Unfriendly Skies

Episode Report Card
Sobell: B | Grade It Now!
In the event of an emergency, bludgeon the person next to you

The episode opens in daylight -- somewhat confusing to my pea brain, as I'm trained to think of C.S.I. as being that show about forensics investigators on the night shift -- with assorted shots of the Las Vegas strip. It looks a lot less impressive by day, unless you're one to be impressed by massive hotels. The shot pulls back and we're in the air, watching an airplane fly over the mountains ringing Vegas.

The soundtrack informs us that the plane has requested a "VOR one-five runway approach. Request Las Vegas police."

As this is going on, we're still looking at the side of the plane. A smallish-sounding child cries, "Mommy," and we hear a weak scream. The camera pulls back from the plane's door where it's been trained, and we transition to the Strip at night. Ah, sanity has been restored to my world. The scene swoops over to McCarran Airport -- for those of you who have never had the pleasure of flying into Vegas, it really is, like, two blocks from the Strip -- and a plane taxiing on the runway. I realize that this is the same plane that was having trouble in broad daylight a few seconds ago and promptly get confused all over again: the plane was having trouble in the day, and now it is night. Exactly where were they flying from? My head hurts.

Brass's voice rings out over the tarmac, what with the plane having taxied into an impressive array of vehicles bearing flashing lights. Oh, wait. The plane is the crime scene. Now I get it. I think. Brass plays Captain Mise-en-Scene, telling us the luggage will be staying with the plane and the Las Vegas police will be treating it like a crime scene. Brass establishes that whatever happened on this plane probably happened in first class by a) telling his underlings to quiz the clueless passengers in coach, and b) telling anyone in the general vicinity that he'll be talking to the first class passengers sequestered in the lounge. At least, I hope that's what's happening: it could just be that when one flies first class, the perks extend to assorted airport lounges in case of trouble. Who knows?

Gil's hovering over Brass's shoulder like the Angel of Death. He does nothing to dispel the impression as he walks up a portable staircase into the plane: "Dead guy in first class?" he asks. "Las Vegas Air. Always heard it was a good time," Brass replies, obviously equating first-class seating with, say, a pass to an orgy hosted by Caligula. Gil ignores him, and they walk into the world's most spacious first-class cabin. The body sprawled out in the aisle definitely looks dead. Gil and Brass have a marvelous minimalist exchange:

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