5x05, "The Cost of Living [Another Person's Life, Even If You Bought It Fair and Square]"
First, HOLY UNEXPECTED TANIA RAYMONDE!! Or, well, actually I was looking forward to this because I saw this ep listed in her IMDB credits when I was looking her last name up for when she appeared in Cold Case, so it was more like "delightfully expected Tania Raymonde," and I can freely say that she was the very best thing about the episode. I was sure Laura was going to be the killer, just because I liked her so much, but nope! Instead she got to be the bereaved girlfriend, genuinely upset and distressed. And although I continue to disbelieve in her ability to play characters any older than her actual age of 20, I put up with that for the sake of seeing her acting chops.
I may have especially liked her many questioning scenes with Flack; after watching a trailer for "Elsewhere," I found myself a touch disappointed that, even though I like Samantha Flack as-is, that this girl couldn't have been cast as Flack's sister instead. I got around that by willfully throwing logic out the window, rewriting canon in my head and pretending that Don happens to have two sisters. At any rate, I really liked the last scene where she tearfully confessed to the accidental shooting 3 years ago, and he was about to tell her that in fact her original bullet was the ultimate cause of death here, but then thought better of it and decided she didn't need to know. *pats Flack* This is why you will always be my favorite detective.
Second, um, do I want to know anything further about the "rat fishing"? I can't figure out if he's killing them or not. He is, right? I'm confused because there's that bit where he practically cuddles one after he catches it, but then again I was also scarred as a young teenager by a certain documentary on Flint, MI, in which a woman is selling rabbits "for meat or pets," and she's holding one in her arms and petting it about two seconds before she smacks it on the head with a club, so. Either way, I think I'm probably less than fussed about him turning up dead. Although it will mean the loss of hilarious lines like this:
Rat Fisher: I swear on my sister's eyes...
Stella: Your sister's blind!
Third, I swear I didn't see any previews for this episode and had clearly forgotten any spoilers I had, and I still knew as soon as we got the shot of Stella walking down the street that something bad was going to happen. Something about the angle, maybe...I was thinking gunshot, but hey, being thrown down a flight of steps (the kind that always manage to fatally break people's necks on most procedurals when they accidentally fall down them, never mind being forcefully pushed) works too. (Or would have, if I could have actually seen the fight, but all I got was a big dark blur. There's realism, and then there's looking like you forgot to take the cap off the lens.)
I would like to believe that the skill, strength and experience of her attacker would explain his ability to overpower her and shut up the people who whine about female characters always being attacked, but I'm sure that's too much to hope for. I guess I'll just be amused that what we ordinarily refer to as "hilariously inappropriate for work" clothes - in this case, stiletto heels - saved the day for her.
Finally, I love the ingenuity required to create a gun out of a modified cheap pen, and only wish the guy hadn't been dumb enough to get caught so that he could continue to make fascinating inventions. Maybe this could be a recurring theme, like Mac creating impromptu toolkits out of ordinary items.
I also continue to be in love with the exploration of underground New York, so seeing the dining car was a fun little side trip.
I can't decide whether I loved this episode or hated it, so I'm calling it split-down-the-middle average. The case seemed slimier than usual, and the addition of the slashed-face witness gave it an even more unpleasant downturn, but then it got us lines like
Danny: All I'm saying is if your sister got cut up like that, the bodies of the guys who did it would be unrecognizable.
Flack: You kiddin' me, you wouldn't FIND the bodies.
F: Mac, what if it was your sister?
M: I'd kill 'em. (Spoken with a chillingly grim countenance and lack of hesitation.)
It also got us the amusing bit with Flack & Danny "accidentally" knocking one guy off the swings, and Danny ever-so-casually taking his spot and continuing the conversation. They really are golden when they work together, even more fun than having Angell show up to snerk "Times like this I'm glad I'm not a lab rat" or have fantastic staredowns with uppity trashy blonde hookers ("Call me 'bitch' one more time and I'll..."). And having her around is fun indeed.
On the other side of the coin, we had news about budgets and staff cuts, which rubbed me the wrong way so many times that sometimes my points of dissatisfaction negated each other and/or made me change my mind. For example, while I'm pretty sure he doesn't actually get fired, the potential of firing Adam for nothing more than budgetary reasons is like THE GREATEST IDEA EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE SHOW, and all the hot!angry!Mac shouting in the world will not make up for my disappointment when that doesn't come to pass. I love the man when he goes to bat for his employees, but Adam doesn't count.
(Although I couldn't help thinking, "You can't let Adam go. How will anything ever get analyzed? This isn't like Miami or Vegas; Adam not only does the work of five or six techs, he's apparently the only one they have!")
