Archives for category: Catherine’s maternal empathy

This episode sees the return of our Big Bad Friend from Season 1, Paul Millander! It’s a complicated one so HOLLLLD TIGHT.

Paul Millander

Back... FOR BAD! Mwahahahaha

You may remember Millander as the one that got away: also the one who left cryptic messages which Grissom and Catherine managed to interpret in near-psychic fashion (“a dove… he wants justice!“). This episode, he gets off to a rollicking start by murdering a kindly guy who picks him up on the freeway

Hitchhiker

At what point did this seem like a good idea?

and leaving a CRYPTIC MESSAGE (remember the dove) on the guy’s face.

Twoface

Notice that the dude has gunpowder on one side of his face

Grissom: He’s telling me he’s going to show me both sides.

1. I call bullshit!

2. What does that even mean?!

Anyway in much more interesting news, turns out that not only does Millander like to murder guys whose birthdays correspond with the date of his father’s death (really? do people really do this stuff?) but the dates are counting down in DESCENDING ORDER (17th August 1959, 58, 57) – and guess whose birthday’s August 17th 1956? (Making him a grand one week younger than my own parents?)

Sara (to Grissom): Catherine briefed us about your birthday.

Birthday Grissom

Yeah and YOU BETTA BE BAKIN', beeeyatch

So that’s pretty weird and it all gets weirder as the janitor from Scrubs appears, pretending to be a traffic cop,

Kevin Yarnell

I'm sad they didn't incorporate a JD-style fantasy sequence for Grissom at this point

and refers Grissom and Catherine to a court room where Millander is apparently working as a judge. OR IS IT JUST A DOPPELGANGER?

Millander judge

The annoying thing about doppelgangers is that MINE LOOKS JUST LIKE ME

Grissom shocked

... wot

Despite the fact that Griss gets banged up in the cells for causing a fuss in traffic court (so not cool, Gilberry), the kindly twinkly-eyed banterful judge extends a dinner invitation to his ugly house

Floral house

Grissom (lying through his teeth): "You have a lovely home."

where Grissom gets to meet the judge’s weird adopted son, Cregg. (N.B. he might in fact be called ‘Craig’… but I like to think that he’s named after CJ from the West Wing.)

CJ Cregg

A hero to us all

Mrs Mason and Cregg

ESPECIALLY TO THIS LITTLE DUDE (or his mum, I guess)

The best thing about Cregg (apart from his name) is his preternatural aptitude for capturing the Patented Petersen Pout.

Cregg Creevey

He Colin Creeveys Grissom at dinner

Patented Petersen Pout

... YOUUUUUU BEAUTAAAAY

Anyway so after that weird little interlude things ONLY GET WEIRDER, as a quick trip to Mommy Millander’s

Mummy Millander

Hi fans

turns up some unexpected background on Paul.

Catherine Willows pink bedroom

*my maternal senses are tingling* Boys... don't... have... pink... bedrooms...

Pauline Millander

ALERT, GUYS! WE GOT A GLEN OR GLENDA SITUATION HERE!

Oh yes. Turns out Millander was born intersex – to the world’s most inconsiderate parents.

Millander: The doctors told my parents to raise me as they saw fit. Unfortunately, they disagreed.
Grissom: So, you were a girl when you were inside the house, and a boy when you were out in the world?

I’m not a qualified psychologist or anything but even I can tell you that’s probably gonna result in some serious issues.

Pauline Paul Millander birth certificate

Who seriously calls their child 'Pauline Paul'?!! (Also: I think this is a major continuity glitch: I'm sure Sara or Catherine says "there's no evidence of Pauline's existence" - and specifically says about birth/death certificates - so what is this???!)

Lucky for Paul that if he had the world’s worst parents, he apparently also had the world’s best surgeon.

Pauline Millander

Going in...

Paul Millander young

... coming out

Errr now don’t get me wrong because the absolute last thing I want to do is take the piss out of transgender people, who have a difficult enough time of it, but I watched My Transsexual Summer and it was a much less efficient process than this. Anyway this seems a good point to note that on one level, this episode is just another instance of CSI’s total inability to handle LGBT issues  without making the people into outrageous stereotypes/total criminals. Bad. Bad bad bad.

And what happens in the case? Welllllll I don’t want to give too much away so let’s just say that Grissom has a birthday twin! yeah-eah.

