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CSI, ER, Numb3rs. In that order.

Before I dig into reviews,
a) CSI:NY friending frenzy is up here.  About 20% of my flist is composed of people I met there last time, so, it's a good thing.
b) the only upfront news worth mentioning between FOX and the CW, given that House and Bones have been renewed for months, is that Standoff is officially canceled.  (!*&$^)  At least all the other new shows died along with it - except, inexplicably, Til Death, which is funny enough, but not exactly "yippee, best show of 06-07!" material.  And yet it gets a second season.  Okay, off we go then.
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.CSI - 7x24, "Living Doll"

How?  How could you do that to me, CSI?  How could you have the most spectacular season ever, and then go *fizzle* kaput in the home stretch?

Maybe it was because I had major spoilers about the entire plotline, including the killer's identity and the cliffhanger ending, but somehow I don't think so.  I had much of the same for "Empty Eyes," and that one floored me.  Yet for the finale - which I had been looking forward to in suspense all week - I spent the first 40 minutes of the hour helping my brother with his geometry homework.  And I didn't care.   At my insistence, we were sitting on the floor of my room so I could cut commercials from the tape and still keep an eye on CSI if I wanted to, but I very quickly found the homework more engrossing - I was almost disappointed when he finished and I had to give my full attention to the screen.  Yes, the pace picked up very quickly in the last quarter, but that's part of the problem.  I hate that the action zooms forward in the 4th act, cramming a whole lot of plot into not a lot of time.  Suddenly everything feels rushed; I feel like I hardly got a chance to take a breath, and not in a "how exciting!!" way but more of a "for the love of God, would you HOLD ON A SECOND?" way. 

A half hour at YTDAW eventually convinced me to go back and watch the whole thing, and I found I had missed a couple of decent moments here and there, but for the most part the pacing in the beginning still feels agonizingly slow.  I know they were trying to give us a sense of who the MCSK was, but I'm sure they could have trimmed some fat without sacrificing that angle entirely.  I appreciate that they wanted, and needed, to give as much closure to their season-long plot arc as possible, but come on.  There's a reason I didn't watch "Killer" last year. 

The fact that several initial spoilers apparently ended up on the cutting room floor didn’t improve my mood.  Namely, what happened to Natalie hitting Sara with a taser?  I wanted to see that!  I guess a few things changed for the better, like the end of Grissom & Natalie’s conversation, but...I dearly wish that whole psychotic break where she imagines stabbing him in the neck had been one of the things that got cut.  It's gross.  And doesn't really add much to the storyline; we're perfectly aware of how crazy she is by that point, thank you.

You know what else should have been cut?  The two full minutes of Catherine and Grissom watching the ventriloquist's lame act.  Especially given that it was followed by a five minute conversation with him backstage, the only worthwhile portion of which is the flashback to Chloe’s death, and her father cleaning the bloodstained sidewalk with bleach. 

I hate to admit this, but I probably would have been singing a different tune if not for all the hullabaloo over Jorja's up-in-the-air contract.  It's hard to care about anything else when you're terrified about the very real possibility that this might be the end of your favorite character, and because the key word is might,” she's not only not at least getting a last focus, she's barely in the episode at all.  It's frustrating beyond belief.  If not for that, I expect I might have found it in me to comment on the cinematic brilliance of letting us see the world through Natalie's eyes, watching her build a miniature (which, okay, was a little bit chilling), etc.   Unfortunately, THAT hangs over the hour like a black thundercloud threatening to turn into a funnel. 

To backtrack a little, when the spoilers first hit, I thought it sounded fantastic - Sara in mortal peril?  If Nick being grabbed was thrilling, Sara being taken = my wildest dreams have been fulfilled.  I expect an unhinged Grissom trying to find her, followed by a reunion scene that will blow all previous GSR out of the box.  The idea of her actually dying never crossed my mind; I was just annoyed at having to wait out a cliffhanger.   But then this mess started, and suddenly my glee was very much hampered.

