CSI
No Humans Involved

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Awww! Kittens! In a rainbow basket!

In what is not a startling break from tradition, we begin this episode with a shot of the Las Vegas strip at night, and zoom in so we can see the bright white beam of light shot out of the tip of the Luxor. It's all very splendidly vulgar, and on any other night I'd have a whole riff going. However, I'm in kind of a weird headspace right now, because I just finished watching the latest episode of The Wire and one of the most interesting characters on television ever, Stringer Bell, just got killed by two of the other most interesting characters on television ever, Omar the gay and surprisingly principled homicidal homeboy, and Brother Mouzone; Stringer more or less had it coming, but I am still reeling over here from how it was carried out. Thoughtful, intelligent storytelling that doesn't pander to sentimentalism has the power to really rock the viewer.

But enough about really good TV -- I'm paid to recap CSI. Would you like to know what's going on? In a word: bloodshed. Gil's in a dodgy neighborhood with the B-Minus Squad (Sofia and Liam the Erstwhile Lab Tech) and Brass is telling him that the dead body is 16-year-old gangbanger Tyson Plummer. Sofia asks how many holes there are in Tyson, and Gil tells her he counted four. As she checks out the scene, Sofia muses, "Eleven shell casings. Shooter emptied the gun, so he was moving and shooting. Only hit the vic four times." Gil assumes a long-suffering look and tells Brass tartly, "She talks to herself." "It worked for me," Brass shrugs. I suppose as long as Sofia doesn't begin delivering exposition, Brass doesn't care what she does. Sofia's off babbling about bullets buried in walls.

Speaking of The Wire, it looks like Liam's wandered onto the set. Not that I've been spending a lot of time in Las Vegas's dicier neighborhoods, but I have a hard time believing they're filled with tree-lined alleys. Anyway, Liam's trying to collect evidence and he's distracted by the little kids playing gangsta. He ducks under the police tape and begins moving down the alley to talk to the kids, but the minute the kids check out his J. Crew Fall 2004 Catalog ensemble (beat-up blazer, sweater, jeans), they scream, "Run!" and beat feet. Silly kids -- Liam needs all the positive wardrobe reinforcement he can get.

One of the kids runs particularly clumsily, and knocks over a Rubbermaid storage container. He scampers off, but the thud of the container's caught Liam's eye. We see why: crammed inside is a small, dusty, emaciated child. Liam whips out the cell. Fighting to keep his cool, Liam chokes out, "Grissom, we got a very young male D.B. by the dumpster." The shot switches to Gil's face; his head whips around and he looks alarmed, probably because Liam sounds like he can't decide whether to throw up or burst into tears. Gil promises to hop on over.

Just as he does, a young man ducks under the tape, despite police telling him it's not there for impromptu open-air limbo contests. Brass immediately assumes control of the situation, and finds out the kid's name is Leo Plummer. "Wow, what a coincidence! The dead guy's name is Tyson Plummer. Are you two related, by chance?" Brass trills. Oh, he does not either. Leo gets off the best line of the night by telling Brass, "They didn't have to do him like that, dawg." "Dawg"? Who wrote this dialogue, Randy Jackson? Brass musters all the gravitas at his disposal and tells Leo, "I know you know who did this." Leo thanks Brass to stay out of it, because "whoever did this is gonna get got." Brass is all, "Oh, noooo. Don't say stuff like that. Only one of two things can come of that -- you in shackles, or you on a slab. So let's break the odds this time -- what do you say?" I say that you lack the euphemistic touch so helpful to funeral home directors, but I applaud the sentiment. Leo feels similarly: "You done with me, bacon? 'Cause I got family to go bury."

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