Criminal Minds 4/2/08

Anyone see this last night?

It really felt like it was written by two or three people in different rooms, and stitched together like Frankenstein. The Rossi thread had to show us the dedicated but tormented agent who just couldn’t let it go; even to the point of buying the victims’ house. But it left us feeling warm and fuzzy at the end. :rolleyes: The Reid/Hotchner thread, on the other hand, had at least a sense of malice and menace of being in a locked room with a serial killer, and Reid’s tossaway line as he left was brilliantly evil. But the Garcia thread? Seriously, WTF?

I wondered what would happen when Mandy Patinkin left, but Mantegna is usually a reliable actor. The episode with Rossi and the militia (for example) had some interesting tension. Then I wondered what would happen when the writers returned, and this is the best they could do after all that time off?

I am a huge Criminal Minds fan, and I loved this episode! It showed different aspects of the agents–Hotch not always been so sure and level headed, Reid showing his ability to talk down a serial killer, the alluring Garcia, and Rossi showing human feelings under his military exterior.

The story with Hotch, Reid and the serial killer is actually based on a true incident. Robert Ressler, in the early days of setting up the FBI serial killer unit, was in prison interviewing convicted serial killer Emil Kempler for the second time. Ressler is a small, rotund, soft spoken man; Kempler is 6’9" and weighs about 300 pounds. When Ressler rang to be let out, nobody showed up. Kempler told him the guards were taking care of dinner and wouldn’t be there for about 20 minutes. Then he said “I could kill you right now. Twist off your head and leave it on the table to surprise the guard.”

Ressler realized he had make a huge mistake in trusting the serial killer, and did manage to talk him down. He then made it standard operating procedure to conduct interviews in pairs.

I liked the episode as well. However, my favorite part was the shot of Paget Brewster when they were at the carnival, and her head was blocking the sign so all you could see was “GACY” in huge letters behind her. Heh.

I liked it, but I felt a bit underwhelmed at the execution of Rossi’s big backstory. I don’t know why, but I wanted a bit more oomph out of it considering it was led up to for half the season.

Well, allow me to dissent.

I found the whole thing to be probably the worst written episode of the series so far. The ‘carnival’ revelation was ridiculous. Twenty years of investigating the crime, and Rossi didn’t know that the family had been at a carnival the day before the murders, where a weird clown intimidated the daughter so much that the entire family left the park? Puh-lease. Other elements were also silly … gee where do you get cheap toys like that? And a perp who travels around a regular circuit? For crap’s sake, why didn’t they just say “the crime scene smelled oddly like candy appples, and there were skee-ball tickets all over the floor … can’t figure it out.”

Reid and Hotch’s bit could have been interesting, but in the end went no where. It was a nice vignette, and basically ended with a punch line.

Garcia’s bit was … fine. I get a little tired of the watered down geek-talk, but she’s good and I like Nicholas Brendon, so whatever.

So we’ve got two bits of okay filler, wrapped around a core of worst-episode-ever.

I say “bleh.”