It's nice to have such an expedited way to catch up on something I don't really want to spend hours on. My brain is packed with knowledge all the way up through 8x19 now, and I have watched...5 of those in full. (Out of Time, Bad Seed, Delko for the Defense, In the Wind and L.A. Maybe half of "Dishonor" until I got bored)
By theme, then; screw actual episode separation. Future Me doesn't care about this show enough:
Sooo...this relationship started with Eric daydreaming about marrying Calleigh, moved into a real relationship, and now we've devolved to ill-defined hookups. You guys are doing this all backwards. (This is my coping mechanism for "oh my god, oh my god, what are we doing with them in bed, no, no, this is a crime show and I will not tolerate this! Okay, as bedroom scenes go, the one in 8x14 is relatively innocuous and it's all artistic and pretty with beautiful direction, but-but-but, MY EYES." Except in retrospect, I don't know. Maybe I like it. Maybe I'm impressed by its restraint. Maybe I'm just reacting with violent confusion after being unexpectedly whapped over the head with what for many people is a holy grail scene, especially after deciding that I wasn't especially invested in them this year)
Oh, and I rather liked their scenes in 8x03, along with Stetler's
Here's the thing: all of my shows are like a wolf pack, meaning I need to have a couple of people on the bottom at all times to receive my general negative energy and dislike. When you add enough unlikable new people to that bottom, it has the curious effect of bumping previous omegas up in my esteem. Which is why I now find Natalia completely innocuous, have ceased my quest to kill off or otherwise drive her out.
Really enjoyed not only her hearing loss storyline, but the fact that Ryan was the one checking up on her. I could have used even more acknowledgment about his experience in trying to hide a worsening loss of a key sense, but I liked the unexpected side-reveal that her condition includes underlying issues stemming from domestic violence in the past. I'd almost forgotten that!
All things considered, even the initial explosion was less melodramatic than I feared. There's an ET clip where Togo mentions that this is the 4th episode he's been blown up on the show ("I'm really good at it"), but he's also getting good at saving women from burning buildings. Sure, Horatio strolled up and finished the rescue as though smoke and fire were powerless against him, but Natalia still went down under some heavy debris and I reaped the rewards from the sidelines.
Sorry, "Jesse Cardoza." I keep forgetting his character's name. He'll always be Sleazy/Skeevy Cibrian to me. Giving him murdered-wife angst changes nothing (actual response: "ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Are you?"). At best, the character is as bland as can be; at worst, he's varying degrees of nettlesome at all times merely by existing, exacerbated when he opens his mouth. I'm so happy he only got one year. It's like the one good firing decision on CBS this season.
-Either they've toned down the editing tricks by a hundredfold, or I've finally become blind/immune to them. YAY.
-The more I see of Walter, the more pleased I am with my initial and spot-on description of him: "Who is this dopey lumbering giant mucking things up? Why is Ryan shepherding him around like some sort of Big Brother/Exceptionally Incompetent Little Brother program?" Supposedly he's a great tech but he has such a durrr, stupefied expression at all times that this is tough to swallow. Why can't Ponytail Dave do everything? I would embrace Ponytail Dave as a main character.
-At one point, Stetler was sporting his bright blue tie. I snort-giggled wildly at my own private in-joke. I can't remember exactly what my snark was for that one, but I think it involved Ravenclaw? I'd look it up, but I can't remember which year it was I speculated on Horatio's involvement in his clothing choices.
-I watched "Bad Seed" solely to see Alexx (and her interaction with Eric). She was amazing. I miss her mother-henning. Especially with Tom at the morgue, who at this point I just have to grit my teeth and tune out like so much white noise because I cannot acknowledge his existence.
-Speaking of that ep..."Look, I don't want to be that guy, but is this anywhere near the corner of our jurisdiction?"
No, Ryan. No, an outbreak of e.coli is not. Not even close. What was this, some sort of Very Special Episode about how big corporations are evil and we should all work together to take their corrupt asses down? Because that's what it felt like, and it just made me want to spend a lot of money at Wal-Mart. Plus, I think genetically modified crops are exciting. I take it that's not popular opinion? Sigh.
-I like how they've woven Eric's intermittent appearances through the series thus far. It's actually better than when he's there full time. Makes his storylines pop. Also, my favorite thing about the Further Globe-Trotting Adventures of Delko & Caine? The random and unexpected appearance of California Dreamin' as an interlude song. I have no idea how or why this happened, but after 1,532 headache-inducing club tracks indistinguishable from one another, I may have squealed with joy.
-That tiny clip where Horatio was watching the news about soldier casualties -- I figured it related to either Kyle or Ray Jr., but mostly I was struck by how much he looked like the old Horatio in that moment. Like it didn't have to be anybody in particular, we just caught a moment of private empathy for those anonymous people and their families. It was humanizing.
-So, we've packed Kyle off to the army. I approve. I also wish that I was a blissfully ignorant, late-to-the-party viewer who could just believe this was a real father/son relationship. I know I say this every time, but that is because it gnaws at me with renewed fervor every time. I WANT TO BELIEVE. WHY CAN'T I SHUT MY BRAIN OFF AND JUST TEMPORARILY PRETEND? The first and final few minutes of "Dishonor" just begged me to let go and love it. The breakfast scene alone left my jaw in awe of Horatio's sudden ability to look like a worried-sick father. The emotional aspect of the closing scene is hampered by the general suckitude of New Miami, but good lord, is it working overtime to please me.
-Rebecca Nevins! Yes, I know. I know. No, I mean I know the thing about the plot of one of the next episodes. But I've got a really good sound bite (can you call it that if it's text?) for that, and I don't want to spoil it early. For now, all I wanted to say is
a) wow, she looks different - and she's only gotten prettier
b) she's also gotten far more likable. Delightfully snarky. Why did I dislike and/or loathe her, again? I think the omega rule is coming back into play, because now she's kinda great. I might even wander back to season 3 and endorse their relationship or something.
I'm only pausing here because the next episode to watch in full is "Backfire." I saw the teaser a few weeks ago before doubling over in a fit of howling laughter, unable to continue without a pause button. I then had to spoil myself a little before I hyperventilated to death over the incomprehensibly vast opportunity for mockery (there was a ghost), but that has not dampened my enthusiasm levels in the slightest.
P.S. On a completely unrelated note, aries11 made a comment that drove me to the fascinating world of Sporcle's song-identification-by-clip quizzes, and I recommend you all play this one. If only to be overwhelmed by how awesome 80's music was (am reasonably sure I need a multi-volume mix CD of this). I only got 29 right (at least two of which were due solely to lyric recognition from Glee), but I am claiming title ignorance as an excuse.