Archives for category: celebrity guest star

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.

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The episode title is something of a misnomer – it’s actually more like Organ Blender (I know I know and obviously, I, too will sacrifice much in the service of a pun) (hence why my nail art blog is called Lacque to the Future). I only mention it because of the amazing ‘Will it Blend’ moment Nick gets to enjoy.

Blended liver

Will it Blend: Exhumed, Partially Decomposed Nine Year Old Liver?

Yes it Blends

Yes! It blends!

I’m sure it isn’t just me wondering why this regular kitchen blender has a place in the CSI laboratory, and harbouring dark suspicions about where the gang might have got it from… (waste not, want not!)

Anyway this is getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s whizz on back to the start of the episode, where a couple making out in a casino lift encounter a rather unwelcome third wheel.

Dead in a lift

GROUND FLOOR PLEASE

Seems a little odd how he badly dressed himself before neatly arranging himself across the lift floor, huh?

Grissom: This is as phoney as a Chappaquiddick neck brace.

It’s bad that I had to Google that, right? Luckily I’m not the only one feeling baffled by Grissom’s esoteric vocabulary, as Nick and Sara are both baffled by his description of the corpse, Bob Fairmont’s, room as ‘murder central’.

Sara Sidle smug

Haha Nick you doofus gosh don't you even know what murder central means

Nick Stokes smug

Gee I guess I know now, after Grissom ostentatiously explained it TO YOU

Remember this moment! It will be of import next week (?). That is why I am harping on about it. (Oh, and murder central? It’s the room by the lift – easy access, easy escape, only one neighbour to hear you scream. Bear that in mind next time you visit your wayside inn of choice.)

Anyway turns out that Bob Fairmont’s wife is Bree from Desperate Housewives!

Killer Bree

Yes it's me the face of Albert Bartlet Rooster potatoes

As the episode unfolds a murky plot emerges involving Bree, Fairmont’s dandruff-riddled secretary Claudia,

Dowdy secretary

Needs to get some Head and Shoulders

a bottle of shampoo and a previous DOUBLE LIFE with a secret wealthy husband whose parents were apparently called The John Gideon Sr.

His parents the John

Seriously the props person on CSI needs to get some proofreading skillz

CSI suspects

The Red-(/Flaky) Headed League

Unfortunately it also proves to be one of those cases where the CSIs just can’t convict their guy (or girl) (or girls), leaving Sara extremely frustrated.

Grissom: Sometimes science isn’t enough.
Sara: What are we doing? Digging up graves, chasing prints – if it’s no good in court? If the killers win?
Grissom: It isn’t a competition. We don’t win. Courts are like dice. They have no memory. What works one week doesn’t work the next.

SOMETIMES SCIENCE ISN’T ENOUGH??! This is crazy talk.

Sara Sidle breakthrough

On the other hand, Sara spends a lot of this episode confused because she's been scanning in a fingerprint 'the wrong way up' so probably science (or at least technology) isn't enough, if it can't even cope with that (also! note the 'solved crimes' board from episode 1.1 in the background!) (someone's crime is 'floater' hahahaha)

Luckily Grissom has a cheery thought to finish off.

Grissom: The good news? There’s no statute of limitation on murder.

And it doesn’t say RSVP on the Statue of Liberty! Yeahhhh America. (I don’t know. Something about the phrasing brought Cher Horowitz to mind.)

Grissom amazeballs

Wait! I love Josh!

It’s not just Grissom on bodacious form this episode – all the lovely CSI boys are in fine fettle. Of course, I’m mostly talking about Nick, who displays his usual all-round greatness not only in owning up to what he doesn’t know (*cough cough* Miss Sidle) but in charming the pants off (or rather, kidney out of) this round, sweaty little man.

Sad Kidney Man

Sad about my failing kidney but oddly consoled by Nick's chiselled beauty

Kidney Dude: You don’t look like a doctor.
Nick: No, sir, I’m Nick Stokes.

Nick Stokes

YEAH YOU ARE

Always the tiny hope, isn’t there, when you wake up in the morning that that beauteous face could be gazing over you? Isn’t there? Isn’t there?

Nick hugs Bree

Seems like Bree agrees with me - a little poison is a small price to pay for the MANLY WARMTH OF NICK'S EMBRACE. I'd totally selenium myself for that

Aaaaanyway. Where were we? Kidney man does offer to give up his organ (ex-Bob Fairmont) for testing – but never fear, that’s not his kidney Nick was blending at the start of this post. That was The John Gideon’s descendant’s kidney, in fact. Taking the kidney of a living man would be an insufficiently noble act for Nicky to engage in.

Nick: I don’t think any investigation for the dead is worth hurting the living.

