My cut tag text is not behaving the way I want it to, so just...assume it reads "RS, kindly shut up and get on with it."
Overall, I didn't think this episode was as strong as the first part. YES, I am sure this is at least 75% due to Natalia's markedly increased screen time. There was also more general CSI work, which despite the title of the show, is not actually what interests me about it. Back to the usual parade of suspects and showy techniques and...yeah. Consequently, my review will be less analytical this time around.
On the other hand, everyone else thought it was so awesome that for the first time ever, I had to give up before I got to the end of the episode thread on Talk CSI. It's up to 8 pages and we usually don't crack 3. Even though at least 3 of those pages are nothing but pre-show squealing and mods yelling at people for being too chatty...that's still more text than I'm used to. Lots of people adopting my style of mondo-huge posts this week. :D Okay, okay.
Things started off badly tonight. I swear that ambulance was stock footage recycled from Rampage. I had expected the opening to feel a little too familiar, but that really didn't help matters. Secondly, I am a little bit annoyed that part of a scene was cut from the original script. My imagination is very good, but I still wanted to see it with my own two eyes. I would really LOVE to show you the whole piece of text, but it's locked up on my personal computer. The one that isn't set up for wireless internet like we have at home, and therefore isn't plugged in, so I can't retrieve it right now. I can, however, quote the pertinent part:
PARAMEDIC: Sir, he's dead.
HORATIO: I don't care. Roll him. Do it!
On the other hand, he was yelling at the paramedics in Rampage. So after careful reflection, I have decided that I like this version perfectly well. Much like the previous episode, Horatio isn't in control here. But unlike with Clavo, where the lack of control was met with simmering anger, at the ER he is subdued. He isn't giving orders and he isn't demanding answers. He's waiting there, just outside the doors, quiet as any helpless family member, wavering on the edge of hope. There's an underlying sadness dragging it down, past experience having taught him what to expect. Still, when they stop working altogether, you can all but hear that last thread fragment as his head bows in resignation. (And by the way, while they didn't linger on that shot nearly long enough, it was highly inappropriate to suddenly cut to Roger Daltrey's scream. In fact, could we possibly cut that scream entirely? It's grated on my nerves from the beginning and I hate it more every week.)
To distract me from that, how much do I love that doctor? She kept looking at Horatio's expression and finding renewed determination to revive Eric. For example, a SCARY HUGE-ASS NEEDLE jammed into the breastbone. *whimpers* I don't like needles!! At least it gave Horatio a reason to raise his head, eyes focused very intently on the action in that room. I honestly think you could have walked up and put a gun to his head at that point, and he wouldn't have noticed.
Minor Annoyance - the nurse that
The music montage was by far the highlight of this episode, each member of the team taking their turn to sit alone with him. And yeah, I'm dead chuffed that it only included characters featured in the credits before season 5. It just would have been so wrong if Natalia had been there. Romantic history or not, her inclusion would have severely undermined the 'return to classic' tone set up by the arc thus far. Thank God the writers had the sense to realize that, and confined her to the hunt for the missing hostage.
I love Alexx, the mothering touch, sitting right on the bed with hand on his leg. I love Ryan just sort of hanging out in the doorway, uncomfortable with getting too close but nevertheless standing guard, the worry clear in his eyes as he runs a hand over his face. But the highlight of the montage is Calleigh's scene, folding a rosary into Eric's limp hand. Shippers are gleeing themselves to death and I'm trying hard not to hyperventilate at the sheer emotion of it all.
Her second scene later on only gets better. I don't know if she's the first person to talk to him after he wakes up, but she's the first one we see. There are tears in her eyes, and I mean real tears threatening to spill over. I can't even describe the expression on her face as she starts off a whispered "Hey. It's Calleigh," and is rewarded by just the barest opening of his eyes as he recognizes her voice. It reminds me very much of Scully sitting by Mulder's bedside at the end of Dead Alive. She tells him that Horatio & Alexx are here, and his parents are on their way. (aren't they always? They just never seem to arrive. How far away do they live?) But he only wants to know one thing. Speech doesn't seem to be an easy thing, but he's determined to force them out. "Where's my sister?
Calleigh looks like the bottom of her stomach has just dropped out, and frankly so do I. (The jumping and clapping will commence in viewing #2.) "What?"
"Marisol. Where's my sister? I want to see my sister."
