CSI, 11x13, "The Two Mrs. Grissoms"
Remember the spoilers for this one? It turned out to be everything Past Me had hoped for, times ten. For example, I never in my wildest dreams imagined we'd actually see Grissom. Even when the news sites started reporting it a few days beforehand, I didn't believe it until I was seeing it.
Not unlike the last time Marlee Matlin appeared on a CSI show, the episode blew itself so out of the water that I can barely even speak coherently about it. And not unlike the last time there was a major GSR theme in an episode (The Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp), my insane anticipation blew a fuse so that I cheated and skipped ahead to all the good parts first before watching the episode straight. And, not unlike the last time half of the GSR duo made a surprise cameo appearance at the end, I am tempted to just talk about the GSR and handwave the rest under the header "obviously, it was awesome, but no time."
However! Definitely unlike all of the above, I am determined to at least write a disjointed list of thoughts. In absolutely no order.
1) Have we ever seen Sara dressed up? So pretty. And so amusing when the guys tease her about it:
Nick: Wait a minute, you did something different.
Langston: Oh my goodness, I almost didn't even recognize you.
Nick: Yeah, did you get a haircut or something?
2) Even without the ending, I was completely satisfied just with Sara briefly catching Grissom on the phone. Basically, this was one of the most fulfilling teasers I have ever seen the show do.
3) I really enjoyed all of the casting in this, but because I am a slavish devotee of Marlee Matlin, I thought Julia was especially magnificent. I'll be on the prowl for canon-compliant Julia/Gil fics now.
4) I've never heard of Phyllis Frelich before now, but she was great too. Believable in a pivotal role, and I like that she managed to be passive-aggressively snarky without seeming passive-aggressively snarky. She really never comes across as the bad guy, and yet it's easy to see why Sara is so easily antagonized. I love this on-edge dynamic.
5) Mrs. Grissom, asking the hard questions! "What kind of marriage do you have? You two barely even see each other. You don't even live in the same town." These are the kind of comments that make me sad and uncomfortable, because she's right, and I don't care what Sara says -- this shouldn't work for them. They should be together. Ideally in Vegas. Season 7 style. I don't like to think directly about the fact that as long as Sara is here and making my CSI-watching life better, she is far from Grissom. Once a month visits, even if they talk every day, just don't cut it for me.
6) But then the end scene happened, and even though I still don't agree with their unconventional marriage, something about the warm, easy manner of their interaction just whitewashed over my complaints and silenced my grumbling for a while. They are a family, and for as much as my active shipping of these two likes to go into hibernation, there is a reason they're one of my all-time Top 5.
"How was your week? What'd you do?"
"Well, I almost got blown up twice, I accused your ex-girlfriend of murder, and -- oh, I told off your mother."
"Oh good, you kept busy."
7) I also very much loved having Betty come in with apology African violets (Grissom: "I told her you like vegetation." Awww, continuity) and starting to patch up the unnecessary rift between them. And...throwing in YET MORE uncomfortable comments on their sex life. I'm laughing so hard there are tears in my eyes.
8) But, no, incredibly sweet closing. "Love you both." I have watched this whole clip roughly 100 times at this point, and it just keeps getting better.
9) Hehe, Sara complaining about why she doesn't get along with her mother-in-law. "She's very hard to get close to. She questions everything, she's got to be right about everything, she's emotionally unavailable..." Catherine snickers. "You just described Grissom." And Sara, for that matter. See why they wound up together?
10) Basically, everyone's reactions to Sara's mother-in-law feud are even better than their reactions to Lovestruck Greg. Speaking of: WHERE WAS GREG DURING ALL OF THIS. No scenes except evidence processing, and no comments of a personal nature at all? As delightful as it was to have Nick be an ostentatiously charming gentleman and annoy the hell out of Sara by showing off how much Betty likes him, I would have liked to see Greg have a hand in this too. For example, he could have been there when the bomb went off! That would have been ideal. All "Play With Fire" redux-y, too.
