We're back at the B-plot, and what does it say about Horatio when I'm actually relieved to be recapping the part of the episode where we find out exactly how injured Betty is? Alexx is standing over her on the autopsy table and explaining, "Extent of the ecchymosis suggests she lived several hours after she sustained her injuries. Confirmed blunt force trauma, skull fracture, subdural hematoma. No clear weapon; could have been anything. Tox report indicates a therapeutic level of Cumadin." Delko comments, "Blood thinner. That could explain the excessive blood loss. Was she on any other medication?" Alexx replies, "No. Right arm and both hands are broken." Delko speculates, "Poor thing -- she tried to fight him off." Alexx point out, "Eighty-one-year-old woman: doesn't take much to break her bones. Tissue sections confirmed neurofibrilliary tangles." We then get the TMICam shot of the brain, its electrical currents, and what happens when those tissues get tangled. Delko says in surprise, "She had Alzheimer's." Alexx adds, "Late stages." And this is the point where my eyebrows shoot up in surprise and begin orbiting the area immediately around my head. If Betty was late-stage Alzheimer's and residing in an assisted-living facility, there's no way she would have been left on her own for the period of time necessary for the manner of death she suffered; typically, late-stage patients are moved into full-time care and monitored near constantly, as they can be dangerous or frightening to others, and a hazard to themselves. But we skip right out the question of what a late-stage Alzheimer's patient was doing living in relative autonomy, and move on the gratuitously sordid portion of the case. Alexx points out, "Diagnosing rape is tricky. Muscles have atrophied; skin is less elastic. I'll collect a sexual assault kit."
Meanwhile, Speedle's stuck in the middle of a science montage. That makes two in under five minutes. Not that I'm complaining. Horatio comes in to tell us that Rudy's postmortem is done -- it's death by asphyxiation due to nitric acid fumes. Horatio adds, "The question becomes, what was the nitric acid used for?" Speedle interjects, "I gotta tell you, I'm having a lot of trouble with this." Horatio offers moral support in the form of, "Hang in there." Next thing you know, he'll be bringing in a poster with a kitten dangling from a tree and that same sentiment. In the here-and-now, Horatio's discovered the presence of sulfuric acid. He then goes over to the clear board -- it's transparent because it's cooler than a regular blackboard -- and shows us all his beautiful mind and his grasp of the composition of sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Just then Speedle announces that he's got a little something in the meth family. Horatio mutters, "This doesn't compute, does it?" Speedle shoots back, "Now you know what I've been doing. These aren't components of any drug I know." Horatio replies, "But they should give us the final product, MDP2P?" Speedle fills him in: "Methylene-dioxy-phenyl-2-propanone. It's not really a recreational drug. It's not really anything." Horatio speculates, "Maybe that means he didn't mean to make it. Go with me a second here, grasshopper. Now if you sub in formic acid for nitric acid, you get Ecstasy, don't you?" I guess you do: the folks haven't seen fit to show us the formula, and I have a feeling doing the research on it myself -- and giving y'all the how-to -- might not be the smartest use of my time, so let's just take everyone's word for it. Speedle concludes that the cook screwed up. Horatio adds, "The pills were white; he figured he could still sell them as X." Grasshopper explains, "So when he replaces one ingredient along the chemical pathway to try and make something legal --" Sensei concludes, "Yes, he did, and ended up making a chemical so powerful that its fumes could kill human beings." Grasshopper asks, "So what are we chasing -- the fumes or the pills?" Sensei Horatio replies, "We're chasing the cook."