Thursday, 23 August 2007

CSI: Miami Watch: "Curse of the Coffin"

Though I realize we're a few years late to start recapping this marvel of a show, it's never too late to begin. The UK has just begun showing season five, which is a year behind the US schedule – not that it matters, I suppose, because I've never met anyone who will admit to watching it. (Someone is, for Christ's sake! It's the most popular show in the world – even more popular than Baywatch, and we can only thank mighty Thor that the Miami location does not persuade Horatio to blind us with his mole-inflected, saggy cheese torso.) But the Admiral has provided a helpful primer, so any objections you have can be as easily dismissed as one of Horatio's shifty perps.

Synopsis: Have you heard of Santeria? (No, it's not a bowel disease or a fruity tropical drink. It's voodoo! Actually it's an Afro-Caribbean religion, but leave it to this show to reduce a complex religion into simplistic ridiculousness for its own purposes.) Can you pronounce it like Delko, with that slightly rolled "r" and singsong inflection that shows the viewer how authentically Cuban(/Russian) our inept frogman is? I bet you can't. Were you aware that, according to CSI: Miami, it involves putting spells on chintzy pieces of woodwork, selling drugs that cause temporary paralysis, and stowing the bloody, dismembered heads of goats in your closet? And yet it's apparently not affiliated with Scientology? Somewhere in L.A., John Travolta is taking notes.

Of course, this is all in a day's work for CSI: Miami – if it's not cannibalism and pirates (see season three's "Pirated"), it's voodoo curses and random explosions. Our intrepid team finds out that our corpse of the week was an aficionado of the religion, which Delko is immediately spooked by (as he professes that he is Catholic and therefore cannot come into contact with befouled objects – something he should have thought about before Sex Quest '05, perhaps). How do they find this out? They discover a goat's head, infested with maggots and dripping blood, in a coat closet. It's a minor shock that the inept crimefighters even bothered to look in a closet in the first place, but Horatio was probably searching for a small child to patronize (see episodes passim).

Since CSI: Miami writers like to cut out the burdensome step of the writing process called "coming up with ideas," something like this probably did happen in real life. What probably didn't happen in real life? This:

OMG the corpse isn't dead at all! When Ryan attempts to explain this to Alexx, she shows him the corpse and tells him that there's no way it could sit up, as it has a stomach wound. Ryan tells her that the corpse she's showing him is a different dead guy. Excuse me? Alexxx didn't notice this?? A corpse WALKS OUT OF HER MORGUE and Mr. Wolfe, of all people, has to tell her that it's missing. Alexxxx's response? "My staff isn't trained to watch the living." First of all, what staff? Alexxxxx is the only one who's ever in the morgue. Apparently she's begun talking not just to corpses but to imaginary employees as well. Secondly, what? Is your "staff" even trained to watch the dead? Shouldn't they have noticed that a body was missing? Imaginary morgue attendants just aren't what they used to be.

And then we come to the glorious, and gloriously ridiculous, denouement of the episode. It turns out Horatio discovers and has to defuse a car bomb – this is only glancingly related to the plot of the episode and comes out of nowhere, by the way, but no matter. The bomb has four minutes until it explodes. "Can you defuse it?" asks useless-as-usual Tripp. "Not in four minutes," purrs Horatio, the former bomb expert (you didn't know that? Oh, my friend, you have so much to learn).

The next shot we see? Horatio DRIVING OVER A BRIDGE WITH A BOMB IN THE CAR.

How did he even get out of the parking lot in four minutes? How did he know he wouldn't get stuck in traffic? What is his mode of transportation after the car explodes? Why is he driving over a freaking bridge? Is this even legal?? (I know what H. would say: "Justice knows no laws, my friend. It knows. No. Laws.") These are questions only the foolish would consider. For now we have this, the crowning glory of the season, the very reason this show exists (namely, to blow stuff up, and to promote the color orange):

Notice how H. removes his sunglasses as he languidly exits the car that surely should have exploded twenty minutes ago, then surveys the landscape majestically, as only a crusading albino lawman can, and then, for the final iconic shot, puts the sunglasses back on. Shades of Caruso, man. You can't beat that.

Curse of the Coffin Stats:

Horatio's Send-Off Into Credits (how awesome is Channel 5 for appropriating the YouTube clips?): a bit lackluster this time:

Alexx: [referring to a tiny cursed coffin] "Maybe it's a message. Someone trying to scare us off the case."
Horatio: "Maybe. But we don't scare that easy, do we, Alexx?"

Ripped-off Plot of the Week: The Serpent and the Rainbow

Horatio's Most Patronizing Line:

Random Perp: "Can I have my clothes back?"
Horatio: "I'd say that would be...unlikely."

Number of Caruso Two-Steps: 4

Snottiest Behavior From Ryan: mocking Delko for being scared of the Santeria objects (hilariously, he later becomes convinced that the curses are real)

Most Ineptitude From Delko: slamming an axe down on a glass table so hard that the table later shatters (we later see poor hapless Boa Vista, in the lab room when the table breaks, emerging from an inexplicable cloud of smoke, her hair mussed and covered in glass, as if the table had actually exploded)

Number of Perps Dispatched by Horatio: only one: a bomb-filled car

Number of Pointless Split-Screen Shots: countless


Chrissy said...

:: slow clap ::

Stunning. I loves it. Looking forward to seeing more posts in the future.

(Because you and I are the only true admirers of The Caruso, at least in the circles we move in internetwise.)

McCy said...

"because I've never met anyone who will admit to watching it. (Someone is, for Christ's sake! It's the most popular show in the world –"

My brother-in-law. But then he did also try to tell me that One Tree Hill was good, so his critical faculties are dubious. He's a doctor - weep for the NHS now.