This episode starts with a bang, opening with a big shoot-out that leaves a man dead. It turns out the man was a suspect in a missing persons case in this story that encompasses alien abduction, hallucination, and deception. While the story may seem far-fetched it is, in fact, based on a real incident.
The regular cast all acquit themselves well, with Grissom in particularly witty form, but what sets this apart are the hallucination scenes. Lizard-like aliens are not the sort of thing you’d usually expect to see in CSI, but here we get a look at what the delusional murder suspects are seeing, suspects who are convinced the world is being invaded by aliens.
Richard J. Lewis is an old hand at directing CSI with over thirty episodes under his belt. Here he handles the opening action sequence extremely well, giving it a real cinematic feel. It’s a scene we see twice, the second time with the police officers appearing as lizard-men.
The episode also contains some nice Grissom/Sara moments. The ending is a little bizarre though — were we really supposed to think Gil was the “Miniature Killer”?
"The Good, the Bad, and the Dominatrix"
Lady Heather returns, this time as the victim of an attempted murder. While the investigation is interesting in itself, it’s the impact Heather’s return has on the other members of the team, particularly Sara, that really engages the viewer this episode.
It’s also hinted that Brass knows about Gil and Sara, although he’s interrupted before we can learn for sure. Grissom, not content with just catching the killer, also helps leave the episode with a feel-good ending as Heather’s story reaches its (probable) conclusion.
This penultimate episode is the calm before the storm perhaps?
After building up the Miniature Killer for much of the season, this episode comes as something of a letdown. The killer’s identity fails to live up to expectations but with so much anticipation, it was always going to be an anticlimax. More surprising is how disappointing the story is, with the viewer knowing how it will end by the halfway point.
The direction is also extremely irritating. How often have we seem the police knock on the suspect's door only to find that it’s someone else’s door they’re knocking on and it’s just a delivery man at the killer's home? Or a cheap shock moment that turns out to have only been in the killer’s imagination? It’s the clichéd handling as much as the story that really disappoints.
The episode does have its moments, Grissom’s matter-of-fact revelation to the team that he and Sara are a little more than just work colleagues first among them. But this episode just lays the groundwork, ending as it does with a cliffhanger. The real meat of the story will be in next season’s opening episode; here’s hoping it’s better than the build-up.