We open in a movie theater, where two guys are arguing about cell phone etiquette. This discussion is perhaps the only vaguely realistic element of tonight’s episode, which is by far the dumbest CSI: Cyber installment yet, and yes, I am aware that is a bold statement.
The offending screen light isn’t coming from a phone, but from an iPad.... attached to a BOMB hidden in the theater. A very attentive usher immediately sees it and starts running around with it as the countdown clock ticks upward. When it gets to 200, it explodes, RIP usher. Why 200? Why not, my CyberHeads! Seriously though, everything in this episode is either arbitrary, illogical, or just old-fashioned stupid. Our intrepid team of Cyber investigators led by Special Agent Avery Ryan (played, as always, by Oscar Winner™ Patricia Arquette) are on the scene. Reformed black hat hacker and noted vest enthusiast Nelson explains that the bomber sent text messages to people in the theater.
Each phone got a text with the word KABOOM! and a menacing web 1.0 bomb graphic because when you’re indirectly using someone’s phone as a murder weapon it’s best to
a) let them know and
b) use all caps to connote urgency.
Confused yet? Don’t worry, Mundo will explain. “This was crowdsourcing,” he says, about a horrible bombing attack carried out by a lone agent. “Every time the tablet connected to a phone, the number ticked up.”
But how did the iPad connect to the phones? Did the iPad use iMessage or a free texting app? Was it using data or Wi-Fi? Shut up! Mundo does not elaborate.
Krumitz, Mundo, and Nelson crowdsource some 3D imaging by cobbling together all of the video taken on cell phones prior to the bombing so that they can recreate a hologram-y representation of the explosion. Somehow they do this in, like, two hours, and it’s very detailed and precise. It’s impressive! Almost too impressive.
this room would be a sick place to hold a dance party tho
They realize that the iPad hard drive survived the explosion and is now lodged in a corpse, so Mundo rolls over to the morgue and casually removes the hard drive embedded in one of the dead victims’ skin.
lol i wonder if Katie Holmes watches this
This is a confusing plotline because, like, why would the hard drive stay intact when it was centimeters away from the bomb? Everything else blew up. iPad hard drives aren’t like black boxes on airplanes, right?
what are you doing to me, show
(IMPORTANT UPDATE: A commenter just brought to my attention that iPads don’t even have hard drives, which is kind of embarrassing that I didn’t notice that as a recapper but think of how much more embarrassing it must be to be a CSI:Cyber writer.)
Back in the office but unfortunately not in the cool Matrix 3D room, Ramirez tells Avery and Sifter to “check out this website, it’s trending like crazy on ToggleFly FriendAgenda.”
It’s called CrowdBomber.com, and it autoplays video of the bombing with an ominous voiceover about how society’s technology addiction is the reason why the bombing happened.
“Our target is using pageviews on a website to make the public responsible for the next explosion,” Avery says, fulfilling the episode’s quota for heavy-handed and explicit plot summarizing by a female lead.
Speaking of tech savvy, Sifter, who is the head of the Cybercrimes Division, has this solid piece of advice about the bombing website: “That URL cannot remain online!”
Then he wants to alert the public to tell people to avoid the site. Avery is like, bitch, have you not heard of the Streisand Effect. Sifter hasn’t heard of anything because he’s legitimately bad a his job.
They decide the only way to shut the site down is to break through the firewall.
Unfortunately, the firewall is hard as hell to crack. “Whoever set this up has mad skills,” Krummy says.
It wasn’t the bomber who set the firewall up. It was a black hat hacker, and Avery has a ~personal connection~ with him. Turns out Nelson isn’t the first black hat hacker Avery has “saved” which we discover via flashbacks. You know it’s a flashback because Avery has long hair.
Five years earlier, Avery took a chance on an unknown kid named Tobin (who looks like Brendan Fraser and Michael Pitt had a louche, petulant baby) but he ended up betraying the unit by trying to sell FBI secrets on the dark web and is now in Sociopath Jail.
Krumitz uses Mundo’s nasty dead body hard drive to trace the iPad back to where it was first turned on, which Mundo guesses may be the bomber’s house. But snap, it’s a trap. The bomber somehow knew that the Cyber squad would be able to figure out where he first turned his iPad on.
As punishment, the bomber tells them via speaker that the next bomb will go off at 750,000 clicks instead of 1 million, apparently not caring that it’ll completely dick with his web traffic ad revenue, good luck gettin a job at Gawker.com you idiot!!!!
Nelson and Avery go to visit Tobin to find out how to decrypt the website. He’ll only do it if he can type the encryption key himself. Tobin has a hate boner for Nelson because he’s his replacement.
“How long do you think you can deny the thirst, Nelson,” Tobin says, like a total creep. Tobin! Why are you such a bad seed? Tobin nearly creams his pants when they let him touch a keyboard.
password is ‘horny4keyboards’
Thanks to Evil Tobin, the team figures out how to get into the site and find the bomber’s location, because apparently dude is smart enough to figure out how to remotely use other peoples’ phones to detonate a weapon but he forgot to download Tor.
Mundo leads a SWAT team to Miles, the full-o’-contradictions bomber, who apparently works in an old-timey mannequin shop, hates technology, and and is basically mentally ill Jonathan Franzen, but fuck him, because Mundo shoots him before he has a chance to be anything other than Generic Luddite Enthusiast and then nobody ever really stops to wonder why a dude ostensibly so against technology would employ such a twisty, high-tech method of murdering people.
Anyways, the bomber is dead but his device is still set to explode when his pageviews reach 750,000. Krumitz and Nelson figure out that the website uses Internet Relay Chat to trigger explosions.
Sifter, who again, is the HEAD of the FBI’s Cybercrimes Division, doesn’t know what IRC is because he “doesn’t speak robot.”
The final bomb is set to go off at an EDM show hosted by a cell phone company, but apparently the CSI:Cyber writers did not bother researching what EDM sounds like, because we’re treated to a concert scene where what I can only describe as early 2000s calypso-techno elevator music is playing.
This is where things get really aggressively stupid. So a supposedly elite FBI unit is aware that there is a live bomb at a crowded event. So obviously they don’t bother evacuating the concert until just before the bomb is about to go off, or alerting the venue that there is almost definitely a bomb about to go off in their establishment that night. (“At 735,000 views I’ll call the bomb squad,” Krummy, who has not been trained to disarm bombs yet but who has somehow been dispatched as one of two initial bomb investigators, says in a crowd full of people in a room with a live bomb.)
Once they find the bomb, they finally evacuate—but instead of, oh, I dunno, letting a bomb squad do its job, Mundo and Krummy decide to drive the bomb around until they figure out what to do.
At that point, someone decides to DDoS attack the site so it reaches 750,000 sooner. The situation looks bad for our lovable but, frankly, inept friends Mundo and Krumitz. But then...they decide to hook up the iPad to the SUV they’re driving around in, so they can drain the battery so the bomb doesn’t go off.
They manage to drain the battery at the last second, and fist bump, and don’t say a GODDAMN thing about the fact that all they needed to do the entire panicked time was drain the battery to defuse it.
- Shad Moss Vest Watch: A stunning grey and purple combo on display!
- I’m still curious about the dress code, why is Krummy allowed to chill in flannel but most other people are in full on business attire?
- Horrible Explainer Graphic of the Episode: