Archive for October, 2008

I’m trying not to die of joy due to recently released spoilers about episode seven. Reid- William Reid… you have some explaining to do…

I guess it’s safe to say that any episode that features Dr. Spencer Reid gets an automatic love note from me, seeing as I adore Matthew Gray Gubler. But the truth is that the Reid focus episodes are among the strongest written of the series. From ” Somebody’s Watching” through to ” Sex Birth And Death”, ” Revelations”, ” Jones”, and ” Elephant’s Memory”, they remain among my favorites.  This one is also high up on my list. Of course, Reid episodes also have some of the strongest unsubs- and some surprisingly great performances. James Vanderbeek gave his single best performance in his life as Tobias in ” Revelations”. Luke Perry proves to be a revelation of a kind in ” Minimal Loss”. As someone who spent way too much time watching the original 90210 as a teen, I never thought much of Perry as an actor. This ( and his creepy turn on L&O SVU earlier this season) proved me wrong. Perry is quite compelling as Benjamin Cyrus. It’s easy to see him as a charismatic wing nut. He is charismatic. And quite scary in his quiet way.

Reid and Prentiss show up in Colorado to interview children with Children’s Services after a call is placed about child molestation and underage marriages. At first, Cyrus is cautiously welcoming, but when he is tipped off about a raid, the heavily armed cult he leads enter a shoot out with state police. This gets the actual child services killed, and Reid and Prentiss are de facto hostages of a cult with heavy duty weaponry and a leader with a deep messianic complex. The team freaks out when the news hits national networks, and they all head to Colorado.

Hotch decides to let Rossi lead the hostage negotiations ( and then a swoon worthy Hotch pissed off moment with the Colorado AG- awesomeness and sexy). Rossi and Hotch present the minimal loss scenario- try to save as many as possible, but they cannot save them all. The team know they not only have to profile the cult, but Prentiss and Reid as well. Rossi begins slowly as to build trust- being told that Prentiss and Reid are alright ease some anxiety momentarily. The one thing I noticed about Perry’s performance at this moment is the eerie calm he exhibits. Some actors miight be inclined to play it rougher and crazier. The thing about Cyrus is that he doesn’t ever appear crazy even when he clearly is a bushel short of a load. He is pleasant, obliging, even while being unco-operative. A tricky balance.

Trust needs to be earned, and Rossi tries his best to get the children out. But Cyrus instead decides to keep the kids as protection, and Reid and Prentiss observe the wine ceremony, the calm of Cyrus, the body language of Jessica, the girl that they were called to interview, and Jessica’s mother, and then the bomb drops. Cyrus announces that they have drank poison, but Rossi, seeing Cyrus’ calm, and Reid, seeing Cyrus’ reaction to the followers fear or anticipation, both call it as a bluff.

One small quibble- Jeff Fahey in a single scene? Indelible in that scene. Wish there had been more. As the former leader of the group, he was astonishing.

Our cult leader was born Charles McGrew, and has a record of child molestation. He was a ” model prisoner” after discovering God. Bad news- child molesters who survive general pop in prisons will never give up. And then the news breaks- there is an undercover FBI agent on the compound. Cyrus points a gun at Reid, who never breaks character, and Prentiss gives herself up. She gets beaten severely, nearly sending Rossi and Hotch over the edge, but Rossi’s rationality and Prentiss’ coded answers prevent the team from going in. Separated, Prentiss and Reid begin their specialties- Prentiss, being tended by the mother, begins to hint that she knows that the mother placed the call, and Reid uses his intellect to get into Cyrus’ good graces. Reid influences Cyrus’ decision making by playing the hostage negotiation handbook against Cyrus, and the bugs planted by the team allow them in on the plan. Rossi holds up his end of the bargain by playing along, and one child is set free. Trust is earned, after all.

Cyrus rounds up those who are not the true believers and frees them. Reid realizes that he needs to get a message out to the team to warn them of when they will go in, and tells Prentiss to wait for that signal. The team uses the food delivery to tell Reid when it happens. Prentiss uses the knowledge of bugs to get a message out to tell her when it will happen. Morgan uses a laser scope to tell her, and Reid gets Hotch’s written message on the food. Prentiss than confronts the mother and tells her that there will be a violent end and the only hope to save her daughter from Cyrus is to listen to her. The mother agrees to help after seeing the men prepping explosives, and gets the women and children out. Reid uses his eidetic memory of the bible to try and stop the insanity, but fails, and gets a couple of slams to the gut as payment for his actions. Fortunately, the team gets in and takes the men out before they can set off the explosives. But Jessica, a true believer, runs back in, and seeing Cyrus dead, she picks up the detonator. Reid and Morgan barely escape as the building explodes in a huge fireball.  After, on the plane, Prentiss makes a point of telling Reid that her beating was not his fault, that it was her choice and she did not regret it.

Overall, one of the best episodes of Criminal Minds in the history of the series. Strong performances by Gubler and Paget Brewster, and stunning ones by Perry and Fahey, make it a keeper.

Grade- A+

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To all Cougars, and you all know who you are.

Please, chill out about the news about DC and the Grammys. I agree with his people not submitting LO and TOML for consideration. TOML is not a song I want him associated with for longer than necessary, and LO would be lost in the eligibility shuffle ( cut off was September 30). Trust me when I say he is doing the right thing, please?