11) At least I still got Nick running up in a panic over it.
12) Loved Sara's reaction to finding out about Julia's past with her husband. And Julia's smirky, self satisfied mention of how they knew each other. Intimately. As well as Sara promptly blowing off steam to Catherine about it. (I can't get over how much I like the two of them just getting along.)
13) O hai subtle continuity, I almost didn't see you there -- Sara contemplatively rolling what I assume is the "if life ever gets crazy, roll with it" marble around in her fingers before venting to Catherine about Truth-Bomb Dropping Julia. Nice.
14) I liked how much signing Jorja Fox did in this. Very cool.
15) And lastly: HODGES. HODGES SPECULATING ON GRISSOM (AND BY NECESSITY, SARA'S) SEX LIFE. TO SARA. Digging himself into a deeper hole with each passing sentence, completely unable to stop his spectacular flameout as Sara holds her silent stare. That's it, I feel the need to quote it. In pictorial form.
16) I also love the fact that Sara still feels the need to defend their relationship to Catherine once Hodges leaves. Too much information for me, and I'm pretty sure Catherine didn't need it either, but on the other hand, I suppose that is a useful thing to stamp down in canon. Grissom and Sara: Lovers of Legend, deal with it. (And now TPTB is chuckling with evil mirth while watching all the haters scrub their brains with bleach. Genius!)
17) In conclusion: season champion, no contest. Amazing from start to finish and even holds up to repeat viewings.
FYI: Those of you who chose not to click the above cut are missing out on a hilarious (IMHO) 22-image macro set that requires very little knowledge of the show to appreciate. I'm just saying. Scroll up a little.
CSI, 11x14, "All That Cremains"
This one was actually better than I thought it would be after hearing that its big draw was "We meet Langston's [ex] wife!" It seemed like it was supposed to be a way more dramatic reveal than it was. So he wears a wedding ring even though he's actually been divorced for two years -- who cares? I was pleasantly surprised that they made this such an understated subplot, though. Langston is much more appealing when he's not being shoved in our faces. Gloria even seemed like an interesting character; congratulations, I'm a little intrigued as to why they split up and how it's so amicable (also: 2 years? Like, right when Langston was joining the team?).
I say the real star of this episode was Nick, comforting and consoling (seemingly) distraught 13-year-old girls. ALWAYS A WIN. One of the great injustices of TV is that he doesn't have kids, because he's so good with them at every age. I guess as long as we keep getting fun case-by-case stuff, I'll survive. Like your heart didn't melt when he offered to stay with the girl until Sydney got back because she didn't want to be left there alone.
Speaking of the little girl, I love when there are psycho kids afoot! It deeply, genuinely disturbs me that an apparently normal middle-schooler could a) kill her dad in such a personal and gruesome manner, and b) methodically slice his body up and put the parts into boxes. Even if she did hate him and feel no emotional attachment whatsoever, that's just not right. And the fact that she seems to have no concept of how wrong it was is even more frightening. She didn't even seem to harbor any rage after the fact; it was just over and done, and then sad and heartbroken eyes that her substitute mommy/big sister figure isn't embracing her with open arms now that there's nothing stopping them from being together.
Although, NGL, I still kind of pity the kid. I would be tempted to forgive her after I'd had several months to process the nauseating horror.
+ All I could think while they were fighting over the boxes in the teaser was a) hahaha, truthy truth! You ALWAYS want to know what's in the boxes of new stuff, no matter how much or what quality all the stuff on the shelves is, because the box represents Mystery and Possibility!, and b) this would beat all the entries on -- and there have been some horrifying donations mentioned by a Goodwill employee there (including an urn with actual cremains).
+ Sara mentioning that she shops there sometimes? ♥
+ Greg knocking out fleeing suspects by putting a board across their path -- HEE.
+ I loved the actress playing Camryn -- she seemed really familiar, and while I haven't seen her as much as I thought, she made extremely strong impressions on ER, CSI: NY (City of the Dolls) and Bones (Girl with a Curl), especially the latter two.