Nick Stokes noble

Noble

Grissom Nick Stokes

... you're so hot right now

Of course he is. He’s so hot right always.

Meanwhile in other CSI news, Greg is (weirdly, unexpectedly) lusting after Sara, his affection for whom causes him to regress to adolescence as he keeps trying to plan a lunch break together. Of course, it’s only when he produces some killer evidence (obtained through the mystical medium of an Internet Search Engine) that he actually gets her attention.

Sara Greg moment

"I could really, really just kiss you right now"

Greg Sanders lonely

... I said OKAAAAY...

Seems like Catherine was right.

Greg: Hey, Catherine: do you think Sara would ever go out with me?
Catherine: Sure! As long as you don’t tell her it’s a date.

Greg and Catherine will forever be my ultimate CSI ‘ship; but, as ever, Warrick and his rippling pecs are getting in the way.

Warrick Brown chest

This picture does not capture the full, inappropriate extent to which Warrick's chest is displayed by this shirt

Apart from exhibiting his body for all to enjoy, W-Brow also has an entertaining story to recount about one of his very first cases, a groinally-targeted shooting in which the very same Bob Fairmont was the victim.

CompositOr! Check your spelling!

Don't be confused by the lifelike graphics. This is not, in fact, how it happened.

Warrick: I think I fell for it because I was new, and I wasn’t too eager to talk to another guy about him almost shooting off his manhood.

The only thing better than a pun? A DOUBLE ENTENDRE! And speaking of puns I thought of an even better one for this episode title. ATTACK OF THE KILLER BREES!

Jim Brass eyebrow

You know you love it

HURRAY it’s a fetish episode! The first of many such and they are always reliably good value. This one is particularly notable as it marks the introduction of one of CSI’s more entertaining recurring characters (and love interests for Grissom), Goth dominatrix Lady Heather.

Lady Heather

Too sexy for... most of her clothing

Before I go into Lady Heather in detail: yes, I know what you’re thinking, it is Julie Cooper (Marisa’s mum) from the OC! And in fact she’s only one of three famous faces who appear in this episode, another of whom is – weirdly enough – Julie’s next-door-neighbour Kirsten Cohen. SPOOKAY!

Kirsten OC

Don't mind me I am just innocently sipping from an inappropriately large teacup

What’re the odds? Do you think somebody watched this episode and thought ‘those two ladies, though they never appear on screen together, exude a parallel bad-ass chemistry that would make them excellent candidates for the lead adult women in the exciting drama of California’s rich and privileged that I am just now conceiving?’ IT COULD BE TRUE.

Unfortunately, the CSI casting directors missed a trick in that the third guest celebrity is not Adam Brody/Seth Cohen, beautiful and all-round-adorable though he is

Seth Cohen and Captain Oats

Nice one, CSI writers - YOU MADE CAPTAIN OATS CRY

but someone from a film of equal significance to my teenage years – noted ageless wonder, Dionne from Clueless!

Dionne from Clueless in CSI

"Warrick! I have asked you repeatedly not to call me woman!"

Ironically (given the iconic freeway scene which I am sure we all remember), Dionne turns up here as CSI’s tyre track expert, helping Warrick and Sara out with their case – a hold-up in which a guy running a cheque-cashing store has been mugged of around $20,000. This is definitely the dud case of the episode (I’m a little surprised it was included at all) but it does throw up a couple of comedy moments, mostly through the use of egregious stereotyping/comedy Latinos.

Sara: Mrs Delgado, I know you’re upset –
Mrs Delgado: Upset? Upset is for white people, lady. I’m PISSED OFF.

Pissed off

This is what 'pissed off' looks like

Mr Delgado (in hospital): You have my pants? I wake up, I look around… I can’t find my damn pants! [I think he needs some advice from Pantsman]

Pantless man

This is what 'wanting pants' looks like

Additional laughs are provided by Sara’s hideous sunglasses

Awful sunglasses

They kind of make her look like an evil blind shrew

Catherine Willows sunglasses

(this, on the other hand, is how sunglasses SHOULD be worn. Catherine looks like both Thelma AND Louise.)

and there’s also an enjoyable chase scene in which Warrick issues some advice that the guilty of Las Vegas (as, indeed, Grissom) would be wise to heed.

Don't Run

Warrick: "You know it don't look good when you run, man."

So, that’s Warrick and Sara, over and out. Meanwhile, Nick, Catherine, Grissom and Brass are working on a much more interesting case, brought to their attention after an unfortunate young couple making out in a playground find a body in the sandbox.

