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CSI Season 9 Episode 18: Mascara

CSI's 200th episodeThis week’s CSI was its 200th episode and William Friedkin returned to direct it. Would it celebrate nine years of history and focus on the cast members who have been with the show since the beginning? Or would it be even worse than the other Friedkin-directed episode, “Cockroaches,” a faux-artistic, interminable mess that was driven by a character who’s only been around for ten episode?

If you picked door number two, give yourself a cookie! And have a good cry.

Episode Summary

After being chased by a man in a mask through the alleys of Las Vegas for what seems like a million years, a pretty blonde young woman is murdered. We learn that her name is Sylvia and she was a former grad student of Langston’s. Sylvia was doing her masters thesis on serial killers who got away with it and it looks like her research took her too close to one of those serial killers.

The investigation takes the team, which in this episode pretty much just features Langston and Brass with brief cameos by Catherine, Nick, and Greg, into the worlds of santeria and lucha libre, otherwise known as Mexican wrestling. Sylvia’s murder is similar to those of three Mexican women who were strangled several years previously.

After going through a series of red herrings with the wrestlers, Langston and Brass zero in on the emcee. It helps their case when the emcee shoots the lead wrestler after being fired for bringing a bad name to their profession with his murdering ways. The emcee is taken into custody but proclaims his innocence in the deaths of Sylvia and the other women, blaming the god Ogun for his actions. A frustrated Langston smacks around the suspect a little bit then storms out of the interrogation room. He ends up in his office, reading the rough and forever unfinished draft of Sylvia’s thesis.

The Highlights

Nick, in his very brief scene, at least got to practice his Spanish, which is always hot adorable hot.

Speaking of adorable, there was a cutely flirtatious scene between Hodges and Wendy. There’s been so little momentum on these two this season, but I’m really looking forward to their starring turn in the science fiction convention episode in a couple of weeks. With Grissom and Sara gone, they’re my new couple to get massively overinvested in.

Aside from one ridiculous tantrum-throwing scene, Laurence Fishburne gave a beautifully understated performance. The grief at his student’s death was palpable and the flashback scenes showing him mentoring Sylvia were lovely and bittersweet.

In a nice nod to continuity, Sylvia was previously seen in the seminar with Nathan “Dick and Jane Killer” Haskell in “19 Down…” She was the student whom Haskell perved on.

Friedkin really likes his sleaze and seediness, so I am exceedingly grateful he reined himself in and we didn’t learn Langston slept with or was sleeping with Sylvia.

The Lowlights

Everything else. This episode was full of scenes that dragged on forever, particularly Sylvia’s murder, the Santeria ceremony, and all the wrestling scenes. They seemed designed to set the tone but plot and characterization were clearly sacrificed for style. And don’t even get me started on the racist undertones in the savage, animalistic portrayals of the Santeria worshippers and lucha libre athletes.

I don’t care if William Friedkin is considered a brilliant film director. He needs to be permanently banned from the CSI set because he’s two for two in creating episodes that will land among most top 10 worst CSI episodes list. He’s got no respect for the unique style, history, and characters of this show. Want to have a big name director? Bring back Quentin Tarantino, who directed the brilliant season five episode “Grave Danger.” That’s someone who loves and gets the show.

I don’t think I realized how attached I was to the opening credits with The Who singing “Who Are You” until they were taken away from me. Don’t ever do that again, show.

Next week: Charisma Carpenter guest stars! It also looks like we’ll get to see more than a fleeting glimpse of Nick and Catherine.

Topics: CSI | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “CSI Season 9 Episode 18: Mascara”

[…] my first recap at my new job! I struggled a bit with the word limit and I think it will take me a while to get used to that […]

Another Suburban Mom - April 4th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Thanks for the recap. I am glad I skipped the episode and watched ER instead.

I would like to see Judd Apatow direct a CSI. That would be funny

sarapals - April 5th, 2009 at 10:47 pm

This 200th episode was truly awful–what on earth has Friedkin done in 20 years except give us two forgetable CSI episodes?
And do we now have “Ray Langston, CSI” as the new title of the show in addition to a new opening? Why-Oh-Why is this show being destroyed?

[…] week CSI is back on track after the hideous aberration that was last week’s episode. The team investigates three cases, two of which converge. As for the third, it’s got an […]

[…] week CSI is back on track after the hideous aberration that was last week’s episode. The team investigates three cases, two of which converge. As for the third, it’s got an ending […]

[…] The theme: Songs From The Movies. The mentor: Quentin Tarantino. I’m ambivalent about most of his movies but I love the dude himself. He’s such an unabashed fanboy and I will always love him for his amazing job directing one of my favorite CSI episodes ever. Other special guest directors weren’t so successful. […]

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