Because it's been two minutes without Horatio onscreen, the powers that be remedy that by having him exit an elevator and walk by the reception desk, where a woman tells him there's a message for him. It's from Megan. This startles Horatio. He reads it, and says, "Um. Hang on a second. This can't be right." The receptionist says, "She asked that you try not to contact her anymore." Oh, how lame. Horatio gets all broody for a moment, then thanks the receptionist before going off to talk to Barreiro.
Barreiro's explaining, "I wanted to cut Julie a break. I was on bed check. I heard talking coming from number two after lights-out." Horatio asks, "And that's when you saw Dara?" Barreiro confirms this, adding that she didn't know who Dara was. We see a flashback in which the busty delinquents are busy giggling over the beer that Morales is drinking before getting busted by Barreiro. She knocks the beer can out of Morales's hand, and the beer ends up splashed all over Dara.
We then cut to Calleigh talking to Morales, saying, "The senior cadet is being interrogated in the other room. I need you to talk to me, okay?" Morales plays with a bottle cap and drawls, "I don't want to get in any more trouble." Calleigh pleads, "Then you just have to help us out, Julie. We just want to find out what happened to Dara and why she came to you." Julie replies, "She was my best friend."
Meanwhile, Barreiro's saying, "I told her she had to leave immediately. I escorted her to the front gate and I left her there." We see this in flashback, with Barreiro frog-marching Dara out of the bunk. Horatio's not buying it: "See, leeches need a water source, and those leech bites on your legs indicate to me that you were down at the pond." Sevilla adds that, going by Barreiro's record and her history of violence, she thinks Barreiro beat up Dara, left her by the pond, then found her dead the next day. Barreiro concedes, "I found her by the pond at 0700 morning rounds. I drove up and she was just lying there." We then flash to Barreiro pulling Dara out of the pond, pulling her on the back of the ATV, and driving off with her. Barreiro insists that "I didn't want to get in trouble for not reporting her the night before. I'm sorry."
Cut to Calleigh asking Morales, "Why did Dara cut her hair?" Why is this the first time that the shorn hair and its significance in the investigation have been introduced? Shouldn't the hair have been commented on by someone during the autopsy ("Maybe her killer cut her hair as a trophy/to deter recognition/as part of an abduction scheme") or by Dara's mother when she ID'd the body? We're forty-nine minutes into the episode and the cut hair is meaningful only now? Anyway, Morales says that Dara hated her hair and her clothing. Calleigh asks, "Why was she running away, Julie? Did it have anything to do with you assaulting your mom? Or is related to another critical clue which will be introduced in the episode's home stretch, and yet provide all the motive we need to solve this case?" Morales stares at Calleigh and she adds, "We talked to your parents. They told us the whole story." Morales tosses the bottle cap she's been toying with at Calleigh and overacts, "Well, they didn't tell you my story! They didn't believe me! No one ever believed me!" Calleigh promises to believe her. Morales says, "Dara was sick of the modeling. She was sick of everything. Always having to be perfect!" Cut to Mrs. Winters combing her daughter's hair and telling her, "You're beautiful. You're going to be great," while Dara pouts. Morales says tearfully, "But Queen Bitch wouldn't let her quit." And now, the QB mentioned in the earlier letters makes a lot of sense. Calleigh's still catching up here, so she asks, "You mean her mother?" Morales is all, "Her mother made her do a lot of things." Calleigh wants to know, "What kind of things?" Cut to an unintentionally hilarious shot of Mom leaning in with a menacing expression, waving a diaphragm in front of Dara's face. "You'll use this diaphragm or else, young lady!" Dara's tearfully saying to her mother, "Mom, please..." as her mom keeps sharply saying her name. Back in the present, Morales says, "Her mom always told her, 'No choir girl ever made the A-list.'" Under the makeup, Calleigh reacts. At least, we can infer that she does.
Off in the subplot subbasement, the Wonder Twins are putting the pieces of their plotline together. Delko states the obvious -- Stango was siphoning gas as a side gig -- and Speedle replies, "That explains his milk jones. He was trying to settle his stomach." Delko passes on the dietary habits commentary to add, "Gasoline has only one use -- to ignite." "So what ignited it?" Speedle asks rhetorically. Delko brainstorms, "Maybe fillings in his mouth caused a spark." We get a TMICam shot of some truly frightening molars grinding together. Speedle pooh-poohs that idea with, "According to his dental records, this guy had perfect teeth." The two then come up with the possibility that the heavy shag carpet in the trailer generated some serious static electricity, and that caused the spark which would have ignited the guy's stomach. Speedle then muses, "You know how you're pumping gas, you're not supposed to get in and out of your car -- or talk on the cell phone?" The two of them immediately turn to the cell phone. Delko points out that lithium batteries put out 3.7 volts of electricity, and then we see a situation where Stango, after having shuffled around his carpet for a while, answers the phone and becomes a human circuit, thus igniting the gas in his stomach. Delko deadpans, "I guess he had to take that phone call." Oh, har dee har har. Delko continues, "They say these things could kill you." Dear writers: Stop with the deadpan wit. It's neither deadpan, nor wit. Thank you, Sobell.