CSI
Sex, Lies And Larvae

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A Pupa For Your Thoughts

As with all episodes of CSI, this one opens with establishing shots of the Strip, first during the day, then at night. After the writers have confirmed that yes, the show takes place in Las Vegas, they then confuse the geographically challenged by showing a couple tromping through wooded foothills. Those of us who maintained the impression that Vegas was in the middle of a desert try hard to reconcile the deciduous scenery with the opening shots. Failing that, we can always turn a critical eye toward the couple: a man and a woman who look like they're trying to buy an outdoorsy lifestyle from REI.

"Isn't it great to get back to nature?" the guy burbles. "You want to set up camp here?" "We can camp on the moon, just give me the shovel!" his distaff counterpart replies, hopping back and forth in classic Dance of the Full Bladder mode. "Chill, chill," the guy says, and I instantly suspect we're going to see the woman seize the shovel and beat her boyfriend to death with it. You don't tell someone doing the Dance to chill; you hand her the shovel and some toilet paper and pat yourself on the back for being a sensitive, back-to-nature kind of guy. This nitwit finally catches on. The woman runs to a wooded thicket, intending to dig herself a privy. I flash back to my last primitive camping experience, where we happened to be camping on a cliff opposite Half Dome in Yosemite -- which had fabulous views but absolutely no trees whatsoever, thus bringing out my hitherto unforeseen ability to sprint in the dark, cross-legged, for about half a mile toward a semi-private collection of shrubs. The woman here has it better; it's daylight and there are trees a mere twenty feet away. As she runs over to relieve herself, we hear the low and vibrant thrum of insects going about their business. The woman gets closer, unfolds her shovel, and screams, "Oh my God!" The smile leaves her unsympathetic boyfriend's face and he comes over to see why she's freaking out. He leans over her shoulder and the buzzing intensifies; perhaps she's just realized that she's camping with Beelzebub and his loyal subjects have invited themselves along. Again, I'm just wildly hypothesizing here, and again, my hopes are defeated: the couple stares at a bug-covered corpse, and the man confirms, "That's a person," before joining his girlfriend in chundering.

Cut to night, where an army of forensics technicians have brought out a floodlight, the better for Gil and Sara to view the body. They walk down a path that the couple in Scene I managed to completely miss, and meet Brass on their way to the crime scene. We learn that the body is female and sporting a bullet wound to the head; Gil asks Brass if they found a weapon, and Brass gives him a look implying that Gil has perhaps spent a little too much time sniffing formaldehyde if he's asking stupid questions like that.

The two CSI techs head over to the body, which is now hosting what looks to be the Mardi Gras of the six-legged set. "I hate these," Sara mutters, and Gil cheerfully replies, "They're just paper wasps, and they're having too much fun to be worry about us." Gil hunkers down, the better to begin cataloguing all the detritovores mysteriously left out of that Lion King circle of life tableau, and Sara continues by saying that she means she's never gotten used to the whole bugs-eating-the-dead thing. Gil, again missing social cues like explicit statements of dislike or Sara's body language, which is screaming her desire to run in the opposite direction, babbles about insects just doing as God intended and recycling us back to the earth. He then ruins yet another food group in the pursuit of forensic justice by asking a uniform for his coffee; Gil then uses the coffee as preserving fluid for the bugs he's picking out -- "John, Paul, George and Ringo." That's going to preserve the bugs? When he lets them out of the sample jar, they're going to vibrate their way across the lab bench after absorbing so much caffeine. Sara distracts Gil from his beetles reunion by pointing out the lack of alkali compounds in the soil beneath the corpse, thus indicating that the woman was not killed here, but merely dumped here. Gil responds by asking Sara for some of the beef jerky she's always gnawing on. "You can eat?" she asks incredulously, given that her throat is working convulsively. No, it's not for Gil -- who, so far as we know, regards food as a means to convey forensics metaphors -- but for the beetles.

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