Spark Of Life

Episode Report Card
Sobell: B- | Grade It Now!
The Wages Of Sin...

Hey, did you know that the Las Vegas skyline throws off some of the craziest light pollution you ever did see? And that getting a true, dark sky conducive to star-gazing may require a trip of up to 100 miles?

I bring this up because we're about to zoom from the bright lights of the Strip to a remote area where the stars shine brightly on the grassy hills below. So I have no idea where the hell we are. All we can see is a guy dressed all in black. He snaps open a case and begins stealthily assembling something cylindrical. The music gets all ominous as he mounts his contraption on a tripod, aims the scope at a window through which we can see someone dressing…

…and then the show pulls an elegantly crafted fake-out by having the scope swing up so we're all looking at Orion blazing in the night sky. Well played, CSI. The stargazer notices a faint orange aura beginning to obscure the scope's vision on the left-hand side, and tries to readjust it. Soon, the scope gets brighter on the right, we see a few orange flickers licking their way across the lens, and then the guy looks up just in time to see that the forest behind him has caught on fire and an enormous fireball is rolling his way. He tries to outrun it, trips in panic (of course), and is swept along. We see him rolling, blazing and screaming, to his death. And while that's a hell of a way to go, I can't help but wonder: the fireball wasn't that big. Why not step to the right or the left and let it roll on by? Then your only problem is figuring out how to get out of a forest fire.

Anyway, the fire is subdued within seconds and all we're left with is Astronomer Flambé. Gil comments, "Low humidity, dry brush...perfect conditions for maximum damage." I would attempt to resolve Gil's statement with the speedy nature in which the fire was subdued, but it's way too early for that kind of mental yoga. The fire department guy mournfully points out, "Firebugs listen to the weather reports just like we do, only for different reasons." Sara wonders if maybe a litterbug threw a cigarette out the window. Good Lord, do people still do that? Has this nation learned nothing from Smokey the Bear? The fireman cracks, "You're an optimist," and Sara shoots him a look. Sara, he's got an admirably sour view of humanity, and in one scene, he's shown more personality than Hank did in a season. Jump the guy! Get him to show you the fireman's carry up close and personal-like.

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