Yes, this is the episode that Taylor Swift guest starred in and shockingly, she was pretty good in it. Speaking of "pretty good," it's hard for a procedural like this show (IMO) to keep the quality up after all these years and not feel like they're re-hashing plots, and especially after losing William Petersen, but I think this was one of the best episodes to date.
It was otherwise the Nick Stokes show...which is a good thing, because George Eads easily could carry the show if he were main actor on the cast. He's very likeable, which is more than I can say about either Warrick or Sara.
I thought I might give it up for good after Grissom left 'cause I'd found it pretty boring for a while -- like you said, that's the nature of a procedural show, but it really felt like there were zero stakes whatsoever except for the annual episode where one of the cast is the victim. But I thought that this was good as was that other recent one with the intertwining stories. I should set my DVR to where it only records the ones where they break from their formula and jump around in time.
The look on Carson's face was priceless. He must really like Diet Pepsi. I too enjoyed the FedEx ad the most. It was one of the ones my wife missed and it really lacked pop when I tried to recreate it for her.