For all that, there were some good parts to the episode.  Some VERY good parts.  In fact, if you scrape them all together you get a fairly sizable bit of GSR out of it, especially if you put on your Happy Hat of Optimism and tell yourself all will be fine in September. 

The flashback to Grissom running his hand down Sara's arm is worth a shiver (and reading that back, it is PATHETIC that I have to squeal over moments like that given what NY gets to work with), though I think I'm partial to him leaving her the crime scene with "All yours, my dear."  The beauty of it is that even though it's a perfectly casual phrase and could be addressed to any woman - I've heard it often enough - the way he says it in a bit of an undertone makes it easy to interpret otherwise.  It's also a sound bite I can play with when I send my mind off to play with GSR in lala land, and links up nicely with his use of "Dear" earlier in the year.

But from the moment Grissom finds the Sara doll, you know, where the episode starts running like it's on speed, things are on a whole new level; fear and worry are not just evident in his demeanor, they threaten to overtake everything else.  Grissom is coming unglued.  I couldn't ask for better reactions; William Petersen is magic.  Loved him walking down the hall on the phone, murmuring for Sara to pick up.  See my heart?  </3 It's breaking. 
 
There's something terribly poignant, too, about Brass & Co. finding her car, abandoned cell phone inside, display lighting up with Grissom's futile call.

I wish I'd been clever enough to connect the wrecked car in Sara's miniature to the case in "Fallen Idols"  before they did, but nevertheless, that was a wonderful detail.  (And suddenly my opinion of that episode is much higher.)  There is a lot to love about this scene in the layout room, rushed as it is, but more than anything I like how as the other CSIs rapidly trade information about the old cases, nobody notices Grissom hanging back, rubbing his hand over his face and looking faintly ill.  Oh yes, he's heading for a meltdown. 

"I took away the only person she ever loved...so she's going to do the same thing to me."  Aaaand, it's out.  Sort of.  In retrospect, it's little more damning than his confession to Lurie in "Butterflied," but I do think the team all jumped to the same conclusion we expected them to.  And then probably paused and doubted their initial reaction, but personally, this is how I read all their expressions: (in the, uh, approximately 1.5 seconds each character gets for reaction shots, anyway. -.-)

Catherine: Hey, I ship you with Heather!  HEATHER!
Warrick: Oh, no.  You didn't.
Greg: Uhhh...
Nick: Huh, that's funny, I was JUST talking about how it's not a good idea to date people you work with.

I love that Grissom doesn't even seem to realize what he's saying; he's wrapped up in his own thoughts and more or less talking things out to himself.  Nor does he seem to notice or care about the ramifications of the bombshell he just dropped; he's off and running on the next lead while the team stares at one another.

And into the interrogation room with Natalie...his eerily animated interest in and encouragement of her prowess is masterfully performed, if a bit creepy to watch, and he doesn't bat an eye over the phrase "how you killed Sara" (although I'm firmly convinced it took a vast amount of willpower not to).  And all is going okay, as a confused Natalie claims she didn't, and Grissom repeats, "You didn't.."  Do you hear the chord of doom sound?  There's the faintest hint of relief in his face, just the faintest, but that's all it takes.  The light goes out of Natalie's eyes, her expression hardens, and in that instant Grissom knows that he just lost his only chance.  Control lost, he's reduced to pure pleading, which falls on deaf ears as Natalie turns away and begins the most irritating song I have ever heard in my life.  Now would be a really good time to pull him out of that room, as he is rapidly heading downhill.  Oops, too late.  Meltdown!  

I can't remember the last time Grissom got physical with a suspect.  Heck, I can't even remember the last time he yelled at one.  The fact that he actually grabbed hold of her and shook her says a lot about his level of desperation.   And of course, when he slumps back in defeat, once more running a hand over his jaw, my stomach twists itself into knots.  You know, remembering this scene, I'm suddenly very cheerful.  If ever there was proof of how much she means to him...