Additional notices (sorry this is such a badly-structured entry but if I spent any more time trying to tidy it up, it would never ever get published and we’d all be that much further away from Season 2 Episode 19 which frankly is what I’ve been building up to for some time):

1. There is a new title sequence! Incorporating a sexy picture of Action Man Nick with binoculars to replace the HORRIBLE picture of him with weird buggy eyes shining a light into the troll tourist’s eyes from the pilot episode.

New credits Nick Stokes

Thank YOU ... credits designers (whose job even is that?)

2. Catherine’s empathyface is tested as never before when Mommy Millander walks in on her poking around in her daughter’s bedroom without permission – and then lets on that Pauline is ‘dead’.

Catherine Willows guilty empathetic

*feeling guilty but also reaaaaaally wanting to show that I'm feeling your pain*

3. If season 1 was the season of Greg’s Bad Shirts, I think season 2 is the season of Nick’s Ugly Jumpers.

Nick Stokes bad jumper

Exhibit A

4. This hat.

Catherine Willows hat

Oh Catherine. Oh no.

Advertisements

Standard stuff this episode: Sara’s a loser with no social life, Grissom is inappropriate, Catherine is badass and yet loaded with maternal empathy. And Greg is desperate for the approval of his superiors. JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE CSI OFFICE.

To take the smaller story first, Nick and Catherine investigate the death of a guy who was apparently shot in a hunting accident. Apparently they are also engaged in some kind of fancy dress competition.

Catherine Willows Mime

Qui? Moi? (Catherine has obviously come as a French mime) (all mimes are French, right?)

Nick Stokes Action Man

Can you guess who Nick has come as?

Nick Stokes rifle

Here's another shot to give you a clue (note the jumper)

Action Man toy

Obviously, this is obvious. Nick's whole face (his whole body, heh heh) is an Action Man costume

Nick Stokes Action Man lookalike

YOU GUYZ I'M SERIOUS

ANYWAY enough of my obsession with Nick’s face. Hunting guy has left behind a grieving widow

Grieving widow

Grieving

who quickly discovers a surefire way to get Catherine onside.

Grieving widow: … with the baby and all…

Catherine Willows maternal empathy

Did you say BABY? Wouldn't that make you a MOTHER? I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEEEEEL!

Anyway this is quite a sad little story (except for a brief happy moment where Nick and Catherine model some attractive waders)

Nick Stokes Catherine Willows waders

People say I look like me da (ten points for anybody who gets that reference)

and therefore ill-suited to my CUTTING AND SARCASTIC WIT. So I will maybe leave it there.

Meanwhile on the main storyline, Grissom and Sara are probing the case of two, very different, sisters, both found dead in some pipes near a field. One of them is glamorous and has tattoos. The other one (much to Grissom’s surprise) doesn’t shave her legs.

Grissom baffled

What kind of sorry excuse for a woman does she think she is?!

Obviously, with that kind of weird sociopathic behaviour, one who just likes to stay at home and buy things on the internet. (Actually this might merit a new post category: Internet Weirdos. Anybody on CSI who participates in social media is usually suspect in some way.)

Grissom glamorous ID badge

Gosh Grissom, not everyone can be as UNFEASIBLY GLAMOROUS as you appear to look on your ID badge headshot

Anyway after a brief hiatus of suspecting glamour-girl’s boyfriend, Not Mark Wright

Mark Wright

Mark Wright

Not Mark Wright

Mark Wrong

Grissom is soon set on the right (Wright?) (I’ve overused that one) track, via an enterprising prison governor who has his inmates working shifts on a kind of boutique call centre.

Prison call centre

*Johnny Cash plays as hold music*

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "This is the kind of shizzle that went down at Shawshank. And that didn't end well for ANYBODY. Except Tim Robbins. And Morgan Freeman."

Seems like dowdy hairy lady ordered herself a MAN as well as some (dowdy, hairy) clothing.

Mail order boyfriend

Mail order boyfriend

Nothing wrong with that (though it’s always risky to purchase sight unseen) but a sudden (Greg-enabled) realisation later

Grissom realisation

BUT OF COURSE!

Greg Sanders pleased

"You've got that look." << It's called a realisationface, Sanders

and (with the help of an open-minded yokel) Grissom is collecting some evidence which doesn’t look good for Mr Mail-order.

Grissom: Mr Willoughby – would you mind if I fingerprint your spigot?
Mr W: No one’s ever asked me that before.

