I like the standalone episodes on this show much more than those that harken back to previously introduced killers or Brennan's past. Just a good old-fashioned crime, albeit with a uniquely gruesome corpse, and some solid partner banter between B&B. I love Booth stealing every opportunity to sample the cuisine at the high-end restaurants while talking to potential suspects/witnesses, while Brennan scolds him for his lack of etiquette/professionalism. Heh. Anyway, there were all kinds of other classic typical-guy-agent moments from him, including but not limited to: his cringing as Cam casually snips a finger off a previously-severed hand (and she scolded Zack for his lack of empathy), his indignance at the notion that guys are only interested in sex (which may not be entirely true, but I don't think I'd use Booth as the star example of a guy who'd go for romance first), his "WTF?" face as Hodgins randomly hugs him, and "Okay, Squint Squad! Why does she look like a glowstick?" Finally, topping off the episode, the last scene where she makes him a mac-n-cheese dinner is a satisfying conclusion, a nice scene to showcase their friendship.
I spaced (no pun intended) on the whole MySpace connection to this week's ep, and completely forgot to check it out online beforehand. Pity, it probably would have been fun. While actually watching the episode, I couldn't seem to get anything right. First I figured it was the husband, because he was played by Adam the Lab Rat and I just hate Adam that much. Then I figured it was the business partner, because he had almost as much to gain. I finally suspected the partner's girlfriend after the Squints started talking about rape, and I was going "Wait wait wait, the body was skeletal - how the hell did they get "rape" from a bunch of bones?" I thought it was fairly obvious that the sex was consensual, which made everything else fall into place - affair + best friend finding out and feeling betrayed = murder! That, and I was suddenly hearing Jack Malone's voice saying "I told you that kid locked himself in his trunk."
As for Hodgins and Angela...Cam put it best as she walked in once again on them making out - "Oh, good Lord, you have to stop mounting each other in the office. Doesn't marriage destroy sex? Please, Angela, say yes." It's always nice when characters speak for the viewing audience. A little professionalism would be nice. See, shows like this are why people freak the hell out over mere looks/touches that linger just a little too long on the CSI shows. However, it was a little cute when he came back to declare her his "muse" and gave her another kiss (blessedly brief) as if Cam wasn't even there.
More appropriately, my couple is perfectly welcome to get cute and cuddly after hours, as with Hodgins' strangely romantic glowing-seafood arrangement spelling out "Be my love." Aww, Ange is in tears. Although I don't know how she could possibly turn down a wedding in Italy, I'm glad she still wants it to be big and elaborate. The mixture of disbelief and affection in his expression in the face of those parameters was perfect.
Lost: The Man Behind the Curtain
First of all, Young Ben is so sweet and innocent and sympathetic (except for the part where he uses his pet rabbit to make sure the sonar fence is off - what is UP with him and bunnies?), it's hard to understand how he morphed into the sadistic, bitter, twisted man he is now. I guess Daddy Issues really screw a person up. I wouldn't know. But I really loved Young Ben. And it was absolutely great to see the compound when it was a working scientific facility. Even though we didn't really see any of said work, the set alone was enough to get a sense of the era, like visiting a historic restored plantation or Victorian house. It was chilling to see the children barring doors and huddling in one side of the schoolhouse while adults ran outside with guns; more chilling when Annie matter of factly explains "It's just the hostiles." Like war going on practically in their backyard is just a part of everyday life. Fascinating. On that note, though, the corpses littered around the yard at the end were so eerie, I actually got goosebumps.
I liked both Ben and Locke in this episode, which is absolutely shocking to me, but - apparently the death of his father cleared all the crazy right out of Locke's head. I imagine it being a lot like those Claritin commercials, where you see everything being clogged and blurry (from the perspective of an allergy sufferer); then you take the medicine and everything pops into sharp focus because you're Claritin Clear! Um. Anyway...it was amazing. He takes a stand! He Does Stuff! He not only doubts Ben, he flat-out calls him a liar! He all but threatens to out him for being the cult leader he obviously is! Then he smiles patronizingly! He actively mocks Ben's delusions of grandeur, and insinuates that the great and mystical Jacob is nothing more than an imaginary friend! Best of all, nobody lifts a finger to stick up for Ben! Other than possibly Mikhail, but he only gets beaten up for his efforts because he's been reincarnated as the Losties' punching bag. Locke is inciting mutiny. This is so fantastic.
I am usually not one to go on about Michael Emerson, either, because his gecko face just plain creeps me out, but for once I saw all kinds of layered emotion on Ben's face, and that's quality acting. It was after that scene that for the first time I sensed some vulnerability from Ben, and I think he truly lost the upper hand. That's never happened before, not even when he was tied up in Jack's Prison Chamber of Hell, and not even necessarily once he found himself wheelchair-bound. He always has about six backup plans for every occasion; nothing fazes him. Until Jacob speaks to Locke.
