Got Murder?

Episode Report Card
Sobell: B- | Grade It Now!
Rage On, Diary!

Oh, wow, it's Liam and his high-volume hairdo explaining to Catherine what he's found: the blood samples Sara took from the kitchen counter and the chair belong to Kelly. The hair from the freezer and the bedroom pillow belong to Kelly as well. But -- and really, by this point in the series, this revelation is less shocking twist and more like unwelcome cliché -- the blonde pubic hairs in the bed belong to Nora. Catherine nimbly leaps to conclusions and says flatly, "Dad did have a new girlfriend."

Then she goes to talk to Nora, asking about the diamond bracelet. Nora says it was a gift, and "he thought I deserved it...for taking care of everything." She smiles, and Catherine visibly begins thinking of what to say next. She finally settles on, "Everything?" Nora elaborates: "Laundry, groceries, carpool for Charlie..." and not a resentful little bone in her body for having to assume so much responsibility so young. Hmmm. Catherine prods, "Is that it?" Nora begins getting uncomfortable. Catherine pushes, "I'd really like to help you and your brother, but I can't unless you talk to me. We found evidence of you in your father's bed." Nora's getting progressively more freaked out. She eventually comes out with, "My father loves me...oh, my God." That last remark is prompted by her spontaneous lactation. Of all the phrases to have to work into casual writing, "spontaneous lactation" wasn't one I'd thought I'd ever use, but here we go. The creepy chimes of sinister goings-on continue as Catherine looks on appalled at the implications of a lactating teenager.

Those implications would include a pregnant teenager. Catherine charges in to where Easton's cooling his heels sans lawyer and more or less blindsides him with the news that Nora is pregnant, then introduces us to the flashback I could live without seeing -- Kelly walking in on Easton and Nora, then getting killed in the ensuing confrontation. After doing some magnificent leaping in logic (i.e. concluding that Easton tried to bribe his daughter with the bracelet when he protests that he gave it to his wife) and pirouetting around unproven premises (i.e. Nora's telling the truth and Easton's not), Catherine delivers a self-righteous tirade in which she effectively passes moral judgment on a confused and beaten-down Easton before making her exit. And before this fit, she had been doing so well with the snap judgments this season.

Two people who aren't doing so well are Warrick and Gil, who are busy gawping in dismay at a tox report. Warrick demands, "What do you mean, none?" Liam explains, "Venom's like perfume -- highly specific recipe." Specific is an excellent choice of words, what with each species of snake having its own venom. Liam continues, "Protein ratios vary from species to species." What Liam's talking about is this: the enzymes associated with snake venom include alpha-neurotoxins (block neuromuscular transmission by linking onto neurochemical receptors in the muscle fibers); kappa-toxins (these block central nervous system receptors); beta-neurotoxins (these keep neurotransmitters from releasing acetylcholine, which is bad in most synaptic reactions); dendrotoxins (which have the opposite effect of beta-neurotoxins); cardiotoxins (these disrupt and/or blow up the cells in your heart); myotoxins (these target muscle cells); and hemorragines (lead to massive blood hemorrhages). Different species of snake have different combinations of these proteins in differing concentrations -- for example, sea snakes have particularly effective hemorragines, while while cobras tend to have particularly potent neurotoxins. (See also: Lee, C.Y. (1971). Mode of Action of Cobra Venom and Its Purified Toxins. In "Neuropoisons, Their Pathophysiological Actions" (L.L. Simpson, ed.), pp 21-70. Plenum Press, New York-London.)

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