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CSI: Vegas - Episode 1.02 - Honeymoon in Vegas Review

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Apologies for the slightly later review, it's been a busy weekend. Overall I really enjoyed this episode, more so than the pilot. There was more science, the plot was better in my opinion (for the case of the week and overarching story), the character interactions were more organic and laid-back, and it all felt less rushed.

Starting with the plot, the episode opens up to the case of the week, a couple were murdered in their house. The killer takes a polaroid photo of the female victim before shooting them. The case started off relatively boring/predictable with the murder being carried out by a jealous lover, according to Allie who very quickly jumped to conclusions. She based it off a stray blond hair found on the male victim, that plus the fact they were getting married the day after meant someone had to be cheating. However, this was not the case! The team were led to a swingers club through a type of desert pollen found in the killer's shoe treadmark.

First of all, I'd like to say that the writers did not need to kill this couple the night before their wedding, that was just cruel! Also I was not expecting this plot twist. The first few scenes at the club showed off a cool technique of dusting for fingermarks. I liked seeing the smoke reveal the marks on the smooth surfaces of the door. It was a nice little touch to remind us these people are CSIs! Not police officers.

There were other superb scenes but I'll get to those in a minute. The storytelling was much smoother this time around. The episode had me jumping from suspect to suspect thinking how each one could have done it. The rich friend who was part of the swingers club maybe got jealous or his wife did. It could have been the owner, the victims had recently stopped paying the blackmail to cover up incriminating images. But in another plot twist, the owner, Mr Hassan, could not have murdered the happy couple, as he had recently had a stroke which Maxine aptly identified.

Josh does test the shoes for blood using a swab and an unidentified chemical. It comes back positive and Josh thinks they've got their man. This peeved me off a little, based off the colour change (clear to pink) the technique used is most likely the Kastle-Meyer test. I wont bore you with the details unless you want me to or google is available, but this test is presumptive. It does not conclusively say there was blood on the shoe. The test can easily react to bleach and other cleaning supplies. Josh should know this but I may be being a little harsh on these fictional characters.

The final scenes of this case is where Maxine shines in her job. Using the shoe collected from Mr Hassan, the corpse of the poor murdered woman, and a technique called alternate light photography, she basically solves the case! Comparing the shoe to the tread left on the corpse proves the killer wore these shoes. Next, the AL photography showed exactly how the weight was distributed from the shoe based on bruising patterns. I loved this scene, I went full on nerd. The best scene in the entire episode!

The technique showed the balls of the feet were located in the arch of the shoe, meaning the killer wore big boots but had much smaller feet. The case rounded up with a beautiful interrogation scene with Maxine and the receptionist from the swingers club. She smoothly ran us through how she and Mr Hassan ran the club and blackmail scheme together, but the stroke led to the victims (who were doctors) stop paying. She killed them to send a message to the rich friend so he'd kept paying, the photograph was used as proof. I honestly and obviously do not do the scene justice, I recommend watching this episode.

Now, as for the over arching story, there wasn't much revealed but key clues were starting to piece together. To begin with Sara and Grissom mainly discussed/argued over their opinions on if Hodges was guilty. Sara 100% believes Hodges was set up while Grissom is not so sure, he believes the evidence only and its saying Hodges is guilty. Hodges is in jail briefly when he self surrenders but Catherine pays bail thankfully. I was surprised the authorities were going to put him in general population, that could have been a quick death sentence for an expert witness such as David Hodges. A blow is landed to Sara and Grissom as Maxine tells them they cannot work the case because of their previous working relationship, especially Grissom as he was Hodges supervisor.

How dare these people accuse Gil Grissom of being corrupt or in on the evidence tampering!! But on a serious note, this is a good thing and only helps with credibility. The investigation being carried out by impartial CSIs who do not know Hodges are less likely to get their evidence thrown out of court by the judge deciding evidence tampering by friends/colleagues of the accused.

We get another scene with Brass and his talking parrot Elvis. Grissom and Sara take Hodges and surprise! His wife! to Jim Brass' hotel room. A lot of cold interactions from Brass to Hodges, he also thinks Hodges is guilty. The pleas of innocence of Hodges or his wife does not persuade Jim or Grissom. A short interrogation scene leads the team to theorise someone broke and stuff Hodges personal items (board games etc.) to make the scene more believable. 

