Damn my incessant curiosity.
First, let's talk about Riley Adams. You see, back in October, the CSI-watching portion of my flist promptly exploded with love for her, which made me hopeful but also nervous, because you know how I like to buck popular opinion unless there's a ship involved. I carefully avoided reading any outside opinions at all until I could form my own firsthand.
As it happened, my opinion was, um, not precisely in line with my friends' views, which I was nervous about admitting, until I decided to hit up Recapist before writing this post. I feel justified now:
Meet Riley Adams. When we first see her (or hear her, actually), she gets her badge and employee handbook from the reception desk and immediately asks, "What, no gun?" And from that moment until she stops working my last nerve, she will be known in these recaps not by her name, but as New Girl. Hint: she doesn't earn her name in this recap. New Girl spends her entire time this episode trying to prove that she's OMG SO TOUGH and OMG SO EDGY and all I want to do is OMG SMACK THE SHIT OUT OF HER.
(let's pretend that Annie doesn't change her mind an episode later, because I will not be following suit)
Now I swear I went into the show with as open a mind as I could possibly have, trying my best to disregard my previous knowledge of Lauren Lee Smith's acting history in porn and The L Word (I feel like that might also qualify as porn, now that I think about it). Really, I did! I mean, Ziva David managed to replace Kate and be awesome on NCIS, as Ryan did for Speedle on CSI: Miami, and Lindsay (eventually) proved an excellent replacement for Aiden on CSI: NY.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Riley? Is a replacement cut from the Natalia Boa Vista cloth.
My jotted-down comments read like this over the course of the episode:
-"You think I should quit?" Don't be ballsy.
-I'm adopting the David school of expressions for reacting to Riley. *stares*
-Being cheeky during your proficiency exam is neither cool nor funny. Please stop.
-Don't do that. Don't play with the morgue toys.
-ALL RIGHT, THAT'S IT. (in response to her 'jar of clean urine in my locker' scene) Your sense of "humor," as you call it? Really starting to piss me off.
-"Breathe, damn it!" is over the top, and I don't need to be bashed over the skull with her first-case heroism, ooh, so special. Official opinion: DO NOT WANT.
As with all strike-out characters, she went in to her second episode with a handicap, but there was still room for my opinion of her to improve or even turn around. Everybody gets two chances in my world
It kind of annoys me when women react with scorn to the idea of having kids. I don't know why it annoys me, especially since I don't seem likely to have any, but for my part, I grew out of that arrogant "I'M never having kids!" attitude at about age 19. Women who say it the way Riley does tend to come across as unnecessarily defensive, and I find myself a little bored by their abhorrence, as if they're somehow too good for motherhood. I'm perfectly fine with you not having/wanting children, but just know that it's neither edgy nor cool nor sophisticated of you to declare it.
(I'm guessing some of my readers are among the kids-are-not-for-me crowd, but I assure you I'm not directing this message at anyone in particular...I was just thinking over how I spent all my teenage years being a girl who was proud of my decision not to have kids, until I realized that a) nobody cared and b) it wasn't exactly a unique opinion, and suddenly it seemed silly and pointless. To me, anyway.)
Bottom line: she's everything I don't like my female characters. Outgoing, assertive, independent, overly self-confident, and currently strikes me as having the emotional capacity of a robot.
I miss Sara. I miss Sara like whoa; my brain's busy humming nostalgically over the early days of Sara in season 1 - you can give Riley the exact same context, and I promise she still will not match Sara's depth for empathy in Too Tough to Die or her fury in Sex, Lies and Larvae - and how much more, I don't know, instantly likeable Sara was. No, she was never a ball of sunshine, which I think was what most people complained about, but I loved her complexity of character.
*pulls self out of mental tailspin*
Except for New Girl, though, the episodes themselves continue to be surprisingly excellent, so let's focus on them.
'9x03, "Art Imitates Life"
WOW, I'm always surprised by the new ways CSI can invent to chill my blood. Aside from the fact that the corpses didn't look especially realistic to me - no matter how hard I tried to convince my brain otherwise, all it saw were mannequins - they get progressively horrific, and by the time we got to the poor old couple posed as birdwatchers (*shudders* Seriously, THIS IS SO CREEPY) I was twitching a bit. To say nothing of the thoroughly grotesque posing of the little boy in a bike, held up in the makeshift gas chamber with suspended ropes and wires and...ICK. ICK. ICK.
Though I have to say, it was almost as gripping as the Miniature Killer's models - that last search for the child was especially intense, over the top CPR aside - and if not for the fact that another serial killer arc so soon after the last would be seen as overkill (no pun intended), it would have been neat to see these bodies unfold over the course of several months. Also, I'm really glad that this is a fictional case. Please tell me it wasn't based on anything from real life, or I'll never be able to sleep again.
In the land of minor sideplots, ALEX KINGSTON AS DEPARTMENT GRIEF COUNSELOR FOR THE WIN. Excellently played on her part at every level, but first let me go find the writer who decided to write in a sniffly Greg, and tackle-hug him or her. THANK YOU. Even as only a 5-second exterior shot, and through a Hodges perception filter, just having it in there...poor Greg, he really has no one to talk to. I mean, in theory maybe Nick, but I like the outlet of a professional better. He's not to proud to scorn her help like most investigative employees are. I like that.
