laid-back and fairly nice guys who get their ire up on behalf of particularly important women. Thus Eric throwing Cooper to the floor, getting in his face, and threatening with utmost sincerity to come back and kill him if anything happens to Calleigh...was really hot. Also, I hereby resign my lingering membership in the Cake club, and need Eric/Calleigh to happen in canon right now. Because the crush may be silly and even simpering at times, I am hard pressed to imagine Jake gathering up this kind of raw emotional duress. This is what makes me believe in Eric's sincerity. You got me, writers. I fell for your timetable exactly as planned. Now give me the next phase.
17. "He murdered my wife." *muted squeal* SERIOUSLY, NOW I AM EVEN MORE DEAD! This is my OTP we're talking about, people! The one that got me back into writing fanfic! The one that's been my default icon for almost a year and shows no signs of changing! My love for Horatio/Marisol cannot be killed. I will squee and dance and clap over every mention, especially since I thought we'd never hear about it again after "Rio." And yet it lives on! It lives on like Raymond! But God, it feels like ages since I heard the phrase "my wife" come out of his mouth. I don't care how short the marriage was. "My wife" just sounds so perfect. *sighs in contented exhaustion*
18. Wait, wait, WAIT. That's it? THAT'S the entirety of his scary extradition to Brazil? Two minutes to talk to the chief of police, a half-admitted confession, AND THEN HE STROLLS OUT SCOT-FREE?! FAIL, WRITERS. SO MUCH FAIL. And even if I didn't already know how the teaser for next episode goes, I don't think I would be worried for Horatio's safety if someone's stupid enough to give him a loaded gun.
In an even more facetious note, I like how the base of the giant Christ the Redeemer statue is, unlike it was during "Rio" for Horatio's moment of communing with Jesus, completely crowded with tourists. As it should be.
19. Forget the mysterious gunshots; Calleigh's lying bound and gagged somewhere! Ahhhh! OH MY GOD, YOU HAD A SUCCESSFULLY SUSPENSEFUL CLIFFHANGER FOR ONCE! You could have ridden out a hiatus week with all that suspense, and you blew the conclusion the very next night? Oh well. More fun for me; no wait time at all! I mean, except for the time I spent writing this post.
Synthesis: So! The ending was a bit of a letdown. But everything else was pretty much M-F-ING, MIND-BLOWINGLY AMAZING. I barely had time to notice the stupid editing tricks (even though I think they slipped a new one in there, clever bastards - the thing where it looks like a frozen computer screen, with 15 copies of one image and only the last one moving) or even get bored with evidence montages, because there was just no time to waste in this episode. It was all high-stakes, fast-paced emotional blowout from start to finish. So big, in fact, that I almost forgot to do my closing tag --
Notes from the Sunshine on a Cloudy Day Fashion Show
-Natalia: Wearing a fairly conservative and unremarkable yellow short-sleeve top, with a cute little buckle adorning the front.
-Frank: Nice gray suit, even nicer gold tie
-Kyle: Sporting a yellow, that's right, sweater vest! (ba-dum pa!)
-Ryan: Loved the black suit, especially with yellow shirt, with matching yellow tie! This looked much cuter on him than should have been possible.
-Valera: Sporting a top with disco-inspired pattern of yellow and brown, I would just like to point out that she and Ryan ALWAYS MATCH. Always. Someone in the team always breaks the Fashion Show rules and comes dressed in black or white or occasionally some other color, but Ryan & Valera? Always identical. RaVe lives.
-Evil Julia: May have been wearing something dark, not sure; could not see past MASSIVELY DISTRACTING AMOUNTS OF CLEAVAGE.
-Yelina: Decked in a very attractive white suit jacket/skirt and almost as much cleavage as Julia (jealous? hmm...)
-Calleigh: Breaking her own fashion rules for once, and sporting COLOR! - a shirt that was either blue or purple, depending on the light, fitted with a low but ridiculous neckline and looked beautiful in it. Her makeup was amazing too. Shiny lip gloss FTW.
-Horatio: Horatio was in a lab coat TWICE. I am still dead from extreme shock about this. Damn, Stetler, you sure know to dress him up when you win the kinky bedroom bets. [I BET YOU THOUGHT I HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT THIS. HAHA. NEVER.]
-Stetler: On the other hand, his purple tie (which clearly stands for SO MUCH) made another appearance this week. So now I don't know what to think.
My Dove chocolate wrapper says "Test your limits and keep going." Since I take my candy very seriously, I will heed its advice and push right into part 2 without giving myself any pause to recover in between.
6x16, "All In"
Wow. Just...wow. You'll notice I say that without capslock and/or exclamation points, because it was that disappointing compared to part 1. It was like they suddenly realized, after wrapping the last episode, that they had too much material to cram into two episodes after all, and so they abruptly dropped half their plotlines to resolve at some future point, leaving just enough to make them feel awkward and out of place in what was otherwise a completely separate Calleigh-centric story. And the Calleigh-centric story was pretty good, don't get me wrong, but it also felt sort of rushed and slap-dash.
Or maybe my entire perception of the episode was colored by the godawful teaser. One minute in, we already had irritating washed-out flashbacks and stupid editing tricks in the form of those awful DANCING SUBTITLES (though at least they were for words in actual Spanish this time). And then the shooting began.
Note for the Record: more kills to his name.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY? SEVEN?! Do 9mm even HAVE that many rounds? I thought they only had like six. I didn't see him get an extra clip in there. And anyway, that last shot was COMPLETELY unwarranted. I mean, the bit where he played dumb and asked "como?" to buy distraction was almost funny, but...then it was completely ruined by the bloodspree shooting rampage and the point-blank murdering. I keep telling you people, Horatio is the most dangerous kind of serial killer out there. I think he enjoys it.