It’s at this point I have to hit the mute button before Natalie’s song drives me criminally insane, but the final shot of Sara’s hand feebly clawing at the mud while rain pours down just leaves me feeling hollow when it fades to the dreaded TO BE CONTINUED tag.  Unless they plan on having MCSK, Round II in season 8, which I very much doubt, I don't see the need to spill over past the end of the year with a plotline that has otherwise been magnificently spaced out over the course of the year.  We had a 2-parter opener; it would have been nice to bookend it with a 2-part closer.  Remind me again why LH need to come back for another episode?

I don't think I can continue to watch CSI if they kill Sara off like that.   I always kind of expected her to leave the show pursuing another job offer if Jorja Fox was dead set on leaving.  I’d still have hated to see her go, but I could have dealt with it.  However, leaving her to die alone in the desert?  Too cruel.


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.ER: The Honeymoon is Over

I think this might be the first time I've watched an ER finale on its original airdate.  I don't know how peope do it every year; my already strained energy reserves were utterly sapped after that hour of rollercoaster emotion. 

Alas, last weekend, in my quest to turn up more detailed spoiler information about "Sarah panics when she thinks she's being taken away from Tony," I tripped over the TV.com forums.  I never did get the answers I was looking for, but 5 days beforehand, I got spoiled instead about Ray losing his legs.  I'm pretty sure my initial reaction was OMGWTFPOLARBEAR, but I wish I had seen it for the first time as it unfolded on the episode.  The slow reveal of him in a wheelchair before he turns to face Neela has wonderful buildup. 

I still have a hard time believing they really did it.  I know I was perhaps disturbingly gleeful about Ray getting hit by a truck 2 weeks ago, but that's because I honestly believed he was going to dive out of the way just in time, and maybe get marginally clipped.  Break a leg and/or a rib or two, maybe, with minor head injury.  Figured that would be enough to drive him out of County General, unable to work around Neela any longer, and then I could be a happy camper.  Instead, to my shock, I find that I feel terrible for him, and that it leaves me with a bit of a hollow feeling to see him reduced to this, like a lion robbed of teeth and claws.  I never thought I'd live to see Ray Barnett's spirit broken.

I feel for Neela, too.  This situation spun out far beyond her control, and now she's lost one of her dearest friends.  Her comment that she'll visit him is made is earnest, but he clearly wants nothing more to do with her.  It will take a long time for the bitterness to lift, if it ever does, and you can see that Neela knows this but is fighting against the realization rising to the surface. 

I also liked that you could see Katie's temper simmering below the surface; Neela may not have noticed but the air was sparking with tension whenever she was in the room, and it was so very satisfying when she finally snapped at the end and placed the blame squarely on Neela, calling her out on being a selfish bitch.  Okay, that's a little harsh, because she IS still one of my favorite characters, and it's not like Ray's entirely blameless in all this, but...I think Katie was justified in saying it.  I think this may be the most tragic ending they've ever come up with for a character's storyline.  Even Mark Greene, whose death still makes me cry, at least got some closure.

But as sad as that was, nothing topped off the angst fest like Tony and Sarah, which actually moved me to tears.  As someone who takes separation from people I care about very hard (see: inability to stop crying for hours as soon as my parents left me at college), I was right there in Sarah's mindset.

I had a bad feeling last week, though I tried to ignore it, when his lawyer told him there was a good chance he could keep Sarah "if her grandparents agreed."  I suspect they blame Tony for what happened with Meg, and probably don't think it's any healthier for Sarah to stay with him.  But I can't believe they weren't just the littlest bit moved by Sarah sobbing and clinging to him like her life depended on it, or by how much he very clearly loved her (just when I think he’s run through every possible term of endearment, another one pops up -- this week, "baby girl").  This scene is so raw with emotion that I'm feeling tears pricking again.  I sincerely hope this is not the last we see of her, because if she's gone AND Luka's gone, we've lost a good 60% of what I currently love about this show, and it may not be enough to keep me watching.

Speaking of things not worth watching - Dr. Moretti.  Kerry Weaver at her shrillest got under my skin less than this guy does; every moment his smug mug is on screen, I have an overwhelming urge to stab him with a corkscrew.  Further proof you know it's bad, when he berates Morris until I actually feel bad for the guy. And how dare he insinuate that Abby's gotten special treatment for sleeping with the boss! I really wanted to point out that Kovac had been chief for less than a year, and Abby had been around for quite some time prior to that.

