CSI
Blood Lust

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Beware the best intentions

Gil then spots a petite woman chit-chatting by the water cooler, tells the young Turks to stay put, then collars the woman. "Excuse me, hi. Judy, right? Judy, would you like to be part of a little experiment?" Judy looks up at Gil and stammers, "I-I-I'm a secretary. Besides, I heard what you did to Liam's feet." Gil promises Judy she'll keep her shoes on, and herds her toward Warrick. He then asks Judy to take Warrick by the right arm and drag him across the room, which she does, albeit in fits and starts. Warrick grunts, "I like it gentle," after one particularly forceful jerk. Once Warrick's been moved a few yards, Gil releases Judy to the Labitrail, and explains the purpose of the experiment: Stewart was about the same weight as Warrick, and if a child was dragging him toward the woods, he would do so in fits and starts, which explains the post-mortem dislocated shoulder. After Warrick leaves, grumbling about chiropractors' bills, Gil and Sara launch another flight of fancy, this one featuring Ms. Branson as the one who offed Stewart in a fit of maternal rage after he stabbed her son. Since we're only at the forty-eight-minute mark, however, we can all rest assured that we're in for at least one more significant plot twist.

Cut to Brass and Gil having the great good timing to catch Ms. Branson as she's loading up her SUV, Eric already seat-belted into the front seat. Brass allays Ms. Branson's worries about her ex catching up to her by telling her they've got John on unrelated charges, so even if she stops to chat, she'll still have a day or two head start. Gil then frays Ms. Branson's nerves further by asking, "May I see your hands?" He sees them -- no stab wounds, no burns. So much for that hypothesis. As Gil's looking, he notices Eric eyeing him nervously, so he zooms in on that. Gil walks over and says casually, "Hi, pal." It's kind of unnerving to see Gil attempting to establish a rapport with children; I prefer it when he's openly discomfited around them, as Gil has always struck me as someone who wasn't terribly comfortable being a child, and thus can't relate to children. Brass comes over and tells Eric, "This is Mr. Grissom. We work together." Gil asks to see Eric's hands. Eric's not moving. Ms. Branson says, "We have to get going." Brass replies, "As soon as Eric shows Mr. Grissom his hands, you're on your way." "Palms up," Gil says, and the kid produces his hands. The left one has a long vertical burn on the palm. That timely departure is looking a lot less likely for Ms. Branson now.

We're then whisked to the interrogation room, where Brass and Gil are sitting with Eric, Ms. Branson, and a child advocate. Gil says, "Eric. I need to know how you burned your hand." He looks at his mom, and Brass directs him, "Look at Mr. Grissom, not your mother, okay?" The advocate, Ms. Karpell, says, "It's okay to answer the question." Eric tells Gil he burned it on an iron. Brass and Gil explain how that's a lie, and the kid swallows, staring steadily at Gil, and spins a story about how he followed his older brother Todd to the park, where Todd had arranged to meet Stewart. Todd yelled at Stewart, "I am not leaving my friends 'cause of you!" and a tussle ensued in which Todd pulled a gun, Stewart pulled a knife, and Eric happened along just in time to wrestle for control of the gun, but too late to prevent either the fatal shooting or the lethal stabbing. Then Todd stumbled off and left Eric to deal with the body. "I was just looking out for my brother," he finishes. Gil and Brass are both suspicious of the story, but it's plain that neither of them is certain how to attack it yet. Fortunately, Sara, who had entered quietly during the conversation, steps in to rescue them. She swabbed the barrel of the gun, and that 1 in 5.88 chance paid off -- she found DNA, and it was male DNA, but it wasn't Todd's. Instead, it was someone related to Todd. We find out that what really happened was that Eric snapped over the prospect of moving again, blamed Stewart, arranged to meet him in the park, and then, when Todd arrived at the park to stop the confrontation, the kid got himself stabbed by Stewart in a three-way mix-up for his troubles. We also learn that Ms. Branson had owned the revolver in question -- why she didn't mention earlier that she had one of her ex-husband's guns, and why she didn't mention earlier that she thought he had somehow stolen it, as she mentions here as her explanation for why it went missing, are two questions that are unanswered -- and that Stewart had started carrying a knife on her advice, as protection against John. Their plotline ends with Eric being escorted off to juvie, where he will no doubt hone his killing instinct through years of gang in-fighting, only to be released with few positive social skills and even fewer job skills at age twenty-one, but the parting shot of his small figure escorted by several adults is quite chilling. Ms. Branson is left alone to weep in the room, fully realizing how her actions led to her son's and significant other's deaths, and her remaining son's incarceration.

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