There are a thousand stories in this, the sparkling city sprawled out among the desert like an ancient goddess of avarice. Yes, a thousand stories, each with its own set of heroes, its own life lesson unfolding after a unique beginning...
But, if you ask the cinematographers on CSI, there's only one way to start the show -- a shot of the Strip, telescoping over to the prefab suburbs beyond. We're in Vegas. We get it already. For the love of God, find a new opening sequence.
After this week's token panorama, we see a young couple in an SUV driving up to a pottery emporium in a strip mall. Permit me the first of my many digressions for the evening: do we really live in a country where the demand for pottery is so great as to sustain an entire retail industry based on the crap? How is it possible that people make a living trafficking in twee ceramics? More importantly, why haven't we rounded up the people responsible for perpetuating the Hummel figurine racket and installed them in forced aesthetic re-education camps? Revolt against cutesy-wootsy clay statues, I say!
These two walk over to the door of their sinister bazaar and note that they've been broken into. I chortle delightedly and hope that the experience will teach them to go into another, more aesthetically pleasing line of work. No such luck: they trip through the trashed store and go back to the safe, observing that it's been scorched open and the cash fund has been taken. Just as the complaining between these two reaches a critical volume, the guy -- I never bother learning the names of the people who stumble across the episode's crime scene, since we'll never see them after 9:03 anyway -- leans past his appalled female companion and commands her to call 911. Naturally, she has to see why, and both merchants of kitsch gaze at the man lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood.
Cue Nicky steering the CSIMobile into the store parking lot. He's barely parked it when Gil and Catherine leap out and scamper into the store. If you guys are looking for crime, you've found plenty of it -- provided you find fake-flower arrangements and wrought-iron planters as aesthetically wrong as I do. The three CSIs are looking for a less horrific crime scene, and as they step over a pile of off-white pottery shards and pick their way through a picket of wooden flowers, Brass helpfully supplies it for them.
"Introductions?" Gil queries, and Brass fulfills his contractual obligation for the week: "Joseph Felton, 44, not an employee, no reason to be here." Gil asks, "Mind if he and I have a moment together?" Yee-haw, we're back to communing with the dead! What will Gil learn from this stiff? That the blood is due to the brain attempting to exit via the ears when it realized it was looking at a wall full of garden gnomes? Gil leans in for the trademark Grissomian Gaze. Meanwhile, Nicky soaks up the opportunity to breathe the fresh outside air before he's banished to the dank subplot subbasement; he's snapping photographs of a mimosa in back. At least, I think it's a mimosa -- it's got the same sensitive fronds and spores on the back of the leaves. Catherine begins dusting a truly evil-looking little gnome -- no, not Brass, we like him now -- for prints. Nicky comes back inside, and he engages in some expository banter with Brass: the safe's been scorched open, which is unusual, and only $300 or so was taken. Gil interrupts this scintillating dialogue to inform us all that the corpse had multiple contusions on the back of the skull, and postulates that perhaps the poor guy didn't know it was coming. That's quite a leap of speculation there, Gil, given that he was whacked in the back of the head and thus could not see it happening. "Robbery interruptus?" Catherine asks. Gil replies, "I'd say our robbery suspect is a homicide victim." You think? "That's one way to beat the rap," Catherine quips, and we go to the credits.