The song near at the end, set to a montage of various people riding unhappily in cars, and more heartbreakingly, a dejected Tony sitting in Sarah’s deserted bedroom…oh, God, I haven't hated a song with a Hallelujah chorus this much since Scully gave up William for adoption.  And by “hate” I mean “love,” because listening to it gave me chills and brought even more tears to my eyes.  I must find a copy of my own… what’s it called and who’s it by?  Lyrics: She tied you to her kitchen chair; she broke your throne, she cut your hair, and from your lips she drew a Hallelujah…

[Edit: Jeff Buckley, "Hallelujah."  EXCELLENT!  I know where I've seen that name recently!  *sprints off*  And here it is!]

Oh, almost forgot about the actual ending, with Neela being trampled in the crush of people at the anti-war rally as Gates struggles in vain to reach her.  *perks up a little* If we anchored it in something besides sex, I could probably get back on the Gates/Neela train with very little prompting. 

Speaking of which, I am suddenly glad that the spoilers for the first two episodes of next season are on the internet already, because now I want to soak up every scrap of information I can find.


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.Numb3rs: The Janus List [being renamed in my head as OMGWTF GRANGER!]

I'm still in shock that Colby is a double agent, and was all along.  When the previews for this week claimed that "one of these agents will betray them all," I thought they were just being melodramatic.  Like it would end up being fallout from Megan's secret assignment, that she'd lied to them on orders from higher up, and the team *felt* like they'd been betrayed.  At the very most, I thought it would turn out that one of them made a mistake, leaked information without meaning to and put the team in danger, but by the end of the season premiere it would all have blown over.  In that case I randomly guessed it would be Colby's fault, but I never suspected anything sinister.

Even when I heard, to my shock, the name "Colby Granger" stated on the Janus list, I didn't think it was serious.  I thought it was like Horatio's girlfriend being murdered, or Mac Taylor staring down at the body of a serial killer after he'd jumped off the roof.  Despite mounds of circumstantial evidence to the contrary, they're the good guys.  They have their shortcomings, but you KNOW them, and because of that, you know they didn't do anything wrong.  It's just a temporarily damning state of affairs; if you dig around a bit you'll get to the bottom of it and be able to officially clear their name.

So when Don and David were both yelling and pointing guns in Colby's face, I was sitting there going, "Um, guys, are we addle-brained today?  You don't seem to realize something - this is Colby.  As in one of your FBI team members.  The bad guys are in *that* direction..."

Even when they had him in the interrogation room, I couldn't believe it.  Where's the badge loyalty?  Come on, LOOK AT HIM - does that face look capable of being snakey?  Of course not.  But I was beginning to get very nervous, in a "wait, okay, this is getting out of hand...seriously, Cheryl Heuton, stop yanking my chain.  It's not funny anymore."  And when he finally confessed to having planted and recently removed the bug, I was reduced to making a variety of faint squeaking noises in disbelief.

Colby was in handcuffs in a squad car and driving out of sight, and I STILL couldn't wrap my brain around it.  I'm feeling extraordinarily betrayed, having such a beloved character be unmasked and revealed as something ugly.  Sigh.  Well, at least now we know why Liz Warner was so heavily incorporated into team dynamics...I'm assuming she'll be coming on as a full-time member, then?  Good thing I slavishly followed Spy's whims and got around to liking her last week.  She better be the replacement, anyway; Numb3rs has been extraordinarily talented so far at casting agents I like and I figure their luck has to run out at some point, so I'd rather not risk it.  Of course, they failed on Liz...I only like her now because she's Don's love interest.  And even that might not last.

Still, this was the best episode of the season, easily moving past even "Waste Not."  Again, I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  Amidst all the action and truly scintillating code-cracking (especially Don going Charlie-faced to figure out the treble clef code), my favorite part was Action!Charlie to the rescue, running through basement tunnels to save a dying witness from a more expedited death, and outfoxing the assassin with what is quite possibly the coolest trick anyone on the show has ever employed.  I laughed for about thirty seconds straight when he got the guy pinned to the MRI machine.

