I'll admit it: I will miss Catherine a little bit. More than any other character (except maybe Greg), she was part of Las Vegas. Her father was in organized crime and owned casinos, she was originally a stripper, she now owns part of a casino her father left her. Hell, I'm surprised we don't hear the "chink, chink, chink" of coins falling when she cries.
That said, it felt like a different team wrote "Willows in the Wind," based on the notes from the writers of the last episode. Except there were certain things they were told they had to include, so they just went down the list:
Summarize personal history from stripper to cop? Check! Get help from random criminals who really have a heart of gold? Check! Mention something is missing in your life? Check! Praise the team ad nausea? Double Check!
While I was sure how Catherine departed was going to involve her taking a new job, I was shocked that the episode ended with so many questions left hanging.
First, what happened to the job that the undersheriff put her in for at the Pentagon? Last we heard, she was “considering it” when the undersheriff left her. It was never mentioned again.
What about Lou? While I know they were no longer in a relationship, I was stunned there was no goodbye scene with Detective Vartann. After all the start and stop, some closure for the viewing audience would have been nice.
Closer to home, why is Lindsey not at home? I caught that Catherine mentioned Lindsey was no longer there... but then she stopped. Where is she? School? College? Star Fleet?
Then we have the case du jour, where FBI Agent McQuaid turned out to be dirty and killed fellow agents while faking his own death. Yet we are expected to believe he had enough feelings for Catherine to have “warned” when he missed with his first shot at her house? Really?!? The cold-blooded killer flinches when it comes to a woman he's attracted to? I didn't buy it when George Lucas tried this with Anakin Skywalker, I'm certainly not buying it here.
But I can appreciate how there was an attempt to do a double twist by having McQuaid really be dead after we learn he faked his death. Sadly, the delivery of this twist confused and annoyed me long before we got to the big reveal.
I mean, they used the worn out twist of “faking deaths off camera,” that has been done to, well... death. Second, at no point during the shootout last week did we see (or hear) the “friendly fire” incident. In fact, according to my count (when rewatching) all of the masked men that went in through the back came out the front chasing Catherine.
Then we have the beetles, which had eaten the body down to the bone in less than four hours when they needed 14 hours for the same effect on the previous bodies. Finally, they used the old-as-dirt-boring “faked deaths off camera” trope!! (that one annoyed me enough to be mentioned twice.)
For the record, TV Fanatic reader Frank Lee called it last week, even after I defended CBS. He was right and I should have gone with my gut instincts.
So, in conclusion, after 263 episodes spanning 12 years, Catherine Willows (soon to be Agent Willows) has left the Las Vegas Crime Lab to take a job with the FBI that she earned by not getting killed by a rogue FBI agent. Wait - isn’t this how the Empire promotions worked in Star Wars?
Were you happy with Catherine's goodbye? Are you excited to see her replacement in a couple weeks?
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.