Review: CSI: Miami — ‘Stoned Cold’

A teenager is stoned to death, and the team must figure out if one of the kids she bullied sought revenge.

Synopsis:

A party full of young people is in full swing, and all eyes turn to Blaire Hawkins as she walks through the door. She makes her way through the party, insulting people left and right. Within a few hours, however, Blaire finds herself tied to the goalpost on the school football field while she listens to other students talking about how horrible she is. Rocks fly out of the darkness, and Blaire screams as she is stoned to death.

Frank and Horatio arrive at the scene and send away the curious students. Blaire was stoned using rocks from a nearby pile, which was being used to put in a new pathway. Horatio speaks to Principal Lieber, who says it isn’t a surprise that someone killed Blaire. She hurt a lot of students emotionally and psychologically. He tried to suspend her, but her parents threatened to sue the school, and he was forced to back down. Horatio wants a list of the students who filed complaints.

Eric speaks to Blaire’s mother, who says everyone loved her daughter, and the principal took out his bitterness on her. Blaire was better than everyone else in the school, and that made people jealous. Eric and Ryan go to the house of another student named Samantha. She threw the party the night before, and they find Blaire’s car in the driveway. There are drag marks by the door, and her shoes and purse are abandoned nearby. This is where she was abducted. Samantha didn’t see Blaire leave, but she says a student named Megan Wells hooked up with half of the football team in her parents’ room, prompting Blaire to kick her out.

Horatio and Natalia talk to Megan and her parents. Megan swears she went home after the party, but she agrees to speak to Natalia. Once they’re alone, she says Blaire invited her to the party, but she had to promise to “pay her dues”. At the party, three football players came to collect, and she went along with it because she thought it would make Blaire leave her alone. Unfortunately, Blaire called Megan a skank and told her to leave. Megan felt stupid because this wasn’t the first time Blaire hurt her. She thought about killing Blaire, but she didn’t do it—she’s still relieved that Blaire is dead, though.

Natalia can’t get a warrant because there isn’t enough probable cause, but Megan seems like their best suspect so far. Horatio speaks to Dr Loman, who locates a green earbud cap lodged in Blaire’s ear canal. She was wearing earphones during the attack. Calleigh and Dave Benton take a CD fragment Ryan found at the scene, and they are able to hear some of what it contained. They identify a male voice and part of a name. It’s Nate Cordero, and he didn’t know the principal was recording him when he told him about Blaire in confidence. Nate’s mother says the past few months have been hard for him. Blaire tricked him into running out of the school showers naked, and a hallway full of students saw him. He can’t escape what happened, and the constant humiliation became too much. He tried to hang himself, but his mom stopped him. Blaire deserved to die.

The rope Nate used to attempt suicide is from the same bundle as the rope that tied Blaire to the goal post. Walter discovers that the knots binding Blaire’s wrists and ankles are different, proving that two people tied her up. Eric locates a series of explicit e-mails on Blaire’s phone from Principal Lieber, but he claims that Blaire herself was behind it. She found out he was building a case against her and threatened to ruin him if he did anything. The team listens to the recordings Lieber made of student complaints against Blaire, and they realize Megan and Nate were in the principal’s office together. They became friends and helped each other get through the past quarter, and they both wished they could make Blaire disappear. The two main suspects are friends, and they’ve been lying about the night before. Nate took Megan to get an emergency contraceptive after the party, but they swore they didn’t go back and kidnap Blaire.

A broken CD player in Megan’s family car has a missing green earbud cap. Megan confesses, saying she killed Blaire alone. She dropped Nate off and went back to the party to get Blaire. The team knows she’s lying, and the truth is revealed once the DNA results come back on the CD player earbuds. The CD player belonged to Megan’s father. After Nate’s mother heard about what happened to Megan, she knew something needed to be done. She and Megan’s parents kidnapped Blaire. They just wanted to scare her, and they were hoping she would at least leave their children alone. Once she was on the football field, Blaire continued to insult Megan and Nate until the parents snapped. They threw rocks from the nearby pile at her, and when they realized she was dead, they tried to clean up the scene and cover their tracks. All three parents are arrested, and Nate and Megan are left to comfort each other as their parents are taken away.


