Saturday, 27 October 2007

CSI: Miami Watch - "Backstabbers"

Remember the awesome episode where H blew up a truck bound for the nuclear power plant at Turkey Point? We sure do. Canyon recapped that one, with the silly kidnapping plot that turned into a really really bad episode of 24. Seems we're not done with that story yet. You may recall that H apprehended the glamorous Sonya, evil terrorist mastermind with a smirk and a flirty gleam in her eye. Obviously that outrageous sexual tension between her and the Orange Pimpernel worked so well she got dragged back to continue her nefarious schemes. Of course, we have to get her trial out of the way first. It's held in a cathedral-like courtroom, and it was this outrageous monument to justice that started me thinking; is H the modern day Judge Dredd, except he's not just Judge, Jury and Executioner, but Forensics Expert and Bomb Disposal Hot Shot as well?

As soon as H gets onto the stand, we get a flashback of him blowing up the truck, cutting back and forth to H and Sonya giving each other sexy stares. The prosecutor asks H to explain what Sonya said to him at the end of that episode, and hilariously H sits mute while her voice is looped in. Yet another disastrous directorial decision in this most inept of shows. At this point we find out that she's not working for al-Qaeda. Instead she's allied with al-Qadir, who I assume is al-Qaeda's Floridian cousin.

All of that is great, but sadly she's in the dock on the far more interesting charge of kidnapping the Kinkella family and extorting them. Screw all that blowing up a nuclear reactor and irradiating Florida nonsense, we want justice for the Kinkellas! Sonya's weasel lawyer brings this up after H has gone to the trouble of damning her by associating her with the sabotage plot, but he still manages to get at her reputation by continually pointing out that she only gave out information in order to reduce her sentence, even when the weasel lawyer goes all, "Objection!" on his ass. It's very Phoenix Wright. He metaphorically dances with the lawyer for a while, but against H, the lawyer has no chance. Instead of dropping charges, the judge sets her bail at $1m. Naturally, this is paid instantly. At this point I figured that the terrorists really do make a lot of money from sales of illegal DVDs and ciggies, but there will be a shocking twist later on. No, seriously. It is shocking. Shockingly stupid.

Seriously, H and Sonya can't stop staring at each other throughout this entire scene. She looks only at him, and wears this sexxy expression through the whole thing.

H, she's either horny or hungry, and who knows how al-Qadir rolls. Anyway, outside the cathedracourt, Peter Kinkella is super-pissed about her bail release, and angrily confronts H, who promises they will deal with Sonya eventually. Not good enough! Kinkella storms off, leaving H free to follow Sonya and her lawyer to his car, where they simmer at each other a little more. Suddenly, before they can go from staring to pouting and blowing kisses, OMG! Another car comes out of nowhere and shoots the lawyer! H is shocked to the core, and even goes so far as to make the effort to change his expression from self-satisfied to horrified, which is always a big moment in CSI: Miami history.

Sonya takes to opportunity to leap into the lawyer's car and speed away, and H comes out shooting, as usual. He gets off a few shots at both the assassin car and Sonya's car, but the latter time he uses incendiary bullets or something. Like Judge Dredd! See? He'd make a great Judge Dredd. Plus, the helmet covers his face and offers some protection against that evil sun.

As a result there is no payoff line prior to credits, just a shot of him looking piiiiiiissed. We were more pissed than him, actually. We live for this quipping shit, if you can call it that. Still, once the credits have finished yelling at us, we do get an awesome shot of H reflected in a bullet casing. It's rare to see H deign to do any actual detective work, so it's a big deal, but then in the next scene he's running the plates of the shooter's car! This must mean he's taking the case personally! Excellent. It's always great when he gets all moody. Moodier. Whatever.

H traces the car to a kid called Craig Edwards, and he is brought in. During the intense interrogation scene, he tries to come up with some lame excuse that his friends took his car, but after a single tough line from H, he starts ranting about how corrupt the legal system and the US are. Doesn't he know who he is talking to? He's talking to Justice Incarnate! This is the literal red rag to the literal bull. Not literally, though. A little bit of gunshot residue is found on him, and immediately he starts ranting about how happy he is the lawyer is dead. Lawyers and US law suck! Then, two seconds later, his own lawyer appears and he's all over him. I love that the show thinks that this shows up the hypocrisy of the terrorists. They hate our freedoms until they need them. Bastards! Where's Gitmo when you need it?

