CSI
Bad Words

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A hot temper

Catherine suggests that maybe Old Lady A sneaked out past her bedtime for a smoke, but Mrs. A disabuses her of that notion by revealing that she locks her mom in her room for the night to keep everyone safe.

Catherine then leaves that depressing conversation to have another downer talk, this one with Nicky. He breaks it to her that the burn scenarios don't match the scene. He holds up a handful of magnets and drops them, saying, "Here's the problem: demagnetized." Catherine's not getting it. Nicky explains, "The Curie point is the point at which all materials lose their magnetic properties, yeah? For the iron in these, the temperature would have had to have been 932 degrees Fahrenheit in that kitchen. With the fire starting in the living room, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it that hot in there. It just doesn't make sense." Catherine realizes the fire probably started in the kitchen.

And so they fling themselves across the suburban sprawl once more, landing at the crime scene and examining the L-shaped light bulb in the kitchen fixture. Catherine points out, "An incandescent light bulb will soften at 900 degrees, and extend in the direction of the heat source." Why does it do that? Catherine then asked how they missed the bulb. The answer is that they jumped to conclusions. After a few minutes of shoveling, the two find the fire's likely point of origin: someone writing "Bitch" on the floor in something very flammable.

Hodges spends some quality time picking off pieces and analyzing them in the lab, and then the scene switches to Catherine asking Nicky and Warrick, "Do you fondue? The accelerant was ethanol, methanol and petroleum jelly. Chafing dish fuel -- like Sterno." We flash back to someone swabbing the word "Bitch" on the floor, then setting it on fire. I love how they took care to capitalize, and dot the "i." It's the details that count. Catherine sums up the trajectory of the case with, "So, it has gone from intentional to accidental to personal." She then asks who they've got for suspects. Warrick whips out a mug shot and quips, "Nick's girlfriend." Nicky grins. Ten bucks says he begins showing up for work with a few suspicious-looking first-degree burns. Catherine dismisses Viva because her name is dumb. Also, she has no personal connection to the family. Nicky points out the overbearing dad living vicariously through his hooker-using son, then adds, "He's an ass, but his alibi checks out. Surveillance at the Mirage has him playing poker the night of the fire." Oh, thank God, they went in that direction, and not "has him buying a set of strung-out underage tranny whores for the outfield." Bizarrely enough, Cody (the baseball playing kid) was there too, despite being under 21. Presumably. Maybe he was held back a few times. Catherine wonders about suspects in the house, and Warrick wonders, "Grandma? Aside from being on lockdown and arthritic, I don't see her writing on the floor. What about Jessica?" Catherine rules that out for no good reason whatsoever. Snicky wonders if Sam did it, but Catherine rules that out for an equally specious reason: "'Bitch' is such a teenage girl word." She's never seen a minute of South Park or listened to any rap, has she? Anyway, Warrick concludes that Sabrina's a suspect. Nicky reasons, "She did think the baseball team had it in for her. Her family life's no picnic…" Catherine can only gap at the heretofore unknown wine-dark mind of Nicky Stokes. Warrick's all, "You think she went kamikaze, trying to take down the whole family with her?" Surprisingly, this is the hypothesis everyone decides to run with for the next few minutes.

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