The first shot is of someone running through lush, verdant foliage -- the kind of lush, verdant foliage not normally found in desert habitats such as Vegas. But who am I to nitpick? This isn't the most asinine thing we'll see tonight. So the runner -- male, decked out in black, looking like your typical scrawny road racer -- is winding down from a presumably vigorous run when he hears a growling noise, and then something big and toothy pounces on him. Those of us who have cats wince in sympathy.
Several hours later, it's dark, and the runner is now huddled face-down in a culvert. Gil and his merry men wander through the usual assortment of law-enforcement vehicles, slip and slide across the carpet of thick grass growing beside this desert running trail, and are wending their way through a copse of trees down to the body when an unnamed tertiary character runs through, catches one look at the runner, and promptly departs to go chunder in another freakishly leafy stand of foliage. Nicky makes a lame-ass comment about the guy not being able to eat dinner; Warrick looks appropriately disgusted. I should also note here that Warrick also looks as though he's been recently scalped. Whoever did Gary Dourdan's hair, back off slowly and drop the shears where we can see them. Anyway, Gil cases the scene, concluding that the runner had been dragged down from the trail to be disemboweled in the culvert below; Warrick shines his flashlight on the body and winces over the extent of the wounds. Nicky opines, "He picked the wrong time of day to be running alone. Dusk is when the animals come out." "From what I hear, they carved out a piece of this valley when they made this park. Some mountain lion probably didn't like getting relocated. Mountain lions are brutal," Warrick replies. "And smart. This one evidently knows how to use a scalpel," Gil says.
On that not-terribly-painful note, we go to the credits. Twenty-one episodes, I've run out things to say about the Who.
Back at CSI Central, Gil is about to skulk into his office when he runs into Catherine. He looks dismayed -- as well he should. Whatever positive ground Catherine gained with her kicky new 'do a few episodes ago has been completely lost here. Find the hairdresser for this episode and fire him. Now. Anyway, the two of them have a conversation establishing the B-plot for this evening: a six-year-old girl died on a carnival ride a few blocks over, and since Catherine's all about working on cases that affect her profoundly and impede any hope of objective investigation, she wants this one. Gil asks how she knows about this case, and Catherine says she got the case off his desk while pawing through his paperwork and other personal effects. Gil asks if she cleaned up any while she was in there. "Do you think I overstepped?" she asks. Yes. Next? "These people come to town, they commit crimes, and they leave!" she huffs. It's a carousel of crime! A Ferris wheel of felony! A tilt-a-whirl of treachery! I could go on all evening, but there are fifty-two hateful minutes of this episode to suffer through and I only have 750 milliliters of zinfandel to get me through. Gil, sensing that Catherine is about to blow another case, implores her to take Sara along. Oh, I'm sensing an evening of female bonding. Given that it's Catherine and Sara, I'm sensing that the bonding will be about as successful as attempting to mix oil and water. Catherine confirms that Sara will be on the scene, and stalks off.
Gil then wanders into the morgue as Warrick asks David the unfun coroner, "So Doc, how big of a cat are we actually dealing with here?" Given the scope of the wounds, I'd say about twelve pounds. Or perhaps that's just a reflection of my cat's own reign of terror. Speaking of terror, the credits are still flashing and I notice that Brad Johnson -- the toxically virile building inspector from a few episodes back-- is going to be appearing tonight. And here I am with only 700 milliliters of zin. Anyway, David the unfun coroner says, "We're not." "We're not?" Gil says incredulously, because apparently that theory about scalpel-wielding mountain lions was looking pretty plausible until a few seconds ago. "Have you ever owned a kitten? When they play, they don't just bite -- they scratch," David says, and all over the country, cat owners are nodding in agreement. "There's no sign of claw marks on the victim," David finishes, and Nicky rushes in to fill Brass's able expository shoes: "So what are we dealing with?" "Forget Whiskers, think Spot," David says. As he explains the way the canine-looking teeth pierced the jugular -- which we see in TMIcam, and which distracts me to no end because I'm wondering exactly how you'd train a dog to go for the jugular, or if there's some freakish animal instinct at work here -- Gil is shaking his head and muttering dazedly, "I was wrong about the species." And again, I have to ask: you have no problem with a scalpel-wielding mountain lion, but the idea of a tool-using dog blows your mind? Stick to the insects, Gil: the ways of vertebrates will forever be a mystery to you. Both Nicky and Warrick look at him incredulously; I'm not sure if it's because they're shocked Gil is wrong, or that they're dumbfounded to be working for someone who's still wrapping his brain around Fido the cardiothoracic surgeon. David says he'll make a mold of the teeth to narrow down the breed; I leave that one alone, since this could be one of those surprise episodes where we find out a group of toy poodles has been terrorizing the park. Gil finally notices that his subordinates are gaping at him. "What?" he asks defensively. "Most people don't admit when they're wrong," Nicky says. "I'm wrong all the time. That way, I eventually get to right," Gil replies. Well, it doesn't have the usual Zen minimalist flair of "if you want to go fast, go slow," but it'll do. David interjects that Gil was right about the scalpel, and the crack team quickly deduces that a human may have actually stepped in after the dog did its business and absconded with a few internal organs.