It's hard to take notes when I spend half the episode wanting to leap off the couch in horror.
This is, for the most part, a case-heavy episode, but there are two important developments: one that's mostly thematic, and one that I think will be important as we move into the final episodes of the season (and that also ties into some of the show's ongoing themes, but it's more specifically plot-oriented than the first point is).
First, and briefly: Evie, and Stella's description of her at the very end. "There's nothing we can do. It's not illegal to be a sociopath." Something we've been told, and shown, over and over again on the show, is that safety is frequently an illusion. The team can't always fix everything. No matter how hard they work, there are always going to be situations and people that are beyond their reach. Science can fix a lot of things, but it can't stop the manipulations of a sociopath, nor can it give them a reason why Evie does the things she does. There are answers they don't get to have; there are things they can't fight or make better.
They can't always protect the people they love. They can't keep anyone 100% safe, including themselves. Sometimes things fall apart no matter what they do.
Second, and more important: the set-up of Mac's conflict with Gerrard. We've seen Gerrard in several episodes already this season, and it's been established that he and Mac don't like each other; Gerrard seems to have a personal low regard for Mac, and possibly for the crime lab as a whole, given some of the insults he's previously directed at Danny. In this episode, with Gerrard having been bumped up to a position of greater authority within the NYPD, he's suddenly become a much greater threat, and he issues a very specific warning to Mac: Get used to the idea of playing politics.
We've seen as far back as S1 that Mac hates politics and refuses to participate in the kind of give-and-take that would be likely to greatly ease his dealings with Gerrard and with various other department higher-ups. Now that seems like it's about to become a very big problem for him, and that ties into some possibilities I've suggested previously for Mac's story arc this season. I think that we're about to see things begin to fall apart for him in some ways that are going to cut very close, and I think a lot of those things are going to relate directly (at least in terms of the emotional arc) to the conflicts we've seen him get into with both Flack and Hawkes this season.
His conflict with Flack specifically turned on the idea of cop loyalty and on the idea of where one should throw his support: what comes first, the greater good of the department (and, by extension, their cases, and even the city itself), or inter-cop trust and loyalty? Mac chose the former, as he almost always has, and we've seen throughout the series that he favors the good of the group over the good of the individual. Flack, meanwhile, argued in favor of the individual.
On the other hand, this has been a consistent part of Mac's character, and something that I think is a very believable flaw: he insists on respecting the chain of authority and on following protocol for the good of the group up and until the point at which it doesn't suit his needs or desires to do so. At that point, he's just as willing to bend protocol as any of the others are, and notice that "violating protocol on a technicality" is, very pointedly, one of the things Gerrard accuses him of here.
Also recall his conflict with Hawkes in "Murder Sings the Blues." There was one very important key element to that argument that we haven't yet seen directly addressed. When Mac reams Hawkes out in front of everyone and lectures him for allowing his emotions to get the best of him, Hawkes, in turn, tells Mac that he lets his emotions guide the way he acts (or reacts) during a case just as much as anyone else; it's just that he refuses to admit that he does this. Hawkes' accusation has never been shown to be wrong, either directly or indirectly, and I thought then (and still believe now) that we were being told something important. It seems that we're now likely to see how that, as well, is going to come back to haunt Mac, and possibly what happens when he reacts according to those emotions.
We're already seeing it: note his reaction when he walks out of the interrogation room while he and Stella are questioning Luther. That's pure angry emotion, and it's not a reaction to the actual case; up until this point, Mac hasn't shown any particular anger or frustration over the whole thing. The anger comes in direct response to Luther's statement about complaining to Mac's superiors, and it's only then that he reacts with such venom.
We're going to see where everyone's loyalties lie, I think, and we're also going to see what happens to Mac when he's the one to fall under suspicion.
Briefly noted: "Then he gets screwed to death."
"6.5, Messer. Little shaky on the landing."
These people have raised punning to an art form. Or, possibly, a contact sport.
I'm impressed with Flack's wine knowledge. The boy really does love his foodie interests.
Fashion Watch: Not much exciting to talk about here, either.
Flack wears a black suit with a light green shirt, and a darker green silk tie with green and white circles on it. Later, he has a dark blue suit with a light blue shirt, and a tie with blue, white, and gray diagonal stripes.
Mac wears a black suit with a burgundy shirt. Later, he wears another black suit with a dark blue-on-blue striped shirt. You know, as much as I complain about how he wears the same thing all the time, I think that he's probably better when he stays within this safety zone of his. God knows that his occasional forays into looks that are more, erm, experimental for him have generally not ended well. And I did really like the dark blue stripes.
Stella wears a black wool blazer over a white knit shirt that I didn't get a good look at it, but it looked like it had a squared-off neckline. Later, she wears a khaki v-neck ribbed cardigan with a brown fitted leather blazer.
Hawkes wears a brown suede jacket over a gray-and-black striped shirt, and later he has a light blue henley-styled shirt, while Danny wears a maroon henley over a white wifebeater.
Lindsay is still mostly being covered by lab coats and scarves, and filmed in tight shots. Not much to report, as I mentioned earlier this season, until she's back to a less camouflaging wardrobe, although I did think the pattern on the silky scarf she had was pretty cute.