Analysis:

“Stoned Cold” takes a pretty brutal approach to the subject of school bullying. The bullying in question is severe, and it’s not hard to see why the other students would feel trapped in a nightmare. This episode may seem a bit extreme, but that’s not surprising—it’s a TV show. It doesn’t paint a picture of the average bullying situation, but it does acknowledge a major problem facing young people. If nothing else, “Stoned Cold” highlights the need for schools to have a strict policy against bullying. There shouldn’t be an acceptable level of humiliation and cruelty inflicted on other people. High school is a difficult time, and bullying can do real and lasting damage to a person. Nate’s attempt to kill himself in this episode highlights an unfortunate but all-too-real effect of bullying. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 12 and 19. Teenagers who get bullied are at a higher risk for suicide. Young people should be able to escape bulling, and parents should be able to insure the safety of their children.

Blaire is not a sympathetic victim in “Stoned Cold”. She’s cruel and manipulative, and she has no respect for authority because she feels like she is immune from censure. Considering that the school’s principal is unable to take any sort of action against her despite receiving numerous complaints from students, it’s not surprising that Blaire feels invincible. Jean Louisa Kelly, Chris McGarry and Susan Santiago did a nice job of portraying the hurt and frustration the parents are feeling during the scene on the football field, but that plan was never going to turn out well. Kidnapping a teenager, tying her up and threatening her crosses the line. Three adults attacking a teenager would most certainly have consequences, regardless of what Blaire had done in the past. Did they think Blaire would be so intimidated that she would keep her mouth shut? I know people do stupid things out of desperation, but that plan was horrible and inappropriate. Even if I sympathize with parents wanting to protect their children, that’s not the way to do it.

The teenagers were too obvious as suspects from the beginning. It was all set up to seem like tortured students getting revenge against their bully, so I was pretty sure they wouldn’t be the culprits. There had to be a twist in there somewhere. For a while, I wondered if Principal Lieber might be behind it, but as soon as they showed Nate in the scene with his mother where it was revealed that he attempted suicide, I knew parents were involved. Unfortunately for Nate and Megan, their parents’ attempt to help them only caused more problems. Now the adults are going to jail for murder, and they won’t be around to support their children.

“Stoned Cold” marks the introduction of new lab tech Molly Sloan, played by Leven Rambin. Molly only has a single scene in this episode, so it’s hard to judge the character so far. She seems eager and capable, and I’m curious to see what else the writers have in store for Molly as the season continues. Her interaction with Ryan is pretty fun, and it’s always nice to learn a bit more about him. If Molly’s presence creates more opportunities for Ryan to get development, that alone makes the character worth keeping around. I’m hoping Molly gets some development of her own, though.

Speaking of Ryan, the episode offers a personal anecdote about the CSI’s experience with bullying as a kid. He saved up all of his allowance to buy a telescope, and a bully caused him to fall off his bike and break his collarbone as well as the telescope. Eric seems amused by the bully’s quip about “Wolfie” seeing stars, but Ryan finds a telescope with a bow on it in his locker at the end of the episode. Natalia and Walter inquire about the telescope, and it doesn’t take long for them to reveal that they heard the story from Eric. It’s not clear whether the telescope was a gift from the whole team or just Eric, but it’s a sweet gesture. It comes with some good-natured teasing, of course, but the CSIs are nothing if not a family, and families love to tease each other. Miami, like the other CSIs, concentrates on solving crime with the occasional personal moment thrown in. I tune in to all three shows every week because I love forensic dramas, but scenes like the one in the locker room are a welcome departure from suspect chases, interrogations and processing scenes.

There were some other fun character moments in “Stoned Cold” as well. Dr Loman has always been an entertaining, quirky character, and I loved his explanation of “lapidation”. Ryan’s discovery of the broken CD prompted a chuckle when he headed back to the lab, abandoning Walter to deal with processing the big pile of rocks by himself. Walter’s “Huh?” as Ryan walked away was funny, and it’s a reminder of their playful banter last season. The scene with Calleigh and Dave Benton is nice too—I almost didn’t recognize Dave now that Wes Ramsey cut his hair! It’s not a funny scene, but it’s nice to see both characters on the show for a minute. As CSI Files previously reported, Emily Procter gave birth to a baby girl, Pippa, in early December. It’s understandable that Calleigh has been a much smaller presence on the show lately due to Procter’s pregnancy, but I hope we get to see more of her soon. Dave has been a recurring character since season seven’s “Divorce Party”, and he has appeared in 18 episodes over the past three seasons. He’s only been in three episodes so far during season nine, but it’s always fun to see familiar faces pop up in the lab from time to time.


See also: “Stoned Cold” episode guide

Rachel Trongo

Author

Rachel Trongo

Up Next