Body in a sandpit

Nothing to kill a romantic moment like a dead body staring creepily up at you

A little bit of detective work via her expensive breast implants

Catherine: That is not a Tijuana boob job. Those puppies are top of the line.

and the CSIs have tracked the body down to Lady Heather’s Dominion: not quite a brothel, but an S&M dungeon in which kinky clients come to punish or be punished.

Dominatrix

'Dirty little stink boy'? OK then...

Side-stepping Lady Heather’s offer of a joint session,

Catherine, Brass and Grissom

Neither Brass nor Grissom is even halfway to being man enough for Catherine

Catherine and Brass leave Grissom to deal with the dominant dominatrix. He and she get on, of course, like a flaming mansion,

Heather (looking significantly at Grissom): She wants the dominant male to choose her so she can stop being dominant.

Lady Heather

Eyelids batting like a flippin' albatross

although I’d suggest that Lady Heather’s insight into Grissom’s character is someone less penetrating than *modest cough* my own. Case in point: she thinks he likes afternoon tea because it allows him to pretend for a moment that society is truly civilized. We all know the real reason he likes it so much.

Afternoon tea

Obviously, it's the cake

Grissom hungry

Mmmmm.... cake

Catherine and Lady Heather also discover a natural affinity

Heather: Sex pays a lot better than death.
Catherine: Plus the outfits are cooler.

Heather: Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you’ve got everything it takes to make a great dominatrix.

Catherine Willows

Well of COURSE that is true

although Nick (surprise surprise) (I love him but he’s such a square) (not just in the literal, facial sense) is not so sure about the fetish scene.

Nick: Catherine. Do you really think that those freaks out there, running around getting spanked with their little dog collars on, are the same as you and me?
Catherine: Just because you never did it doesn’t mean you never could.
Nick: No way. Never gonna happen.

Nick Stokes uncomfortable

You can take the boy out of the Bible belt... (does Texas count as Bible belt?!)

WHERE’S YOUR SENSE OF ADVENTURE, STOKES?

Anyway, reactions to Lady Heather’s occupation aside, the CSIs are soon on the case of an oh-so-predictable culprit.

Dylan

Not this guy! He is a baby!

Speccy White Guy

THIS guy, on the other hand...

Earning multitudes of Speccy White Guy points for his status as henpecked house husband,

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez: "I despise you for your essential failure as a man"

Cameron Nelson is the kind of case that the resident dodgy CSI psychologist would have a field day with (I really don’t know why he’s not in this episode). Naturally, frustrated at his powerful corporate lawyer wife’s continual belittling (and the affair she’s having with her boss), he’s sought the obvious conduit for his feelings: violently beating a hired escort.

Catherine: Psychologically, she was a surrogate. [It’s never good when someone in CSI starts a sentence ‘Psychologically…’]

Lady Heather's dominion

"Corporate bitch!"

Kirsten Cohen

I literally can't imagine why anybody would call me that

So far, so good – but one tiny asphyxiation-related accident and suddenly he’s off to jail. Still, every cloud has a silver lining.

Eileen: Where are you going?
Cameron: Away from you. Other than that, I really don’t care.

CSI threesome

Grissom (thinking): Would this be an inappropriate time to bring up the threesome idea again?

Indeed the implication, from the episode’s credits line, is that this has been in Cameron’s mind all along.

Brass: A thousand square miles of desert in Vegas – and the killer dumps the body in a sandbox?
Grissom: He didn’t put it there to hide it. He put it there to be found.

Is that a bit far-fetched? NO! That’s what happens if your wife is a CORPORATE BITCH!

Aside from all this jollity, several points of order arising from this episode’s events:

1. The sequence where Grissom inspects Mona’s body for evidence is somewhat weirdly done. Viz:

Corpse butt

Peachy

This poor girl (who appears to have worked mainly as a stunt double) (is that like when Joey was a butt double?) has to lie prone on the table for A LONG LONG TIME while William Petersen slowly shines a light up and down her naked body. AND THEN SHOWERS HER. All to the sound of Sigur Ros (at least that’s what Shazam tells me).

Shower

You have to admit it's a little bit weird

2. Even if he is a chemist, not a physicist, Greg’s evaluation of basically the most famous scientist of all time still seems a little bit skewed:

Nick: What up, Einstein?
Greg: Do you think Einstein had people hovering over his shoulder all the time? If he did, do you think we’d be walking around with e=mc2 t-shirts?

E=MC2 tshirt

Yes. This. This is Einstein's greatest legacy.

3. Unlikely as it sounds, ‘Gustav Stickley’, the designer of the furniture on which Grissom compliments Corporate Bitch Eileen, is a real guy! I have never heard such a made-up-sounding name in my life! (Except maybe Sid Goggle, I guess.)

