CSI
Boom

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Incendiary plotlines galore

Guess what, everybody! CSI takes place in Las Vegas! Who knew?

Three sweeping shots of the strip later, we get a transitioning pan over to an office park. Like office parks throughout the rest of America, this one manages to combine the worst of architecture and landscaping in a life-denying nexus of boxy office buildings and spindly shrubbery. And then we transition into the lobby: it's heartening to see what whomever selected the sets this week had an eye for consistency. It's all sterile spaces and hard edges; the silence of the foyer is punctuated by the security guard's incessant stream of small talk. We learn that the bluff fellow's name is Dominic; based on his amiable prattle, we learn he's the kind of well-meaning goober you don't mind unless you're having a really bad day. And then, you peer at him through a haze of DayQuil and Robitussin and wonder if, when you're prosecuted for pulling his ceaselessly prattling lower lip over his head, you can make the argument that you were out of your mind on over-the-counter narcotics at the time. Not that I've had that experience with virulent head colds and security guards or anything.

As people move in and out of the lobby, Dominic's partner Jake takes the vase of flowers Dominic just signed for and sends Dom out to get dinner. He then moves over to a bank of packages on the lobby's far wall. Hearing a ticking noise, he looks up and notes that the clock -- which looks like something Howard Roark would have hung on the wall in between defiant acts of Objectivism -- is ticking quietly. I note that the clock reads 12:30 and wonder why Dom went for dinner. Anyway, Jake looks down at a briefcase and notes that it happens to be ticking; as the music plays all hollow-like to indicate that Jake's hyper-perceptive toward ticking mystery briefcases, Jake leans down. The briefcase promptly blows up, sending Jake hurtling toward the far corner of the lobby in a hail of fire and debris.

Cut to Catherine and Gil walking toward the taped-off lobby at night. Catherine mutters about how the fire department really knows how to trash a crime scene. I have no patience for her tonight: life is tough when the crime includes fire. Deal with it, okay? Gil cheerfully responds, "That's what they do: put wet stuff on the red stuff." I have no patience for him tonight either. Brass comes out of the smoking husk of building and plays Captain Exposition: a few people had head wounds, an elderly guy lost his arm in the blast, and Jake died. His body's still inside. Brass declines to state exactly how many pieces of Jake's body are inside and easily identifiable. As the three grown-ups on the show make their way into what's left of the lobby, Brass wonders, "How big do you think this bomb was?" Catherine answers dismissively, "It's not the size of the bomb, it's the overpressure in the air around it." I have no idea what overpressure is -- I imagine we'll find out in a few scenes, but in the meantime, amuse yourself as I do by imagining that whomever is responsible for Saving Silverman is pleading for clemency by saying, "The movie's not a bomb, it's just a victim of vicious critical overpressure!"

Gil and Catherine gravitate to Jake's corpse with unerring instinct and peer at his miraculously intact body. Well, make that "mostly intact." Gil quips, "The Van Gogh effect. In stereo. Both ears gone," and then the camera helpfully pans down to the corpse so we too can see the earless tragedy. Ick. Still, for all that he's missing his ears, the rest of Jake's face is remarkably well-preserved; I would have thought that the force might have blown off his nose. Even his eyebrows look mostly-there. Anyway -- Catherine notes that the perfectly symmetrical amputation indicates poor Jake was looking directly at the bomb when it went off; Gil picks up her point to note, "So it either drew his attention or was contained in something that seemed benign." The two of them promptly sweep their flashlights over an area to see if they can find anything to support Gil's hypothesis. Just then Gil sniffs and inquires, "Smell the sulfur?" Yes, Gil. It's Old Scratch himself, and he's come to bet a fiddle of gold against your soul. Before Satan -- or his CBS equivalent, the team that brought you Yes, Dear (Alan Kirschenbaum and Greg Garcia) -- shows up, Gil's whipping out his Leatherman and scraping some gray powder off Jake's body. He then asks for Brass's lighter and flicks it near the powder, igniting it. The team notes the ready burn and concludes that the bomb's propellant was gunpowder. Gil gives Catherine the Investigatory Eye and commands her to make the call. She does: "Seat of the bomb is here" -- as evidenced by the scorched crater -- "victim was thrown three meters. His clothes are torn but not burnt, indicating a low-velocity propellant, six or seven thousand feet per second. Who? Why? Will he do it again? Time will tell."

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