Play With Fire

Episode Report Card
Sobell: F | 1 USERS: B+

It's nighttime and there's love in the air. We know this from the diabetes-inducing techno ballad playing as the episode opens, and from the two people currently using the underside of the local high-school bleachers for a tryst. This I don't get: it's Las Vegas, and you can book a hotel room for $20 a night. What teenager is going to prefer grass stains and splinters to a cheap hotel room where there's probably free porn?

Anyway, after some groping, half-hearted protesting on her part -- she didn't exactly say, "I'm not that kind of girl!" but she came close -- and whining on his part -- he did say, "We've gone way further than that!" which only goes to show that the not-at-all-smooth or seductive tactics of teenaged boys on the make are one of American society's few constants -- anyway, for some reason, the combination of wheedling and splinters has put our titular heroine in the mood, and they're off for a little slap and tickle somewhere on the school grounds. Fueled by hormones, they sprint across the football field, not bothering to stop as two cranked-up cheerleaders perform the now-ritual sacrifice of one of their own. Kidding! Just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention, or if you're all skimming to the part where I began recapping Sara and Gil.

So the two young lovers sprint across the football field and up the stadium stairs to the announcer's box at the very top. They're not even winded. As they open the doors, however, the discovery of a dead woman on the floor of the room takes the wind out of their sails. Farewell, young lovers, whoever you are.

In the next scene, Captain Exposition has arrived. One presumes he didn't run up the stairs. He's telling Gil that the dead body was ID'd by the wallet still in her purse as the 28-year-old Nebraskan Alison Carpenter. Nicky comments that Alison's a little old to be a student; Brass more or less dismisses this. Emergency Backup David's been working the body, and he begins announcing his finds: "Petechial hemorrhaging indicates strangulation." Gil comments, "She definitely died here." Emergency Backup David replies, "Yeah. Lividity definitely bears that out. She wasn't moved." Brass is more interested in the scene; we establish that the rusted-out padlock was cut and there are beer bottles on the premises, so all signs point to party gone wrong. Nicky picks up a recently-used condom -- the special effects department spared us no details in the pursuit of verisimilitude -- and comments on the lover's lane aspect of the stadium. Gil notes the defensive wounds on Alison's hands. After Brass asks, "Sexual assault," Gil actually checks her groin and notes, "She's not wearing any underwear." Continuing his up-the-skirt survey, Gil notices a long cut on the inside of Alison's leg with some wooden splinters sticking out of it. He then checks out the door, which has fresh blood at the very bottom. Gil figures that the door had to have banged into the body at some point, and says, "David, I thought you said she wasn't moved." Emergency Backup David replies, "Paramedics said they didn't touch her." That's because Hank's still on his tropical getaway with his girlfriend. Brass adds that the kids we saw at the very beginning of the episode claim not to have touched her either.

Gil leans in and notes that there's still sweat on Alison's upper lip, and orders Emergency Backup David to take a liver temperature. Emergency Backup David is all, "Okay, let me just finish this up..." and Gil snaps, "Now, David!" Emergency Backup David hops to while Nicky squares his jaw and watches. When David reads off the temperature -- 98.1 degrees Fahrenheit -- Nicky notes that Alison's been dead less than an hour. Gil says all ominously, "The killer's still on her."

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