When first we see the hapless Charlie Senarak, he is digging a shallow grave somewhere in the middle of the night. For the initial several minutes of the episode, it looked like the classic [let us reveal and explain the UnSub to the audience right off the bat] pattern I've come to know and loathe.
To the diabolically manipulative Mitchell Crossford, Charley must've seemed like a winning Lotto ticket: someone who conveniently offs his recalcitrant brother, Theo Koutranis, AND provides a handy patsy with a plausible motivation for the sarin attack on the bus. (Nice red herring with the pony-tailed blond hurrying to catch her doomed ride, by the way.)
Tim Kang as Charley Senarak - What a revelation! The only role that I vaguely knew this actor from was as a stoic law enforcement character on THE MENTALIST, a show I didn't follow. Here, Mr. Kang got to show his range (and his rage) from hapless cuckolded husband, frazzled & unwitting murderer, loving father, and screaming maniac who's been pushed too far. He was able to keep my sympathy while at the same time demonstrating why perhaps his onscreen wife would've gotten bored and become susceptible to the machinations of the cult-raised brothers.
Also, thumbs up to Krish Ribeiro of Criminal Minds Wardrobe Dept., as well as the Hairstyling Team for selecting clothes and coiffures which effectively portray the differences in poor Charley's unraveling homelife and Ms. Perky Team Leader. Which brings us to...
Samantha Sloyan as Tracy Senarak - Ms. Sloyan is apparently styled as Super Bitch (more on the powers of the MakeUp Team later). The headshot I linked to above shows a fresh-faced actor who seems approachable, whereas Tracy (in the screencap paired with Charley) is a lying, careless, self-righteous adulterer who gives up her husband to Rossi more quickly than I'm able to snag an order of fries at a McDonald's. NICE LADY.
"Theo was...persistent." Oh, so YOUR willpower had nothing to do with the situation? I could go on and on (and on and on) about her character's unlikable qualities -- which Ms. Sloyan carries quite off convincingly but with an excellent veneer of normalcy -- but I think I've made my point. ;-)
Marisol Nichols as Agent Natalie Colfax -Was it my imagination? Or was there a certain sparkle in this SAC's eye when she rose to greet Hotch upon his arrival? Okay sure, I am TOTALLY biased in favor of our fearless BAU leader, but from their chitchat, clearly the two characters knew each other. I don't mean that they had a thing, but who DOESN'T appreciate an extremely capable visiting colleague who's also supremely easy on the eyes?
Stephen Kilcullen as Mitchell Crossford - We don't actually see a lot of him onscreen, but his voice acting was great: insinuating, dominating, calculating -- all the "-atings" you can think of that are in the handy dandy sociopath's toolkit. And well done to Mr. Kilcullen (and Sharon Lee Watson) for being able to loom over the proceedings from largely offscreen.
So far, I am liking Dr. Tara Lewis' calm, professional demeanor. Aisha Tyler's portrayal of her as someone with unflappable poise, as befits a mature agent able to handle a high pressure on-the-job interview (who can still roll up her sleeves and find common ground with deeply disturbed killers) makes a welcome change from Jennifer Love Hewitt's endlessly perky FBI jailbait Agent Kate Whatserface (Hey -- she was jailbait: that was Agent Kate's job... and yes, I've totally forgotten the character's surname).
Once again, the writers seem to be creating more of a rapport between Reid and the new, older female agent (shades of Jeanne Tripplehorn's departed character!) [Mother figure issues? Why would you say that? Just because Diana Reid is a permanent resident in a sanitarium...] If the powers that be continue to INSIST on foisting another cast member on us, we could do soooooo much worse.
|Please stop gilding the lily, as Ms. Tyler is perfectly capable of carrying off a matte shade lipstick with pizzaz.|
|See? No shiny lips on Agent Colfax but shiny -- even in profile -- on Dr. Lewis.|
While I was a bit underwhelmed with the season 11 premiere episode (and in fact, have not finished watching the last 10 minutes -- sacrilege, I know) THE WITNESS blew my socks off! Re-watching it to take notes for my review was no hardship at all, and in fact, was lots of fun :-)
Like the Project Runway judges I now try to approach episodes on an "unidentified" basis, where I don't know the team behind each episode. That way I don't bring certain expectations with me when I watch the episode initially. I also try to diligently avoid any and all spoilers beforehand. In this case, my spoiler-free, "blind" viewing policy paid off handsomely. GO, SHARON, GO!
* [every other one, except Garcia of the pink CV paper... Garcia is superhuman in her cyber skills, but pretty much the antithesis of a professional woman in a large, formal organization. WHAT! Am I wrong?!?]