4 Hours Later: I've watched it twice now. I'm in love with this episode. As I said on Talk CSI, "This one's bumping up against Rio for best ep of the season - oh, hell. Even lacking Yelina, it kicks Rio right off the top and takes first place." This felt classic. This felt normal. There was no trace of the stilted, plastic characters who've plagued the season thus far - this was just how it was last year. That's what I prayed the episode would be like, and that's what it was. I don't even know where to start; let's try chronological. I'm mostly going to copy my message board post, but there are some things I want to add that are better suited for Televinita, such as my desire to squeal about ships and shipping preferences.
I was so afraid they were going to make the scene with Tripp and the bomb either a) over in 2 seconds or b) stretch it out to unnatural lengths over the whole episode. And yet, they finally handled something right - it started in the teaser, used the commercial break to allow a time lapse, and then had the bomb squad or whoever in to diffuse it. There was palpable tension in the moment, where you knew they weren't *really* going to blow Frank up - but you still were on the edge of your seat. Go Rex Linn for conveying such emotion. I imagine it takes a lot to scare Tripp, but the fear was evident here, the hints of panic, followed by Horatio doing what he does best. (no, not the superhero thing. The other thing, keeping people calm)
This is the scene from the previews that kept me going all week - the look on Horatio's face when he says "Don't move." The way his head snapped up at the telltale click, zeroing in on the situation and instantly reacting to keep Tripp from taking another step. And while sometimes I want to yell at Horatio when he does stupid things and puts himself in life-threatening situations, this time I loved that he stood by a friend and refused to leave. Despite Frank's repeated insistence that he should "go on, get out of here!", he wasn't about to go anywhere, Frank needed him right there.
I love how the bomb guys kept saying it was fine, he'd be okay, but Tripp didn't really listen to them until Horatio repeated it. Or actually, it was where Horatio asked the bomb guy, "He's gonna be okay, right?" And the guy just looked at him like 'uh, sure.' Ignoring this lack of confirmation, Horatio reassured Tripp anyway, because that's what he needed to hear. Heck, it calmed me down from the other side of the screen. That voice of reassurance is always going to be one of the biggest reasons I love him. I'd forgotten how much I missed that. And - the smile! The nervous smile/laughter of relief afterwards, which hasn't been seen in I-don't-know-how-long, season 3? What was the one where SuperH drove out of the building while it imploded behind him? Anyway, very nice moment between H & the detective.
T: "Well, that's a hell of a way to start the day."
H: "*chuckle* And it's only 8:00."
Actually liked Natalia tonight, starting with her comment..."You must read on, CSI Wolfe." It's not the words so much as the amusing tone of voice she used. Man! Why can't she be like that all the time? Just talking casually, not being the center of the drama universe? I also really enjoyed her scenes with Eric. I remembered why I used to be able to tolerate her. Sometimes even when she wasn't committing PSV's with Eric.
Eric's storyline: damn, he looks good in a suit. *shakes head* Um. I haven't had any particular love for Eric in quite some time, but him defending an abused woman - oh all right, punching a guy who really deserved it - brought it all back in a rush. SWOON. The look of utter contempt on his face was priceless.
Though it was rather intensely uncomfortable later on, watching Eric flirt shamelessly with the pretty woman who was CLEARLY only there to serve him with a lawsuit. It was made worse by the fact that I couldn't tell if the woman was a terrible actress or the character was just really bad at flirting. I'm hoping for the former, because acting like a ditzy teenager is not a very appropriate way to conduct yourself on the job. She was two steps away from twirling her hair around her finger, or maybe snapping gum. I actually had to rewind and check to make sure I'd only imagined that.
Good tidbits for the E/N shippers, who will not have much difficulty seeing the starry-eyed look of admiration in Nat's eyes while talking to him and not-so-subtly describing what a good guy he is. You don't have to interpret it that way; it could easily be intended to show her as just a good friend. But I'm not averse to the shippers getting a thrill, so long as they don't try to write fanfic off of it. Heck, if I ever get over my knee-jerk reaction to hiss when she's on-screen, I might even think about letting my mind wander down the shippy path during repeat viewings.
Overall, this episode was also chock-full o' tidbits for the E/C shippers. I am not among their ranks, but I do appreciate the friendship between the two, which has weathered quite a bit in the last few years, and it's nice when the writers remember that and showcase it. I really do believe that they have a close relationship, and Calleigh did a fantastic job of helping out as much as she could. I did not love her super-curly hair/heavy makeup today, though. It just doesn't look quite right.
Back to Eric...I did think it interesting that neither Stetler nor Jake felt a need to pop out of the woodwork and haul Eric in for questioning, considering that the guy threatening a major lawsuit against him conveniently turned up dead shortly afterwards...
I REALLY liked that he didn't come out on top in the end. Loved the reference to Brazil, loved his rationale for settling even though "[he] didn't do anything wrong." I'd been hoping they wouldn't do one of their increasingly trademark cheap cop-outs and have coincidences fall into place until all the major troubles of the ep just went away. I believe that on the Simpsons; I don't believe it here. So I was glad that despite the death of the husband, the wife turned out to be a somewhat evil and money-grubbing bitch who completely took advantage of poor Eric. Even the Super CSI's don't get out of everything. I thought that Eric deserved hugging from a small contingency of fangirls at the end, though. Poor thing just looked so defeated...
Plus I couldn't help wondering - where's Horatio and his fistfuls of hundreds when you need 'em?? :D
(*mutter grumble* See, now if Marisol were still alive, she'd make sure he helped Eric out...)
Oh yeah. And there was a case. I didn't really pay attention to that, which I take as a good sign. The best episodes are the ones where there's so much character development to focus on that you don't HAVE to pay attention to the case. Heh.
Just two three little complaints:
1) Concerning the first half of the teaser: one of the problems with watching episodes streamed online is the way a slow connection will sometimes cause the picture to jerkily start and stop. It's very annoying. I really shouldn't be seeing that same kind of action on my TV screen, you know?
2) Remember Gavin from 'Dark Room'? Horatio wasn't making an empty threat when he threatened to blow your brains out; smart of you to surrender. The guy here was not so smart, so he got a bullet. Now, I'm all for H having to do unpleasant things like that in order to save the life of someone innocent...but how is it that he can shoot at point-blank range and not get any spatter on him whatsoever?
3) ETA: The goddamn subtitles. It's really obnoxious and kind of insulting when the guy is speaking English, but you act like we can't understand a Hispanic accent and need it translated for us. Especially when it's big blocky text. Especially when it DANCES, sliding in and resizing itself at will. What do I keep telling you about the editing tricks? It really bugged me when they had Horatio and Ryan talking to the baseball player. I think it's been proven enough times that even if they're a little rusty on actually speaking the language, they're around it enough that the people on this team can all certainly understand Spanish, at least enough to get the gist of a conversation. If they were going to use subtitles, they should at least have had the Cuban guy speaking completely in Spanish. End grump.
Loved the ending scene, though; a nice conclusion to a great episode. (reminded me a little bit of the end of 'Pirated') Does this mean I can stop holding my breath and allow myself to believe that the streak of good stuff will continue into February? Please say yes.