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CSI – A Space Oddity
I know we don’t regularly re-cap CSI here at BSC (and, no, this does not mean we’re going to start) but Thursday’s episode was too close to the heart for me not to mention it. This episode was by the nerds, for the nerds. And it was frakking fabulous.
It starts off with a clip from a TV show that looks suspiciously like the original Star Trek, and then the scene expands to show that it’s being watched on a small screen at WhatIfItCon. (Note, please, the similarity to Sci-Fi’s motto.)
Hodges (the trace lab guy) is convinced to buy “the very gadget” used in that episode by the man running that particular booth at the convention. Then he runs into Wendy (the brunette hottie from the lab) who is dressed in full costume as a character from the same show, Astro Quest. Hodges speaks to her in a language from the show, which she doesn’t know, but before he translates someone starts screaming. A man’s body has just been found with blood all over him on the bridge “set” from Astro Quest.
Hodges and Wendy take over the scene, and Hodges calls Detective Brass to report the situation. He flips out his phone Kirk-style and explains, “He’s dead, Jim.” (And how long has that writer been waiting for an appropriate time to use that line?!)
Back at the lab, Archie (the video guy) finds a clip from the convention on the internet that shows the man who had just been killed giving a presentation on his new show, Astro Quest Redux. It is a dark and gritty version of the show, where there’s no such thing as a “hero,” and the “antiseptic” future of the original has been replaced by a grungy, grease- and sweat-covered one. The quick resolution before the end of each episode is replaced by an execution. As Greg (a CSI) puts it, “So, a more realistic future. Minus the spaceship.”
Basically, the redux was to Astro Quest what the new Battlestar Galactica was to the original–and the rest of science fiction television shows.
The crowd in the video reacts with shock and horror at this re-imagining of their beloved show. The screen pans across the crowd and we see Grace Park (Boomer/Athena/Number 8 on Battlestar). Then either Ron Moore or David Eick (Battlestar‘s producers, but I don’t know which is which) stands up and yells, “You suck!” in a very ironic cameo, since of course he was that very producer in real life.
The clip is on a website run by a professor played by Ellen Tigh (okay, Kate Vernon, but to us it’s Ellen). She had been filming the presentation as part of her research on deconstruction of utopias in science fiction or something.
Hodges gets distracted from his work when he loses himself in an elaborate fantasy featuring himself and Wendy in an Astro Quest episode. Then she invites him to her place to watch the trilogy of episodes from Season 4. Then he totally gets pwned in a nerd-out with one of the other lab workers, who insists that “Mr. Ed” is more science fiction than warp speed, which is “fantasy.”
The CSIs investigating the scene find love stains in the captain’s chair–”Apparently it’s good to be the Captain,” one of them quips–and they also find a DVD in the presentation player with three con members in full costume stating that the victim is found guilty of treason by some federation council or other and sentenced to death, followed by a cartoon of him being guillotined. The CSIs track the movie back to a trio of people, two guys and a girl, who had been involved in an altercation with the victim at a bar the evening before and who had reacted with disdain for his new vision of their show. The two guys swear it was only a joke, and that they had not been the ones to put the DVD in the set’s player–the girl with them had. She is brought in for questioning and admits to putting it there and being intimate with the victim, but that was all.
The CSIs find a string of captain’s-chair love-scene photographs on the victim’s laptop. They track the angle from which all the shots were taken but find no camera.
Hodges becomes so distracted with another fantasy that he sets himself on fire and causes Wendy to blow up at him for letting his interest in her interfere with his work–and rescinds her invitation. He is in the midst of another costume fantasy when it occurs to him what might have struck the victim in the face. He and Wendy call the CSIs still on the scene and walk them through what they’re looking for. Sure enough, there is blood on the bridge console’s retractable scope, and a bloody fingerprint on its side.
The fingerprint turns up as that of the professor. She said the victim had taken her class, and she had used Astro Quest as an example. He had in turn taken all her ideas and put them into his pilot, which he claimed as his own–without even offering her a nod in the credits. She had quarreled with him about it, it got physical, she pushed him, and he fell onto the scope.
At the end of the episode, Wendy looks up what Hodges said to her with an online translator: “We were made for each other.”
Funniest CSI possibly ever. It would have been hilarious just on the idea–but the fact that they got Battlestar people involved? That just cubed the awesome quotient.