izhilzha (izhilzha) wrote,

CSI review (and mini life update)

My weekend felt both long (a friend had to break off her engagement, and hung out at our apartment a lot for emotional support), and way too short (because this turn of events led to me and my roommate having about 1/3 of our normal weekend doing-stuff time). I didn't get any writing done--I looked at what I have of my CSI spec, and I think it's mostly crap, which is making me all scared and writer's-blocky. Bah.

Some of this emotional crap had better be hormonal. Because it's ridiculous.

On to something more pleasant: the wonderful, off-beat, richly emotional episode of CSI which aired Thursday (and I didn't watch till Saturday afternoon; and watched again Saturday night at 1am, because it's just that good).

CSI, "Law of Gravity"

I've nicknamed this episode "CSI does film noir," which isn't as weird as it sounds. The show has wandered into that genre on several occasions, usually ones involving Las Vegas' mobster past. But this is the first time I remember them playing around with the show's visual style to support it, including allowing a character to have flashbacks which are not part of a crime-scene reconstruction.

And guess what? It worked. I don't own any seasons of CSI (though 1, 2, and 3 are tempting), but I'm seriously considering purchasing this one when it hits DVD next summer.

I have a couple of notes about Keppler's story arc, and then I'll do my usual hate/love list.

I was alarmed when I learned that not only would William Petersen being running off to do a stage play and thus missing from the show for four episodes, but that his absence would be dealt with by bringing in a new character (star casting = stunt casting in my book and tends to annoy me). Fortunately, they cast Liev Schreiber, whom I personally hadn't seen in much else (the Scream movies being the limit of my actual exposure). He also has good screen presence without being overpowering. The writers played to that skill (and to the polarization any new character will bring on a show this established) with the roles they gave Keppler in the four episodes he was in.

In "Sweet Jane," he was somewhat mysterious, an outsider (from Trenton, NJ, by way of Philadelphia and Baltimore), with his own perspective and way of doing things that didn't exactly mesh with our favorite graveyard shift team. At least, not right away. It was nice to watch everyone else being intrigued or offput by his behavior (and lack of explanation, at times).

"Redrum" is an episode I really enjoyed--internal lab intrigue isn't that common. It underscored Keppler's differing methods, while also underlining (at least for me) the things he has in common with Grissom...an eye for detail, and an unnerving skill at understanding people. Grissom never pretends to be a profiler, but he uses the same mental tricks, just as part of his investigative tools...imho.

I haven't actually gotten to watch "Meet Market" yet. I understand it was a fairly ordinary case, and only added one piece to puzzle of Keppler: the picture of Amy and and the news that he missed her memorial Mass.

Every thread was brought together in "Law of Gravity," to give us the picture of a passionate, withdrawn man who still carries guilt from years before, but has no idea of the *extent* of his own guilt, because he was lied to at the time and during all the years since. I applaud the writers for realizing the opportunity they had with this character: to let us get attached to him, and then tear his life apart in a way they will never be able to do to one of our main characters (we know them too well). The result is a painful, disturbing, beautiful sweeps-worthy episode.

Things I didn't like:

This is going to be a very small catagory, I think. There are unanswered questions about how Keppler came to kill the wrong man years ago--about how much he really knew, how many of the dream-images, thought-images, were symbolic (like pulling out the heart) and how many were realistic. This may have been deliberate, emphasizing his absence as it does, but still, I'd like to know.

Not enough screen time for Greg or Sara (one scene each, I believe).

Things I loved/liked:

Grissom is back! :-D (Though I like his beard in a general sense, he should maybe trim it a little. Grissom-as-mountain-man. Hee.) I didn't realize Petersen had gone so gray.

There was a good deal of banter in this episode, despite its dark tone. Grissom gets first place:

Warrick: I'm following up a lead from some serialized butt implants.
Grissom: I missed Vegas.

2nd place goes to Nick:

(handling silicone implants)
Nick: Bit big for my taste.
Doc Robbins: They're for the other end.
Nick: Oh! (looks at implants again) I could've used a pair of these bad boys when I was in court last week.

3rd place to Keppler, for being weirdly sweet:

DNA girl comes up to him in the hall.
DNA Girl: How do you feel about butt implants?
Keppler: (spitting out the first thing that comes to mind) You don't need them.

The twistedness of the plot--the viewers know more about what's going on, but just enough is left in the dark that we're still following our CSIs through the case.

Keppler messes with evidence, he hides it, he evades. Not once (except when he tells Warrick that he doesn't know either Dennis or Frank) does he lie outright. I'm not sure if I just called him a good liar, or if it indicates (which is what I felt while watching) that he didn't want to lie to these people, who had taken him in.

I loved the mistiness of the dream sequences. Almost as if the snow from the first one bled over into the rest, including interior scenes.

Favorite shot of the episode: when they find the gun in the bag in Frank's hotel room, we move to a close-up on Keppler, and snow begins falling into frame, right there in the present-tense Vegas hotel room...and that leads us into his mini-flashback. So much love for that moment.

I'd heard rumors that Sara and Grissom would be having trouble when he got back. Not from what I saw. The only thing marring their reunion was Sara's garbage-dump smell, and her over-reaction to it by backing away from an advancing Grissom. Old trauma, maybe, from "Bully For You"? :-)

They killed Keppler. Kudos to the writers, again, for taking this storyline to the proper, bitter end. I loved the phone call he made to Catherine: "You'll be checking into all my cases. They're clean, I swear, except for the Alvarez homicide in Philly." So desperate, and so determined, and so ready to do whatever it took to end this once and for all.

Next week: the miniature killer strikes again?!
Tags: csi, real life, review, writing

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