Paper Or Plastic

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Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
When Double-Coupon Promotions Go Horribly Wrong

Then she goes to review the security tape, which shows Celeste manning the cash register while some black-clad guy hovers behind her like a malevolent Sprocket. Catherine muses, "Bastard was behind her the whole time." Our friends who rely on the closed-captioning read, "Son of a bitch was behind her the whole time." Potato, po-tah-to. Nicky agrees, then catches us all up on exactly how this thing went down by narrating to the limited tape footage: "There's our two DOA suspects -- looks like they just walked in off the street." And then proceeded to do God knows what. Catherine wants to know if Fromansky's mystery gunner showed up, and Nicky replies, "Nope. All the cars in the parking lot were accounted for, and the loading dock out back was deserted." He punches up the eagle-eye shot of the cash register again and emphasizes how it's the only view of what went down. Nicky gets to the point in the footage where doomed Officer Clay was getting his milk and peanut butter on the belt, and he notes that the robber was "three, four feet away and he didn't even see him. The thing I hate the most is the bad guys always know if there's going to be a gunfight." We then see the bad guy in question wheel around the cash register so he can prepare to shoot Officer Clay.

And then we switch to Gil, Warrick, and Sara loping through the Labitrail as Warrick explains that Clay's one bullet went into the floor and fragmented, which was probably how the kid got hit. Anyway, the conversation quickly steers into who shot whom with what.

Warrick: Officer Fromansky's Beretta and the suspect's TEC-9 -- they both had hollow-point 9mm. Between the two of them, they shot off 18 rounds.
Sara: Shotgun was a Mossberg, model 500. Eight rounds fired. Ammo was double-aught buckshot, nine pellets per shell.
Gil: Eighteen bullets. A total of 26 shells, 72 pellets. Enjoy.

I hope you enjoyed that -- it was all pretty much pops and whistles for me. I would have rather have been writing about ice cream. I do like how Gil delegates -- never apologize, never explain.

And now comes the montage where Ballistic Bob fires a mess of bullets and compares the striae, and Sara swabs bullets to ID all the goop on them, and we could, you know, benefit from explanatory dialogue here to tell us what's being done and how, instead of squandering all the expository talkety-talk on things like, "You! Seasoned lab tech! Take a sample! You! Seasoned coroner's assistant! Give me a ten-card!" Warrick is busy trying to figure out who shot whom via a handy computer model (and again, having someone stand over his shoulder so he could explain what happened, as opposed to simply having some boring dance music throbbing in the background, would work wonders) and it's all…if there's a point here, it's eluding me. I don't find watching people grind at their jobs particularly riveting; I find people telling a story through the ingenious application of information to a puzzling situation to be interesting, and it's not happening here.

Eventually, the soundtrack comes to a screeching halt when Bobby comes up. He hands Warrick a printed-out report, and Warrick makes a boo-boo-kitty face at it. Way to advance the plot line through the judicious use of exposition, guys.

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