Her subsequent conversation with Alexx is one of the most touching scenes in the whole episode. "So what's gonna happen?"
"Honey, it already has." Do you know how much I would love the show if they actually followed through with that? Because that would be really impressive if he had some measure of permanent brain damage. But no, I expect that much like Ryan's nail incident he'll be back to fine next episode, this will come up once or twice and then disappear entirely. It has to, otherwise he wouldn't be fit for his job description and they'd have to write him off the show, but it still makes me sigh a little. Go, my minions*! Write fic!
(*I like to adopt a feline outlook on the fic world, pretending I'm in command and the things I decree actually come true.)
Clavo's Stupid Accomplice #1 (formerly known as Hostage Kathy): You know, it's a good thing she turned out to be involved, because I was about to chew the actress out for being absolutely terrible at portraying fear/panic. Hopefully she was trying to sound like a bad actress, since her character was not only lying through her teeth to the police, she was a very stupid woman in general. Horatio does not take kindly to people who endanger his CSI's. Oh. And if you do not want to be flayed by his glare, you probably shouldn't suggest that Eric getting shot is his fault.
Ryan is in serious need of anger management. All the same, the raw emotion surging through him when he was interrogating suspect #2, slamming photos on the table and everything... And I want to give him a hug for way he phrased this part - "Well, it's not anyone, it's a cop. He's my buddy. He's got a name, his name is Eric Delko." And when he had to be restrained from punching the security guard (a/k/a Clavo's Stupid Accomplice #2)'s face in? So hot. Really, Ryan's emotions ran the gamut tonight, and I was feeling all of them.
Minor Annoyance #2: So...way to try and stop the General's bleeding there, H. Do you need a remedial course in emergency first aid? It's beginning to make me uncomfortable, the way you just stand there and stare at people who are dying. At the very least, could you try not to sound so broken up and shocked when they stop breathing? That's what happens when you lose too much blood. Sorry, I love you, but that needs work.
The Diamond Plot: You just know somewhere in heaven, Speed is throwing his hands up in disgust going "It's ALWAYS about the jewelry." And I'm sorry, but unlike last week, I couldn't bring myself to care about the case. I especially can't bring myself to feel any kind of outrage towards the diamond store owner. It's not like she was starving the kids and beating them for minor infractions. Also, I'm distracted by the way Blood Diamond sounds like it could be a good name for an Arabian horse, not unlike Blood Moon. I always think of the color, not the actual body fluid, so in my head it sounds pretty. SORRY.
Horatio: "...three police officers are dead, and I have a CSI at death's door." Hm. Death's Door. That might make a good title for a post-ep fic. By the way, this is the part where Horatio starts to regains control. When he gets back on the phone with Clavo and tells him even his biological father has flipped on him? He's so serene he's practically purring into the phone. Clavo's confidence is immediately wiped away, badly shaken. He continues to taunt that the game of cat-and-mouse is only getting started, but it's an empty threat and they both know it. He's got nowhere to go and no resources left.
Which brings us to his demise, which I find extremely interesting. Horatio's anger, which was alive and well while interrogating Kathy, seems to have dissipated somewhere along the way. Despite guranteeing multiple times that he'd be more than willing to end this with Clavo dying, he wasn't out looking for revenge this time. Admittedly, Clavo was a rather sniveling and pathetic figure when he walked himself up to the crime lab steps, a shadowy caricature of his former cocky self. But still, Horatio resisted firing as long as he could, and when he finally did, he didn't appear to relish it. He just looked...tired. Another life gone. My muse is currently trying to wrap her brain around the idea that he gets way too attached to his nemeses - they have a weirdly symbiotic relationship; he almost needs them to define himself.
Fnally, the ending scene. The trick is that you have to visually block out the too-shiny CGI tear (which looks like a damn crystal sliding down his face) and replace it with what a real tear would look like. Then it becomes such a powerfully sad image that you want to tear your hair out. If it makes you feel any better, according to people with closed captioning, Horatio is supposed to add "It'll come back to you" when Eric asks where she is. It makes me feel better. You can a say a lot with your eyes, H, but not everything.
Oh, and I said it in my initial post about this ep, but it still stands - there's something so profoundly moving that Marisol was the first and only person he was really intent on seeing. Plus it was one thing when Eric asked Calleigh, but asking Horatio...ow. Oh, ow. The expression on his face was so pained. Excuse me. I'll be over there, weeping in my corner.