Spark Of Life

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

We flash back to Dani floating in the pool, Corinne having the freak-out and fishing her daughter's body out. After an unsuccessful bout of CPR, Corinne tearfully tells Morgan, who is compelled by his allegedly fragile male ego to haul out the gun and kill the rest of the family.

Back in the present, David's all, "Eh. That works." Catherine replies, "Yeah, but how do you perform CPR on a child, then toss her back in the pool?" "Speaking of children, how's Lindsey?" David asks. "I dropped her off at a pool party. Why?" Catherine replies. You know I just made up most of that exchange, right? The only thing Catherine really asks why is you'd attempt to revive a child, then toss the body back in a pool. I'm going to save her a lot of grief now by telling her that she's asking in vain. We never, never get an answer in this episode as to why you'd do such a thing.

Meanwhile, Gil and Mia decide to play ninja. Or maybe they've just decided that dressing all in black and lurking in the shadows while talking about DNA is more fun than standing at a lab bench and talking about how Mystery Burn Victim's DNA is freaky. Mia explains, "One of her markers is out of the control range." Gil's all excited: "An off-ladder peak?" Mia's all, "Cram it, Big Daddy Ninja. Did you know the frequency of that anomaly is one in every 250?" Gil's giddy as a schoolgirl ninja because "I learn something new every day" and Mia's stealth exposition just helped him hit his daily quota. You know what this scene needs? Swords and nun chucks. Or maybe an explanation of why ladders matter. I can't give you swords and nun chucks, but I can provide the explanation. DNA testing typically requires an allelic ladder, which is made up of human DNA fragments collected from hundreds of people to provide samples of the more commonly observed allele lengths. The point to an allelic ladder is to provide a measuring benchmark for a suspect's alleles, and to show whether the PCR used to amplify a DNA sequence is working. Ladder alleles are then tagged with a dye, so they can be compared to the sample. What Mia's saying is that the DNA sample's alleles don't match up with the range shown as typical in the ladder exemplar, and that's freaky.

Or maybe what the scene needs is a scientific montage. Liam is back in the lab. Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in. At least he's able to work in a lab much like the one that exploded all around him and covered him in burns, and he's not at all wigged out by it. Our man's psyche must be made of India rubber. Or forgetfulness. Anyway, after the montage music plays long enough for Trent Reznor to look up from his PSP and reach for the phone that has his lawyers on speed-dial, Liam manages to recreate the burn victim's license using a video spectral comparator. This handy device uses different light wavelengths to pick up marks on documents -- my best guess is that ink and paper absorb light at different wavelengths, and it's the contrast that makes something visible. Anyway, the upshot is that our burn victim's named Tara Matthews and she lives at 47611 Collie Lane.

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