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We All Fall Down is the sixteenth episode in Season Two of CSI: Vegas.

Csi vegas lg
We All Fall Down
Csi vegas
Season 2
Number 16
Writer Craig S. O'Neill
Director Ray Daniels III
Original Airdate March 9, 2023
Navigation
Previous Episode: Ashes, Ashes
Next Episode: The Promise

Synopsis[]

Medical examiner Sonya's life is in jeopardy when she's exposed to a mysterious poison as the CSI team races to find the antidote and the Silver Ink murderer who appears to be targeting the Crime Lab.

Plot[]

Victims: Molly Tate (deceased), Sonya Nikolayevich (alive)

On the case: Allie Rajan, Beau Finado, Catherine Willows, Joshua Folsom, Maxine Roby, Penny Gill, Det. Serena Chavez

Recapping past cases, a string of murders have occurred, each being tied back to notes and postcards written in silver ink. The murders appear to be "for hire" murders, where the killer in question in each case has been blackmailed by the mastermind. Therapist Diane Auerbach was thought to have been the prime suspect until she was found dead. The investigation led the team to the mastermind's lair; however, a rigged booby trap was activated that engulfed the white room in flames. Ted Hester was eventually arrested for killing Dr. Auerbach, but he informs Max that everyone on her team is now part of the "game"—a game the mastermind is certain to win.

In the present, a well-dressed man pushes a shopping cart into a run-down section of Vegas, all the while whistling somewhat ominously. He stops and pulls out a card on which he writes squiggles in silver ink. When the blanket on the cart is lifted, the body underneath is revealed to be Molly Tate, a previous victim who fought off her attacker and lived another day. The well-dressed man staples the card to Molly's body (which has her name on it), pushes the cart into the alley, and walks away.

The CSIs soon find Molly's body; Folsom finds adhesive residue on her wrists and ankles indicating that she was bound. Det. Chavez relays that a homeless man nearby saw the body dumped by the well-dressed man; however, he couldn't remember what the man looked like. The killer left a major clue behind this time, though: his fingerprint in silver ink on the card addressed to Molly.

Back in the lab, the print identifies the killer as Ronald Winter, who was even dressed in a suit and tie when he was booked for his first offense—cyberstalking. His rap sheet shows that his IQ is 160, and Catherine guesses that someone this smart has an endgame. The assumption is that there's a message hidden in the silver ink scribblings, but not even the FBI has been able to crack it yet, for they don't have a large enough sample to work with.

In autopsy, Sonya appears to be out of sorts, not even knowing she's holding the coffee she's so desperately looking for. While she hasn't been able to pinpoint Molly's cause of death, the belief is that she was poisoned orally based on tears in her laryngopharynx. Whatever Molly swallowed caused her liver to develop numerous holes. Autopsy results point towards ricin poisoning and hydrogen cyanide poisoning; however, both causes are ruled out. Suddenly, Sonya starts hyperventilating and collapses to the ground. She tells Jack that her heart is racing and pushes her brother away from her, telling everyone to vacate immediately. Molly, she says, is a Trojan horse, which explains why Ronald dumped the body; he's using Molly to poison everyone. As Allie calls for help, Sonya deduces that whatever killed Molly is killing her at this very moment.

In the hospital, Max explains that nobody else is afflicted because they didn't touch Molly's body; this also rules out the toxin being airborne. Folsom guesses that Ronald previously snuck into the lab to scout it out. In order to find out what's killing Sonya, they need to identify the poison themselves or find Ronald and pry it out of him. While Allie will work with Jack and go over Sonya's notes, Max says that she and Catherine will meet with Ted Hester in prison with the hope that he can reveal some information on Ronald and/or the poison.

Ted praises Ronald's intellect, adding that Ronald won't be found if he doesn't want to be. He says that Ronald is playing his own game now and offers to help with the investigation if he gets a PlayStation 5 and the game Shadow Cell. Catherine guesses that he found Richard Sloan, one of his earlier victims, through the game; in fact, it's probably how he started communicating with Ronald. Ted is denied access to such a luxury, and he refuses to give up his username to help set up a sting.

Back in autopsy, Allie and Jack (who are dressed in Hazmat suits), replay Sonya's notes from her recorder. Based on the lack of blunt force trauma, gunshot wounds, and knife wounds, she concluded that poison was the likeliest cause of death. After marveling at the poor condition of Molly's liver, she spotted an injection site near the abdomen. When Allie and Jack take a closer look at the injection site, they notice a pocket between the layers of skin. Based on the color and condition, Jack guesses that the injection occurred postmortem. He concludes that after killing Molly, Ronald gave her an intradermal injection. The liquid forced the layers of skin apart and created a pocket, which Sonya opened during the autopsy. Sure enough, Sonya's notes corroborate this theory; a flashback shows her getting sprayed with the mystery poison. Allie swabs the injection site and brings it to the lab for testing.

Folsom and Det. Chavez search Molly's house, which shows signs of a violent struggle. Adhesive residue on a living room chair indicates that she was held there. Det. Chavez recalls that the police were sent to Molly's house after Ted was arrested; however, they got no answer. It seems likely that Ronald kept the house dark to give the impression that nobody was home. Folsom finds a pocket from a dress shirt on the floor, which Molly apparently ripped off during the struggle. Their search is soon interrupted by Molly's mother, who confirms that Molly had emotional troubles that escalated a few months ago—right around the time Ted initially made contact with her.

Tests on the poison come back inconclusive, which means it's either uniquely created or extremely rare. Epithelals from the shirt pocket confirm that it belongs to Ronald Winter, and it's determined that the holes in it were caused by nitric acid. Allie and Folsom wonder if Ronald splashed himself while he was making the poison. Meanwhile, in the white room, Penny continues to take photos of the silver ink scribbles in the hope that they can gather enough information to help crack the code. Catherine comes across a drawer full of infrared smoke detectors, most of which don't even have batteries. Why would someone keep smoke detectors that are completely disabled?

Suddenly, everyone involved in the case has their cell phones start ringing at the same time; the call is from Ronald himself. He introduces himself and confirms that he's the one the team is hunting. When Allie asks why he would go after Sonya, Ronald refuses to say; however, he's quite interested in Allie and her background. He claims that he's working on something much bigger and that his attack on Sonya was to show how he can get to anyone, anywhere. Before hanging up, Ronald encourages the team to sit back and relax, as he's going to "lighten their workload".

Allie questions how Ronald got everyone's phone number, but Max reminds her that he broke into the lab and likely took something with him. When the background noise in the call is amplified, it sounds like Ronald was calling from a park; unfortunately, that doesn't help narrow things down. The call was unable to be traced, so figuring out the poison might be the best way to track Ronald down.

Ronald's father comes to the lab and admits that his son has always been a handful. He doesn't know his son's current location, and a call to his phone goes straight to voicemail. However, text messages show the awkward relationship the father and son have, especially when Ronald uses words no normal person would understand. Max wonders if Ronald uses the same words in online message boards and chats, which may give the team another way to find him.

Jack rushes into the lab and alerts Allie that Sonya's vitals are heading in the wrong direction. Whatever she was splashed with is giving her a positive GUAIAC test, which is usually an indicator of arsenic or amatoxin; however, both poisons have already been ruled out. Allie notes that abrin also triggers a positive on the test, but this, too, comes back negative. A frustrated and distraught Jack believes that if the roles were reversed, Sonya would've figured it out by now. Allie encourages him to stay positive and promises that they're going to save Sonya's life.

Back in the white room, Penny pulls a panel from the wall; the panel's reverse side contains a complex mathematical equation. She believes this can help crack the code of the silver ink scribbles, but Beau believes it's either more gibberish or "the ravings of a madman". He focuses on a burnt mess that smells like accelerant; the blob contains more smoke detectors, among other things. Based on the concentrated mess in this area, the belief is that Ronald rigged the fire to destroy whatever he was building. The pieces are bought back to the lab. There, they determine that Ronald build some sort of tank that also used a latex hose, a rubber stopper, a power supply, and a car battery. Beau believes the setup is perfect for electrolytic precipitation. The chemical tested comes back as tropine, which Beau says isn't a poison unless you ingest gallons of it. Tropine is a precursor that can be turned into atropine or cocaine, both of which didn't show up on Sonya's tox screen. The team is at another dead end.

Det. Chavez informs Max that Sonya was put into a medically-induced coma. Max relays that the district attorney has made a deal with Ted Hester, as he apparently knows what Ron's plan is. Catherine and Max go to visit Ted in prison, but soon find him being wheeled out by the paramedics. Efforts to save his life are unsuccessful. In autopsy, Allie and Jack see that Ted's liver is in worse same shape than Molly's was. There are no puncture marks on Ted's skin, which means he isn't another Trojan horse. Since Ronald didn't have access to Ted's body, they figure he must've poisoned his food. Ted's stomach contents show that he ate a cupcake, something not on the prison menu. Jack is losing hope, but Allie tells him that while the other two victims swallowed the poison, Sonya was exposed to it through her skin. Her symptoms are progressing slower, but they're still running out of time.

Ronald is shown picking up his shirt from a dry cleaners. When told that they couldn't get a stain out of his lab coat, Ronald calms himself down, thanks the employee, and offers him a cupcake with blue icing. Thankfully, the employee is soon seen throwing the cupcake in the garbage after Ronald has left. Meanwhile, in the lab, Penny and Det. Chavez are told by the FBI that the silver ink scribbles can take an astounding ten years to crack because of the variance of the handwritten characters (over 45,000 characters total). Penny is also monitoring the chat for Shadow Cell to see if Ted contacted Ronald through the game; however, without knowing their screen names, there's way too much information to sift through. Allie enters and informs them that an MIT mathematician didn't know what the equation found earlier pertains to.