Anyway, the lawyer is a sleazebag in a pink shirt and cheap leather jacket, so he must be one of those liberals who love abortion and Castro! On this show? SHOOT HIM, H! Don't let that bastard live! H is amused by Craig's hypocrisy. As are we. And probably Bill O'Reilly and that weasel Hannity and some other right-wing douchebags, if they're watching this and not listening to the ever-more deranged shrieks of the famous Lesser-Brained Coulter Vulture. I guess after all of these comments I don't need to reiterate how right-wing this show is. Or how clumsily written.

Meanwhile, Calleigh and Wolfe are en route to Sonya's car, which has been found somewhere with a guy in it. He's called Hector Ramirez, and is played by Rick Gonzalez, currently to be seen as bird-hating Ben on Reaper! Awesome! He's great, and is actually the first guest actor on this show to exhibit some inner life. Also at the crime scene is the documentarian, Doyle, who has been assigned to follow Wolfe around in episodes passim, thus setting up the most memorable moment of the episode later on. Wolfe uses super-detectivity to find a corpse in the boot of the car. Things are looking bad for Ben. Sorry. Hector. He's immediately arrested, and slowly the scene is resolved under the oppressive orange sky. Yes, this scene features the most out of control orange filter yet seen in this show, and that's saying a lot. It's as if someone spilled Lucozade on the lens and didn't clean it off before it dried.

Back at the lab, Boa Vista pays a visit to Alexx, performing an autopsy on the dead lawyer. They realise the bullet (or, as Boa Vista calls it in a rare moment of professionalism, the "projectile") is not there. As usual, no one noticed the guy has two enormous holes in his neck, which would suggest one of them is an exit wound. What else could it be, gills? Couldn't they have figured that out at the crime scene and sent someone to look for it then instead of doing it hours later? God! Anyway, H and Natalia return to the crime scene and while he stands around looking as cool as an orange cucumber, Natalia finds the bullet handily stuck in a tree just a few feet away from where the lawyer was standing, thus saving the show time and money setting up a big scene with them scouring the area. Brilliant. They also realise that the shot was not aimed at the lawyer, but was meant for Sonya. The assassin in the killer car missed, and the "projectile" ricocheted off a metal pole. These al-Qadir assassins suck, man. At least at drive-bys.

Back at the morgue, Calleigh and Alexx confer about the body in the trunk. Seems he is called Gabriel Cervantes, and was "28 years young", as Alexx intones, pompously. This guy's daughter is sitting nearby, and in a weird change of pace, Calleigh goes over to patronise her and make her a promise she cannot keep. For at least 75% of the first three seasons, H would have a scene where he creepily talks down to some orphaned kid and promises to bring the killer of his/her father/mother to justice, but for some reason this week the responsibility falls to Calleigh. She is slowly starting to replace H, as her horrid season 5 transformation into a snotty judgemental scumbag has shown.

Of course, the kid saw the killer stab her father to death, and is terrified that they will get at her if she testifies. Naturally Calleigh promises her that will not happen, which is really ill-advised. While she makes that terrible mistake, H deduces that Sonya's lawyer has no phone on his body, which means Sonya must have picked it up. Also, Delko reveals that Craig didn't shoot Sonya, even though he's covered in gunshot residue (I can't remember why this is. Something to do with cutting-edge science, I'll wager), and is taking the fall to lead the team away from the real killer, who is still out there looking for Sonya. That duplicitous America-hating bastard! H calls Sonya on the lawyer's phone, and desperately begs her to give herself up so he can save her from herself. Of course, because she is a criminal mastermind, she reckons her chances of survival are good, and so she hangs up. Rude! Oh, and I loved this shot. This is how H dials a phone. He even has a trademarkable method of making a call. That is acting genius.

Wolfe and Documentary Doyle interrogate Hector, and he confesses to carjacking Sonya and being a sleazy dick who keeps winking into the camera, but denies the murder of Gabriel. He's obviously lying, and Wolfe reckons there will be evidence on his clothes (this is the standard bit of detective work done on this show. If it's not looking for rock dust, it's spraying clothes for blood stains).

Before we get to that memorable scene, H and Delko go to the scene of the carjacking, and find a car rental place from which Sonya probably got another vehicle after losing the lawyer's car. She bought an Escalade with tinted windows and no GPS, which doesn't seem suspicious at all. H takes a security tape from camera on the lot to look at later. Meanwhile, Wolfe is showing off to Doyle, doing a Luminol test on Hector's jacket, but his usual amount of spraying doesn't show up on camera, so upon Doyle's prompting he has to go nuts and practically empty a bottle on it. This, of course, destroys all the DNA, so the evidence is now useless. As usual, this is a purely mechanical way to stretch the episode out in length and to create some silly drama for Calleigh, as the kid will now have to testify, thank to the loss of their conclusive evidence. The only thing I like about this plot development is that Valera gets to chide Wolfe in front of the camera, and the arrogant little jerk gets to look stupid. Yay Valera!

