It's a dark and stormy night in Las Vegas. Suddenly a shot rings out! The maid screams! A beagle sitting on his doghouse phones his attack lawyers and begins making preparations for an intellectual property lawsuit. Actually, scratch the part with the beagle. It's a dark and stormy night in Las Vegas, and the camera pans from an external shot of the Saturn Arms apartment complex to an interior shot of a shabby-chic apartment. We hear a popping noise, and a young woman sits up, thoroughly freaked out by what she's hearing. The music continues to play ominously as the woman does a survey of her room. She lies down, convinced she's only hearing things, then bolts upright again as she hears another noise. This time, unfortunately, her fears are confirmed: there's an intruder with a hooded sweatshirt and a garotte standing next to her bed.
The woman's scream lets the episode segue into daylight. Gil and Brass enter the bedroom, and we see the woman sprawled in a pseudo-provocative position, hands tied to her headboard. Gil looks somber; Brass catches the grim mood and delivers his contractually required exposition with appropriate gravity: the victim is Eileen Jane Snow, discovered only after the woman with whom she carpooled in the morning couldn't get anyone to answer the door. "This is exactly the same as the last two," Gil says. Brass wants to know how: "Audrey Hayes was strangled in her basement and the other one was found in a park." "Different M.O. [modus operandi], same signature," Gil clarifies. "M.O.'s how he breaks in; signature's what he does when he's inside," Brass intones with stock hard-bitten police detachment. Not one to sit on information when he could share with the class, Gil tells us what the killer's signature is: "Three or four overpowering blows to the head with a homemade weapon fashioned at the scene, forces her to drink a mixture of sodium pentathol as a chemical restraint, overligature of the victim, and an object rape. Then he strangles her, ejaculates on the bedsheets; then as a final act of degradation, he poses her as a pin-up." Gil, to his credit, looks ill as he recites the details. I wonder yet again why serial killers must be such goddamned overachievers: if you're going for quantity, why waste your time on elaborate redundancies? Wouldn't it be more efficient to dispatch your victim with a swift blow to the head, then leave, like, a deeply disturbing haiku on a Post-It Note? Why bother with seven separate steps? Just as Gil's finished reciting the list of depredations to which the victims are subjected, Sara -- whom we all know is not the most sanguine of investigators when it comes to gender-targeted victims -- comes in, checks out Eileen Jane Snow, and says, "Damn him!" Brass turns around, looking mildly surprised. Why, I have no idea; if anyone's blindsided by Sara's opinions at this point, they don't have the observational skills necessary to investigate crimes. "Damn him!" Sara says again, getting more upset. Gil steers her out into the hall and instructs her to leave her emotions at the door. Because, you know, that's how all the other investigators have worked this season. Sara tries to explain her strong reaction to Snow's body by telling Grissom that the killer's escalating. "Guess he wants to get caught," she concludes. "Signature killers never want to get caught," Gil counters, "but they won't stop until they do."