Mr Willoughby

Is this one of those fetish things you read about on the inter-ma-net?

Lesson of the day? The internet is BAD, mmmkay?!

That’s the lesson for the viewer, anyway: Sara receives with a more personal takeaway as HEAVY PARALLELS are drawn between her and hairy internet lady. She realises the similarity herself, as they look around Donna’s house –

Sara: We already know she cooks like I do – takeout on speed dial.

Sara Sidle apartment

Alert! This is Sara's house! Note the many takeout menus on the fridge. (I thought this was our first look in a CSI's home but actually I think we see chez Catherine a few times in the first season)

– but the point’s made more harshly when Nick (somewhat out of the blue) gets on Sara’s case about her obsession with work.

Nick: Sara – you gotta get out more.

Sara Sidle stressed

That was way harsh, Thai!

I feel like this exchange is a bit weird and gratuitous but maybe I am expressing unrealistic expectations about character integrity… Nick is a nice boy!

Sara Sidle answering machine

I mean, he is objectively right. The empty answering machine is an Ancient Symbol of Doom. (What's the 2010s equivalent? An empty email inbox?)

Greg Sanders claws

But Greg agrees, it was uncharacteristically catty. Booo!

Lesson from this week’s episode? EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

That’s true for these guys, doofus touristicii who we see in the opening scene getting ripped off by a Vegas conman:

Stupid tourists

"We're honest people"... honest

It’s true for the conman, who ends up shot in a car park shortly after making off with $2000 of their money:

Griss (looks at body): Striking resemblance to Judas.
Brass: How’s that?
Griss: Both men lost their lives over a worthless bag of chips. (ROLL TITLE SEQUENCE)

Chippie chips

Worthless?? ARE YOU CRAZY IN THE HEAD?

Casino chips

Oh what yeah these are actually pretty worthless. OK.

It’s definitely true for Warrick, who gets lumbered with running the shift as Catherine’s in Reno and Grissom is cockroach-racing at an entomological convention in Deleuze.

Warrick Brown unlucky

UNLUCKY

Warrick: Acting supervisor? What about Nick – he’s got seniority? Or Sara – she’d jump at the chance.
Grissom: If it was about seniority, I’d ask Nick. If I wanted someone to stay up for three straight days, I’d ask Sara. Instead, I want you.

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "I want you"

Warrick Brown hot

... and I think we can ALL see why

It’s also true for Sara and Nick, when they find out. Nick (all round solid and amazing guy that he is) takes the snub well. Sara – who doesn’t have seniority and therefore has much less right to be pissed off – is, unsurprisingly, a little harder to handle.

Sara Sidle angry

So full of burning rage

It’s true for Special Agent Beckman, who accidentally ends up in the middle of one of Sara and Warrick’s many rows.

Warrick Brown Sara Sidle argument

Argument in progress

Special Agent Beckman

AWKWARD

It’s true for Sara, when Special Agent Beckman turns out to be running a complicated, Sherlock Holmes-style double-bluff to test her morals. Turns out those doofy tourists weren’t so doofy after all?

Sara Sidle betrayed

BETRAYED by the cut-glass cheekbones

Don’t worry Sara I don’t think he would be much of a lover:

Special Agent Beckman: Never feels right when it works; only feels wrong when it doesn’t.

BUT most of all, as the episode title suggests, it’s true for Captain Jim Brass, whose daughter Ellie turns out to be involved with the central crime and with some rather shady characters.

Ellie Rebecca Brass

NO WAYYYYYYZ

Ellie Brass bitchface

YES WAYYYYYYZ

Jim Brass sad

SAD DAYYYYYYZ

Ellie’s shady dealings (and flagrant ingratitude to her dear old dad) land both of them in trouble, as Brass goes all vigilante on her boyfriend

Car Chase

Not the best way to meet the parents

and finds Warrick having to confiscate his badge.

Badge confiscation

EMASCULATION

Conrad Ecklie

Ecklie - never knowingly absent when somebody's getting bitched out

The episode is notable for rekindling the mutual dislike between Warrick and Brass that was evident at the beginning of Season 1 but seems to have been let slide until now; anyway it’s back with a vengeance (as you can imagine) after this incident, and isn’t much helped by Ellie’s shameless flirting with the W-man.

Ellie to Warrick: Will you fill me up, Warrick?

