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It's raining turtles and skydivers on ‘CSI’

On "CSI" this week, both cases involve strange things falling out of the sky. If you're anywhere near Las Vegas, you'd be smart to keep your head covered.
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Helmet cam: The episode opens with a skydiver’s helmet camera capturing his jump, his two girlfriends’ (that’s right; he had two) parachutes opening, and his failing; and then his ultimate fall into a barn. A cop calls our CSIs (Riley and Nick) to the scene, because he knows this guy — a Frenchman named Pierre — and he’s too careful about checking equipment for it to fail. His girlfriends are traumatized, his business partner (in a sky-diving business called Max and Pierre’s) is upset — and also limping and driving a crashed car.

No one’s luck is that bad: When Nick finds that not one, but two things went wrong with Pierre’s parachute, he swabs for DNA to see who was the saboteur. Meanwhile, Riley returns from visiting Pierre at the hospital. When Nick asks how he is, Riley says to ask his pelvis, which was in his ribcage, adding, “Basically all of him is broken.” They watch the video and determine either of the girls could have sabotaged him while in the air. Nick goes on to interrogate everyone: the girls and Max.

Agreeableness as religion: Ray, meanwhile, is on the case of a guy in religious garb who died in the desert. He’s sitting in the lotus position, and turkey vultures have already gotten to him. Back in the lab, Ray and Hodges inspect the body. Hodges finds pistachios in the guy’s pocket, but it’s not a clue; just cause for witty banter. Hodges: “My favorite nut. Salty and easy to open.” Ray: “Speaking of which, shall we?” And they remove the guy’s clothes to find a giant tattoo declaring him “Holy Steven.” This leads them to his church, which the new leader George has renamed “Church of the Holy George.” George admits he killed Steven. Then when they realize he didn’t, he admits that too. George explains that, in his religion, “It is better to be agreeable than to be right.” Brass: “That’s not religion, that’s marriage.” When George keeps agreeing with everything, Brass asks if he’s insane or just annoying, to which George responds, “What would you prefer?” Hee. Long story short: He didn’t kill Steven.

Where’s Catherine? Catherine finally shows up more than halfway through the episode, when Greg invites her to go on a “double 420.” Her response: “Let’s do it!” They find two men, who appear to have died of heart attacks simultaneously, which is just too much of a coincidence. When the cop who first responded and then the wife of one of the victims also have heart conditions, it gets even fishier. Henry figures out there’s a powder on almost everything in the backyard, and tells Catherine and Greg how to detect it: “A diluted solution of perchloric aacid exposed to UV light will induce fluorescence.” Then: “Try saying that 10 times fast.” Or even once.

Tying it all together: Catherine & Co. quickly figure out that an ultralight plane flew over and dropped poison on the backyard. They use satellite and street images to find out where the ultralight headed after the attack: Max & Pierre’s. Brass questions Max and Pierre (who’s now awake, but won’t walk or talk again) in the hospital. Max admits to being forced into dropping the poison by guys who threatened his family, but when he wrecked his car on the way, he got Pierre to fill in. Pierre didn’t know what he was doing, but quickly realized it had been something bad, so he rigged his own chute to kill him. Max gives up a name and they arrest the bodyguards. While they watch the arrest on TV, Ray starts pontificating about Aeschylus, which leads him back to Holy Steven. Turns out a bird of prey dropped a turtle on his bald head, thinking it was a boulder.

Not quite Gil and Catherine, but getting there: After all the revelations, Catherine asks Ray what are the odds of a bird of prey dropping a turtle and killing someone. Ray: “Before it happened, I would have said ‘slim,’ but since it did happen, 100 percent.” Catherine says that with everything falling out of the sky — poison, sky-divers, turtles — she might start wearing a helmet. “Or at least carrying an umbrella,” responds Ray. An umbrella wouldn’t help with most of what happened, but still, they’re sort of a cute lead pair, aren’t they?

DeAnn Welker is a writer in Portland, Ore.