And then he looks up and tries to find Jesus' blessing in the sunlight dappling through the leaves, or something, and I am just no longer sympathetic to his guilt burden at all. GOOD JOB, SHOW. Six years, I've been defending him. This time, I'm telling you, it's over. And wait, we're out of Brazil already? That's all you're going to do with it? I feel extremely cheated out of something.
No, no, hang on, wait - is this all taking place the same effing day?! I excused this creative license once in "Rio"! I'm not doing this again! FLIGHTS TO BRAZIL AND BACK TAKE A DAMN LONG TIME, even if you only spend fifteen minutes in the actual country. *pause* Oh, I see. It's taking place over *two* days...where nobody, not one single person changes their clothes. Well, that's totally different then. And come on, the CSIs working 'round the clock to find Calleigh, I understand, but why aren't Kyle and Julia, at least, in fresh clothes? What kind of hygiene is she teaching that boy? (...then again, his father is the man who wears the same outfit 75% of the time)
I AM FIVE PARAGRAPHS IN AND HAVE NOTHING TO SAY BUT SHOUTY SNARK. THIS DOES NOT BODE WELL.
Dear TPTB: I am angry that I did not get a definitive answer about the level of Julia's evilness. I expected a clear resolution to this storyline. I do not approve of Evil Julia becoming a half-season-long-plot arc, as I have grown quite tired of her
and her boobs. I hope she dies at the end of it. Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind Kyle dying with her.
In a related note: hey, sir, you know what happened to the last guy who tried to blame Horatio for police brutality by injuring himself? It didn't quite go the way he wanted.
And what was with Cooper strolling in all meek and apologetic? NOW he has a change of heart? You're telling me he was so dumb that he couldn't figure out he was putting Calleigh in danger until she was actually in danger? (of course, this IS the man who stole a dead colleague's credit card...) And why did he not get punished, like, at all? One day Eric's threatening murder, the next he's a ball of forgiveness? I want Cooper in jail right now. It just felt like such a waste, building Cooper into this twisted villain - which I was actually starting to buy at last episode's end - and then unravel it all and go "Just kidding! He's still the same dopey idiot you all know and love." This is the kind of thing that frustrates me. I think I need to go watch Ryan slam him up against a wall, shouting molish accusations all the while, a few dozen times.
The only moment of win I will allow for this entire botched sideplot is Horatio in a lab coat. I am awed and a little frightened by this sight. I do not understand this strange world of science he wanders in.
The Calleigh-Centric Plot
Man, even the "Solve a crime with Calleigh" plot point sort of fizzled and died in the first quarter of the episode. Oh well.
I love kick-ass Calleigh. I love all her sneaky secret messages (messages left in fingerprints = greatest thing ever), and her general cool-under-pressure skills, and even her one attempt to overpower her attacker. I also love that that last one fails miserably, and comes complete with her getting thrown hard to the floor and then kicked sharply in the side. I like to think they included this just to placate me, the lover of the damsel-in-distress.
Along those same lines, I approved of him frequently snarling "bitch" to her face, though am moderately disappointed he never followed through on his threats to do much worse. Also, having just watched Jack Malone survive impossible odds, I keep wondering why this criminals never just go ahead and shoot their hostages after their initial purpose is served. Every new thing you let them help with, the greater the chance they'll either escape or you'll get caught.
That being said, the scene with Frank, Eric and Ryan at the poker table, all drawing their guns? Stupid Western-themed music and all, that was AWESOME. A completely priceless sight gag. I laughed a lot.
"I'd fold. Don't you agree, Calleigh?" OMG, awesome Horatio/Calleigh takedown FTW! The guys come to her rescue, but with a little extra enabling from Horatio, Calleigh gets the last step of the rescue all to herself, because she is kick-ass and indepedent like that.
And as for the end of that scene...AWWWW, IT'S CALLEIGH'S BOYS! Eric first with both hands on her, of course (I foresee glorious icon images), but Ryan right there, slipping the gun out of her grasp and laying a hand on her shoulder in comfort. Tell me your heart doesn't just melt at the sight of tiny little Calleigh, tough as nails but also presently quite shaken and tired, with all her adrenaline suddenly flagging, with all the big tough guys rallying around her, attention focused solely on her. She's their Bullet Girl. Oh, and you'll notice that Natalia is always left out of these team scenes. Because she still doesn't belong, and everybody knows it. *laughs uproariously, and not a little evilly*
Oh yeah, and then there's the other thrilling high point of the episode...the last E/C scene.
"Eric, I'm fine. I really am, I promise."
And I am dangerously close to blowing up in squee. Ah, hell. "Oh! OH, I LOFF THEM! Plz 2 be dumpin' Jake at yer earliest convenience." Arrrrrgh, I finally fell in love with Eric. Buzzed hair and all. His expression at the end there finally won me over, and I melted into a puddle of goo. Which means it is now time for Calleigh to begin following suit.
If you need me, I'll be observing the the six dozen post-ep fics hitting the internet illustrating what happens after he takes her home, ranging from the "they've secretly been in a relationship for weeks already!" perspective, to the purely innocent speculation, to the this-is-how-their-relationship-begins ones, and all the way to OMG hurt/comfort!sex! I'm not sure which kind I want to find. Probably not the last one. That one creeps me out a tad. Especially when written by people...probably way too young to write such stuff. (the ending! hahaha! my eyes, they cry tears of blood! No, I'm sorry, I don't have the patience to find you an actual quality post-ep)
Synthesis: Better than most of season 6. Long way down from part 1. Jury still out on whether season 5 or season 6 is worse overall.