Cut to Alexx wheeling along a covered gurney. Oh, no -- don't tell me Alexx knows this person and they're going to break the news of her friend's death by whipping back the sheet and shouting, "Surprise! Look who you get to talk to today while you work! I think you already know Dennis." Oh, yes, they are going to do it that way, because Alexx and Calleigh are chatting about Alexx's Christmas party, and Alexx is saying, "Of course I remember my Christmas party. I told you no gifts, you brought one for each of my kids. Why?" Calleigh says, "The couple there, the Harmons, Dennis and Julie..." Alexx asks, "What about them? They're my oldest friends." Of course they are. Was Dennis a few days from retirement? Was he happy about that winning lottery ticket he was about to cash so he could treat his wife to the vacation of their dreams? Because this whole set-up isn't clichéd enough yet. Anyway, it finally hits Alexx that she's wheeling one of her oldest friends into the autopsy bay. Nice one, Calleigh. Alexx loses it, and it's embarrassing to watch because it seems so unguarded -- major credit to Khandi Alexander for carrying off the line, "No...we're still young." Calleigh speaks up and tells Alexx they can assign this to another ME if she wants. Why wasn't this done already? Since when it is police procedure to be all, "Hey! Was a friend or loved one killed? Let's put the bereaved on the case -- they're really the best people for the job, and will give us a completely objective investigation"? Alexx gets all teary and lies about being all right. The body gets dumped on her table, Alexx whips out a flashlight and notices immediately that Dennis's pupils are dilated, which is exactly the opposite reaction she would have expected at death. She's all over getting tox screens done. Then Alexx asks Calleigh, "Homicide notified Julie yet? I should be there when they talk to her." They began the autopsy without notifying the next of kin? That's kind of tacky. Calleigh tells him that Hagen's doing it, and adds that the killing has all the marks of an acquaintance murder. Alexx is reeling: "Oh, it's got to be random. Dennis wouldn't get caught up in something like that." Alexx then catches herself and adds, "Listen to me -- like every victim's friend comes down here. Thinking I know somebody, what they'd be caught up in. Truth is, nobody really knows anyone." How very existentialist.
We're back at the burnt-out barn, where Horatio and some nameless bomb-squad member are concluding that the incendiary that set off the explosion was probably dynamite, helped along by gasoline and set on a time delay. It apparently exploded out at a rate of 16,000 feet per second; good thing Speedle and company run 16,001 feet per second, huh? Speedle's poking around and asking, "What I don't get is, if you're trying to destroy evidence, why not put the bomb next to the body?" Horatio points out, "He wasn't trying to cover a murder. He rigged the bomb for kicks. The destroyed evidence is a bonus." Delko's been keeping himself busy picking up pieces of guitar all over the room. Horatio is intrigued. Right then, Speedle tosses evidence in Horatio's direction. Let's hope he doesn't do that with the spare body parts found lying around. Speedle's found a capacitor, which was part of the bomb. Horatio eyeballs it and decrees, "Judging by the oxidation, we're near the seat of detonation." This bit of know-it-all-ism, I can get behind, because Horatio did a stint on the bomb squad. Speedle asks if the capacitor is the bomb signature, and Horatio reminds him, "If we ID the signature, we can ID the suspect."
But first, he has to teleport to the autopsy bay; good thing he sent the body ahead. A considerably more composed Alexx asks disgustedly, "What is it with white boys and duct tape?" They listened when their dads told them it could be used for everything, including bondage and murder? That's my best guess. Speedle notes that the tape's hardly damaged. Horatio intones, "They say that duct tape and roaches will survive the end of the world." You know, coming from anyone else, that's a joke, but Horatio makes it sound like he read it on one of the Dead Sea scrolls. Speedle glides right over that comment and points out that the killer's prints might be on the duct tape. He takes off for Trace with the tape after getting a reminder from Alexx that her tape cuts are marked with black ink; this will be important later in the episode when he's matching up tape cuts to see how the tape was torn from the roll and applied. Horatio then asks Alexx, "I'm going to need a ten-card on this guy ASAP, all right?" Alexx snorts, "More like a one-card. Hands are singed." Horatio decides to take what he can get. Alexx then points out the material she's digging out of one of the body's head wounds. Horatio notices that it looks like wood, and asks if it's from the blast. Alexx points out, "Hemorrhagic tissue indicates he was alive when the wood fragmented with the impact. Blunt force trauma." We get a TMICam of the lethal moment of impact. Horatio's all excited about a possible murder weapon, and Alexx says dismissively, "Murder was redundant. He only had a year or so, by the looks of his liver." Yeah, but most murderers tend not to be into delayed gratification, and hovering around asking, "How's that liver? How's that liver now? Here -- have a Scotch. How's that liver now?" doesn't deliver the visceral satisfaction of beaning someone with hunk of wood. However, Horatio is adamant that someone will pay for stealing the last twelve months of this guy's life.