'Grave Danger' Review Round-UpBy Carolina
May 20, 2005 - 6:03 PM
See Also: 'Grave Danger' Episode Guide
With the super-hyped season finale of CSI generating more talk than any other episode of the show, newspapers, magazines, and websites took the chance to review the two-hour episode that promised to leave fans on the edge of their seats. Below, critics around the US and Canada voice their opinion on the Quentin Tarantino directed "Grave Danger":
- North of the border, the Winnipeg Sun was so impressed with "Grave Danger" it branded the episode, "TV at its best." The newspaper also made mention of Frank Gorshin's last TV appearance, and advised those of you who still haven't seen the episode not to eat three hours before doing so.
- In California, the San Bernadino Sun warned die-hard Tarantino fans not to get their hopes up:
"The director's touch is less heavy- handed than on his own films - there are no lingering close-ups on Jorja Fox's toes, no extravagantly choreographed action scenes, only a couple of pointless pop-culture references (including an old Dukes of Hazzard board game) and not much more gratuitous gore than a typical episode would feature."But the newspaper found the episode enjoyable nonetheless, particularly the scenes that captured Nick's desperation in the coffin. The San Bernadino County Sun gave "Grave Danger" 3 out of 4 stars.
- The Boston Herald applauded the marriage between the CSI and Tarantino styles, and praised George Eads (Nick Stokes) for his, "terrific performance," in the episode.
- In Ohio, the Beacon Journal wasn't as impressed with "Grave Danger" as other critics were. The newspaper thought the CBS censors may have done more harm than good, as they prevented the audience from enjoying the whole Tarantino experience:
"For CSI fans, there may be some disappointment. And Tarantino fans know that his big-screen work can be far more gruesome (although there's plenty of blood here) and more profane than a broadcast network can allow. This ends up being at best a failed experiment, a show that will be better remembered for individual scenes than overall artistry."The newspaper's review can be found here (free subscription required).
- Sid Smith, of the Chicago Tribune can be added to the list of critics who enjoyed "Grave Danger." Smith also made note of Warrick Brown's effective desperation to save his friend, and along the same lines, praised Tarantino for allowing all the actors, particularly William Petersen (Gil Grissom) and George Eads, to shine.
- Of course, no review round-up can be completed without a taste of what internet fans are saying. The folks at TV Squad, a television review blog, were plenty thankful to Tarantino for not taunting them with a season cliffhanger. The website also thought the formula, although a little uncharacteristic of CSI, is what made the episode so riveting:
"What worked for this episode was that they piled on so many problems I started to worry about Stokes' fate; I had legitimate anxiety: man in box; man in box with gun and threatening taped message; idiot CSI agents keep the light on so they can watch their buddy die in real time, all the while draining down the fan battery; daughter meets with estranged father (who happens to be hobnobbing with ancient Vegas entertainers) to procure much cash; cash delivered, kidnapper blows himself up; search commences, dead dog found in a plexiglass cube; fire ants; near cardiac arrest; bomb beneath a crystal clear coffin. Whew, they didn't miss much, did they?"The website also praised Eads performance, but wasn't so keen on the last scene of the show. Go to TV Squad to read the rest of the review. Fans can also leave their comments about the episode and/or the review.
- MSNBC also had their chance to review "Grave Danger." The news site gave the episode high praise, and found the Tarantino-esque references particularly enjoyable to watch. The website's review also includes an overview of the entire season of CSI, with best and worst episodes of the season, most improved character, most hated character, MVP of the season, and much more.
- Over at MSN.com, Dana Stevens, of Slate Magazine, wrote that while "Grave Danger" sees more drama, gore, and blood than your regular CSI episode, the essence of the show was kept intact:
"What's impressive about this episode is how it remains true to the CSI ethic of stoic workaholism, beneath an added layer of emotional richness. Tarantino has nearly two hours to tell his story, and he relishes every minute of it, even including a countdown clock on the coffin-cam Web page to remind the investigators, and the viewers, of Nick's approaching doom. I haven't loved Tarantino's recent films - the sadistic gore of the Kill Bill movies left a bad taste in my mouth - but his mordant sense of humor meshes well with the CSI sensibility, and the guy knows how to construct a suspenseful story."
- Reuters remained objective through their review of the episode, except to say that "Grave Danger" appeared, "more cinematic than episodic." But the website wondered if a Tarantino TV show might be a good idea outside the realms of HBO.
- The Denver Post's Joanne Ostrow called "Grave Danger" electrifying, claiming both Tarantino and CSI fans alike will find something to enjoy about the episode. The critic also made note of the lack of those scientific music sequences that are so characteristic of CSI, and praised Tarantino for his knowledge of each of the characters and past storylines of the show.
- Miriam Di Nunzio, of the The Chicago Sun Times, liked the episode so much, she found herself wishing Tarantino might return during season 6:
"Tarantino knows how to set an emotional tone and maintain it throughout a feature, whether it's a two-hour television episode or a five-hour, cut-in-two saga (Kill Bill). Tonight's CSI is dark and brooding, all of the action occurring at night and in shadow. The closeups of William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Jorja Fox, Gary Dourdan and Eric Szmanda speak louder than any of the script's spartan dialogue."The Chicago Sun Times gave "Grave Danger" 3 and a half stars.
- Media Life Magazine found itself predicting various things about "Grave Danger" yesterday afternoon. And while it was right about the blood and gore, the magazine wasn't informed there wouldn't be a cliffhanger.
- And finally, David Bianculli at the New York Daily News gave high praise to Tarantino and the cast, particularly Gary Dourdan for his performance as a desperate and guilt-ridden Warrick Brown. The only thing better than "Grave Danger", wrote the critic, is the prospect of "Grave Danger: Volume II."
Special thanks to Al Forno for providing some of the links!