Or at least, such was my belief until Stella came in shouting about how they needed, needed this fancy new DNA analysis equipment, because - for example - it might allow them to get rapists off the street a day or 2 faster! And that's totally worth 7 careers to you? Yeah. No. Fail. I'm going to side with Mac on this one, even if that puts me on Adam's side as well (I'm doing it for the 6 other nameless techs).
Oh, but there's more! You see, if they continue to wait on this fancy new equipment, they will be a whole year behind the technology! Fancy that! I wonder if labs in the middle of Wyoming [or similar smaller-budget location] are so cutting edge? I kind of doubt it, and yet somehow they manage. (Yeah, yeah, more murders in New York and a generally higher standard, but still. Turning down new equipment seems like a really, really easy way to save jobs.)
Again, or not. Because Stella's version of compromising is to convince everyone on the team to give up one week of paid vacation time - and hell, not even just the time; apparently they had actual vacations planned that they're now cheerfully going to miss. Lindsay's giving up a WEDDING for this? - so that they can buy Adam another month or so of time. That nettles me on so many levels, I can't even begin to name them. What if somebody really wanted their vacation, but they were afraid to turn her down in case they'd get the cold shoulder from everyone else for being "selfish"? (because that's totally how I would have been). Bitch, you'd better steer clear of any staircases you pass in the future, because my personal goons gonna be out in full force.
In other news: Danny. Put your glasses back on right now; you look permanently squinty/sleep-deprived/stoned without them. You are not the most attractive of men on the best of days, especially since you started letting your hair have a gel-infused life of its own, but this REALLY doesn't help. Actually, for once, Kristine Huntley has the best words on the matter:
Are Danny's glasses a victim of the budget cut? The CSI is de-speckled throughout the episode and it's never explained where his glasses have gone. Danny's glasses are an essential part of the character; it's like taking away Stella's curls or Flack's infamous "fugly ties." Danny simply isn't the same without his glasses, and after five seasons, it's just odd to see him without them. What prompted the change? And can we file an appeal?
Other Parting Quotes --
Stella: This is precisely why your mother tells you to wear clean underwear.
Lindsay: Why does anybody need their mother to tell them that? Is everybody running around with dirty underwear??
Flack: I'm just throwing this out there, but killing your clients can't be good for business. I mean, how do you expect to get referrals?
We already discussed 5x07 when it aired, although the only thing I remember about it is flailing and screaming my head off as one of my half-cocked shipping fantasies finally came true and two of the most beautiful people ever shared a kiss, so I'll move along with nothing more than a satisfied nod that now I understand the story behind Stella recieving a dead rat.
5x08, "My Name is Mac Taylor"
"Let's see, episode #100 of a crime show...I predict MASSIVE SUCKAGE."
Prediction: pretty much dead-on, in the sense that it was a fairly ordinary case (although it held my attention just long enough to find out which Mac Taylor was the intended target and who was targeting them and why) and nothing really important happened other than me going -
-"Ugh, Nelly again" (even though that came with delightful and bantery Danny/Flack interrogation fun) and
-"Seriously, why was Chris Daughtry even in this?" (except I'm sorry to say that I think he did the best acting job of all the guest stars, and much as I dislike him I wouldn't mind seeing him come back to play the ex-con thug again).
-"LOLcakes, I'll just be over here having a chuckle at the theatrical slo-mo flame dance - er, I mean, suicide. Right. Was that supposed to be serious and/or tragic? Because the slo-mo sort of ruined any intensity it had."
For fun bits, we had:
-some more gratuitous Shirtless Mac...all-righty then
-an admittedly cute scene between Stella and Adam with the latter looking up the name of everyone on the team to see how many of them there were in New York (psst, hint. If you're that curious about what they look like, I have a hunch Facebook could help you out)
-my new personal canon that Sid actually is or was a woman, because I'm pretty sure I'm willing to believe he's 90 years old.
For non-fun bits, we have the seemingly anvilicious ending of unexpected headdesking, as Mac talks to Stella about how you should "make the most of moments you share with people you care about" and then they hang up and he heads out to chase some new tail. Or at least that's how it came across to me, which was highly confusing. "Wait, wait, what? She's another red herring in the potential romance department, like Quinn and the blonde woman, right? Because I kind of fail to see how this is a love connection in any way, shape or form. Come on, they spoke for like 30 seconds! WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE." And then I just sort of threw my hands up in the air and laughed in disbelief.
It's not that I have strong feelings about Mac shipping one way or the other
Next episode is baby drama, right? I need both a break and a stiff drink (metaphorically speaking) to face that mess. I'm holding out hope on the 2% chance that they will somehow use this to recapture the magic that made me ship themin season 3, but it's being overshadowed by the 98% chance that I will continue to feel the sour feelings of anti-Danny sourness I've felt since this time in 2007.