CSI: Miami, "Burned"
As I may or may not have mentioned before, I had issues with the season premiere. As much as I lapped up the idea of Horatio's angst and torment, the acting was flat and wooden, the dialogue frequently plastic, the timeline ludicrous, and the less said about the case going on back in Florida, the better. However, I figured I was obligated to consider it the 3rd-best episode of the season by sheer virtue of Yelina's presence.
I think that obligation may have been lifted. 3 days later and I'm still in retroactive shock at how all-around good this week was.
Yelina, Yelina, Yelina. I forget how much I flat-out adore her until I see her again; she's right up there with Alexx, Marisol and Horatio as far as my favorite characters. Why can't she be back permanently, why?? Even when her scenes are pure exposition, I like listening to her. Fortunately, we got a bit more than that.
First thing that jumped out - "I thought Ray Jr. would have told you." Really, all the importance he places on family combined with his incessant need to check on her, and he doesn't know when she starts a new job? Guess that ties into what she says at their next meeting - "Twice in one day? More than I've seen you in months." I somehow doubt the writers put much thought into it beyond "we need a quick & convenient way to explain why Yelina's here after being absent for 20 episodes," but it would seem like you could read a great deal of significance into this. He has time to see or at least talk to his nephew, but not his sister in law? This is either another misguided attempt to give her space, or a semi-deliberate distancing mechanism for himself. I've been sulking about the lack of personal development for his character this season, but maybe he really has been burying himself in work. Family is clearly a big tangled mess at the moment, and while Horatio's generally eager to burden himself with the problems of others, maybe this is simply easier to push to the back burner, out of sight/out of mind.
Of course, he can't help himself for long, and by the end of the day he's voicing concerns about her chosen career. They're perfectly valid concerns, and they're all the same ones we spouted off in the spoiler thread as soon as we heard the phrase "P.I." in connection with her name, but he still comes off a little condescending when reminding her "it can be dangerous." To her credit, she does not give him a swift kick before reminding him that she was a cop and knows how to take care of herself. Then again, cops have all sorts of backup if they get into trouble...wait, remind me again why she couldn't just go back to work for the Miami-Dade PD?
Winning line of the night is Crazy Stalker Ex's observation: "I saw you with her by the car. Way she looks at you...think she could look at me like that." I missed the rest of that scene the first time around, as I could not hear the dialogue over my own mad giggles of "H/Y is not dead! Not dead not dead not dead!!" I've been biding my time, post-Marisol, but if we've got Yelina back in the equation...my daydream wheels can slowly start spinning again.
While I'm gleeing over that particular ship, I have to give equal discussion to the ostensibly budding romance between Eric and Calleigh. I never really felt/saw any flirting between them in past years, viewing them with more of a little brother/older sister dynamic. So on the one hand it feels like they sprung it out of nowhere and are now determined to force-feed it to us for the remainder of the season. I haven't the faintest idea where they think they're going to go with this, or what they hope to accomplish with it.
That being said, I'm in a generous mood, so I'll buy that it's been gradually building up post-shooting - as he said, she's been "helping [him] out a lot." Add that to moments like the one tonight, with him gently pulling a bit of broken glass out of her finger, and we have sparks. It's not that she couldn't have easily brushed it aside herself, but that he asked to see and she let him...so what could have been ordinary scenario is suddenly supercharged. Now, I still think said romance still exists largely as a mere possibility in Eric's head - especially with Natalia goading him along - but maybe Calleigh's starting to shift in that direction too.
Speaking of which, this whole thing where Nat butts in and grills him about his love life is becoming aggravating. Do exes-turned-friends really take this much interest in setting you up? Seems to me she's being overly nosy and gossipy, especially for someone who threw a certified hissy fit upon hearing that Eric and Ryan were talking about HER.
And now for Ryan's Asshattery, Continued. He is all-around awful in this episode, starting with his cockiness as he strolls up to Frank (next
to whom, incidentally, he looks like a shrimp). "You need my superior interrogation skills to work him over?" I think it's supposed to be a joke, but Frank is unamused and so it comes off as royally arrogant. And it doesn't help matters when he changes his story about his connection to Lipton every time someone new asks him about it.