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez: "Jess you ignorant gitto. Gustav Stickley is totes fames."

4. Catherine’s standard ‘oh Greg’ face:

Catherine Willows

It's somewhere between 'amused tolerance' and 'struggling to maintain a straight face'

5. Lady Heather seems to be under some false impressions about the nineteenth century:

Heather: What happens here isn’t about violence. It’s about challenging preconceived notions of Victorian normalcy – bringing people’s fantasies to life.

Heather you innocent! Victorians loved a bit of S&M!

Mysteries of London series 2

TRUE FACTS (this is an illustration from my PhD topic text, published 1846-48)

6. Finally: there is an excellent thread of Greg-the-S&M-lover running throughout this episode. Evidence as follows:

Greg: … liquid latex.
Nick: Never heard of it.
Greg: Really? It’s all the craze right now, man! Girls paint it on guys, guys paint it on girls… you can paint it on yourself, if you want. If that’s what you’re into. If you can’t get a date. Not like I would know.

Greg Sanders Nick Stokes

Looking for a date, huh, Greg? Looking with your eyes??

Greg (to Grissom): You know what a switch is?!

Greg Sanders smile

Errr... right back atcha, Sanders

And best of all…

Catherine: I just realised that we have a very healthy relationship.
Grissom: We do?
Catherine: Well, when we have a problem I don’t paint Greg Sanders in latex and stick a straw up his nose.

Greg Sanders pens in nose

Only cos YOU KNOW HE'D LOVE IT. (Sure you don't want to reconsider that 'never', Mr Stokes?!)

So if I was a man making this presentation

CSI Effect

Yes this was an actual presentation at an actual academic conference ATTENDED BY ME

rather than beginning my talk with the unpromising announcement “I don’t watch CSI” (which is what actually happened), I might instead select some episodes which relate to my avowed academic interest in the ‘CSI effect’. I’m sure everybody who reads this blog will know what that is but if you don’t, in summary the CSI effect is the idea that the success of CSI has not only made students desperate to become forensic scientists because they have a false idea of the glamour of the career, but that it has had the more serious consequence of giving jurors unrealistic expectations about scientific evidence. Apparently (the theory goes), prosecutors find it harder to get a conviction in cases where they don’t have DNA evidence (as is often the case), because jurors think life should be like CSI where you can narrow down hairs from every crime scene to a single criminal. Now what this dude was saying in his paper is that this effect seems to be a myth rather than an actuality – but what I thought as I watched it was that CSI is actually somewhat more self-referential in addressing this problem than all the people who are moaning on about its lack of realism (of course it’s unrealistic, it’s a TV show) ever acknowledge. And (finally getting to the point) this is one of the episodes where CSI does deal with the issue of evidential reliability. That is, they acknowledge that they don’t always have a watertight case or, necessarily, the right guy in the dock.

So, the case in question concerns this little dude

Hapless berkum

Nice but dim

who seems to be guilty as can possibly be after a random ranger type finds him hastily burying not one, but two murdered bodies in a handy stretch of desert.

Desert burial

Don't mind me

With a little help from their magic lawnmower

Magic lawnmower

Sadly it doesn't also blow bubbles out of it, as many excellent lawnmowers do

the CSIs are soon in possession of all the evidence – OR ARE THEY? Nick and Sara certainly think so, making a super-smooth presentation to Grissom

Nick Stokes and Sara Sidle smug

A job well done?

and pressuring him into asking the DA to file charges, even though he’s not yet 100% convinced about the suspect’s guilt.

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "I'm not convinced of the suspect's guilt"

Nick Stokes pout

Stokes Counter-Pout of Doubt

OF COURSE, Grissom is right (snore) and before long the kid’s evil brother makes an appearance

Evil brother

What, me?

… but it is TOO LATE, the WONKY WHEELS OF JUSTICE have been set in motion, the STUPID PUBLIC will surely convict the wrong guy (at least that’s what Gretchen from Dawson’s Creek seems to think)

Lawyer (Gretchen): A jury doesn’t understand epi–whatevers, OK? They understand a twisty tie, and blood all over Ben’s car seat.

Gretchen from Dawsons in CSI

Yes I am Pacey's badass elder sister, what of it

and before you can say ‘Patented Petersen Pout’, weedo brother has self-destructed

Killed himself

Bad times

leaving Grissom with BLOOD ON HIS HANDS. Yes, literal blood.

Grissom blood

Out, damn spot!

All very grim. (As well as fodder for DEEP AND IMPORTANT THOUGHTS about forensic evidence and the place of CSI within the justice system.)