Warrick resisting

I get enough of this kind of thing from Grissom, thanks

Some of her lines have a touch of the Louis Walsh about them:

Ellie to Warrick: You know, you have this whole Lenny Kravitz thing going on.

Louis Walsh

"like a little Lenny Henry"

Others are just terrifyingly prescient:

Ellie: Everyone I sleep with dies.

Ellie Brass flirting

SHE'S GONE MOFFAT! (this is assuming they did actually sleep together, of course)

Poor Brass. A daughter who doesn’t respect him and who is desperate to get into the pants of the one guy at work who he doesn’t really like.

Captain Jim Brass emotional

In a glass case of emotion

Jim Brass head injury

(He also sustains a head injury)

Thank goodness, then, for this episode’s one really reliable element: Catherine’s maternal empathy, which she phones in all the way from Reno. Can’t have a parent-child relationship without Catherine passing comment!

Catherine Willows maternal empathy

Yeah yeah yeah weeping for you Jimbo - but only a little as you're not a laydee. WHATEVS

Brass: Small-time or not, these ladies are dangerous.
Grissom: Dangerous? Yes. Ladies? No.

So, the start of this episode seems innocuous enough. On the Strip, some guys dressed as ladies (and a lady dressed as Catherine)

Catherine Willows lookalike

Srsly tho that's a pretty good lookalike

Catherine Willows scandalised

*angry but forced to acknowledge the truth*

rob a casino, with a little help from the Phantom of the Opera.

Chandelier falls

Mind out below

Grissom what gorilla

Contributing a helpful story about a gorilla

Meanwhile out in Hicksville (population: 20), Catherine and Sara – working as a team for the second ep in a row – have to tackle a robbery (which turned into a shooting) at a convenience store. This is productive of some excellent buddy-comedy moments, as the local state trooper

State Trooper

Not Sean Astin

abandons them and they’re stuck for hours waiting for David the Coroner to show up.

First Catherine grosses EVERYBODY out (and by everybody I mean Sara, and me) by smelling some suspicious matter on the floor that looks as though it might be vomit;

Smell the vom

"It's not an expectorate"

Sara Sidle yuk face

I wouldn't INspectorate it that closely though... !! (no?)

then Sara is so bored that she has to use multicoloured fingerprint powders to make her life more interesting;

Fluorescent powder

Hi ho, hi ho, it's better with fluoro

and eventually Catherine, who’s made it quite clear that she doesn’t like being isolated out in the country, has a not-very-dignified temper tantrum.

Catherine Willows angry

"I have seniority, I deserve - no, I've EARNED the right to pick my cases!" *quiver*

Even Sara’s quick thinking (she gives Catherine a chocolate bar) doesn’t save her from the Willows’s bad-tempered tongue.

Sara: Do you have a mirror?
Grumpy Catherine: Since when do you care about your appearance?!

Sara Sidle dissed

You are a MEAN GIRL

At least David loves her (when he finally arrives).

Sara: Hey, David! I – I wasn’t touching him.
David: (beams) I know you better than that.

David CSI

Yes cos she has NEVER TOUCHED YOU

Anyway both cases are ticking along when a sudden revelation brings them together via a familiar face from season 1… THE ‘WARM A DAMN BARN’ LADY FROM THE PILOT!!!!!!!

Fingerprint lady

Here she is back then, all disappointed in Grissom's lack of sexual knowhow

Warm a damn barn

And here she is again - older, wiser, still amazing

Obviously I was over the moon to see her given as what I awarded her best line of the season in my prestigious C.S.I.Love You Awards, sadly in this episode she is not given full scope to exercise her golden wit but she does demonstrate her continued amazingness in one of the few lines the writers give her:

Warmadamnbarnlady (to Catherine): Tough. I like that.

OF COURSE you like that, because you too are a badass lady. I was so excited that I went to check her out on IMDB and learned that she (the character) actually has a name: Charlotte Meridian. But don’t get too excited, because she only appears in these two episodes: the pilot, and this one. That is weird, right? Why would they suddenly bring her back just for this one episode? Did she get excited that maybe she would get a permanent role and then they cruelly let her down again? Is that why she looks significantly more harrowed in this episode? WHO CAN SAY. These are the real mysteries of CSI.