Once again, I find myself missing season 3 Ryan, when he was so eager to please and practically hero-worshipped his boss...now he's hostile and on the defensive even with people he should know by now he can trust. The problem is his terrible streak of independence. Despite the advice he readily dished out to Eric about it being okay to ask for help, he doesn't seem to be following it himself. Now he's so damned determined to prove that he can handle his problems all by himself that he isolates himself until nobody can help him - not even Horatio (whose name has been translated in many languages as "One Who Helps." Little-known fact.)
I like that Yelina is the one to break the news to Horatio, duty-bound to show him the footage but reluctant to condemn her former colleague. Her half-hearted "Maybe he had a good reason?" isn't meant to convince anyone, it's just a sad little hope, because it's hard to think anything but the best of CSI Wolfe (bear in mind, she's not been witness to his recent asshattery). Horatio has no such misgivings, as his subsequent chat with Ryan is rather short and to the point, and it's really no surprise that Ryan all but thumbs his nose at him. It's still disappointing; back in the day poor Horatio was quite confident that he'd hired someone solid. I also liked that affirming "We're done" at the end. It was very final and foreboding, and I kind of think Horatio knew his termination was a foregone conclusion when he said it. He is fond of doublespeak, remember?
However, I still can't figure out what actually got Ryan fired. Now, I'm not going to argue with Stetler hanging around, even for just one scene, as I do so love the Rickster when he's being cold and harsh. (though, on that note, he was so very adament about not letting him set one foot in the lab that I have to wonder - did he just stand around in front of the elevator doors all day waiting for Ryan to come up? That must have gotten old fast. And probably freaked out more than one woman exiting the elevator)
From watching the episode alone, though, I'm not sure I really understand why he got fired. If he helped Lipton, the debt was negated, so obviously he didn't do that. Spoilers said he paid off the gambling debt while on duty, and while I understand that is not okay, it's hard to see how that's bad enough to be an instantly fireable-with-no-warning offense. I also couldn't figure out how the hell that truth came out if Yelina and Horatio were the only other people who had any knowledge of the transaction at all, so I checked the official site synopsis for one of its customary hidden nuggets of information. Sure enough, "Horatio doesn't believe Wolfe's claim and informs Internal Affairs man Rick Stetler."
It is a dark, dark and upside down world when Horatio sides with Stetler over a member of his team.
And it's just a tiny bit interesting that Stetler fires him rather than Horatio, because I'm quite certain it's within the latter's power, and he wouldn't have been nearly so blunt and cold about it. Alas, Horatio does not take kindly to being lied to repeatedly, and his sympathy reserves have run out. Still, hanging out in the window and pointedly watching the poor blindsided employee wander away without a word? Very passive-agressive.
Other things I enjoyed:
- BWA-HAH! Oh, poor Frank...but I couldn't stop laughing as he griped about "first a land mine, now this." Even more hysterical is Eric laughing his ass off at the car's plight. "So, does the water heater come standard, or is that custom?" It's very good to see him joke again.
- Breathing in superheated air...aw, isn't that how Eric's date died in "Tinder Box"? Season 1 FTW! Also for the win, Alexx being her typically awesome self: "Now honey, I can't do ALL your work for you."
- An appearance for Valera! Despite her extra-flat and still unnervingly yellow hair, and that she was only in one tiny scene, I'm always happy to see her.
- Horatio stepping in to intervene when Lipton grabs Natalia by the arm was a nice touch. Though frankly, I think it might have won her a point or two in my favor if she'd grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back, or something. Maybe something to show she'd taken a self-defense class as part of the empowerment process after her abusive husband went to jail.
- I didn't notice what Natalia was wearing this week, as I was too busy being fixated on Calleigh's red silk blouse. (or it might have been pink. I can't trust the colors on my TV) *wants*
It sounds so ominous, you don't even know how badly I wish that was meant to be foreshadowing. It's not, though. I will not get my knickers in a twist. Muse makes no such promises about her plot bunnies.