HOWEVER! Don’t despair! There are laughs along the way (if not as many as usual)! Notably, this (which reminds me of the car door moment in this episode):

Griss: Sometimes, when I leave a crime scene where I’ve been particularly involved with a dead body, I sit in my car, and it hits me – how close I was. How heavy the body is. The texture of the body. How it feels.

Grissom dirty talk

Do I make you horny, baby?

After that Grissom’s weird and inappropriate sexualness kept playing on my mind, so that I couldn’t help reading too much into his relationship with the oddly intense Catholic priest who appears throughout the episode:

Priest on CSI

"I'm not here to tamper with your evidence"

Sexy Grissom

'You can tamper with my evidence any time'

Grossed out priest

...That's disgusting

… and I enjoyed this demonstration of expertise, harking back to Grissom’s secret fatboy past.

Sara (finding a substance on the victim’s forehead): Flour maybe?
Griss: But what kind? All-purpose? Self-rising? Pastry? [*salivates*]

Also, finally, a brief note from elsewhere. Warrick and Catherine work on the case of a girl found dead in a hotel spa (they hear the world’s most unconvincing story ever from her best friend, concerning a torn blouse), and Warrick gets the kind of look from the receptionist more usually directed at a certain Mr Stokes.

Lust for Warrick

Sheer... unbridled... LUST.

Grissom bitchface

(That’ll be why I’m not the one presenting academic papers.) (Not on CSI, at least.)

PS Many apologies for the delay to this post – got off schedule and then cos this ep was quite scarce on the laughs it took me a while to get down to writing up. I will sort my life out and be back on track for next week, I promise!

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!).

Hello fans, after a summer break (if it works for CSI, it works for me) I am back on board and planning more regular updates: every Tuesday, to be precise. Let’s see how it goes.

In other news, let’s run through the First Seasonal C.S.I. Love You AWARDORAMA.

Best Episode
Episode 7: Blood Drops. Nick’s hunky torso almost swung it for Boom, but I restrained myself like the noble and impartial judge I am.

Dakota Fanning (tiny)

Well done tiny Dakota Fanning... your emotive acting and elfin face have triumphed again

Craziest Episode (with the smallest basis in scientific fact)
Obviously, Justice is Served.

Gillian McKeith

Did someone say 'smallest basis in scientific fact'?

Best Line
Props to the ‘warm a damn barn’ lady all the way from the pilot! Her moment in the sun was brief, but beautiful.

Fingerprint lady

I love this line SO HARD

Best ‘Nick in Danger’ moment
The tears make this ALL TOO EASY.

Nick cries

Thanks, gun-brandishing psycho lady!

Best Scientist
Has to be Terri (Grissom would never turn away a scientist of her talent).

Terri

She knows it

Worst Scientist
I wanted to give it to Grissom for the ‘cows don’t drink milk’ thing… but in fact the resident psychologist dude is about 5 billion times worse. Congratulations!

Psychiatrist

Truly sir, but you know nothing

Best Outfit
Sara’s alien princess extravaganza from Justice is Served.

Sara Sidle Sci Fi Princess

GETTING SO REGAL ON YO ASS

Worst Outfit (Greg)
This is a toughie, for obvious reasons, but I’ve gone for the mottled orange shirt. It’s unforgivable.

Greg Sanders bad shirt

U.G.L.Y... shirt ain't got no alibi

Worst Outfit (anybody else)
Nick’s Chandler look is pretty bad but Catherine’s hideous brown shirt is worserer.

Catherine Willows bad shirt

Never let me see you like this again, Catherine

Most egregious case of stereotyping
It’s a toss-up (er) between these two

Bad ear piercings

Horrendous ear piercings?

Hunter S Baumgartner

or horrendous T-shirt?

All-round most bodacious feminist icon
Sara has her moments but I don’t think I need to tell you that it’s Catherine ‘never knowingly second banana’ Willows.

Catherine Willows badass

Catherine, I actually love you

… and finally…

Total Petersen Pouts recorded
38

PPP compilation

A moving treat for my loyal readers

Well that’s a wrap for season 1! See you next Tuesday (oh dear) for Season 2, Episode 1: Burked. BETCHA CAN’T WAIT.

This is the final episode of season one! DRAMA! Never fear, C.S.I. Love you will provide a Special End of Season Celebration Post to mark this momentous time – but first, a full discussion of this first season finale. I’d say it’s a bit of a cracker, particularly for the way in which it incorporates many of the top aspects of the season as a whole.

