CSI
Dead Ringer

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Sobell: B | Grade It Now!
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Chariots of Liars

For once, this show doesn't start on the Strip. Unless it's starting in the Strip and this is, like, the prelude to the Blue Man Group. By "this," I mean some sort of electronic beat, a blue-tinged spotlight coming down from some unknown point above, and a phalanx of people running as red and white siren lights escort them. Maybe this is cruel and unusual punishment from bored prison guards?

Actually, no. These runners all look like they want to be there, as baffling a concept as that may be to the less aerobic among us. They've got the head lamps, and the bibs pinned to their shirts, and the leaders of the pack all look like they've been reverse-engineered to resemble greyhounds as much as possible.

And then we get to the middle of the pack, where people not secure enough in their masculinity to pound the pavement in either running shorts or tights are jogging in their baggy sweats; then the camera gets all swoopy, and we see only the pounding legs, backlit by the police lights. The camera twirls around to an aerial shot, so we can see the police cars hemming in the runners from the back, and then the banner one car flies; it bears the legend, "Law Enforcement Desert Relay." Then we return to a shot where we're facing the runners, and a helicopter provides blinding light overhead. Go towards the light, runners! Go to the light, Carol Ann!

Another shot of the runners hemmed in by police cars, and then another silhouetted-runners shot, only this time in slow motion so we have time to develop the appropriately reverent response for the kinesthetic marvel of the human body mid-footrace. And now the lights and the music have gotten silly. Usually I see this only after the endorphins have kicked in. We see Sara running. She is not what you'd call a natural at the sport, although the flailing elbows have given her a lot of personal space. She, and a bunch of other runners, have come to some relay checkpoint. Sara relays the baton to Nicky in slow motion, so we can all marvel at how masterfully the two of them did not drop it. Off Nicky goes, arms pumping lest all .0085 mg of carbohydrates he loaded before the race stick to his ribs. Sara runs out her leg, then gets caught in an inadvertent do-si-do with Liam the lab tech. The two hug, and Liam silently thanks inertia for slamming Sara into him without too much protest on her part.

Nicky, who's running like he learned how from a 1930s newsreel -- "Young Crimestopper Runs For The American Way! He Races For His Life! And Yours! Take That, Mussolini!" -- trots over to a water, grabs a bottle, and spills much in the general direction of his mouth. I love it when they almost get the details right on this show; the water stop around any race is a wreck. However, you usually get your water in little paper cups. Anyway, Nicky then proceeds not to give a hoot, and tosses the bottle where the cleanup crew will have to tend to it. He continues to run, until he turns into Warrick.

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CSI

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