Archives for category: Grissom defies authority

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 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?

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

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