Primum Non Nocere

Episode Report Card
Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
First, Do Not Give Away The Ending In The Title

The bright lights of the Las Vegas strip quickly fade to the cool glow of a hockey rink at face-off. We catch some stick-work, a guy going into the boards -- apparently the protective glass has been replaced by a highly abrasive substance, in order to facilitate more dramatic nosebleeds for the spectators -- then the bloody-faced guy going down on the ice. He looks up and barks hoarsely, "What are you waiting for? Call it!" The ref calls for a stoppage of play. A burly man in a jersey with a rat on it rolls his eyes; a woman on the opposing team, long hair flowing down her back as she skates off, chuffs in response. The arena doctor elbows his way down the bench and greets the injured player: "Let me have a look...okay, you're out. Myles will have a go from the second line." The player snarls in response, "Forget Myles, I'm going back in. Stitch me." The doctor replies, "It's a weekend league, it's not the NHL." "It is to me," replies the player. Going by the look on his face, it's also the equivalent of the medal round, and he's due to relieve the equivalent of Mario Lemieux. The doctor attempts to thread a few sutures through the raw hamburger on the guy's face and notes that the player's not a hundred percent; the player's all, "Dammit, Jim, you're a doctor, not a coach. Now stitch me up so I can hit the ice again and pretend I'm Theoren Fleury." The doctor gives him a skeptical look, thinking, "Of all the Canadian hockey players to fantasize about, why would you want to be him?"

Play resumes on the ice, and our boy prepares to re-enter the fray. The woman -- who is on the opposite team of the burly glarer mentioned previously -- glides by, giving the recently-sutured man a dark look. The burly guy, it should be noted, was watching the woman watch the guy being stitched. Such intrigue! Is the ice in danger of melting from red-hot scandal? Anyway, Burly Guy resumes glaring at his teammate, and then the melee begins anew. Cue a montage of ice skates, the assorted flying elbow, stick-work from a distance, and anything else that makes NBC's Olympic coverage look positively competent by comparison. The recently stitched guy pulls away, takes control of the puck, and drives it down the line; the goalie deflects it in a failed glove save. The camera tracks the puck flying up and down in a tight parabola, the stitched guy commits an interference call by charging into the goalie, and that's our cue to begin the brawl. The crowd fails to go wild. In fact, they look positively alarmed. Clearly, this was Hockey Newbie Night at the Las Vegas Arena -- or the regulars at a Caps game. There will be no people screaming, "Come on! I want to see blood!" then leaving in the third period when no fisticuffs are forthcoming (you can laugh, but that actually happened at a game the husband went to in Arizona ["and I was those people at a Devils game once" -- Sars]). Anyway, as the audience looks shocked and concerned, we notice that the stitched player is unconscious on the ice. It may just be a ploy to avoid time in the penalty box for that interference call. Or it may be that he's seriously injured, what with the pool of blood rapidly spreading below his skull. "Get the doctor!" the referee implores. Since, you know, doctors help people. They do no harm. Right?

Cut to Gil and Catherine entering the rink. Oh, watching William Petersen pigeon-toe it across the ice promises to be one of aesthetic highlights of this episode. I'm agog with anticipation. Gil steps on the ice, slips a little, rights himself (sadly, we don't see the feet in action), and asks Brass where the body is. Brass, whose flowing Captain Exposition cloak puts Gwendal Peizerat's gold medal ensemble to shame, tells Gil that they moved the body from the net to the bench. As the three of them move down the ice, Brass exposits, "Apparently, the guy was responsive enough to be helped off the ice. He died a few minutes later." Scott Hamilton pops in to rate Brass's performance: he gets high technical merit marks, but his artistic scores were hurt by his failure to nail a triple axel. Oh, wait. This isn't ice dancing; it's ice detecting. Catherine charges across the ice; Gil is considerably more tentative. I was right -- the pigeon-toes work wonderfully here. I give him a 6 for aesthetic merit.

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