Calleigh gives him a little grief, but really not nearly enough. How unprofessional does a Miami CSI have to be before they get in trouble? The only person in the show who ever got properly punished for not being professional was poor Speedle, who was punished by God by being killed in a gun fight. That showed him. Turns out Gabriel's corpse has tattoos over his chest, and Tripp gets to do more than just spout exposition to H by spouting exposition to Alexx and Calleigh. He reveals that one of the tattoos represents his retirement from gang life. Great! Except in gang culture that's a suicide statement, and therefore another gang member would then have to kill him. Harsh.

This leads Calleigh to gang boss Rulon Domingo, a hard ass currently in jail. In possibly the most preposterous scene of the week (or even season), Calleigh goes to see if he ordered a hit. Of course he tells her there is no way he's going to cooperate, because, you know, he's a hardass. Calleigh reasons that because he has 3 life sentences and nothing to lose, he should reveal it. So without any further prompting or bargaining he does. WHAT? This is beyond ridiculous. Calleigh's argument is that he's already in for life, what's another count of murder? WHAT? He then arrogantly says she should tell Hector he made his bones by killing Gabriel, and she says, "I'll tell you what. I'll let you tell him yourself." Stupid line, but the best thing is Rulon's response, which is like, "Oh man, I never thought of that!" Dumbest. Gang boss. Ever. No wonder he's in jail. What did he think was going to happen? GAH! This could very well be the stupidest moment in CSI: Miami history. I don't think I need to tell you there is a lot of competition.

Tech hero Cooper has been hard at work tracking Sonya's phone, and they find the signal coming from a warehouse. Unhappily for our heroes, so has a cadre of evil al-Qadir hitmen! H and Tripp and a bunch of cops rush to the scene, but the swarthy Middle Eastern bad guys are already there. Cue vaguely exotic music with wailing and sitars or something. Pretty offensive stuff, but then the only contact the showrunners have with Muslims is casting them as terrorists, so it's not surprising. Turns out, Sonya is a smart cookie. She left the phone as a trap, so the law and the terrorists would get into a shootout. And they do! Bullets whizz, but of course it's H who gets first blood, shooting a terrorist to shit while destroying a handy sheet of glass. Super-dramatic!

Then Tripp blows someone away too. Good week for Tripp. the other cops just run around a bit. How will this terrifying bloodbath get resolved? H wings another guy and they all surrender. Seriously. It's awesome. Then we get a cool shot of H looking fearsome, standing over the wounded terrorist with the enormous warehouse behind him. The perp is reaching for his gun, and upon seeing that he simply growls, "Wrong." See what I mean about Judge Dredd? That movie needs to be remade, stat.

H interrogates the guy while he's on the floor and threatens to kill him. He's so bad ass this week. Turns out the terrorists now think Sonya is a narc, but no, you silly bad guy, she really is an evil terrorist. Is he pissed because she broke some terrorist code? You're bad guys! All of this "honour amongst thieves" stuff is just so much bunkum. Or are you just pissed because she outsmarted you, you misogynist asshole? Tripp's response to this accusation of her being in cahoots with his fellow cops is great. "Fat chance!" Yes, because she seems to be pretty smart. She'd never gonna get a job in Miami Dade law enforcement. They only employ righteous idiots.

Such as Wolfe, who tells Calleigh that due to his ridiculous mistake the kid has to testify, and she's understandably horrified. Wolfe really times his screw-ups to maximise the drama in the B-plot, doesn't he. Video expert Cooper has managed to get the car rental security tape running (tough job, eh Cooper?), and OMG Hector isn't just a carjacker with a body to hide; he's in on it with the evil and brainy Sonya! The gang is in league with al-Qadir! Turns out that a bit of scientific deductive work reveals that his shirt may not have DNA on it any more, but it does have plastic explosive residue on it. He worked on the truck that was going to blow up the power plant in the previous episode! Ridiculous. I mean, exciting!

H interrogates Hector, and his excuse is that it was good money, ignoring the fact that if the plan had gone ahead he would only have been able to spend the money on irradiated churros. Sadly he doesn't know where Sonya is. H threatens him with the line, "Under the PATRIOT Act this is your last hour of freedom. What do you want to do?" Only on CSI: Miami (and 24) is the Patriot Act seen as a good thing. Still, it works. It scares Hector into considering confessing, and so he asks for a deal. Great! Except H says no. Probably because he doesn't deal with terrorists. Good work sticking to your ideals, H, but now what are you going to do?

