CSI: Cyber Season 1 Episode 11 Review: “Ghost in the Machine”

CSI: Cyber

In the first of the three episodes remaining in CSI: Cyber‘s first season, the team goes up against a cyber stalker of sorts. He uses children (or teens, in this case) to commit his crimes for him. The episode begins with a young teen playing an online MMORPG video game with his friends. After his character died, the boy sees a text message from a user named Viper75 telling him to check his porch and that it is “go time.” The boy excuses himself and goes to open the door. A package containing a mystery black box is taken out, and the boy puts the box into his backpack. He then throws the cardboard box in the recycling bin (kudos to the kid for recycling but he could’ve flattened the box first) and checks his phone for the address in which he is to deliver the mystery package to. The address is displayed as longitude and latitude, but it seems that the kid knows where he is going as a GPS guiding voice instructs him along the way.

The boy then reaches his destination, looks around for any passers-by, takes four steps north and four steps east like he’s on some treasure hunt, kneels down on the ground, and opens his backpack. He opens the mystery package only to find that there’s a drill inside the box, which is very odd. Why would someone tell him to deliver a drill to an address over a video game? The boy ponders what to do about the drill when he hears a voice yelling at him. He drops the drill, which turns out to be a gun in disguise as it goes off accidentally and shoots the boy in the chest, killing him instantly.

We then see Agent Mundo making out with his ex-wife while scrambled eggs sizzle away in the frying pan (which is not a good thing to do, kids. Always turn off the stove if you wish to do something else other than cook, because safety is sexy in the words of Jimmy Fallon). The smoke detector goes off as expected, and the two break apart, with Agent Mundo turning off the stove and his ex-wife turning off the smoke detector alarm. Agent Mundo then suggests that they go pick up their daughter from her grandmothers, so that the three of them can spend the day together as a family. However, it seems that the former Mrs. Mundo isn’t too keen on the idea. She wants to be sure that things between her and Agent Mundo are solid before telling their daughter. Agent Mundo, however, is ready to talk about moving back into the house, which means that he truly wants to work things out with his ex-wife and be there for his daughter.

Shortly after Agent Mundo is called into the office, he and Agent Ryan leave for Chicago to find out what happened to the boy, whose name is Spencer Chapman (guest star Max Barakat), and to find the person responsible for his death. It seems like Spencer was a good kid who knew how to protect himself when going online, but when Agent Krumitz looks through Spencer’s tablet, it turns out that Spencer had used a parental guidance application to hide what he was really up to when he used his tablet. I would say that Spencer’s got some explaining to do, but he’s already six feet under. It’s also revealed that Spencer was delivering the drill gun to someone named Ramsey Scott, who also ended up shot to death by the same type of weapon. Looks like the team has their work cut out for them seeing now they have a homicide on their hands and a cyber criminal to track down.

Back in D.C., Agent Krumitz and Brody Nelson sift through Scott’s emails, Spencer’s calendar, FriendAgenda page, and all of his chat logs, but get nothing for their efforts. Raven then comes in and suggests that they look through Spencer’s Game Vex console that is essentially like a computer with messaging, applications, and Internet connection capabilities. Thank you, Raven! Speaking of Raven, we haven’t seen much of Hayley Kiyoko since the first few episodes of the season. There has been no news of her not being able to film the show or whathaveyou, so what has she been up to till now?

Back to the case, Agent Krumitz and Brody are able to find evidence of communication between Spencer and a person named Viper75, including the instructions to deliver the drill gun to Ramsey Scott’s house. Agent Krumitz is also able to retrieve audio of a conversation between Spencer and Viper75 from the swap space within Spencer’s game console, and it certainly sheds light on the dangers of playing an online video game. Later, Raven is able to figure out Viper75’s motives for recruiting teens to deliver the drill-guns. He steals armor and weaponry from other players of the game. He then gives the weaponry and armor to high-ranking players after said players have been hacked into by Viper75, which then places the high-ranking players in Viper75’s debt so that they agree to do whatever he tells them to. In this case, that is to deliver drill guns.

The team then discovers that Viper75 is searching for and grooming high-ranking players like Spencer to gain their trust so that when the time comes to carry out a “mission,” the high-ranking player will do as they are told. Raven and Nelson then use the leader board and find a player named AC3 (or Ace in leet speak). Agents Ryan and Mundo then track down AC3’s real identity; he’s a boy named Micah, who tells the two agents that Viper75 gave him a katana sword after he had delivered the package, but he didn’t know what was inside. In the case of Spencer Chapman, he gave into his curiosity and opened the package that got himself killed in the process. The saying was right when it came to Spencer; curiosity did kill the cat even if his death was an accident.

