In reading post-ep posts, I learn that there have been rumors about Jorja leaving the show, so who knows.
Anyway, that meant that I was primarily interested in how the writers pulled it off.
The technique of switching not just between the CSI scenes and the Sara scenes but between the "present" and the "past" of Sara's abduction and entrapment worked very well.
A "taser barb"? I had no idea that tasers included projectiles. I thought they passed electric current from the tip of the gun to the body from direct contact. (Clearly I have never done much research on this.)
I was unclear as to how Sara got from the trunk to the body of the car, so I was glad to have Warrick's explanation.
It also took me a while to figure out just how her arm was trapped, and I still don't understand how she couldn't just start digging immediately since it seemed like it was her arm pinned directly on the ground by the car frame.
The look in Natalie's eyes when Sara says "Natalie" -- very well-acted.
Sara: "Guess I have a fear of trunks. My business, you only find one thing in them."
When Natalie gave Sara pills and water, I thought Sara was resisting and I was waiting for Sara to spit it out -- 'cause hi, she abducted you, surely she will drug you after you nearly escaped (I also don't understand why Natalie ignored the trunk light being on).
When the coyote(?) showed up, I was literally scared. I also liked that it gave us a reason for why she wouldn't stay near the car after getting out. I understood less why she kept moving in the heat of the day. Moving to high ground made sense when I realized she was going to look around -- and the terror of being nowhere (no landmarks or any indicators at all) was really well-acted.
I liked the scene of Nick remembering that conversation with Sara (and then of course I was trying to remember whether they do find the girl in that episode).
When I actually got teary, though, was seeing Greg in the helicopter.
The first time we saw Nick driving after we found out that Sara had gotten out from under the car I knew he was gonna be the one to find her (though how he managed to notice the lump of her prone form from that distance -- when she collapsed, I literally said, "Good girl, pass out in the shade").
Grissom saying it's 110 degrees out, she's been outside all day... "She's disoriented, she's dehydrated..."
Catherine: "She's a survivor."
me: You're just saying that to make him feel better.
To no one's surprise, I was literally crying by the end of that final scene.
I like Trekker's commentary a lot:
Such a beautiful show, so beautifully shot. They bring that desert to life, make it real, make it hot, make it deadly. You feel it.
You can have a whole episode with barely any dialogue beyond an occasional work-related murmur, and still be completely gripping, and emotionally powerful.
You have female characters who are real people, who are smart people, strong people, interesting people.