Here, the latter is provided by the murder by T. Rex of a jealous paleontology student after an animatronic dinosaur show. This provided plenty of eye candy for promos, and, as with the gator a few weeks back, lots of opportunity for puns and allusions. Ray is paired with Hodges, who, of course, geeks out at the prospect of seeing these virtual lizards up close. The student’s death by teeth turns out to be due to his girlfriend deciding to go “carnivore” and reject his nerdy vegan ways. Bizarre and completely implausible, but not nearly enough so. The coding of a “natural” female sexual desire as carnivorous-like-a-meat-eating-dinosaur was offensive, but that was to be expected. What was unexpected was how flat all this was. Ray looked bored all the way through.
The serious side drew from a series staple, the old case. Like the return of the repressed, prior cases and convictions inevitably seep or crash back into the present on CSI, drawing our heroes into unresolved traumas. The trigger this time was a case involving two missing girls from “five years” back (though not from a televised episode, for a change), where a killer confessed and was convicted, but the bodies never found. The father of one of the girls turns up dead, and the mother of the other is the prime suspect. What eventually transpires shows how grief can be ruthlessly exploited, and closure never quite resolved. While this storyline should have used a bit more Catherine, who spent most of the episode on the sideline in her office, it was quite rightly centered on Nick, who is our default, grim Bearer of Bad News.
While the dino-plot was too pedestrian, the case of the missing girls was fairly compelling stuff. More than anything, though, this episode showed how multiple cases like this should be the norm, rather than the exception, to allow for variety and for just enough narrative space to work well.
Obligatory Grissom Reference: None, for a change, not even from Hodges.
Obligatory “Celebrity” Cameo: Ladies and gentlemen, Katee Sackhoff, playing against type as tough, feisty and physical. “I’ve been working on my sensitivity,” she quips, right before kicking in a door. That’s our Katee!
Going Off Shift: Hodges takes pictures of himself with the dinos.
Morbid moment: With the dinosaur death played for laughs, the genuinely awful revelation of both the dead girls was a graphic reminder of memory and grief. The slo-mo montage of the discovery of the second girl, and Nick’s notification of her mother, was a standard moment, but that was the point: this is something these guys do all the time, and it never gets easy.
I remember this one time…: We had a flashback to “five years” ago, and the initial case involving the girls, but not from a televised episode.