I admit that the whole Jacob thing caught me off guard. I was busy laughing at Ben who was clearly insane, and I was really starting to believe that Jacob was a figment of his imagination, when suddenly there was the Voice of Doom. I stopped laughing and paused. And suddenly the room was going crazy with what felt like a pack of poltergeists. It was like the Smoke Monster on speed. Objects thrown! Windows smashed! Random fires! It was a scene straight out of a horror movie, and I loved it. I don't know how the phrase "help me" plays into it, though...several people seem to think Ben's found a way to keep Jacob captive somehow, but somehow that doesn't quite fit with the look of shock and hurt in his eyes when he hears that.
Back to the question of vulnerability - although it's been brought up before, it never struck me quite so much as it did tonight that Ben is just like Locke. Rejected and scorned since birth, he's desperate to be considered special. DESPERATE. Being the lone survivor of the purge is a start, being the puppet master gives him a good deal of fulfillment, but clearly being Jacob's right-hand-man gives him the approval he craves, satisfies his need to be uniquely special. For years, he's had this. And now suddenly Locke has been granted the same gift? Locke, who hasn't even been on this island 4 months? Does that mean Locke can help him in a way that Ben can't? His sense of self worth just took a crippling blow. It'll be recovered within 24 hours, of course, but he was practically shaking, demanding to know what Locke had heard. I'm going to stop now because I am far from being an authority on Ben's motives and I may be wildly off the mark, but I couldn't not talk about it...there's too much to speculate on.
Oh, and how about that ending?? Not only was that even more unexpected and incredible than Michael shooting Libby, it was the best setup for a death scene ever. "I was one of the people that was smart enough to make sure I didn't end up in that grave...which makes me considerably smarter than you, John." *BAM* When I saw that, I screamed. With joy. I fought down an urge to run around the house 20 times. I was hyperventilating and jumping up and down on the bed instead, squeaking incoherently, thinking of all the glorious Locke-free years ahead, hoping this unexpected death meant a reprieve for Charlie, and tallying up my new points in the death pool.
Then Voice hit me upside the head and said "You IDIOT, do you even remember the phrase 'showdown between Locke and Jack in the finale'?" Which means it's probably not so much a Libby-type death as a Mikhail-type death. Damn it! My day is now ruined.
Oh yeah, and there were even a couple of scenes on the beach this week...#1: Sawyer + Sayid = Team Win. You want to be on that team at all possible times. It's an unstoppable force, although they are weak against Juliet Mind Games. No matter. They have some serious clout. And when he puts his mind to it, Sayid can make Jack's leadership skills look like nothing. And although I feel cheated by the lack of direct reaction from either Kate or Sawyer to the former hearing repeated references to her potential pregnancy/abduction, I love the beach crowd gathering around to listen to the tape. So I guess Jack & Juliet were talking about the raid last week...huh. Jack's gonna have to come up with a real good excuse as to why he wouldn't want to share that information ASAP. I may or may not accept "trying to prevent mass hysteria" as a viable excuse.
Also, it amuses me that while she clings in vain to her last-ditch effort to save Jack from the clutches of the Evil Juliet, she is rapidly losing favor with Sayid. Kate, that's noble and admirable and all, but when things go south you're gonna want to be on this side of the fence.
Next week: I look for arrows with which to shoot Desmond in the neck should it become necessary (4 Hobbit saves does not make up for eventually sending Hobbit to death!), then resume being curled up in a fetal position on the bathroom floor, clutching a teddy bear and sobbing "NO! NOT CHARLIIIIIEEEEE...." Does not compute. Charlie cannot die. Cannot cannot cannot. *stuffs cotton in ears to block out opinions to the contrary* This is almost as bad as waiting for Shannon to be gutshot last year. Only in this case, the tension from fearing the signs pointing to the worst but without actual confirmation is almost worse.
CSI: NY: "...Comes Around"
Remember how I said episode 21 had everything? Yeah, episode 23 had more.
To start on a completely shallow note, I am in love with the reddish-purple blazer Stella's wearing at the beginning.
Next I want to repeat something, because it still feels like a dream: no Adam. And no Sid. No screentime-hogging lab rat! No wasted time with the creepy coroner! *dies happy* I understand we can't have this glorious phenomenon every week
I'll admit I was skeptical about the fabled "John McEnroe" case, because I really get tired of the way CSI - especially in this branch - is always pushing its guest stars in big bold letters like it's just the greatest thing ever. Besides that, I had to ask my mom who John McEnroe even was. I'll give them credit for at least having him play himself; the more well-known a guest star is the harder it is to believe he's a random criminal of the week, so this was a nice way around that. Alas, my skepticism proved founded; I couldn't have cared less about the man impaled on a condom machine. Although I did laugh out loud at at Peyton telling Hawkes his record time for body removal still stood. They're always hinting about the days when they both worked in the morgue, and I have to say I really wish we could have seen that. They seem like they'd have fantastic banter in their downtime. Somebody needs to write me that fic.
