View Full Version : CSI Episode 200 (Mascara): What the frag? [Spoilers]

Aotrs Commander
2009-05-12, 06:45 PM
Okay, let's get something straight first. I am an easy Lich to please, really. I take my entertainment seriously but with a degree of tolerance and latitude.

I never through a hissy fit when Tracy replaced Brock on Pokemon. I never went into nerdrage when Daniel Jackson was replaced by Jonus Quinn, nor when Mitchel replaced O'Neil. I liked Voyager after it picked up in season 3 and I thought Enterprise went from strength to strength and was in it's final season some of the best Star Trek ever. I liked all three of the Star Wars prequal movies. I enjoyed Wolverine when I saw it this afternoon. I did get a bit crotchety when the entire cast of Pokemon was changed over just before their tenth aniversary, I'll grant you, but I lost much of my ire when the the replacements proved to be a fair set of soundalikes. Hell, I like the Naruto dub and I have been looking foward to the filler arcs.

Having established all that (and that I have no taste whatsoever, no doubt), I can safely say that I have no problems with Riley and Ray replacing Warrick and Grissom in CSI. I find Ray's understated humour quite refreshing, actually. I bear them no ill will, and what follows is in no way related to them or the 'bash-the'new-guys' syndrome.

So with all that in mind, and that the tone of the following should be regardled as not furious, flaming rage and more tweaked and bewildered incredulity.

What the freakin' hell was up with the 200th episode of CSI?!


I was hoping it would be something akin to Stargate's 200th episode which was simply Awesome. When I saw that I laughed until I literally threw up1. Or at least something akin to Quentin Tarintino's CSI episodes which were damn good.

What I got was probably the worst episode of CSI I've ever seen. Not only was the directing, frankly sucky - and believe me, you have got to really go out of your way to make me CARE about your directing either way - but it didn't even feel like CSI.

Where to begin? Well, the bongo soundtrack is a good place to start, since it was less atmospheric and more annoying especially since when it picked up in pace in places it was starting to occlude the dialogue. They could have shaved a good five minutes off the episode if they'd have not wasted so much time on the setting-the-scene shots, to the point when I was getting bored. At CSI.

Also, Mr Director, having the camera wave up and down is not big or clever. Nor is it 'realistic' or 'gritty'. It merely makes you come off as a pillock who's too incompetant to hire a cameraman who isn't drunk. (And no, I don't care what films you did in the past, that was then this is now.) Obviously, exceptions can be made for action scenes, so long as you can still see the action (paging BSG...) But not, when the viewpoint is fixed, like say, I don't know, two people talking! Grr. (That's a real pet peev of mine.) But that's merely the side show to the main event as it were.

In that the episode genuinely didn't feel like an episode of CSI at all, but rather some moribund procedural drama, and not the fasinating, science-based forey I have come to love. A truly damning sin, from my perspective.

Am I alone in feeling that this episode, by about the mid-point, was feeling less like CSI and more like an episode of Law & Order (and not even a good one?) They had, like ONE piece of evidence to process and numerous times the suspects said "I'm not giving you my DNA, that can go wrong!" My impression was that the writer(s) thought that the science (especially DNA) was being relied on too much and that good old-fashioned policework was the way to go or more 'realistic' or something. Heck, the dialogue, given the way Brass and the suspects were talking over each other reminded me exactly of the sort of style I've seen in the few episodes of Law & Order Criminal Intent I'v watched. Which is all well-and-good for Law & Order, but this is CSI! The head of the franchise, the flagship and it's all about the science!

That's like having an episode of heck, I don't know, MASK and having Miles Mayhem arrested on the street by Matt Tracker working with the local police, without a fight or a single Mask in sight. (Though might also mean the Scott and T-Bob weren't allowed to 'help', so that might actually be nearly worth it.


Nah, not even I hate the little buggers that much.)

I honestly wonder whether the writers of this episode really wanted to write for some other procedural police drama and weren't allowed (possibly because they suck...) and used the script and changed the names to fit. Or whether they thought CSI wasn't being 'realistic' (sic) enough and thought, "hell no, I'll do this my way and make it more realistic." But the net result was that it just didn't feel like CSI. (Heck, I was really having a hard time seeing Ray and Brass even in character towards the end!)

Which is a bit off, frankly. If you're going to write for a damn series, surely you should, y'know, attempt to capture the essence of the series, what makes it different (especially in a climate as saturated as crime/police drama)? This just didn't feel right.

The real, unforgivable crux, to me, though was in the climax (and obvious spoilers ahead, assuming you failed to note the warning in the thread title).

The murder of the wrestler seemed utterly without point. It didn't occur to me until afterward how pointless it was. It didn't serve the plot, except to make the perp jumpy enought to run away from Brass - and that could have been done any number of easier ways without needless fight/murder scene. (And you know you've got to have arsed up somewhere when the Lich - the Lich who is entranced by arbitary and excessive explosions and random violence - says somebody dying is needless!) I could just about unlive with that, though. Until the worst of all cropped up, the absolute smack to my teeth with a +5 Holy Mace of Disruption, which was this murder wasn't even mentioned afterwards.

Wha? What the crap?! Since when does CSI ignore dead guys?! What, they didn't find the body? They hadn't processed the evidence? Maybe that's 'realistic', but sorry chaps, 'realistic' does not, often, make good entertainment. I can't quite wrap my head around Brass not wanting to nail the chap for murdering a bloke practically under his nose (what five minutes, tops before he arrived). It certainly isn't in the CSI style, where they wrap everything up nicely (save for cliffhangers). A very sorry state of affairs.

I apologise if this came off as a bit ranty (my ranty and explainy are fairly similar especially when I'm being as critical as I am here. I do like to list all my problems, so as better to not miss any when I use my rocket launcher or Maximised Disintegrate on them). I'm not so much angry, though, as disappointed that the milestone episode of one of my favourite shows got such a bum rap.

So, what do the rest of you think? Am I right in saying this wasn't a very good episode of CSI or didn't feel much like CSI or both? Or am I merely spouting bollocks and should accept the fact that everything should be drab and moribund because that's the In Thing or both? (Be careful, the wrong answer could involve you, me and the messy end of a rocket launcher...)

Or perhaps you are a female Elf in her-520s and wish to beg for the return of your spleen; in which case, by all means, try. It won't actually help, but I could use a good laugh right now.

1To be fair, I was somewhat ill at the time, and you have to be pretty ill for a Lich to be able to vomit2.

2And for those of you unfamilar with Spirit-Bound Liches, yes, we can be sick just like we can eat; stuff going in goes to the etherel plane when it is re-radiated as energy, and stuff coming out comes from who knows where (and sometimes when)3.

3In case you're interested - and I'm sure you're not - I actually threw up four litres of apple and blackcurrent fruit juice, the spleen of a female Elf in her mid-520s, a hand grenade (circa 1949 Germany), a small furry creature from Alpha Centauri and a Spindozzelan Flergilmator from Kastrakrapus VII. They don't even make those any more.