Review: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — ‘Check In And Check Out’

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The CSIs are on the case when a string of violent attacks take place in the same motel room.

Synopsis:

Richard and Anne Smith are found brutally murdered in room 114 at the Sky View Motel, each one stabbed more than 100 times. The CSIs remember the specific motel room because they’ve been there twice in the past few months. Eleven weeks ago, Mark Bell was killed in the bed, his legs nearly severed from his body. At the time, the police assumed the incident was drug-related. Then four weeks ago, Alex Garnez was attacked while sneaking a cigarette in the bathroom; he survived, but his wife Tina was violently bludgeoned to death in her sleep.

Evidence suggests that there was a third person in the room with the Smiths. Wondering if there might be a connection between the three cases, Henry analyzes the bedspread from each scene. There is one common male donor, Randall Wicks, who was arrested for sexual battery in the very same motel room. Randall says he is a prostitute who used the room with his clients, and he defended himself after one of the women went crazy and attacked him. Morgan visits Alex Garnez in the hospital and shows him Randall’s photo, but this isn’t the man who attacked his wife.

The team eventually riddles out the truth: the Smiths helped a homeless man named Rudy, chasing off some guys who attacked him and giving him a place to shower and shave. He has a history of mental illness, and after his shower, he lost control and killed the couple. Rudy is their prime suspect for the other deaths as well, but a week after he is arrested, Officer Akers responds to a call from the motel and finds Alison Stone covered in blood and brandishing a broken bottle. There’s another dead body in room 114. The victim is one of Alison’s students, Matthew, who had a crush on her and called her to the motel hoping she would return his feelings. She insists that nothing was going to happen, but she became “possessed” and killed him.

Realizing that the room itself is somehow responsible, Hodges and Henry head in to test for substances that might cause the occupants to become violent. Hodges is sprayed in the face with an air freshener in the bathroom, and he attacks Henry just a few short minutes later. Hodges tests positive for LSD, which was pumped into the air freshener from the next room over. There’s a surveillance camera in the closet, but the longtime resident isn’t the one behind the murders—the video from the surveillance footage transmits to the manager’s office. Trent Reager is a voyeur, and he rigged up the LSD so he could watch how it affected the unsuspecting guests. Mark Bell killed himself, Alex Garnez attacked his wife, and Rudy was pushed over the edge until he killed the Smiths.


Analysis:

“Check In and Check Out” marks George Eads’ first appearance since “Torch Song”, following his leave of absence. He returns without fanfare (but with a rather impressive beard), and it’s great to see Nick back on the show. Contrary to intial reports, however, there is no explanation given for Nick’s temporary disappearance. I would have liked to hear an in-show reason for him to be gone for so long, but I’m just glad the whole team is back together again.

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks does a good job as a school teacher turned helpless killer, although I expected her to have a larger role in the episode. She doesn’t show up until the halfway point, but it’s definitely a shocking scene. Larry Sullivan’s Officer Akers is a familiar face on the show, and I’m glad the other officer tased Allison before she could attack him—I’m very fond of the recurring detectives, and I’d hate to lose one of them. After she’s arrested, Alison is visibly distraught in the interrogation room, and Sparks is particularly effective in this scene. It’s hard to imagine having to live with the fact that you killed one of your own students.

All of the unsuspecting victims have sad stories. Rudy already had mental health problems, and the drugs pushed him to kill a nice couple who only wanted to help him. Mark Bell gets the least focus of the victims from room 114, but it’s still sad to know he nearly severed his own legs and bled to death as the result of a drug-induced hallucination. The most poignant story of all, however, is Alex Garnez. The scene where Morgan and Greg show him Randall Wicks’ picture is sad, but his second scene with Morgan is heart-wrenching. Not only has he lost his wife, but he has to come to terms with the fact that he’s the one who attacked her so violently. The reference to a suicide attempt illustrates his already-fragile mental state, and he can’t even bear to look at his own reflection when he realizes his face and the killer’s are one and the same. The tragedy of what happened in that motel room isn’t just who died, but also the repercussions for those left alive. It’s a powerful case. Chad Todhunter is appropriately creepy as the unapologetic motel manager, but it’s the victims who are the real star of the storyline.

The scene with Hodges and Henry in the motel room had me on the edge of my seat. I was sure that Henry would be okay, but it was still unsettling to watch the normally harmless Hodges attack a colleague. Physically, there’s no lasting harm done, but the pair of them can’t pretend it never happened. Hodges approaches Henry in the break room at the end of the episode, and the exchange feels very real (and awkward). Hodges wasn’t in his right mind at the time, but he still apologizes for anything he might have said while under the influence—and the fact that he tried to kill him, of course. Henry isn’t happy, but he does accept the apology. I’m glad it was quickly resolved by the end of the hour, and hopefully these two are back to normal soon. As I said in my review for “Under a Cloud”, Henry and Hodges are the dynamic comedic duo in the lab, and I adore their more humorous moments together. The scene in the motel room fits into that category, at least before Hodges gets an eye full of LSD. I guess Hodges and Henry have never really been “friends” in the traditional sense, but I’d hate to think of anything putting an end to the comedic perfection of their interaction.


See also: “Check In and Check Out” episode guide

Rachel Trongo

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Rachel Trongo

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