Episode Report Card
Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
Dead Man's Party

She and Liam wade into the bathroom, and survey the carnage. "Spontaneous? Toilet combustion?" Liam asks. Sara's cracking up as she replies, "Or a college prank." Liam wonders if the exploding toilet has anything to do with the case, and Sara replies, "Twenty feet away from two dead kids, we gotta check it out. Guess you should start processing this." Well, they do say it all flows downhill, newbie.

And now we're back in the Labitrail, where Vartann is wandering around, a searching look plastered across his attractive mug. Maybe he misplaced his copy of Thin Tastes Better. Why, no, I haven't forgiven him his behavior from earlier. Vartann is looking for a CSI; unfortunately, he finds Ecklie. The detective's feeling testy: "Homicide called you over an hour ago! A 419 at the Tangiers. No one's responded, not even the coroner." Ecklie wants to know if Vartann's hit up Gil or Catherine yet. Well, yeah: Catherine's on a case, and Gil's in court. Vartann also mentions, "Sofia's still on her task force leave. Both shifts are tapped." First of all, what is this task force of which Vartann speaks? Second of all, both shifts? BOTH? Did we not all sit through the episode where Ecklie decides not to put Catherine on the day shift, and then the episode in which Sofia went on about missing the day shift? Wouldn't that imply the existence of a day shift -- making it the third shift for the CSIs? So why this two-shifts business now? Surely there are other ways to get to the point of the scene, which is this: Vartann embarrasses Ecklie into working the case, and Ecklie's got a severe case of performance anxiety.

Down on the morgue, Sara strolls in and David the Flesh-Colored Coroner shrugs that he's looking at two healthy pink people who were in perfect health. Sara groans, "I am so hoping that you have more in your report than that." David says, "Well, there are two toxins which can turn a body pink post-mortem." Sara says they've already ruled out carbon monoxide. David plows on over her: "Which leaves one -- cyanide ingestion. Interesting fact about cyanide: not everybody can smell it...unfortunately, I don't have that ability." On cue, Hodges flings open the morgue doors and announces, "The Nose has arrived." ¡O, SEÑOR HODGES! ¡TE AMO! In a tone pregnant with dread, Sara asks, "Hodges has the genetic quirk?" "It's a blessing and a curse," Hodges answers modestly. He strolls on over and sniffs the stomach contents of both decedents. After some considered inhalation, Hodges decrees, "Hints of stale beer and Cheez Whiz. But I don't smell any cyanide." After Hodges floats off, Sara says, "All due respect to 'The Nose,' I'd still like to send a sample of blood to Tox." David sweetly tells her it's already done.

Cut to Ecklie getting out of his car and walking over to the body. Mark Vann does a great job with this scene, because the way he comports himself, you can easily imagine that Ecklie a) has a dread-induced stomachache, and b) hates that he does because c) it betrays the tiny voice in the depths of his soul pointing out that he's never been very good at being a CSI. So, good job by Vann. As he walks over, Vartann snots, "Crime scene's getting cold." Ecklie retreats behind what he knows best -- regulations -- and says stiffly, "I had to refill my powders." I half expect Warrick to pop up and begin babbling the whole "I keep my case tight, like my game. But not my pants" monologue again. As Ecklie looks over and thinks, "Yup, that's a dead body all right," Vartann tells him he found a rental car agreement in the glove box, and the dead guy's also known as James Billmeyer of New Jersey. He's not registered at the hotel, making it the rare dead body on the Tangiers premises that isn't also a hotel guest. One imagines this is important for whatever "Now [XX] Days Without Stumbling Over A Corpse" signs the Tangiers security keeps around the office. Ecklie snaps pictures of a nearby bloodstain and asks irritably if the coroner stepped in blood. Vartann replies, "No. We're still waiting on him. That shoeprint belongs to Mrs. Vivoldi. She called it in. We're waiting on you to take the statement." Ecklie says, "Let's do it," and Vartann snots, "Yes. Let's do it." You know, I can see where Vartann's pissed and all, but it seems like Ecklie is the type of person you don't want to cross because he holds a grudge and has a near-savant like ability to manipulate the machinery of bureaucracy; for a cop, that could easily translate into "night shift for ten years" or "lost all the pension paperwork a week before retirement."

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