Rather than bore you with another description of nightfall in Vegas, I'm going to take this time to talk all about myself, and how, thanks to a confluence of events (being college-aged in the early 1990s, going to an engineering college in southwestern Virginia), I am unfortunately conversant with the musical stylings of one Garth Brooks. While this did occasionally come in handy during my undergraduate heyday -- bellowing the unexpurgated final verse of "Friends in a Low Places," while several shots' worth of Everclear gradually destroyed the neurons that would have otherwise gotten me through organic chemistry unscathed, was a surprisingly durable party trick -- it also induces flashbacks.
Like now, where the lightning is crackling over the neon-washed streets of Vegas, as a blurry scenario of brewing domestic discord plays out in what's clearly meant to be narrative supposition. Except that I'm sitting here on the couch with the histrionic twang of a Crisco-faced Okie ringing through my ears: "And the thunder ro-oh-ohlllls / And the lahtning strahks! / Another love grows co-oholld / On a sleepless nah-haght / As the sto-orm blo-oh-ohs / Out of con-trow-wu-owl / Deep in her har-er-art / The thunder rollllllls."
So, yes, there is a domestic incident ending in gunplay and murder, only this time it's the presumably cheating wife who's been killed, and not a cheating spouse. And as the scene clears and we see a bunch of jurors weighing whether or not the guy actually did it, I just kind of watch. Like LSD, Garth Brooks flashbacks happen at the damnedest times. One of the jurors testily asks foreman Chris to put the matter to a vote. Everyone who watched Center Stage instantly identifies her as Susan May Pratt, an actress who's made a name for herself playing delightfully caustic young women. Everyone who hasn't seen Center Stage -- what's wrong with you? Go rent it now! It has everything -- Peter Gallagher's eyebrows playing the ballet master at a company, overbearing stage mommies practically shoving their fingers down their daughters' throats so the girls can stay thin, ballet dancers entering stage right on motorcycle (yes, you read that right: motorcycle), sex scenes done en pointe, ballet dancers getting funky to Michael Jackson tunes -- or as funky as ballet dancers can get, anyway, with it being Michael Jackson. At least they're not dancing to "Ben." Anyway, this movie is excellent fun and you should go watch it after you finish this recap.
So there's this tense moment because apparently putting this whole thing to a vote is a contentious issue, and then Chris looks at the eleven other people giving him the hairy eyeball and says, "The burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. We don't have that. There was somebody else in the house that day -- the cable guy. Cable guy's got priors. He skipped town." The other jurors tell him to stop making like Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men (more or less), and then, because the parallels haven't been drawn enough, another guy gets up. It's now blindingly bright out; the hot-tempered juror snits, "Who keeps shutting this window?" Probably the city employee who wonders what kind of moron would ignore the climate control in an office building. Another juror snarls that lunch will be here soon, and they all take a break. Susan May Pratt flutters by the vending machine with, "I'd kill for a candy bar." And on this show, someone probably will.