As if that part was not cool enough already, I got my shipper's fix out of the next scene, with a panicky Amita dashing up and planting three quick kisses before throwing her arms around him.  Rewind and repeat at will, since it only lasts six seconds.

And as if there was not ALREADY enough icing on this plot point, it's then followed up with Don decking the guy responsible for sending the assassin.  "You almost got my brother killed!"  Oh, that was awesome.  Combines two of my favorite elements: fraternal love, and punching people. Again, there is much rewinding and repeating.

I feel like I'm missing at least a couple of major discussion points, but I just watched the Crossing Jordan finale, and if possible I am even more emotionally exhausted than I was before, so I'm giving up here.  There was something more I wanted to say about how Don and Charlie were on identical planes of thinking in this ep, how they both felt the same sort of admiration for the guy, but I'll have to leave it at that.

I'm still going to miss Colby.  Poor David & Megan, they took the betrayal as hard as I did.  David especially, raging all the way to tears.  (Just for that, he is my new favorite character.)  Don, on the other hand, appears to have sufficiently moved on; the quiet ending in the Eppes household didn't quite fit with the bombshell we'd just discovered.  *tsk tsk* 

I'm off to go comfort myself with fanfic now. 

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
friendsholic
May. 20th, 2007 06:14 am (UTC)
Those BASTARDS! They cancelled Standoff. I officially hate them now.
What about Til death?

lol...i'm still not finished with typing my csi review. It's going to be the longest in the history of lj. I keep rewatching the episodes.(all 3 finales)
muzzy_olorea
May. 21st, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
Granted that we differ on the fact that you love Season 7 whereas I think CSI has been going downhill (albeit with a few redeeming episode thrown in) steadily for a couple of years now, I'm glad that even as a GSR fan you're not happy with the finale.

I mean, even if we take it that Sara's not dead and, like Brass and Flack of previous seasons, she's blatantly going to be alive next season, this episode is still imho, unbelievably boring and disappointing.

The whole Chloe doll scene - waste of time and the Grissom getting his throat cut? WTF? And the 'song'. My God the SONG. Why oh why!

And I can even admit that I think it would have worked better with more Grissom/Sara moments to build up the emotion and strike the 'sweethappycouplemoment ... something bad must be about to happen' balance. Or like with most shows, if the Fate of a main character is going to hang in the balance at the end of the episode then you at least give her tons of screentime at the beginning for the love of God!
rainbowstevie
May. 21st, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)
Or like with most shows, if the Fate of a main character is going to hang in the balance at the end of the episode then you at least give her tons of screentime at the beginning for the love of God! Exactly - that drives me nuts. It fails on multiple levels, actually. The way they crammed her disappearance into the last few minutes and then didn't give us any shots from her perspective took away much of the emotional impact that Nick's similar abduction. If she lives, it will feel almost like "okay, why were we supposed to care?" If she dies, however, then...well, I can't remember the last time that, short of the actor's death, a major character was written off a show with so little focus or fanfare. I have my fingers crossed that there will be a bit more explanation in the next episode, but still...if you're going to spread a story over two episodes, then it really needs to fill those two episodes. Not one episode with a little preview in the one before.
muzzy_olorea
May. 21st, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
Ditto! I agree with everything you said.

The tragic thing about this is that they handled Nick's disappearance so well and they got amazing reviews etc. so we know that they *can* do it so why on earth have they chosen not to?!

I am sure that what's going to happen with Jorja's contract is going to leak way before September so we'll find out Sara's fate then but even if she does survive then it's still like an 'So what' moment.

- Catherine's whole big Season 7 storyline early this season was the complete opposite - I mean they had her drugged/'raped'/kidnapped/involved in a car crash/daughter kidnapped/father killed in two episodes and even though I'm a Catherine fan, even I thought they crammed waaaaay too much in. With the Sara storyline they've gone exactly the opposite way!!!!

*sigh* Stupid writers.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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