Allie then gets a call from Ronald; she's the only one he's called this time. He refuses to divulge what poison he used and confirms that Ted is dead. Allie tries flattering him, but his interest is more on his motives than his methods. As the conversation continues, Ronald says that "Hell is other people"; he believes that both he and Allie share the same affliction—people's stupidity. He also thinks that Allie is the only other person who understands what he's doing and that she'll be grateful once "they've all been eradicated". Before he hangs up, Ronald adds that his plan is going into motion tonight and that it'll be "lights out". Unfortunately, the call can't be traced, as Ronald was using a relay device to prevent them from pinpointing his location.

Beau and Folsom are still working on Ronald's burnt chemistry lab. They question why he would set fire to tropane, which wasn't the poison administered in the cases. Beau believes that tropane was added to mask what chemical was actually being made. He also notes metal plating left behind on the electrodes, something tropane wouldn't leave behind. Allie notices the large amount of infrared smoke detectors Ronald was using and notes that they contain tiny amounts of various heavy metals. She concludes that Ronald was harvesting heavy metal ore and dissolving it into nitric acid, which ended up splashing onto his shirt pocket. Ronald was using the acid solution to draw out a heavy metal of his choice, which Allie believes is thallium. Sure enough, symptoms of thallium poisoning line up with what Sonya and the other victims have been experiencing.

An antidote is administered to Sonya, and her vitals slowly start returning to normal. Meanwhile, Max enlists her son's help in accessing the Shadow Cell message boards. Bryan searches the boards for "thallium" and finds one user who mentioned using the poison at Mountain Vista Psychiatric Hospital. Max realizes that the mathematical formula found earlier was Ronald calculating the dosage needed to kill all 293 patients there; he's going to aerosolize them with thallium. This is also what Ronald meant when he said "lights out," as patients need to be in their beds by 8:30 PM. The team has 30 minutes to find him.

A replay of Ronald's online chat with Ted shows him bragging about being able to "eliminate God's greatest mistakes" and never being found after doing so. Max assumes that Ronald put his killing device in an air vent, which will allow the air conditioning unit to spray it all over the building. The team enters the building, and Ronald is soon identified because he's not wearing the same white sneakers that all other employees are. Folsom eventually runs him down, but as he's handcuffed, Ronald warns that they're too late. The doomsday device is found in the maintenance room attached to a pipe; there's less than one minute left on the timer. Since there's not enough time to disarm it, Beau rips it from the pipe and stuffs it into a giant plastic bag. The device goes off and explodes in the bag, but everyone is saved. Penny then finds a note with silver ink scribbles next to the pipe.

As Ronald is escorted to the police car in handcuffs, Penny yells out to him and asks him what the scribbles mean; the question is unanswered. He then compliments Allie on determining what poison was used; however, he says that he's disappointed, as he thought Allie saw things the same way he did. Ronald continues to say that the patients he tried to kill are a "needless burden" who are "mentally malformed". Allie tells him that he's the only malformed mind there, and Ronald is jammed into the back of the police car.

In the hospital, Sonya has come out of her coma and thanks Allie using sign language. Jack privately tells Allie and Folsom that Sonya's road to recovery will be a long one; there's no telling how much damage the thallium did to her nervous system.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

  • Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby
  • Matt Lauria as Joshua Folsom
  • Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan
  • Ariana Guerra as Det. Serena Chavez
  • Jay Lee as Chris Park (credited only)
  • Lex Medlin as Beau Finado
  • Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows

Guest Cast[]

  • Rob Morgan as Daniel Jordan
  • Darri Ingolfsson as Ronald Edward Winter
  • Sarah Gilman as Penny Gill
  • Luke Tennie as Bryan Roby
  • Sara Amini as Sonya Nikolayevich
  • Joel Johnstone as Jack Nikolayevich
  • Stephen Friedrich as Ted Hester
  • Mark Atteberry as Ronald Winter, Sr.
  • Kathe Mazur as Mrs. Tate
  • Emily Althaus as Molly Tate
  • Andrew Hwang as Doctor

Music[]

  • Rapture by Kendra Erika
  • Requiem in D Minor - Lacrimosa by Cornelius and Ferdinand Oberhauser
  • Cold World by Katherine Nicole
  • Home Again by Lucy Dacus

Episode Title[]

  • "We All Fall Down" is part of the nursery rhyme "Ring Around the Rosie", with the previous episode starting the line "Ashes, Ashes".

Notes[]

  • Jay Lee (Chris) is credited but does not appear in the episode.

See Also[]

  • Category:Images from We All Fall Down
CSI:Vegas Season 2
She's GoneThe Painted ManStory of a GunKoalaIn Harm's WayThere's the RubBurnedGrace NoteIn the White RoomEyeballsTrinketWhen the Dust SettlesBonedThird Time's the CharmAshes, AshesWe All Fall DownThe Promise


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