But what I like even better is her confronting Grissom about his supposed mockery (I admit, I giggled a bit when I thought he was joking about Hank too. I should know better), and hearing heartbreaking things about how Hank is listless and won't eat...made more heartbreaking by the fact that he's picking up on his owner's mood. By which I mean I like being kept up-to-date about it, but seriously, breaking my heart. *sobs and beats fists* STOP IT YOU'RE KILLING ME.
And Grissom being distracted enough to mess up lab tests... :( I'm officially becoming depressed by his downward spiral. I want him back with Sara through whatever means it takes, but I'd really prefer not to see him leave as a broken-down wreck.
In a unrelated note, I probably should have known better than to read the CSI Files review of this one, because Kristine Huntley can't even keep her Lindsay Monroe hatred out of a Vegas review, making sure to remind us how Lindsay was insufferable from day 1, whereas that Riley Adams, she's a welcome breath of fresh air!! Blech.
'9x04, "Let it Bleed"
Opening scene: Grabbing coffee? "Good Nick, be the nice guy and reach out to the new girl. Cause God knows I want no part of it."
Another fairly solid episode, although with regards to Catherine's daughter's storyline, Lindsey's magical speed-aging will never not annoy me, and to make matters worse this actress seems particularly vapid and disconnected from her character. I miss the petulant blonde Fremont-street-hitchhiking 12-year-old. That was a good kind of bratty. Now she's just...stereotypically (i.e. pointlessly) rebellious, and kind of boring as a result. And wasn't Linds looking at colleges last year? Why is she still young enough to be grounded? Was she supposed to be a junior then?
OK, case-wise. This father of the dead girl seems like a somewhat unbalanced human being, as rather than blame himself for his OBVIOUSLY TERRIBLE PARENTING, he decides to just shoot everybody who is even remotely related to his spoiled brat getting herself in trouble. The way he uses that gun as a problem solver, if I didn't know better, I'd say he was related to Horatio Caine.
I can't remember the last time I so badly wanted to throttle a random bad guy for his irritatingly intolerable stupidity. "Let's see, YOU failed to keep her from sneaking out and doing drugs - totally your responsibility as her sister and not at all mine as her father; also being a drug lord in no way sent her mixed messages - and YOU were her best friend; how dare you not have clean wholesome fun..." What he do when she was little, massacre half the boys in elementary school for teasing her?
That ending was depressing as hell, by the way.
You know what I never EVER need to see again? An amateur attempt at a blood transfusion. ICK ICK ICK EW EW EW *insert further horrified squealing and squirming* *sobs* I have a whole new world of panicked terror about IVs now!
-Heeeeeeee, it's Smith! (I can never remember that actor's name, but I am appreciating him more and more every time I see him in a new role). And lol, "Mr. Big." It's funny on two separate levels, nice.
-I knew as soon as we saw the big tank of koi that the fish were going to be important somehow. *is proud of self*
-Wendy/Doc Robbins stareoff!! Awesome. Any second, I was expecting thunder to roll or lightning to strike.
-I admit, I'd actually forgotten that once upon a time, Brass was the crime lab supervisor. It still looks really wrong to see him using the scientific equipment. ("What, you don't wanna share your toys?")
-Grissom: "Are you asking me out?" Sneeeeeeeeeeeert. WIN. Apparently Hodges man-crush has no bounds, ever. I swear, the thing I will most of all about Grissom is the way he routinely shoots Hodgins' down with stares and/or silent walks away.
-DOGGY DOGGY DOGGY DOGGY DOGGY!! All is forgiven, temporarily, for that HEART-EXPLODING minute of Grissom lying in bed with Hank curled up at his side. You know, I bet if we were to have an overview of my top twenty scenes in the history of this show, at least 25% of them would involve this bed. All the best things happen here. (Huh, that looks dirtier than I intended.)
Grissom: *is zoning out again*
Me: You know, I know Warrick just died and all, but I choose to believe his angst is Sara-related.
*10 seconds pass*
Catherine: What do you hear from Sara?
Grissom: I don't know where she is.
Me: Squee! (supplemented with "my dreams, they are haunted by his closed-down expression and defeated voice")=================
Yeah, I can't, I just can't. I gave serious consideration to watching Leave Out All the Rest to see if I had anything further to talk about, but after cueing it up I find that I absolutely cannot stomach another round of Lady Heather. The first few appearances were plenty for me - I never did see more than scattered channel-flipping clips of Pirates of the Third Reich - and I see no need to change that.
I'll read the recap and watch the extended 70-second promo again, but that's all I'm going to subject myself to before I return to a place of denial about the Sara video messages. I'll use the remaining thirty minutes of the forty allotted to watching this ep to set myself up for disappointment by envisioning possible scenarios in which this fiasco could end happily.
*reads recap* Frick. Newly hopeless, and I hate everyone again.
Bed/9x06 time now.