Anyway there is actually another character returning from the previous series and IDENTIFIED by Warmadamnbarnlady/Charlotte who brings the two storylines together (yes yes you may well be astonished but such is my incredible knack for surprising and suspending you) (is that what it’s called when you subject your audience to suspense? I suspect not). It’s Tammy Felton, aka the Radioactive Gnome Murderer/’clinical psychopath’ (if you believe the dodgy psychologist), who got away from the CSIs after her estranged parents posted bail last season.

Tammy Felton

OH NO YOU DI'NT

Unfortunately for Tammy, by the time they find her she’s not so nippy

Tammy Felton dead

Junk in the trunk

but at least Catherine and Grissom get to bust out their ‘finding a dead woman in a vehicle’ faces from the I-15 episode.

Catherine Grissom discovery faces

Two fine examples, we can all agree

Catherine Willows maternal empathy

Catherine even squeezes in a moment of maternal empathy for the parents

In fact, as they follow the trail back, nobody in the case seems to be doing too well: not even Darin Hansen, Tammy’s luxuriantly moustachioed loverboy.

Darin Hansen

And how appropriate for Movember

After a tense scene in which Grissom really flexes his acting muscles with an ‘approaching a dangerous toilet’ face

Grissom toiletface

I read somewhere that William Petersen was super method and into his character as well so we should really admire the effort that went into this

it turns out that Darin has copped it, too.

Bog murder

If it's good enough for Elvis... (this is obviously a flashback and not what happened when Grissom opened the door) (he's maverick but not that maverick) (also WHUT! Darin shaved his moustache! Now he looks like John Cusack!)

SO WHO COULDA DUNNIT?

Lawyeralike

T'ain't this dude (seen here with his lookalikey lawyer)

Not Sean Astin

... OH SAMWISE! Did you wear the Ring too long?

Seems like he did. What a shocker. Gives an excellent last moment though (which could almost be 8 zillion times better, if the CSI writers weren’t afraid to think outside the box a little… I’ll show you what I mean).

Catherine: 250,000 turned a career cop bad.
Grissom: Yeah, well, he had his price.
Catherine: We all do. [… PICKS UP A GUN, SHOOTS GRISSOM AND RUNS OFF WITH THE MONEY, ESCAPING INTO THE SUNSET IN HER THELMA AND LOUISE STYLEE GLASSES] [or NOT because so far nobody has paid me to write CSI]

Catherine Willows smile

You KNOW she could do it

What a disappointment. In other news, more excellent Nick/Greg banter as Nick takes the mickey out of Greg’s chosen reading material

Sand and Surf

At least there're no obvious grammatical errors on this one, unlike Sara's super-budget gorilla book

Nick: We’re 300 miles from the nearest beach.

Greg Sanders and Nick Stokes

Sand and Surf? Sand and STOKES

– and then, just as I was thinking that a) this series is definitely where all the Nick/Greg slash originated; and b) Nick and Warrick’s buddy-buddy relationship from the first series is pretty much jettisoned by now in favour of the Nick/Greg pairing, he had a little moment with Warrick as well.

Warrick Brown Nick Stokes

Warrick: *extends finger* Nick: "I'm not pulling it"

Nick Stokes eyebrows

... welllllll, maybe a little

Final quick-fire bulletins: an excellent visual pun;

Jim Brass bras

Brass/bras

an appearance from nice Southern Adam the ballistics guy;

Adam CSI

Just giving him a shout-out

and an accidentally hilarious line from Grissom. Top stuff.

Grissom (to Catherine): The bullets confirm the story told by the potato.

Mr Potato Head

Who, me?

Whilst the main storyline in this episode is fairly standard in several ways, the B-storyline (the NICK storyline) is almost up there with the cannibal nutritionist episode in the batshit crazy stakes. It also features a truly cringeworthy moment, quite a rarity in CSI and almost a neverity (?!!) for me where Nicko McStokes is involved. SAD (BUT, AWESOME) TIMES INDEED.

Before I get into the plot of the episode, however, let me reassure you all that the deeply unsettling wardrobe shenanigans that Greg put us through in the previous episode (viz, wearing a T-shirt) are a thing of the past. PHEW.

Greg Sanders

Every inch the ladies' man

Greg Sanders bad shirt

The shirt exposed in its full, lab coat-less glory

Once you have finished appreciating Greggo’s unique sartorial choices, you may notice in that second picture that Sara’s hair is doing what I like to call ‘a Hermione’.

Hermione Granger

Ms Granger?

Sara Sidle bad hair day

Ms Granger!

