So we get to the merger (kinda), where the Four Stupid Horsemen are confident that they’re in control of the game, while Earl is equally confident that he and the other three Nice People he controls are sitting pretty in a position of manipulation. Stacey and Boo are the unwitting swing votes, and it seems like The Nice People are in a better position, actually. While the swing votes will be evenly split as the Four Stupid Horsemen can lure Stacey back and Earl can sweet-talk Boo, Earl can also sweet-talk Mookie and send Cassandra to sweet-talk Dreamz until they’re ready to kick them out.
Until they got to the challenge. While I approve of them finally stripping away the comforts at Couch Camp, and even of the tribes merging (even though it seems a mite early), I do not approve of splitting the group back into randomly mismatched tribes for the immunity challenge, especially when it’s a really boring one involving rowing and simple puzzle making. Said challenge SUCKED, mostly because Michelle was doomed from the get-go. A) She was not on Yau-Man’s tribe, and if there’s one thing that’s been established in the last few weeks, it’s that Yau-Man Pwns All. B) She was on a tribe with three of the Four Horsemen, plus Stacey. Once they lost, yeah, there was NO POSSIBLE WAY she could have come out safe. (*wails* Why oh why couldn’t Boo have picked the orange rock instead of her?)
This better not have shattered Earl’s master plan for victory. Because right now, I cannot believe that after all the splendid handicapping on Ravu, the sh#tty people managed to climb back on top. Booo, it’ll be dull without Michelle around. On the positive side, she handled her exit with more sunshine and grace and poise than I can ever remember a contestant having. Three cheers for Michelle!
P.S. I always hate the Tribal Council part, but that was by far the stupidest one ever. Pretty much all Jeff did was sit there sniping "A, gimme a reason to vote out B. B, gimme a reason to vote out D. D, gimme a reason to vote out A." And so on and so forth, about 20 times over, like, what the hell?
This gives new meaning to the phrase "When the cat's away, the mice will play." (Yes, I tried hard to switch cat for Cath, but it didn't quite work.)
On a related note, I have now read all the spoilers for the finale, and my head is SWIRLING WITH THE TWISTYNESS, so I’m pretty sure I will need to discuss them in a future post (for example, having read the ending, I am all up for the head-bashing). But without giving away anything specific, I want to say that knowing who the MCSK is made the clues in this episode that much more enjoyable. It was very thrilling to be able to go “Yes! Yes, you’re onto something! Oh, I see how that ties in now...COOL!"
I really, really enjoyed seeing things from the lab techs’ perspective. (OMG, ARCHIE!! He and Valera = best lab techs ever) I didn't even think of it as a clips show until everybody started calling it that, because it was all narrated from such a completely new viewpoint that I found it extremely refreshing. The CSIs might seem to be in charge, but the lab is really the technicians' domain, since they spend all day there. I've always suspected that once in a while, when all the CSIs are out of the building, the techs are tempted to cut loose like kids with a substitute teacher. At the very least, I've always wondered how much they discuss cases between each other, or what they observe from their quiet positions behind the scenes. We got a most wonderful display of that. This episode is going way up high on the list of favorites this season. Excluding the flashbacks, I've watched it three times so far.
And I have to admit that as much as I love Archie, I think Wendy maybe just stole a spot in my heart as the favorite, because everything she was saying to Hodges was...exactly what I've wanted to say to Hodges for months if not years. She called him Freak Boy, for one. She's also not afraid to call him out on his crap instead of doing what everyone else does, which is politely ignore his crazier talk and delusions of self-grandeur. You've got to check these things before they get out of control, people. Which reminds me, she actually called him delusional, and it was fantastic.
Also feel that the writers went overboard to put in more funny exchanges than should be legal for a single episode. Much of it was more in context, like the ringtones, the banter about the open marriage, Hodges quoting Thoreau, Henry's looks in general...but then there were also gems such as...
Hodges: Four people are dead, the killer is still out there…and you’re mocking.
Mandy: Mocking you.
Henry: I don’t know, I have a lot of work to do…
Hodges: And by work, you mean IMing your Icelandic pen pal who thinks you look like Warrick Brown, because that’s the picture you posted.
(RS: *snickers uncontrollably* See, even guys know how hot Warrick is)
Hodges: I hand-selected them with careful attention to group dynamics.
Wendy: Well, I can see that, it’s you and your backup singers – Davey Hodges and the Lemons. You should take your act on the road.
Henry (off screen): We can hear you!
(The last line really made me laugh out loud)
(As Archie heads out on his surfing trip --)
Archie: Glory whore.
Henry: So, we’re looking for an obsessive, meticulous, dark-ass misanthrope who seeks recognition for his efforts.
(all eyes slowly turn to Hodges)
[And thus, Hodges is sufficiently identified as a red herring, and my hopeful theory is officially pronounced dead.]