Thank you for not stroking out before I told you all this.

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Sorry- I’ve been exhausted and busy all week. But I will have at least one review up tonight, I swear. Swear swear…

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This weekend, I’ll be posting some reviews and recaps I have yet to do due to time. I’m looking at House, HIMYM, last night’s CM, and a review of Jenny Lewis’ new album. I’ll try my best to get them all done.


I guess that was a wash…

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As I stated in my previous CM review and recap, last season was great but uneven at times. Season four started off with a bang last week, but this episode brings me back to the undisputed highlights for me of previous seasons- the last two episodes of season one, episodes 14 to 18 of season two, episodes 8 and 9 of season three, and almost matched the single best written episode in CM history, season three’s ” Elephant’s Memory”, which should have been enough to garner Matthew Gray Gubler some Emmy love, if not writer Andrew Wilder, who has written some of my favorite episodes ( including another season 1 highlight,  “L.D.S.K.”, which is the episode the show really began to gain it’s footing).

It seems that Lower Canaan, Ohio, was once home to a serial killer nicknamed the Angle Maker. The man was caught and sentenced to death, a sentence that was delivered on a year ago. A pretty blonde woman is alone at home, and is creeped out by a noise. After the ominous horror movie music, we discover it was her cat, eating from a pot on the kitchen counter. Silly girl ( and a little cliched, writer Dan Dworkin. Tsk, tsk. I think it knocked you down a bit from ” Elephant’s Memory” level).  Our lovely lady sees a shooting star and decides to make a wish. That’s when we see the intruder stealthily move behind her, vanishing into the house. Our fair maiden goes to bed… and our intruder decides to smash her over the head with a hammer.

Hotch is still having ear trouble, and bullies the ENT doctor into allowing him back into the field. JJ has a new case- the DNA of our dead serial killer has turned up in our victim. The police is feeling the stress, and our team heads off. Hotch decides to fly ( against doctors orders, for sure), and Reid tosses out the idea of an evil twin which gets the reaction you would expect from a group of profilers. The town hasn’t been the same, the chief says, as Hotch and Reid view our new crime scene. When a note arrives, Reid deems it to be authentic, and the chief exhumes the body of our serial killer- only to find the body missing. Then our team learns that the execution didn’t go off as planned- our killer died a long, slow, painful death. Justice for sure, I guess.

The team is going through the correpondence of our killer, and Morgan and Emily go off in search of a prison guard Morgan had met while at the prison gathering the letters. They find him dead- and then discover that he popped a Viagra before he died. It changes the profile from a male fan to a female fan, and the team now goes off to interview ladies. One, who clearly has to be insane to be  in love with this monster, finally tells them something useful- he once sent her a letter that was clearly meant for someone else, a woman he called his Dove.  And we get another victim, a daycare worker.

While examining the scene, Emily makes the connection of why the notebook paper appeared in the previous victim’s puncture wounds. Our unsub is using a template. Reid is still looking at letters, trying to figure out why the difference between the letters he sent to Dove and the ones to others. Reid deduces that there could be a code.

Emily finally comes up with a reason for the patterns- they are constellations in the Heavenly Waters, and our unsub is finishing our killer’s work. Reid breaks the code- it’s a binary code used by the Aryan Nation. The killer and our unsub seem to really be in love with each other ( creeptastic, no?) She got semen from our killer, and JJ suggests it might have been to conceive a baby. The team searches birth records, and finds one that clicks, but the baby died in the hospital, which set our unsub off, allowing her to leap into killer herself.

Off to the killer’s house we go, where it’s clear that she can’t let go of the loss- and the team finds the corpse of our killer in a trunk in the nursery.  The discovery of the day planner leads them to the name of the next victim.

Our killer is prepping to kill our next victim, and the team arrives at the house. Hotch sends Morgan to find a way  in to rescue the woman inside, and Emily tries to distract our killer through a megaphone. It works, and our killer wanders off from the victim, and Morgan helps her escape. But the profile states that our killer cannot be talked down, so as the team tries to figure out how to bring her in without hurting her, our killer takes the last pattern, inflicts it on herself, takes her gun, wanders outside, and dies by suicide by cop.

The episode was strongly written, with genuine moments of humor in the darkness ( my favorites- both Reid moments- are an exchange between Rossi and Reid where Reid goes on about the code being in plain sight, and Rossi asks what Reid will need to crack it. ” The ability to clone myself and a year’s supply of Adderall”. Then the second, Reid goes on about how he discovered the code and how they would usually use a computer to decipher but it was faster for him to do it long hand. Emily pokes his cheek and says ” He’s so lifelike.”) Strong performances by our team aid us, but the hidden unsub actually does allow for a genuine twist midway. I did expect a fan copycat, but not a woman ( again, statistics dictate most violent. serial criminals are men). Great editing and directing as well this week. Overall, a superior episode.

Grade- A

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My new recaps and reviews will be online Sunday ( maybe Saturday if I have six minutes to spare). It’s inventory week at work and I’m lucky I can eat ( and in fact, have not had a lunch break all week and I’ll be in Friday morning, even though I asked for it off.) HIMYM and Criminal Minds will both be done, as will House. Hopefully it’ll be all finished by Sunday night. Thanks for  your patience.

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