Following an early season's worth recent rocky episodes, "House of Hoarders" was a pleasant surprise.
After weeks of sharks in pools, vampires taking on werewolves, and a gimpy serial killers wearing pleather suits, I was almost certain the show’s handling of this psychological ailment of the moment would be serve as nothing but shock value.
But the writers took time to address the issue as a mystery and a very real problem.
Of course, there were plenty of shocking, and pretty gross moments throughout the hour.
The house itself was depicted as an unpleasant, debilitating environment, but every reveal and disgusting detail was played toward the episode’s mystery. Was the hoarder really a killer? Was the mental disorder being played to hide a more sinister intent?There were also some great character interactions, especially between Sara and Nick, as they viewed the case in different ways.
Sara had sympathy for Mrs. Santiago, which clashed with Nick’s view that this woman’s condition was little more than a disguise for psychopathic tendencies. Their views on the matter remained divided even as the bodies found in the house began to mount up.
Such care seemed to be put into the building of the mystery surrounding the house and the family that lived there, with interesting red herrings tossed out to distract, and such lovely emotional resonance in the performances of Jorja Fox, and guest stars Bertila Damas (Mrs. Santiago) and Ramon De Ocampo (Julian Santiago), but all that work was sort of steam-rolled in a conclusion that wrapped up too quickly.
The final reveal of the actual killer felt like a brick wall, lacking the surprise I believe the writers intended.
Overall this was a nice change from previous episodes. There seems to be hope that CSI will get back on track, leaving the improbable and impossible plotlines behind for what has always made it a wonderful show with great mysteries, a little bit of gore, and great performances that invoke an emotional connection to the characters.