Oh wait, and I also really loved Flack & Danny's tag-team chase & tackle of the fleeing suspect. So great. Y'know, the more I think about it, the more I think that maybe it wasn't so much that the case was bad as that it was simply overshadowed by the magnitude of the far more compelling half of the hour, the part that focused on Mac and the investigative hearing against him.
What struck me was that it seemed to address everything that people have been complaining about for the last few episodes - yes, Mac broke protocol, plain and simple. And nobody but him can say with absolute certainty that Dobson fell as opposed to being pushed, no matter how much Dt. Tayor blusters that his say-so should equal incontrovertible truth. Furthermore, not only is Mac being hypocritical as far as his indignance at being held to the strict letter of the law, the lawyer specifically references his intolerant attitude not just towards Truby but to Danny. Cripes, I'm surprised nobody dragged out Aiden's name at any point.
As for Gerrard & Sinclair, I TOLD YOU the former was a cartoon villain. Sinclair sort of ended up that way too, actually, as their cornering of Flack was very much like a pair of schoolyard bullies. Or possibly a couple of mob members. "'Ey, Stan, you ever hear the one about the detective who didn't testify the way his superiors suggested he should?" "Why sure! Heard he never made it past a third grade rank. Damn shame, he was such a rising young star." "You always wonder if there wasn't SOMETHING he could have done to make it turn out different, don't you?" "You do, you do. I actually got an idea of my own. It's a good theory, should I share? I think I'll share."
Flack hasn't had this much chance to shine since "Consequences," and it is a beautiful thing to see Eddie Cahill's skill finally showcased. There's just the right intensity when Flack tries to head Mac off from storming out in a temper tantrum, insisting "This department can't afford to lose you." It was one of the few times where much as I love his righteous anger, I mostly wanted to swat Mac for being bull-headed. Added to this are his (futile) attempts to defend Mac on the stand and his completely non-plussed attitude during Gerrard and Sinclair. I already posted this in a comment, but I'm bringing it back where I can keep track of it - unlike Mac, who would have started snarling back at them about underhand insinuating threats, Flack just nods his head and looks thoughtful, as if taking this under serious consideration. I also feel just the teensiest bit sorry for him; his uneasy smile at the initial praise from Gerrard made it seem like on the one hand he wanted the other's approval, but on the other, how genuine said approval was might be a matter of some debate.
And yet, outstripping all of the above is the scene in the bar with Danny, post-shift. It's absolutely endearing to see them having drinks, playing pool, griping about the hearing and discussing devotion to the job. Especially when they sound just a little bit drunk by the end of it. Wonderful. Could we possibly see stuff like this on a more regular basis? This friendship is great and should be utilized more often. I don't know what more to say; all I know is that it's 2 minutes of the best footage since...well, in a very long time. And then it fades right in to another 90 seconds of squee-filled fun.
I think - and don't kill me for it - I am beginning to love Mac/Peyton a titchy bit more than Danny/Lindsay, if only because of its blessed stability. And as adorable as his crush was, now that they've passed the UST stage, Danny's too much of an average guy to ever be a romantic figure the way Mac is. I don't think I ever expected to string "Mac" and "romantic" into the same sentence, but here we are. While all the angst and drama of the younger couple is lovely in its own particular way, at the end of the day I'm left far more satisfied by the other two. Simple but significant conversation over a diner table, as Peyton is close enough to his department to know what he's going through and be able to talk sense into him without being right there in the thick of it. It's lovely, really, and is aided all the more by their subtle hints of affection; hands clasped, kissing her knuckles, thumb grazing over her fingers.
I'm a little bit disappointed by Truby's "trump card" reveal. I mean, really, blackmail was the best they could come up with? Don't get me wrong, it was quite satisfying to see the hero swagger into the office and figuratively pin Gerrard against the board, but I wish he'd had a little better ammunition with which to do it. Until that point I was positive that a coroner's report somewhere was going to prove that had Dobson been pushed or dropped he would have had different/more severe injuries, or something...something to actually exonerate Mac. Because really, as much as I enjoy him wearing a smug smirk, threatening to go to the press with Gerrard's past slip-up left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth; he became little better than them.
However, all is forgiven for the two Mac & Stella scenes. I liked the first one, in which they trade stories about their first collars; I never tire of hearing about their early years in law enforcement. Those were fairly long and developed stories too, as opposed to a throwaway line like "ticketed a guy for speeding at intersection B," and for that I commend the writers. But the closing scene hits it home, as Stella goads him into admitting that he did, in fact, get an unholy kick out of sticking it to Sinclair. Mac's laughter (okay, chuckle, but a real one) is a beautiful thing.
Next Week: I have to go spork my eyes out. You can't honestly expect me to give the green light of approval to two sex scenes in a single month. And I'm afraid SVU already claimed my soul. *contents self with other finale spoilers*