First, the pros of the episode: derby is shown fairly accurately. As you can see in the picture above, they have the gear seemingly right (see the pivot helmet panty?). They show players getting up in the penalty box (which looks like a prop in an exotic dancer club, but more on that later), they don't purely show derby as wrestling on skates. Players have individual personalities and back-stories. They even show a player who was seriously injured in a bout, leading to life-changing consequences. The representation of derby often doesn't get past the rink or address the fact that roller derby's sexy danger can have consequences, so it's heartening to see CSI doing so.
One particularly good aspect of the episode is an emotional explanation of what a 'derby wife' is, namely a fellow player you count on as your special derby buddy, your skate-sister, the person who gets in the ambulance with you. I know the derby wife phenomenon isn't popular with every player (more on this later in the week), but it's an aspect of derby often glossed over and in this episode, Wrath of Connie's relationship with her derby wife is one of the healthiest connections depicted in the hour.
Also, it's a bit of a True Blood reunion. Lindsay Pulsipher, who plays Crystal on TB, plays an injured derby player here. Todd Lowe, who plays the amazing Terry Bellefleur, plays a complete jerk here, albeit one on a motorcycle, so if that's your thing, watch this. Also, someone punches Ryan, so it's a good hour in television history.
Their "Sin Bin" isn't regulation (it only has room for one skater), but it's in keeping with the sexy vibe the show is going for. Also, helmet hair is often suspiciously absent. Personally, I like my derby girls realistically gross, but the show apparently disagreed. The largely male CSI team dealing with the girls at the match and commenting by saying things like "I don't whether I'm scared or turned on" might be a deconstruction of the role of the male gaze in derby, but I doubt it. Largely, the team is there to get frightened and turned on , as is the viewership of CSI (let's be honest here).
Ultimately, the episode "Wheels Up" isn't bad. I was pleasantly surprised, even. But will someone tell the writers Corey Evett and Matthew S. Partney not to bother raising the spectre of the obsessive, potentially lesbian desire-fueled room-mate? The only lesbian panic I want in my roller derby is being shocked to find we don't have enough of them and going out to get more.