Do you know what fracking is?
This week's installment of CSI, "Fracked," hinged on that question, and the answer revealed that this term was not the science fiction expletive we thought it was.
Fracking, industry slang for hydraulic fracturing, is a process used by oil and gas companies to stimulate wells. This information came to light when it was already fairly clear that the bad guy in this week’s episode was going to be the gas company, Conservo Solutions, which was a common thread between the victims.My feelings on the hour are torn. There was a lot of genuine intrigue and mystery going on. However, the writers failed to hide their bias, and if there’s one thing I dislike, it’s being preached to.
The episode was saved from being a sermon by excellent guest appearances. Angela Bettis’ turn as an investigative reporter Rosalind Johnson, researching the gas company that appeared to be making people in the area sick because of its lax fracking practices, was spunky and honest. She had a few excellent lines and a heartfelt moment with Ray Langston that hit all the right emotional marks.
The emotional depth in the character of Bill Gibson, a rancher who had lost everything due to the gas company’s drilling, resonated deeply long before he blew himself up.
Also, the return of Katee Sackoff as Detective Frankie Reed was welcome. The fiery redheaded played so well off of Nick Stokes, delivering wry lines such as: “I’ve got point. Don’t shoot me in the ass." These left me longing for more of this character.
This episode marked the third time this season that the big bad got away with it. I don’t mind episodes where the villain wins, but it has to be done sparingly and in the right fashion. It was realistic that the CSIs did not get a chance to take down the gas company and make it pay for the damage it caused. And realism was fine, but already knowing there was still a bomber and a serial killer on the loose this season left me feeling a little unfulfilled, and as frustrated as Catherine and Ray seem to have been at the end of the episode.
The season continues to have great potential, but it’s a tricky road. Let’s hope that the solid moments continue to outweigh the missteps.