Time to get the B-plot out of the way. Calleigh tells the orphaned little girl that the man who killed her father is going away, though she doesn't tell her it's on a charge of sedition, not murder. Would the kid care? Doesn't matter. Time to wrap this shit up. H does something unusual; lab work! Usually he just orders the others around and then materialises behind them when they're finished, but either this week he's taking it personally, or he doesn't trust his team to get it right. After Wolfe's mistake, he probably has a point. Of course, it's also possible he just can't wait to see her sexxy smouldering sex face again. He tests some of the guns found during the warehouse shootout, and one of them has blood on the slide. Someone who has never fired a gun before got his hand caught in the slide. It has a technical name; a slide bite. This is not the first time they've done this. Who was the drive-by assassin? The lawyer! He's in so deep with al-Qadir that now he's shooting people for them. I know tuition fees can leave you in debt for a long time, but jeez, there's a line you don't cross, dude.

H is so pissed about this he snarls, "Book these two animals!", and the lawyer and the al-Qadir guy he winged get dragged off. With that resolved, our heroes resume the search for Sonya, and finally think to see who posted bail for her. Who did they think it was, Moscone Bail Bonds? Actually, that would be awesome.

That digression doesn't disguise my annoyance with this revelation. Sure, it's another stupid artificial way to stretch out the plot, but this really does make the team look like a bunch of chumps. Why didn't they think to check this earlier? It's a pretty big deal, right? Perhaps there's a law against it, but seeing as how H is throwing the PATRIOT Act around like a really cool Top Trumps card, you'd think they'd just go for it. But I, again, digress. Turns out the bail was provided by Peter Kinkella, the guy whose family was kidnapped on her say so in the previous episode. He's used his yacht as collateral, so H goes to the marina.

Kinkella has a brilliant and devious plan to kill Sonya for being so evil, and he's trapped her by promising her a trip in his boat. Which is surely under the control of the Miami Dade justice system, right? Man, this is making my head hurt with its relentless stupidity. What's worse is she has gone along with this, which means she's either less smart than we thought, or way more cunning. I hope it's the latter. H needs a new arch-enemy. He's killed all of the others.

H confronts Kinkella and tries to talk him out of murdering Sonya, who is standing nearby, listening with a smug and sexxy look on her face. If she's there listening, I have a feeling this plan is pretty much doomed. Kinkella says, "Do you have any idea what it's like to lose your family?" which give H the chance to look pained. He talks Kinkella out of killing Sonya (which is dumb for the reasons listed above), and he walks away, leaving the yacht for Sonya to use. I'm not even going to point out how stupid that is. After a bit of sexxy banter with H she just gets in the boat and sails off, though promising to honour the terms of her bail by not leaving Miami waters. She's all gloaty, but H is half-pissed, half-concerned for her safety, what with al-Qadir determined to kill her. This is why I love H; he's a real chivalrous hero, something that Judge Dredd isn't. Maybe I was wrong all along. The episode ends with her sails off into the really orange distance. H puts his glasses on, and walks away. Until the next time, Sonya. Until the next time.

"Backstabbers" Stats:

Horatio's Send-Off Into Credits: None. A shocking anomaly in the history of the show. It left the entire episode spinning in chaos without it. Let's hope it never happens again.

Ripped-Off Plot of the Week:
This week they just ripped the story out of today's headlines. PATRIOT Act, terrorism, shootouts, Cuban gangs doing grunt work for the notorious al-Qadir; this is life in the 21st century people, except life isn't predominantly orange.

Natalia's Awful Blouse of the Week: Natalia surprised us greatly with a tasteful cardigan, albeit a low-cut one. No bad blouse for us?

Wrong! Hector stole one from her wardrobe, somehow. What the hell is this monstrosity?

Perhaps the rule of the show isn't that Natalia must wear a horrible blouse, but that at least one person has to wear a horrible blouse and her name kept getting picked out of the hat. This week, he lost.

Number of Caruso Two-Steps: About seven. By the end of the episode he was really packing them in.

Best splitscreen of the week:
There was more complicated stuff, but this was gratifyingly symmetrical.

It is as if they are two sides of something that has two sides. Bread? It's as if they are two sides of the same slice of bread. H's side is buttered. No wait, that doesn't make sense.

Most Patronising Dialogue From Horatio:
Craig: You think someone's going to get a fair shake in the court system you're kidding yourself. Your whole legal system's corrupt, just like your country.
H: Son, aren't you from Pensacola?


R2K said...

: )

lacyleanne said...

i wish you would point that fine perception you have towards David's positives instead of ALWAYS panning the guy. He's really good - and deals with the horrific writing better than most actors can do. give him some cred, would ya?

Vixen said...

Caruso doesn't deserve any better.He just can't act. Great recap!!!!

lacyleanne said...

shut up vixen