*pats* That's okay, the 3rd-to-last-episode of season 2 was dull in comparison to all the ones around it too.
I really thought Scotty Valens would make things interesting. And he did, in part - love his tough talking threats to go back to Philly and "do it my way," for example - but while the storyline itself was rather compelling (or should have been), I absolutely could not deal with the glaring timeline issues. What is with screenwriters? How hard is to count on your fingers and do some first-grade math to realize "Gee, maybe 1997 was a little recent for Stella to be just graduating the police academy?" At the very least, can't they keep a binder full of character facts for quick reference to see if they're writing something that contradicts previously established canon? Not only how orphanage =/= foster care, but the part where Stella mentions how long she's been working with Mac? Come on, there is a whole ROOM full of writers. There are multiple rewrites. Nobody at any point thinks to question some of this?
I will say two positive things about this storyline, and those are a) Danny's "Stell, look at me. What's haunting you?" (caring teammate, yay!) and b) her decision not to arrest her childhood friend. Frankly, I'd have been disgusted if she had. I have a very subjective view of homicide in which I am always making allowances for special circumstances, and given that this woman had been routinely molested by him as a preteen...I'm not saying killing the guy was a good response, but she's obviously not going to go out on a murdering spree. And while ordinarily I'd still say she needs to own up for that crime, there's another allowance to be made here for the fact that she's her "blood sister." That kind of friendship ought to run deep, and arresting her would have been the worst kind of betrayal. My best friend and I parted on rather unpleasant terms 7 years ago, but if I ran into her again and it was a choice between sending her to jail and warning her to run? I'd still warn her. And I respect that that's what Stella does here. It's only 24 hours' notice and doesn't make it easy for her to escape and start over, but it's still a chance.
The less said about the "fallen angel" case, the better. The church setting was lovely, but otherwise I could have skipped it and not missed a thing. Lindsay and Hawkes working a case together - especially with ample visits to Adam - has got to be the dullest thing I have ever seen. Though I did get a giggle out of Lindsay's "Oh, yuck," at the sight of trigonometry. Should have taken it in my high school - Trig required less effort than Health.
The winning storyline of the week was Mac's continuing outrage over the investigation pending against him. I am unable to be objective and agree that IA has a responsibility to the public to conduct an investigation, because...it's Mac. As I understand it, his string of commendations is as long as your arm. It's also a vicious serial killer, so really the public shouldn't be horrified even if they believed Mac shoved him - which they shouldn't. If there wasn't sufficient evidence to prosecute, then I side with his belief they should drop it altogether. I did cringe a little at him actually demanding they drop the investigation, though. That's more than a little complex of entitlement. "Gee, you want us to stop our investigation of you? Well, why didn't you say so in the first place? Right away, sir!" If there's nothing to find, then he ought to just keep his head down and let it blow over.
I'm doing cartwheels at Mac's realization that Gerrard is a puppet, followed by him going over his head to Sinclair. Finally, a real nemesis! Gerrard is just a blustering blowhard on a power trip. Sinclair, on the other hand, with his quiet tone and completely unrattled stance, is someone who might actually be a worth adversary. LOVE his flat-out mention of Dt. Truby. Hee, hee, hee. Where the episode really takes an upswing, though, is Mac's angry accusation about being the last man hired under Giuliani. Me: *perks up* "Giuliani? Does that mean what I think it means?"
*squeezes Mac to death* LOVE. MAC IS LOVE. Forever and ever. Flack? Who's that? Sorry, Blue Eyes, you take a backseat to my favorite and most upstanding Marine this week. I don't even know what that accusation means, exactly, since I don't know what the mayor's policies were or what NY was like under him, but I remember he was fantastic after 9/11. Any other interpretation I'm keeping locked in my head in case someone tries to burst my bubble. And I believe I've already mentioned how much I like Mac when he's riled up and angry and shouting at people for no discernible reason.
The last scene, with Random Distraught Father waving a gun in Mac's face, was completely unexpected, but should set up a great episode for next week.