Just to give a quick outline, the thread of the episode is Grissom’s mission (and it is, really, Grissom who’s the main character, as he is throughout the season) (Nick is only the main character in my head)

Nick Stokes cute

SORRY NICK! I mean, in my head... AND IN THIS BLOG. Of course.

to track down a ‘signature killer’, nicknamed the ‘Strip Strangler’ by an FBI agent more media-savvy than our bumbling hero. He’s been brutally attacking women all across town and there’s a time pressure on the team to identify and locate him before he strikes again; as well as pressure from the sheriff, who brings in the FBI agents to ‘assist’ (read: take over from) Grissom.

Sheriff CSI

The luminous ear of indignation

Agent Culpepper CSI

Special Agent Culpepper: not even the best-named man in the episode

Sid Goggle CSI

Sid Goggle: the best-named man in the episode

So: what does this episode include that we C.S.I. LOVE to see?

First off: GSR (Grissom Sara Romance for them as is not down with the acronymz). Culpepper’s cunning plan boils down to ‘baiting’ the killer by having Sara visit a ‘specialty grocery store’ frequented by two of the victims: this actually translates into her hanging awkwardly around a kind of budget corner shop while Dwight from the US Office tries to chat her up.

Dwight from the Office in CSI

Face of awkward Sidle love

Sara Sidle creeped out

Face of 'Are you a murderer or just a bit creepy'

The idea of Sara being used like this? It makes Grissom MAD. (That’s the GSR bit I was talking about.)

Grissom angry

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRissom

Second off: Catherine being more politic than Grissom, and deliberately not taking advantage of it. The sheriff pretty much offers her his job, and she turns it down.

Catherine Willows surprised

I don't know why she's so surprised when it happens all the time

The other old favourites permit a more quickfire approach.

BLAM! Sidle rage at a violent crime against women (see: ep 10, ep 16) .

Sara Sidle damn that guy

"Damn that guy"

BLAM! Olde technologie (see: ep 11); the guy hoovers the crime scene for stray hairs and then takes the hoover bag away with him.

Sara Sidle sad vacuum

If only it had been a Dyson! No bag!

BLAM! Bad Greggo shirt.

Greg Sanders shirt

You may have noticed that this happens in almost every episode

BLAM! Catherine and Greg excellent flirtatious banter (see: ep 6):

Catherine (to Greg): Freakiest semen I’ve seen in a while. Call me.

BLAM! Nicky getting freaked out (this time, by someone hiding in a cupboard).

Nick Stokes surprised

AAAARGH!

Nick Stokes surprised

WAAAARGH!

Nick Stokes angry upset

WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT??

Bonus BLAM:

Nick: Get outta there… get out of the closet. What are you doing?!

Trapped in the Closet

Ye-eah!

Speaking of which… BLAM! Dubious stereotyping of the LGBT population (see: ep 22).

Hunter S Baumgartner

Hunter S Baumgartner, competitor for Sid Goggle's 'best name' title, noted homosexual, wearer of a net T-shirt and perpetrator of jazz hands

BLAM! A poorly-executed copycat crime.

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "This is a poorly executed copycat crime"

Bonus BLAM: Grissom’s Born This Way t-shirt

Mr Schue Butt Chin shirt

YOU SAID IT, MR SCHUE

Double-bonus BLAM! Comic insight into Grissom’s psyche:

Grissom: It’s like with cake… you’re just going to have a little bit of the frosting and you end up eating the entire plate.

Bruce Bogtrotter

Flashback to Grissom's youth

BLAM! Catherine being badass and saving the day (see: ep 13 but also, the whole season).

Catherine WIllows gunshot

Not actually gunfire but THE BLAZING LIGHT OF FEMINIST SUPERIORITY

Catherine WIllows badass

You said it, sister

Relevant-to-last-week’s-episode BLAM! Peanut reference.

Nick to imaginary girlfriend: I gotta run, peanut. Love you too – byebye.

Nick Stokes caught in the act

What's that? Your imaginary girlfriend is in fact an English blogger from 2011? SOUNDS PLAUSIBLE

And finally… not really a BLAM! Lady in a wizard hat. Yeah, you heard me.

Wizard hat lady

HERMIONE? IS THAT YOU?

Unfortunately this episode is the start of a plot thread which I find UNUTTERABLY TEDIOUS, which is to say, Grissom’s deafness. However it gives only the faintest glimmer of what will become, over the next season, a seriously hackneyed subject. The hint at hand comes through the unfortunate death of this deaf kid, squashed ‘neath the uncaring wheels of a ‘large truck or SUV’.

Run over

BRUTAL

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... 'hate breaking bad news to the family'

The CSIs’ investigation leads them to an unlikely pair of criminals, one of whom appears to be around 10 years old (and who is the first yoof on the show possessed of that fabled plot device/motivation to conceal a crime, ‘a scholarship to Duke’) [edit: apparently he’s also familiar to viewers of One Tree Hill. I’m not one, so can’t comment…]

Mean kid

He has a kind of Gareth Gates look going on

and the other of whom is not only Kenny the houseboy from Edwardian Country House

Evil Kenny

Kenny?