After monitoring the leader boards some more, Raven locates another player in the game, username GOLD3NB3AST, who had received a katana sword from Viper75, which means that another gun has been delivered and someone else is going to die.  Agents Ryan and Mundo then track down GOLD3NB3AST’s address and ask the girl who opens the door if they can speak to Corey (guest star Sam Tan), who bolts out the apartment building window and onto a rooftop with Agent Mundo hot on his heels. I think that Corey goes a bit too far in terms of his gaming habits, when he tries to jump from one rooftop to another, causing him to fall through the lower roof, onto a parked car and the ground. Turns out that Corey has what is called Game Transfer Phenomena, in which players of video games will think that what they do in the virtual world applies to the real world as they get more and more involved in the game.

When Agent Mundo asks Corey where the drill-gun package is, the injured boy is confused and says that he doesn’t know anything about a package. Agent Ryan then says that Corey is GOLD3NB3AST, to which Corey denies, saying that he’s AlphaArcher and that the girl who opened the door, Jessica Pope (guest star Stephanie Drake), is GOLD3NB3AST. Agent Mundo then rushes back to Corey’s apartment looking for Jessica, but she has flown the coop. He and Agent Ryan then find the box that the drill-gun came in and see a message from Viper75 to GOLD3NB3AST, telling her to deliver the package to a location after walking eight paces north from between the trees and four paces east. The longitude and latitude coordinates reveal the location to be Grant Park, and that’s where the package will be delivered.

Back at the FBI’s Cyber Division, the hunt for Trigger, a Deep Web gun seller, whom the FBI has been tracking for years, is on. It turns out that the drill-guns are part of Trigger’s line of products that can be purchased by anyone who has access to the Deep Web. Agent Krumitz then suggests that they put a supercookie, or a virtual tracking tag, on an article about Spencer’s death, which will then lead them right to Trigger.

Meanwhile, Agent Mundo and Ryan are still at Grant Park, searching for the package that contains the drill-gun. Agent Mundo manages to find it hidden in a trash can, but when he opens the box, he finds that the gun was missing, which means that Viper75 must have taken it. Then a loud gunshot rings out, and Agent Ryan finds the gun disposed of on the grass. Agent Mundo then theorizes that Viper75 realized that they were onto him and fired the gun as a distraction so that he could escape. Agent Mundo then has Raven do a tower dump, searching for all the cell phone numbers that connected to the cell towers around the park in the last 15 minutes, which will hopefully lead them to the next target on Viper75’s kill list.

Shifting things back to D.C., Agent Krumitz manages to locate the Deep Web gun sale site where Trigger purchases his guns and tracks down Trigger’s location to the Tampa Public Library in Tampa, Florida. Another team, along with Agent Krumitz and Nelson, is sent out to Florida to take down Trigger and to locate Viper75’s next victim, who turns out to be a woman named Kim Hawthorne.

We then see a mystery figure take out the familiar black case containing that drill-gun in an alleyway. Agent Ryan then came out from the shadows, identifying the mystery man as Viper75. Turns out that Viper75 (guest star Antonio Jaramillo) wanted to avenge his father who went to jail for a crime that his son felt he didn’t commit (kind of like how Barry Allen is trying to get his father out of jail in The Flash. No cybercrimes committed of course),  by killing off the witnesses in his father’s trial. Viper75 had hoped to get his revenge for their taking his father away from him but in the end, his plan got foiled by Agent Ryan and her team.

When Viper75 tried to shoot Agent Ryan with the drill-gun, he found that there were no bullets inside as Agent Mundo had gotten to it before Viper75 did, took out all the bullets and put everything back the way it was. Viper75 then tried to make a run for it but was apprehended by Agent Mundo outside the alleyway near Kim Hawthorne’s apartment building.

At the end of the episode, we discover that Raven was once on the FBI’s Most Wanted list of cybercriminals, but Nelson was not, much to his disappointment. Also,  Agent Mundo’s ex-wife Devon (guest star Alexie Gilmore) finally comes around after her initial hesitation early in the episode to make their reconciliation official (as we and she heard the ultimatum voicemail that Agent Mundo sent in frustration, which eventually knocked some sense into her) gives Agent Mundo a key to the house. I sincerely hope that they will be able to make things work, for their daughter’s sake.

I enjoyed the ending scene where Assistant Deputy Director Sifter, Agent Ryan, Raven and Nelson play the game that the case revolved around. Hearing Sifter say the word “pwn” makes me want to #facepalm, but I laughed as Sifter tired to find the “pwn” button on his controller. Like there is such a thing as a pwn button. #LOL

This was another great episode of CSI: Cyber, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen in the first season finale. I’m also glad that CSI: Cyber is coming back for a second season and in other CSI-related news, the original CSI is ending its long 15-year run with a two hour series finale/TV movie special on September 27th. We will get to see some familiar faces like Grissom, played by the awesome William Peterse,and Catherine Willows, played by Marg Helgenberger. Ted Danson, who plays D.B. Russell, will join Agent Ryan at the FBI on CSI: Cyber. Wonder what technological blunders he will make as he joins his new team. I will certainly miss watching the original CSI , though I haven’t really watched since Grissom left, but at least I still have Cyber.

What did you think of this episode? Will it make you analyze your or your children’s own online gaming habits?

[Photo via CBS]

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