CSI, 13x01, "Karma To Burn"
I'm sensing a theme among crime dramas this year: the duller and more incomprehensible their finales, the more exciting and well done their premieres. This just put a good 80% of season 12 to shame.
- The fact that there was literally zero break in action from where we left the storyline last. *coughNCIS*
- Morgan & her dad, from the numb shock at the beginning to the worry & breakdown to the final heartwarming conversation
- Greg bringing her a change of clothes
- Finn getting the crap beaten out of her. I felt better.
- Sara's incessant messages for Nick
- Drunk & Disorderly Nicky (including Henry's "What happened to your face?!" and Sara's lecture once they track him down. All the Nick + Sara stuff would have been enough to carry an episode on its own, almost.)
- Nick attacking Sara for hypocritically lecturing him on quitting, MISTRESS OF QUITTING
- Greg diffusing the situation, and just everything about the 3 of them and their sibling dynamic
- Russell's wife continuing to be the best there has ever been. It made the "SHIPPIN' IT!" tag by the final kiss. I love this family.
- That's right, I said this family and not just his family, because as of today the head of household himself won character redemption. It took him an entire freaking year to accomplish this, but he did it and it's done. He had the devoted-family-man credit already built up in name, so light a spark underneath the "aggressive defender/protector I Will Literally Kill You If You Hurt My Family" mode and you're good to go.
- I fell for every single one of the Russell's-fantasy sequences. They all shocked me until they dissolved.
- Do people sober up on command? Because Nick seemed pretty loaded when they hauled him in, but seemingly needed very little time before he was suddenly allowed to run evidence.
- Actually, this whole case was handled so poorly at every turn that it seems like it'd get thrown out in two seconds flat
- The little girl playing Katie was super cute, but also really not great at acting. On any emotion. Even her glomp-on-Finn hug seemed fake. How do you manage fake-looking hugs?
After Hodges had the luck to show up at the hospital right when Morgan was in her teariest and most vulnerable point, I got temporarily distracted working out how much better Greg could be handling this, and when I glanced back at the screen... "OH MY GOD MY EYES." Gross. Grossest kiss not involving tongue ever. Someone should have warned me about this.
This was followed swiftly by "DAMN IT, GREG!" and I'm putting my foot down right now, this had better only be because an emotionally distressed Morgan would never actually pursue a relationship with a guy to whom she had done something as silly as that, and therefore it would have been wasted on Greg. Why don't I feel better? Oh, that's right, because a single comfort-seeking kiss with Greg would probably have been better than any attempt at a canon relationship. It's one of those moments you just have to grab when you don't have the time to devote a full arc.
In conclusion: Fast pace, exciting case, and you literally tripped over character moments at every turn. I'm putting you down for commendation at the end of the year.
CSI: NY, 9x01, Reignited
Alternate cut text: "Speaking of things that are reignited: my passion for this show."
It opened with some five solid minutes of character development stuff, and had plenty more to go along the way, but I'm not sure there's anything more important than the sight of Flack all decked out in hockey gear, giving hell on ice for all he's worth. Yes please. Oh, and maybe Danny is on the team too. And maybe Lindsay is in the stands, alternately cheering him on like a good girlfriend (not wife-like at all, which I mean as a compliment) and screaming at the top of her lungs at hecklers. Good girl! I remember why I used to love you!
I got very attached to Mac's fire chief friend in the space of 30 seconds, so good work there. This whole opening act is like a giant exercise in "how to maximize character development so that it also subtly advances the story and you have to waste less time doing plot advancement by itself."
But you're here to hear about Mac, right? I know I am. And maybe to gasp and handclasp and do little kicky feet of joy at how Christine has not only been here the whole time, but been super-involved and fast-tracked this relationship via Florence Nightingale mode (despite Mac's brief and useless protests about being "seen like this"). Are we throwing the word "love" around now? Yes, we are. That's the kind of prize you get when you skip ahead six months off screen. Have I mentioned how grateful I am not only for the hospital flashback, but the funeral handholding? And the end? I'm just going to go bask in the end scene.
(And maybe there are some issues of mild but potentially permanent aphasia-based brain damage. Which he is telling no one about for the time being; this could go several ways but all of them seem like compelling drama. Yes, all right, I am really, super sorry I said that your show should die so that CSI: Miami could live. You have proven me thoroughly wrong on all counts; I surrender.)
AND IN OTHER NEWS, our arsonist. Listen, when you promise me Rob Morrow on the wrong side of the law, I'm sort of expecting to see Charismatic Scumbag, not Greasy and Unwashed Scumbag. That was just depressing. Buuuuut, because Rob Morrow does in fact have so much charisma that it cannot be hidden even behind an ugly homeless person costume, I ended up really loving the character. I'm glad he's back next week. Not that I didn't also love Psycho Arsonist Bitch, but...
In conclusion: You know what I think really made this episode great? How Jo had like no lines in this play. It went a long way, baby. Now, if you don't mind, it was so good I gotta watch it twice.