Thursday, November 10, 2011

"CSI" Season 12, Episode 7: That ol' brain drain

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 4:00 AM

This week "CSI" was a bundle of ideas thrown together in a lightning fast explosion that couldn't balance interesting with 'followable.'

We had a fast food joint car accident, a war veteran's corpse being de-brained postmortem, a doctor murdered in his car, and a professional fighter who committed suicide.

And then of course the clincher: The brains that ended up all over the place.

In a web that even Charlotte couldn't untangle, one scene had an extra brain with no body, one scene had a body with no brain, and any attempt by the CSI's to try to locate which brain went where only made everybody run in circles.

Interesting idea, though I think it would have been better if they had they stuck with the original "We may have a brain thief" thought. Instead, we got a plot where the person who committed suicide had donated his brain to science to be tested for disease, and somebody somewhere wanted to make sure to switch that brain out to cover up something. Still intriguing, just a lot more complicated.

But, as interesting as the plot was, it stepped all over itself. People crisscrossed in and out of the spotlight so fast it was hard to keep track of everybody involved, let alone try to figure out who was responsible. As more and more people ended up dead the pool narrowed, but it was a constant parade of names, even more so than usual.

Now that I think of it, I'm not really sure they even wrapped up why the brain switching happened in the first place. I think the trainer was doping his athletes and that's why he wanted to switch the brain, but they ended up only getting him for the murder of the doctor who he hired to do the brain switching. I don't think he actually ever confessed to hiring the doctor though. Anyways, like I said, it was a hard episode to wrap your...wait for it...brain around.

Also, apparently the crime lab can now use their iPhones to take pictures of shoe impressions, email them back to the lab, and use them for comparison purposes. Now come on, the resolution on the iPhone isn't that good, and I have a feeling that kind of shoddy work wouldn't hold up long in court. I digress, however.

Oh, and then there was the Hail Mary pass football that was found in the fast food accident driver's car. The problem was the show spent so much time hammering to death how it wasn't an important piece of evidence that you just knew it was going to end up being important. And it did break the case, which would have been clever if I hadn't already been hit in the head with passes from that clue for the past 40 minutes.

We finally also got some, drum roll please...character development! And since we get so precious little of it, let's dig into it a bit.

I have to be a man and admit I was wrong: We finally got introduced to Russell's (Ted Danson) son, Charlie (Brandon W. Jones). We had a few scenes of the two of them together, and one where Russell talked to his wife on the phone (so I was wrong on two counts it seems), but I wasn't sure what to make of any of the interactions. His son was late for the basketball team's curfew and then got suspended for a game, and him and Russell laughed about how they were both new kids on a 'team' and were weird. We already knew Russell was weird, so I'm still thinking there is something to keep an eye on about his family. Regardless, I am shocked with how much I am enjoying Russell's character, so kudos to Danson and the creative team behind him for finally creating a new enjoyable supervisor.

The other important piece of the puzzle that we finally got was what appears to be Catherine's (Marg Helgenberger) get out of jail free card. In an oddly brief scene with the Sheriff (Barbara Eve Harris), who checked in to see how Catherine was doing after being demoted from supervisor, she told Catherine that she recommended her for a new research position that would require her to leave the team in Vegas.

That was all we got, which was a little bit of a letdown. Catherine isn't gone yet, but after her explosive argument eons ago at the start of the season, I was really hoping for more of a blowout, not an outside force changing her career plans. Time will tell, time will tell.

Anyways, perhaps the writers let the ideas go to their heads this week, as it ended up being a pretty lackluster episode overall. There was a shocking eleventh hour twist though, which the show is doing a good job at capturing again, so at least that was something notable.

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