In fact, Sara and Hermione have lots in common: i.e. their concern for less powerful creatures (gorillas/house elves), their total swottiness and occasional (related) annoyingness, and best of all their fundamental badassity.

Patented Petersen Pout

Grissom, sadly, bears absolutely no resemblance to Ron

Pinkface Sheriff

The Sheriff is ginger, at least, but that's all he got

As per usual, the sheriff’s appearance bodes ill for Grissom (he just doesn’t deal well with authority, does he? maybe not totally dissimilar to Ron after all). There’s been a murder on a building site

Grissom hard hat

Hard hats all round!

but not only is the project a new ‘jailhouse’ (in Brass’s terminology, though it just makes me think of Elvis), which the sheriff is itching to get finished; the guy in charge of operations (and Grissom’s initial suspect) is one of the sheriff’s closest friends. In fact, he was best man at his wedding.

Grissom and Brass

Gee thanks Brass for your timely warning/WORDS OF UNHELPFUL DOOM

Grissom and Warwick contemplate space travel as a means of dealing with the situation

Weird space chapel of rest

I'm joking of course this is just an insanely futuristic looking funeral home

but luckily, just as it’s looking like Grissom will get fired (which hasn’t happened for, ooh, at least 2 episodes), this handy Muppet-face man interposes himself

Muppet Guy

Just me that thinks he's muppety? I suspect not

and turns out to be GUILTY LIKE A MASSIVE GREAT LADLE so Grissom doesn’t have to arrest the boss’s friend after all.

Grissom does his nails

Lucky for some!

In fact, he not only has time to do his nails during the interrogation session (above) but also to indulge his baser urges:

Grissom (to Doc Robbins): Tell me about his testicles.

Grissom (to Sara): Can I have your pickle?…

Grissom pickle

... Ahhh, that's a nice one"

The pickle thing is not only part of a bonanza of CSI-eating moments (you know I love them so forgive this quick tour:)

Sara Sidle sandwich

Egg salad sandwich for Sara...

Nick Stokes hot dog

... hot dogs for Catherine and Nick...

Doc Robbins pie

... and what looks like some kind of reheated crumble for Doc Robbins (it's the remains of his anniversary dinner, dontcha know).

Grissom looking in the fridge

NOTHING FOR GRISSOM, THOUGH! (flashbacks to his binge-eating childhood, again?!)

… it’s also the sequel to a weird and (frankly) unconvincing experiment, whereby Grissom demonstrates that a guy’s blood is electrically conductive because of its unusually high levels of iron.

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "Love a haemoglobin based power source"

Wot. EVEN I who am far from being a scientist and haven’t studied biology for almost 10 years know that blood is always electrically conductive! it is basically made of water AND WE ALL KNOW YOU SHOULDN’T DROP A TOASTER IN YOUR BATH! Bad science, Grissom… verrrry bad indeed.

Nick also has a bad science/Southern doofus moment during the identification of an angora blanket:

Greg: Cheese, milk, sweaters. What do these things have in common?
Catherine: Goat cheese… goat milk…
Nick: Goat… sweaters?

Goat in a sweater

Cut to what's happening inside Nick's brain

Nick Stokes thinking

All this confusion would be avoided if Americans would just use a possessive construction like everybody else

However, the far and away the worst science this episode (if you can even call it science) is practised by this lady, not an evil nutritionist but an evil THERAPIST (and also, Mary Alice from Desperate Housewives! which is weird because the guy who played her husband on DH was in a previous episode).

Creepy Doctor

In CSI, nothing is more evil than alternative medicine

Sinister therapist

Notwithstanding her existing advantage, this lady likes to up her sinister quotient by dressing all in white

Essentially, some weird business with an ‘angora birth canal’

Nick Stokes 'bitch please'perpetrated by therapist lady and this (subsequently regretful) mother

Dead boy's mum

That's either guilt, grief, or SHEER UNBRIDLED LUST in her eyes. And given that it's Nicky Stokes who she's looking at, I think we all know where to place our bets.

lead to the rather unfortunate death of a 14 year old boy. Catherine is empathetic…

Catherine Willows empathetic tears

I weep for you! and for all womankind!

… Nick isn’t.

Nick Stokes angry

YOU BASTARD

In fact he goes a bit psycho with rage (especially when he thinks that the therapist is in fact a rapist) and it’s when Catherine gives him a talking-to about this that the moment I find so uncomfortable occurs. Nick randomly reveals that a babysitter subjected him to an unspecified sexual assault when he was nine.

