That’s my word and I’m sticking to it.
Jane Lynch deserves a freaking Emmy.
Those of us who spend way too much time watching movies by… say… Christopher Guest… are very familiar with funny Jane Lynch, who was delightful in Best In Show and A Mighty Wind ( one of my top twenty movies of all time- I should post that list…) and I love her. I adore her. And her turn as Diana Reid is one for the ages. I commented last week on how she’s not portraying Diana as a stereotypical TV schizophrenic. She doesn’t appear troubled. She just is. And I love that about her on Criminal Minds.
Oh, and what an episode we got this week. Our beloved genius Dr. Reid has a huge chip on his shoulder, and as brilliant as he is, he still allowed emotion to color his investigative skills. Top that with an exquisitely raw performance by Matthew Gray Gubler and you have what is the best episode of the series. Bar none. Kudos as well to writers Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie for crafting an amazing script that allows for character growth of the highest calibre mixed with the psychology and crime fighting we love to see.
This episode picks up the day after the previous. The team has stayed in Vegas a night. Prentiss is paying for it with a hangover. Reid informs the team he would like to stay and ” visit his mother”. Yeah, right, we know Reid avoids Bennington Sanitarium like the plague if he can help it. Morgan knows better, but plays along. So Reid treks to the local precinct and asks to see all the files on Riley Jenkins. He meets the cop who responded to the scene. The family was the original group of suspects, but the detective never liked them for it. Reid has an alternative theory, but doesn’t share it with our neighborhood Friday. He instead takes the files back to his hotel room- where Morgan and Rossi are watching Y&R on the TV ( thank you, Ed, for that cookie! For those in the know, the producers like to leave little fan pieces called cookies- Reid driving is a cookie, the inside to any team members house is a cookie, the name Andy Swan is a cookie, and the fact Shemar Moore is watching Y&R- major cookie. Mrs. Fields cookie worthy). Morgan can’t believe that Reid keeps trying to get away with lying to profilers who see him every day. Rossi insists that they are here to help Reid sort out his subconscious mind scrambles and if they had a suspect. Reid informs them that he has one- his father.
Truth be told, I actually feel very little sympathy for William Reid, but my own father issues may have something to do with that as well. Spencer has every right to be pissed at the man. Who abandons their ten year old son and schizophrenic wife? Who abandons their ten year old son with their schizophrenic wife? But those scenes in Revelations now make more sense. But William Reid is surprised to see Spencer ( Spencer seems ready to punch his father when they meet up, but instead lashes out with arcane facts- the best way to fight is to say you can’t possibly resemble someone you haven’t seen in nearly two decades). But he is not shocked by the fact Spencer would see him as a murderer in a dream. ” I stopped being surprised by Spencer’s mind a long time ago,” he admits. Spencer is unimpressed by anything William has to say.
Spencer Reid started out in season one a quiet, meek human computer, good for exposition and facts. His emotions ranged from A to C. It wasn’t till ” L.D.S.K.” we got a little something from Reid, and he grew a bit in the last two thirds of the season. ” Sex, Birth, And Death” was a real gut kick of emotion, and the one that proved how conflicted Reid was. Reid has a tendency to identify with the unsubs more often than not, and to be that brilliant with that much internalized anger must make for one troubled angry young man. You know everything, but try to deny feeling anything. He’s a walking example of a John Osborne character is Osborne wrote CBS crime shows instead of kitchen sink dramas. Here, Spencer is a boiling cauldron of fierce emotions. He seems willing to sacrifice anything and everything to nail the person who hurt him the most in this world, even as everyone around him keeps saying that William Reid doesn’t fit the profile. The arrival of a possible real suspect doesn’t faze Spencer. He plows ahead, and in his determination to prove his dream the truth, he sends his mother over the edge, causing a spastic freak out. Jane Lynch ( glowing here) does the most graceful melt down on TV. Even here, in the most stereotypically crazy moment, she somehow underplays it, and seems lucid enough to recognize the truth in the face of her son’s painful accusations directed at a man she still feels a connection to ( is it me, or does she still wear a ring on her left ring finger?). Spencer, even as the evidence mounts to point the finger at Gary Michaels, is convinced everyone is trying to protect William Reid by producing a more obvious, and therefore convenient suspect. When Michaels turns up in CODIS as a murder victim, and the real truth about the bloody clothes William Reid burned in the backyard BBQ pit comes out, Reid is almost shell shocked by it. He admits to his momentarily reunited parents that he was wrong about everything. William admits that he left because the secrets were too much to bear, no matter how hard he tried to keep it all together. I suspect, due to ” Revelations” scene moments, that Diana Reid went downhill after the incident. And then, sounding like the sad ten year old he seems to still be at moments, Spencer looks at his father and says ” You could have come back.” Even a genius can believe in the myth of his divorced parents somehow getting back together again. Even when he’s now twenty seven.
The B story this week was about JJ. JJ had her baby, folks, a boy named Henry. Poor Jordan lost out on two weeks of training as JJ went into labor early. But JJ had her baby. Thing I love about CM- even the woman going into labor scene was atypical of TV story telling. No one panicked ( except JJ- she was in labor, that should happen). Hotch, Prentiss, and Garcia were family, talking her through it and aiding her without freaking out. When Reid finally gets home, he visits JJ, who asks him to be Henry’s godfather. Reid is hesitant- babies are not his thing, he has believed- but he takes one look at Henry and the emotions run high. One call, and Henry is in CalTech, although Yales pretty good, too. It was Spencer’s safety school.
Overall- amazing. So good. Performances all around were great, but again, the show would have fallen apart if Matthew Gray Gubler and Jane Lynch do not play with the levels of subtlety they do. Understated performances by these two anchor the story, and they both shine. Jane Lynch right now is the front runner in my upcoming annual Pedalicious awards. Just so you know. There’s still… six weeks left to try and stop her, you know. And Gubler- he keeps impressing me as an actor. He’s always been charismatic and charming, but these last two episodes show his astonishing range and his control of that range. Blow me out of the water, Gubes. You deserve a shot at Emmy gold yourself. And I thought you deserved a nod last year for “Elephant’s Memory”.
Grade- A+ ( A++ for realsies, but I really shouldn’t be ridiculous with my grades, you know).