CSI: New York--'Time's Up'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 18, 2007 - 8:59 AM GMT

See Also: 'Time's Up' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A naked, bloody man rushes to the police station and relays a shocking message: at 9:45am the next morning, he's going to kill a man named Kevin Murray. The man dies, and Flack rushes to Kevin's apartment to find the Chelsea University physics student very much alive. Kevin is nervous about the prediction, but denies knowing the dead man. Dr. Hammerback makes some unusual discoveries in the man's body: a needle in his brain, that Hammerback postulates has been there since he was an infant, and a GPS chip in his hand. Adam uses traces the signal being emitted by the chip, leading the CSIs to the dead man's apartment, where they discover a large time machine. Dr. Hawkes recognizes pictures of the dead man and identifies him as Dr. Martin Browning, a famous physicist. Hawkes goes to Chelsea University to speak with the dean, who admits to getting into an altercation with Browning's assistant when he went to try to see if he could help Browning, whom he feared was losing his grip on reality.

At 9:45am the next day, a body falls to the ground during the Columbus Day Parade. It's Kevin Murray, dead just as Browning predicted. Lindsay shows Mac a hopscotch grid near Browning's apartment that wasn't a hopscotch grid at all, but rather a game theory table. Mac puts together partial prints found on various items found around Browning's apartment as well as a glass shard Mac determined to be the murder weapon and comes up with a match to one Leo Tyler. Leo, in debt to several bookies, answered an ad to become Browning's assistant alongside Kevin. When Browning accurately predicted the outcome of several races for Leo, Leo believed in his time travel theories--and pushed him to take more trips. When Browning refused, Leo attacked him, and Browning fled to the police station. With Browning gone, Leo tried to force Kevin to travel in time, but when he got Kevin into the machine it malfunctioned, killing Kevin.

Stella and Danny investigate the death of Robin Graham, a sorority girl who literally orgasmed to death in a diner. Stella discovers someone switched out the medicine in her inhaler with a substance called PT604, which she learns is an experimental drug used as a sexual enhancer being tested on college campuses. Danny finds scrapings that he identifies as coming from a 4 million-year-old Mastodon, leading him to fraternity boy Brett Vandeman, who was the lucky winner of a drawing at a frat party to sleep with Robin Graham. He says Robin chickened out and he chased her to the diner, but left when she started to orgasm in public. Stella and Angell interrogate the students taking the trial drug, and their suspicions finally land on one: snotty sorority girl Kelsey. Kelsey wanted to help Robin lose her virginity, so she switched out her medicine with the sexual enhancement drug. When Robin went to take a dose of her medicine and didn't notice any relief, she kept medicating--eventually leading her to consume a fatal dose. Stella and Danny arrest the unrepentant sorority girl. While Stella considers the possibility of dating Drew Bedford, who continues to pursue her, Mac receives a letter from Peyton ending their relationship.

Analysis:

The premise is truly intriguing. A dying man confessing to a murder that wouldn't be committed for another 23 or so hours? But like any complex premise, it's risky, and indeed, the questions it spawns are never really addressed with satisfactory answers. Why did Martin claim he killed Kevin in the future? How did he know that Kevin would die at 9:45am? How did those blood drops get re-hydrated? So many questions, so few answers.

I did smirk at the fact that the genius physicist convinced the would-be thief that he was time traveling by (presumably) using game theory to accurately predict the outcome of horse races. And hearing Hawkes talk about time travel theories was interesting as well--it's fun to see the show skirt theoretical science and play around with some of the hypotheses. But if the episode wanted to make us wonder if perhaps Martin was somehow traveling through time, it needed to communicate that through the eyes of the team's skeptic: Mac Taylor. As an audience, we deem what's credible and what's not through his eyes. And Mac never gave the idea of time travel any real credence.

Maybe he should have taken it a little more seriously, since Kevin does in fact end up dead. Does Mac have any part in the responsibility for that? While Kevin refused to admit he knew Martin (for reasons that are never really clear, other than to drive the plot along), Kevin was concerned about his safety and Mac dismissed him with what can only be called an amused glimmer in his eye. When Mac arrives on the scene after Kevin's body is found, he expresses no anguish or guilt, merely remarking on the accuracy of Martin's prediction. I realize we're supposed to be surprised at Kevin's death in that moment, but must Mac come off as so glib?

Mac is similarly nonchalant when he recommends Stella jump back into the dating game with Drew. Even after Stella explains the circumstances under which she met Drew, and reminds Mac about how disastrously her last relationship ended, Mac basically tells her to simply go for it, without putting much thought into it beyond the fact that Peyton pursued him and it turned out well. Stella is right to be cautious--Drew's behavior falls into the stalkerish realm--but I worry that the smile on her face that Mac noticed indicates her resolve won't last. I sincerely hope that's not the case; to have Stella fall for a bad boy yet again only undercuts the character. Because a woman who is both bright and beautiful couldn't make wise choices in love, right?

Mac gets his at the end of the episode though when Peyton breaks up with him...in a letter. I imagine it would have been difficult for her to do in person, but wouldn't a call or even an e-mail have been better? Theoretically, the two may have even talked on the phone after she sent the letter if they really were trying to make a long distance relationship work. Either way, it's a disappointing ending to what was a compelling relationship, more of a whimper than a bang.

What follows is even sillier: having just been dumped via Royal Mail, Mac goes off to play bass with CBS recording artist Will Dailey. The segment is basically a two-minute commercial for Dailey's new album. While I think the stunt casting of musical artists is pretty bad (think Nelly Furtado in "Some Buried Bones"), this is infinitely worse. Rather than getting a meaningful moment between the characters, we get a music video. Can't CBS hawk their recording artists some other way?

The episode did have its moments of fun, though not quite as many as I'd expect from an episode in which one case involved a time machine and the other death by orgasm. Danny's quip about not needing any sexual enhancers was cute, and Hawkes get excited about time travel theory was a highlight. The best line of the night went to Flack, who tossed off "Paging Dr. Who" upon the discovery of the time machine. Who would have guessed the slick, handsome homicide detective is a Sci-fi fan?

Discuss this reviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.