Catherine Willows guilty

NOW you feel pretty awful, huh Catherine?

HORRENDOUS. I have been trying to work out why this bothers me so much, when I’m fine with Nick getting stalked, kidnapped, held up at gunpoint etc, and even with Sara’s much more lurid story about her own background. It’s not the acting: Marg Helgenberger and George Eads do it really beautifully (so well that it made me reconsider the way in which I sometimes dismiss the level of acting ability necessary for CSI)

Nick Stokes crying

Of course, George Eads does everything beautifully

… but the quality of the acting actually makes it worse, as you find yourself moved by what I think is actually a fairly cheap and ill-thought-through inclusion in the service of introducing some random emotion. It feels SO gratuitous. Unlike Sara’s horrible history, which you do feel influencing her in a lot of her actions and decisions, I don’t feel like this incident has much to do with Nick’s behaviour. OK so he gets super involved in cases involving child abuse, but most of the CSIs do; most people would. And this babysitter thing is Never Mentioned Again. It’s just a kind of plot device hauled in to add additional drama to an already decent episode; which feels to me like a bit of an insult to those people who did have to deal with this kind of thing in their childhood and who are genuinely dealing with the consequences every day. BAD WORK CSI WRITERS (and that’s not something I am often called upon to say!).

This is the first of what I like familiarly to call the BATSHIT CRAZY episodes, which the CSI writers occasionally like to spring on their unsuspecting audience. (I’m thinking ‘King Baby’ here, people… but more of that in the appropriate time and place.)

In this instance the craziness centres around an evil nutritionist

Gillian McKeith

Ha! I wish!

Creepy Nutritionist

Actually this much more nubile (AND SINISTER) sista, who appears to have stepped out of an 80s music video

who (MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT) is Eating People’s Insides.

Grossed out Grissom

So. Grossed. Out.

Nick Stokes sick

THEY DON'T CALL IT A BATSHIT CRAZY EPISODE FOR NOTHING

Instance #2 of the vomiting cops trope (Nick: ‘Guess he won’t be eating dinner tonight’), the episode prompts a lot of enjoyable double entendre; as when the evil doctor comments on Grissom’s choice of career:

Creepy Nutritionist Lady: Guess one man’s corpse is another man’s candy…

It is all good sensational (and completely unscientific) fun, much of which is generated by the excellent camaraderie always emanating from a case where Nick and Warrick are both involved

Nick and Warrick

EXTREME FACE TWINS

and particularly one where they spend much of their time analysing dog poo. Yup. It’s a glamorous life.

Nick Stokes scat analysis

Ming...

Nick wipe eye

SO MUCH MINGINGER! Nick! Did your mother never tell you that the germs from dog muck can make you go blind??! That's why you wear gloves - SO YOU CAN TAKE THEM OFF

This delightful development also prompts a suggestive allusion to the CSI training regime:

Nick: Don’t even waste your time, that’s cougar.
Warrick: How’d you figure that?
Nick: See the rabbit hair in the faeces? Don’t you remember the seminar?
Warrick: Seminar?

Gillian McKeith

I KNEW she had something to do with it

Meanwhile, Catherine’s much-exercised maternal empathy is called on once more, as a little girl dies on a fairground ride.

Catherine Willows maternal empathy

I weep for you! And for all womankind!

Catherine is quick to lay blame on the dodgy-looking carnie folk

Scary carnie man

Graaaaaaaaargh!

Cheeky carnie

Yeehaaaaaargh!

Catherine Willows angry

Don't mess with a mamaaaaa!

– the fatter of whom has what I think is a contender for best line of the series:

Redneck (arrested): You pullin’ my pud?

All the graaarrring and powerful ladyness seems to get Catherine in the mood – as by the end of the episode she is paying a visit to Mr City Engineer man, primed by their previous flirtation for some Hot Willows Lovin’.

Booty Call

This is what we at CSI denominate a 'booty call'

Catherine Willows kiss

... consider it called.

Finally, in CSI fashion news, O’Reilly has apparently been visiting the Greg Sanders Shirt Emporium

Greg Sanders

This, we know

O'Brian

This, A WHOLE NEW HORROR

and Sara is modelling what I would call her Sci Fi Alien Princess look. I LOVE IT.