Ken Skelton

Kenny!

Mr Edgar betrayed

but who possesses a set of headlice to rival even my six and a half year old self.

Headlice

Ming

Diary

'I had 37 headlice. It was the most!'

Grissom lice comb

Truly, a fine achievement

It also introduces them to this absolutely terrifying lady

Angry deaf lady

Righteous indignation - the same in any language

whose fear-inducing eyebrows and hip-hop dance moves

Hip hoppery

"Wicky waa" - as I believe all the kids are saying these days

have even Sara snapping into line.

Sara Sidle salute

Don't MESS with the PROFESS(or lady)

And finally, of course, it has Grissom whapping out his own sign language supermoves.

Grissom signing

This one means 'your eyebrows look like tiny beards on your forehead'

In a speedy rundown of other important news, Catherine demonstrates some of her most fabulous faces as she becomes frustrated by Grissom’s absent-mindedness…

Catherine Willows shocked

"I don't always want to be second banana...

Catherine Willows outraged

... I could probably do your job...

Catherine Willows smug

... I KNOW that I could do Ecklie's."

… and Greg is modelling possibly his worst outfit yet.

Greg Sanders fashion disaster

White trainers, black trousers, orange shirt? Survey says, UH-UH!!

Greg Sanders bad shirt

It's not even all one shade of orange!

It makes this exchange with Warrick and Grissom particularly intriguing:

Greg: I’m the man!
Warrick: Why? What’d you do? Let me guess… You ran a DNA profile from the blood on the dead guy’s knuckles and you got a match?
Greg: No.
Grissom: You ran a DNA profile and something very distinctive popped up?
Greg: Not quite.
Warrick: You made it out of bed and you dressed yourself?
Greg: No.

NO? Does he employ a STYLIST? Does his MUM (Mom) still dress him? The people need an answer!!

Finally, there’s another Olde Technologie moment as Nick listens in on the heavy metal music a gunshot victim was pumping…

Nick Stokes headphones

It's got a ROCK SOLID BEAT

… on his handy Discman.

Discman

Hahaha what now

Nick Stokes

No seriously, wot?

This is a very Grissom and Sara-y episode if you like that kind of thing. They’re handling the central case, the murder of a woman whose body is found out in the desert and whose husband (celebrity guest evil wife-murderer Paul Young from Desperate Housewives [is he actually a wife-murderer in DH? I think that’s a lie. He’s definitely dodgy though]) rapidly becomes prime suspect.

Paul Young

Look at that smug, wife-beaty face

Sara hates a wife-beater of course so gets to have an enjoyable showdown with Paul (or ‘Scott’ as he is calling himself) as he reacts badly to her accusations about him, erm, shooting his wife and dumping the body.

Sara Sidle angry

DON'T MESS WITH IT

Creepy Wife Beater (to Grissom): I told you she was a handful.
Sara: You don’t know a handful!

Excellent line! Sara I love you. Unfortunately after this first rate beginning the case starts to get to her, she ends up sleeping in the office as she is staying so late to work (instance #2 of the ‘Sara is a workaholic’ trope) and then ends up in this GSRtastic exchange with Grissom as he tries to play down her sense of emotional responsibility for the case.

Sara: Do you wanna sleep with me?
Grissom: Did you just say what I think you said?
Sara: That way, when I wake up in a cold sweat under the blanket, hearing Kaye’s screams, you can tell me it’s nothing. It’s just empathy.

Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "I was keen until I heard about the sweating and the screaming. Actually, I'm still keen."

Little does she know that Grissom is working his entomological socks off trying to sort out the insect evidence to make sure Evil Wife Beater Vest goes down.

Gil Grissom

Insect darts: a new pub sport

As usual it takes a Gratuitous Crime Reconstruction to work out what really happened, this time involving Grissom and Sara sitting (presumably for several days) watching a pig decompose. Ahhh, love…

Pigwatch

Like the worst kind of family camping trip

NB Future knowledge alert: this is the incident to which Sara will, in a later episode, attribute her vegetarianism; thus making it ironic (?) or at least significant that at the beginning of the episode, Grissom is borrowing ‘that beef jerky [she’s] always gnawing on’ to feed his bugs with. (I don’t really buy Sara being a big beef jerky eater, given her distaste for Nick’s microburrito, but OK whatevs.)

Meanwhile in other news, Nick’s been on a date (with this lady)

Some bimbo

Obviously, I hate her face

who he is then a little embarrassed to find himself working with on some super-snoozefest missing persons case.