Sara and Grissom decide to continue to work the case... they investigate Hodges garage, determine no break-in. Grissom is almost set on Hodge being guilty based on the evidence, he's acting really weird. I can't quite see why Grissom is acting up but something just seems off. Maybe getting older has just made him more stubborn and focused on the evidence and only the evidence.

Then suddenly, what seems like out of nowhere, Grissom notices a missing dog poster. Later Gil and Sara find the dog buried in the owners garden. The end of this episode was possibly the only rushed part. We go from the house to a missing poster to the buried dog and dead bugs, before jumping to the morgue and then finally to Maxine's office.
Grissom had determined the dog died a week ago (entomology skillz), around when the storage locker was discovered, and it had blood in its teeth. In a smart move. Maxine rules this an animal cruelty case, allowing Sara to work the case and bring Gil on as a consultant.

Fade to credits.... Definitely a better episode than last week, at least in my opinion. Onto the characters, both new and OG!

Allie got much better scenes this time, however, she does jump to conclusions quite quickly. Yes... a hair on the male victims clothing that is obviously not the fiances could mean he was cheating. But also she should know how easy it is for trace evidence (like hair) to be transferred. It could be from a guest they had around when planning for the wedding, or from the killer. On the other hand she does have good instincts and is empathetic but straightforward when talking to potential suspects. I'm warming up to Allie, she came across a lot more competent in this episode and her interactions were more organic and relaxed.

Poor Maxine, taking the brunt of the hassle the David Hodges case has brought. She deserves better! She may not had the majority of scenes, but when on screen Paula Newsome does a fantastic job playing Maxine Roby. Josh had nice scenes between him and Allie, they have good chemistry. Definitely better chemistry than in the pilot episode, a lot less stiff interactions. He seemed much more human this episode, a lot less cold and calculating. A noteworthy scene between him and Allie was at the wedding venue standing at the altar. Josh and Allie pretend to get married while they are both at the altar, but are actually handing off evidence. This actually leads to a peeve, but I'll mention that at the end.

No Chris as of yet, I don't quite understand why he's only recurring in the show. We got another CSI called Penny, appears to be in training as Max was testing her at the scene. I have no clue why the writers just randomly threw in a new CSI, she has one scene and is never seen again. The actress and character isn't even mentioned on Wikipedia. Dr Ramierez was briefly there at the end when Maxine tests the treadprint of the shoe on a corpse to determine a match. I'd say not much change in the character.

Off to a great start with Grissom being the first main character we see in the episode. It is odd though, I know he is a true believer in the evidence. However, he would still to go to bat for his friends and colleagues when they were in trouble. Maybe he didn't warm to Hodges before he left. I do think the writers are hinting at something for Grissom that we'll see later but I'm not sure what. Sara, being awesome as usual, staying adamant Hodges is being framed. She's not focused on what the science says, unlike Grissom. It's definitely still a nice pairing, they see things in different light; which is essential in solving crimes. 

Hodges was almost a different person, he wasn't annoying or polarising on screen, I partially felt sorry for him. At the same time I do not trust him. I hope he doesn't do anything to damage the case. I enjoyed the scene with Jim, I'm glad he's doing better. I also really like his talking parrot Elvis, even though I hate birds. Saying that, I can't tell whether if me being happy to see the bird, not some of the characters, is a good thing or not...

Sadly, its time for my mini rant and pet peeves, i apologise in advance. AGAIN! no protective gear at the scene... I will get over it eventually. We got one scene where Josh wore a mask but that was only for going through some rubbish bins. Here is a new one, not corroborating evidence or showing a chain of custody for the evidence. Nobody signs their packages, they could be random items for all we or the staff know. It could even be actual mail someone picked up by accident because it happened to have writing on it. I'm exaggerating of course, that would never happen...

This is important though, because it stops things like the David Hodges case from happening!! All I need is one person; Allie, Josh, Chris, or even new girl Penny, signing/corroborating the packaged evidence *Insert crying emoji face*.

Moving swiftly on. As mentioned previously, I highly recommend people watching this episode. It was a lot more fun than the pilot, but I am not a fan of the ratings that are being raked in still. I hope they stabilise or increase as the weeks pass. 

What do you all think of the episode??
Do you agree or disagree on anything I've said?
Please let me know in the comments!!

- Sarah R

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