Overall, what shocked me the most was that I didn't hate Hodges. No! Probably because most of the episode I was placated with first Mandy and then Wendy's verbal smackdowns, so he just didn't bother me as much as usual, but at the end of this episode, when he confesses to Wendy that today was his lucky day? He looked so forlorn and devastated that I wanted to kiss him on the cheek and tell him it was okay. He was full of little-boy hope right there, so completely sure that today was going right for him, that I couldn't help but feel sorry for him.
So yay for the end! Given what a mood he seemed to be in, I was biting my lip in anticipation of Grissom throwing "Dave" (hee) out of his office without waiting for explanation. But no, not only did Grissom listen while Hodges' theory tumbled out, he considered it valid and even appears to think they might be on to something! Oh man, part of me is thrilled that despite the lack of faith from his colleagues, Hodges finally got the approval he most craves. The other part is beating that part with a stick in fury that HODGES was able to come up with the biggest breakthrough since the foster-child theory, and it is so, so wrong that he is able to one-up any of the CSIs.
I always enjoy seeing Grissom walk through the halls handing out assignments as the underlings rotate in and out of the spotlight. It’s all like one elaborately choreographed dance - Catherine glide out stage right, Sara swing in! I liked the small spots the main stars had, just little bits to keep them involved with the episode but without having to sit through boring interrogations and evidence-processing montages (I suppose we had flashbacks for that, but still). I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite, but I think it's a toss-up between Sara's visibly nervous look at the implication she'd know anything about Grissom being kept up at night, and cranky!Greg. Cranky!Greg is terribly adorable. ("Kiss my ass." *snickers*)
As for the whole rat subplot, I found it vastly entertaining. So worth it just to hear Robbins screaming “RAAAAT!” and then Grissom trying to smash it and totally missing. Plus we almost went back to season 1 Grissom – “At least I TRIED to get him; where were you?” Sometimes I like it when the two old docs are off by themselves; they play well off one another.
As I vaguely recall from my months of watching twice-daily reruns, ER has a history of dragging out its wedding ceremonies almost as long as they do the pregnancies and baby storylines. I still don't understand all the pomp and circumstance surrounding this one and think Abby and Luka should have made a quick trip to the courthouse weeks ago. I mean, come on, they have a baby, they've been living together for ages; at this point I fail to see the point in oohing and ahhing over them exchanging vows in a fancy ceremony. Which, of course, makes me more invested than usual in stuffing Hope's hair into a blender (head to follow).
The patient storylines this week didn't have a lot of impact for me, other than maybe the illiterate guy crying over his wife's body and talking about how she always took care of everything... That was more than a little heartbreaking. I didn't care nearly as much about the photographer woman or anything concerning Sam's birthday, although Archie snapping photos of the dance floor at the end was kinda cool.
But the Neela storyline...oh holy LORD. I have already scoured my brain of anything involving her and Ray, but now we get - oh God, we get Dubenko talking about his feelings for her. DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN I WORRIED ABOUT THIS IN DECEMBER? I thought we had backed far away from that by now, and what's more, I thought Dubenko's shiny new student was supposed to be his way of punishing Neela for refusing to do the organ transplant. Wasn't it? I just...no. I liked his affection for her, but NOT THAT WAY. Although a small and blasphemous part of me felt bad for the way he was so miserably trying to convince her he wasn't mad at her, without letting on precisely why. I really do like Dubenko. Cripes, I know Neela's the prettiest and cleverest woman in the hospital, but I really don't think she warrants three guys lusting after her. What she really needs to do is say no to all of them - even Gates.
Speaking of Gates...paternity test time! Okay, well, still no confirmation but he did finally broach the subject with Sarah. I thought her reaction was perfect, first disbelief and then being argumentative and trying to rationalize it as best a child can before finally turning to anger, fleeing the room. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but the thing is - as much as their relationship is already father/daughter, that being a reality is going to be terribly jarring. Finding out that your mom was cheating on your dad around the time you were born...little squicky. In a way, it almost makes your memories feel like a lie. I don't know exactly how to articulate it, but I got it. Just as I understood Tony not moving from the table for what I'm guessing was a terribly long time, until Sarah meekly comes around the corner. Still wary, but ready to hear more, because whatever happened in the past is long over and done with, and there's nothing to do but move forward. Part of it, I think, is explained in how fearful she looks when she asks whether she can still stay with him. (answer: of course)
Oh, and nearly forgot how adorable they were in the middle part of the episode, where she shows up at the ER and rambles excitedly all about her weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's. Not only is she completely adorable, I think the actress is just spectacular at portraying the average kid. At times Sarah is mature beyond her years, when circumstances necessitate it, but really she's just an enthusiastic young girl, so I always like the scenes where she's bubbling over with stories to tell.