Rollneck jumper lady: We had dinner last week. I thought it went great. You never called.
Nick: That doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to.

Lady. Say it with me. HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. [mwahahahaaa]

Also, Catherine is still getting hassle from child services, who have contacted Warrick to ask about her parenting; luckily, he tells them ‘where mothers are concerned, [she’s] the bomb’. YEAH loyalty, friendship and a little frisson of mutual attraction.

Catherine Willows

And who wouldn't be attracted to this fox?

Unfortunately for Warrick, Ecklie is on the warpath against him

Conrad Ecklie

He just has an unfortunate face

and Grissom has to set Sara tracking his movements all over again. As she finds him on a security tape entering the Monaco (when he should have been in court), it’s not looking good for Grissom’s ‘favourite CSI’. (Really? Maybe that’s why he’s not my favourite despite his obvious hunkliness. In the words of Gretchen Wilson/the whole nation of Britain, ‘I’m for the underdog’…)

This is a good, creepy, nasty episode: the first with just one crime at its centre. The scene is dripping in gore – allowing for a popular CSI trope, the vomiting cop, to make its own first appearance.

Vomiting cop

The 1st rule of CSI: cops can't hack a bloody mess

Also showing up for the first time? O’Reilly, about whose big craggy face I feel rather fondly.

O'Reilly

A mighty mountain of a man

Anyway, so the crime is a quadruple homicide. Mum, Dad and two sons have both been murdered, leaving only the daughters alive. The oldest one, Tina, soon finds herself under suspicion

Tina

Tina, under suspicion (or, auditioning for an Abba video)

along with her boyfriend, who looks a little bit like a less attractive Heath Ledger.

Heath Ledger-alike

Heath?

Heath Ledger

Heath!

Meanwhile, the youngest sister (second celebrity guest of the season…) is busy making friends with Sara, who Grissom assigns to look after her (and who is less than thrilled with the job).

Sara and kid

Now this is one buddy drama I'd like to see become a full series

It seems like in the end, Sara doesn’t mind spending time with Brenda (who calls their tiny daughter Brenda??) but she is able to MESS WITH GRISSOM’S mind in one of those scenes that makes me love her, just a bit.

Grissom: What are you doing now?
Sara: Going back to the girl.

Dakota Fanning

So small... so vulnerable

Sara: I left her in the car.

Grissom WTF

... whut

Sara: (Explanatory) The windows are cracked.

Catherine WTF

... no seriously, whut

Sara: Give me a little credit. She’s at the hospital.

Nick lolz

OH SARA YOU CRAZY JOKER!

Anyway. This ep is so good I actually don’t want to go into more detail about how things turn out (in case anybody ends up going back to watch it) but suffice to say that this time it’s Grissom who wants to know not just how, but why (something that Catherine was harassing Nick about back in Episode 5) but it’s Catherine whose excellent moment of realisation

Catherine's realisation face

Face of realisation

provides the forensic confirmation. Oh, and there’s time for just one Petersen Pout along the way.

Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "This is a grim and unexpected development"

The broader theme of this episode is to do with the CSIs’ respective priorities. There’s the first inkling of Sara’s extreme all or nothing attitude to the job, as she pops up at Grissom’s side almost as soon as the crime has happened:

Sara: Heard on the scanner, quadruple – figured you might need a hand.
Grissom: You don’t sleep, do you?

Catherine is struggling with related problems, as CSI-ing seems to be taking over her life at the expense of everything else. She misses picking Lindsey up from ballet, for instance. Eddie the Ex does it instead and pretends to be all nicey nicey by making pancakes and giving her a massage…

Eddie massages Cath

The supple hands of TREACHERY

… but he is secretly FULL OF NASTINESS, swiftly accusing Catherine of parental neglect and setting Ted the Social Worker on her case.

Ted

Ted, the sanctimonious face of social work

Outrageous behaviour. Meanwhile, an ongoing dispute is established as Grissom responds badly to pressure from the sheriff about this high-profile case, wanting to get on with his job.

Sheriff

Pressure! Pressure!

Sheriff: Here’s a thought: why don’t you try being more like Ecklie?

Conrad Ecklie

Yes, be like me, smooth, unprincipled and career-minded. Also, the evil twin of Alain de Botton.

Basically, this is about how Grissom might be a great scientist but he’s very bad at people-pleasing. This sets him at a disadvantage against day-shift supervisor Ecklie, who pops up to be very competitive and sanctimonious about how Grissom is committing career suicide by alienating the sheriff. I spy a long-running rivalry in the making!

Grissom crossword

Grissom's better at the old cryptics though AND THAT'S WHAT REALLY COUNTS