Long post alert. And I'm not very happy. (Also I'm posting this before reading anything else so maybe I'll feel better after this has been posted.) Okay, I'm trying to keep this as polite and even-tempered as possible but I just finished watching this episode and I gotta ask if anyone else (who saw it) disliked Natalia and what appears to be a new storyline for her. Because I sure did. First let me say that we got a nice scene around the beginning with Calleigh and Ryan. Actually, they were just standing together while getting the COD from the coroner but every little scene counts nowadays and I can't remember the last time they were sharing a scene for so long. Later on they have to investigate houses to find the place where their victim was murdered, and the two are waiting together for Jesse and Natalia. (I was already smiling thinking about what they might've said or done while they were waiting, and the fact that Ryan and Calleigh were matching in red really made me grin. ) Then Ryan made to split up with Calleigh while Natalia and Jesse took some other house and I just started coming up with maybe ten different scenarios and interactions this split up might lead to; all of them shippy friendly. So, here I was enjoying a decent CaRWash friendly episode when cranky Natalia, who may have gotten romantically spurned by Jesse – I don't know because I didn't watch the episode before this one and if they didn't mention it then, well then I just don't understand her weirdly jealous quip about Jesse being distracted by a little something in a sequined dress or something but I digress – anyway, she doesn't want to be paired with Jesse in the split up so she goes off with Ryan instead. (I feel like this might explain all those scenes where she's with Ryan and Calleigh is with new guy Jesse. It's all her doing, I'm sure of it.) This is gonna turn into my longest rant ever but I have to get this off my chest. See, Natalia and Ryan end up in a meth explosion and it just ticked me off how much importance they put on it; they repeated the explosion scene no less than four times throughout the episode and Ryan's worry over her made me wanna cringe and not just purely because of shippy reasons (only partly... a large part ) but because we got the same situation with Calleigh and Ryan caught in a fire not a few dozen episodes before and we got literally half the follow-through and less concern from Ryan, who mind you knows Calleigh way longer than Natalia and I would hope is closer to her. But no. The writers have a vendetta against CaRWash or so it seems. And the drama follows Natalia who won't even admit she's got some apparent hearing damage from the explosion and Ryan tries to coax it out of her but she denies, denies, denies. (As a sidenote, I'm also annoyed they're co-opting another CSI Vegas plotline. Grissom made possible hearing loss cool, 'kay? Give Natalia another sister to get kidnapped or something. Geez.) I just can't help but wonder what would've happened if Calleigh and Ryan went into that house like they were originally supposed to, and I've been picturing it going one of three ways: First hypothetical scenario is simply putting Calleigh in Natalia's shoes and letting everything play out as it did including the huge wave of Ryan concern which would vindicate the writers for all those times they had our pair trade a few distant pleasantries after one or the other suffer some kind of trauma (but this requires additional angst and pain on Calleigh and guess who I blame for making me wish such a thing upon our poor bullet girl? That's right: Catty Natty. ) Second hypothetical scenario involves the writers once again displaying their poor judgment of chemistry and friendship dynamics. If Calleigh was caught in the explosion it may well play out like the fire scene in Smoke Gets In Your CSIs where there's barely any "Are you okay" thoughts coming from Ryan (unless it happened off-screen) and nothing from him when she gets hospitalized (at least I think she got hospitalized). It would all be swept under the rug like so many things involving these two; in fact, the deaf storyline as played by Calleigh might have made her become even more distant from Ryan but hell if he notices because he's off with Nat and Jess and that obnoxious CSI transfer (Wally or whatever). Judging by the writers' track record this is the most plausible of the three scenarios and it just annoys me all over again. The third way it could've gone down was since Calleigh's so much more proficient and attentive (not to mention badass) she would've spotted the bomb and taken it out Jesse style with some quick sharp shooting (he did it earlier in the episode and he didn't get a scratch on him). Ryan may or may not compliment/thank her on saving his life and this could easily branch out into regular Miami writing where they sweep it under the rug and ignore Calleigh's awesomeness or CaRWash friendly writing where we get more fun interaction (Ryan could totally brag about her sharpshooting to everyone). Either way we would've been spared the Natty drama. (This is my preferred choice out of all three as it doesn't harm Calleigh physically or emotionally and it still has possibility for some CaRWash goodness.) At least Calleigh got all snarky with that crazy government hating home-owner in the actual episode. In closing, I'm sorry for this insanely long post and I hope the mods don't get mad that I'm ranting on Natalia since I included plenty of Calleigh/Ryan thoughts in there. (And I could've said worse about Natalia. Oh, and don't think this is coming out of nowhere because these feelings have been a long time coming with how much the writers seem to be forcing Natalia/Ryan scenes on us.) If you didn't read the long post I made (and I don't blame you), the gist of it was, this episode started out all promising and CaRWash friendly but devolved into Natalia drama with some Jesse and Horatio stuff on the side. *sigh* My mantra has deserted me.