Sara Sidle Sci Fi Princess

Natalie Portman eat your heart out (err... perhaps a bad choice of phrase in view of earlier developments)

Oh dear! This is a sad episode about a dead baby!

Upset Mum

Babymamma. Pretty sad.

Catherine Willows maternal empathy

I weep for you! And for all womankind!!

As it’s one of this season’s better episodes plot-wise I won’t reveal what happens but suffice it to say that none of the family to whom the baby belongs comes off too well, as the investigation probes the HIDDEN SECRETS OF THEIR PAST.

Concerned Parents

Concerned parents

Concerned brothers

Concerned brothers

Grissom freaks everybody out by getting super-emotionally involved in the case.

Grissom levitates

Also by levitating

He Does. Not. Like. a dead baby

Non PPP

Thin lipped face of doom sez: "This situation is TOO SEVERE for a PPP"

Patented Petersen Pout

"Well... maybe"

and he starts shouting at all the CSIs when things get tricky, to varying effect.

Nick Stokes whut

Nick: shocked

Greg Sanders scared

Greg: afraid

Warrick running

Warrick: running slowly on purpose so as not to make Grissom look bad

There’s also an excellent Inappropriate Grissom moment when the baby’s body is discovered.

Baby foot

Grissom: Stand back.

Grissom graveside

Fatty McGlasses: Well we gotta have the pictures - the coroner will be all over us.

Grissom camera

Grissom: I'll get the pictures.

Inappropriate Grissom

Grissom doh

FAUX PAS

Ahem. Anyway Sara has a word with Grissom about his reaction to the case

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "Maybe I am getting too emotionally involved"

and soon he is back to his old incisive self. Though that doesn’t stop him calling on the seriously dubious psychiatrist again, who has another winning insight to provide.

Psychiatrist

"in some cases women have been known to kill their children as a way to pay back a spouse."

In other news, Warrick has been investing in some bad sunglasses of his own

Warrick Brown sunglasses

Oh wait they're not as effortlessly cool as I hoped

Nick carries out an ‘unscientific whiff test’ (something about the phrase just tickles me) and the lab’s own Fatty McGlasses, who seems to be the go-to guy on handwriting and other documentation, is back. I wouldn’t mind him but he seems to be permanently grumpy.

Fatty McGlasses

What do you expect? EVEN GRISSOM CAN OUTRUN ME.

This is a bit of a meh episode but you just have to remember that lots of it is buildup for next week’s Nickyfest (woop woop!).

First things first, in Nicky news, he and Catherine are on a casino-based case, the murder of a young kid who was placing bets on some bigdog’s behalf. Catherine gets the chance to empathise with the kid’s mother

Catherine Willows cries

YOU ALSO HAVE A CHILD! I WEEP FOR YOU! AND FOR ALL WOMANKIND!

and Nick models a classic realisationface as he solves the case.

Nick Stokes realisation face

Oho!

There’s also an enjoyable appearance from the dead guy’s brother, who looks like a sad beaver.

Sad beaver boy

Seriously though he could be in Narnia or something

However, the episode’s main storyline involves Grissom (and Sara and Warrick) taking over on a case that Ecklie has already dealt with and which is about to go to trial. Griss gets a mystery video in the mail from this guy

TV man

It'll be on Youtube by the afternoon

(why couldn’t he write a letter? probably wanted to show off his oddly Shakespearean voice) asking Griss to investigate the arson case for which he’s being prosecuted and in which his wife and son dies. As the team realise that Ecklie’s been there before, they realise this is another instance of Grissom lacking nous when it comes to office politics.

Catherine: I see a bad moon rising

Catherine bad moon rising

How I wish that Catherine Willows would join me at Ukulele Wednesdays

She’s right, of course; but more than just being oblivious, Grissom actually seems to relish the opportunity to out-science Ecklie (or ‘Eck’ as he incongruously calls him at one point). He’s in a bizarrely good mood for most of the episode…

Pouting experiment

PPP sez... I LOVE SCIENCE

Grissom happy

Yeeeeeeah

Warrick: Griss, do you ever worry about professional suicide?
Grissom: Not while I’m committing it, no!

Grissom delighted

He loves it

… which culminates in a showdown in which Grissom smashes a coffee jug. Looks like we’re in for stormy weather… but it’s not Griss who’ll take the fall.

Ecklie coffee jug

Ecklie modelling fall colours (colors) and a bad face, as usual