Yet making the big bucks us reviewers do here at Criminal Minds Round Table *laughing hysterically while looking over my shoulder for an admin coming at me*, short, sweet and succinct doesn't pay the bills. hehehehehehehehehe
WHAT I LIKED
There's so much. But it starts with the awesome team episode that we Criminal Minds fans got to enjoy. All of the characters were, well, very much the characters that I and the rest of us Criminal Minds fans have come to know.
Morgan was the tactician, reviewing the case details and working the profile like the senior profiler he now is. Kate, no longer a newbie, chipped in as well while obviously now being on the "mom-to-be BAU bench". May I add that's very realistic and I like it.
JJ was the ever growing JJ character that I really like. Yes, I know I'm in the vast minority with that opinion. I respect those that don't share that point of view; I just ask the same back. Anyway, it was a kick in pants moment for me to see JJ do an interview solo with her mentor Rossi watching at the window. The master watched as she did a great solo interview; with a little Rossi sass for good measure. And for once, JJ and Morgan's tag team was great in the second interview of Dylan. I'll agree with many of you on those two taking down the Unsubs all the time.
This episode's duo du jour was Reid and Garcia. I totally loved their scene together about the croissant; with Reid then morphing into being… well… Reid. That was a great touch. And I highly expected Mhattew Gray Gubler, with his directing stint coming up next, to be a no show. So it was a plus to see more screen time of him.
And then there's Reid and Rossi's take-down of Cora Gilliam that was wonderful as well. The two most non-athletic field BAU members got it done; and in FBI textbook style I might add. That was a total win in my book.
My kudos go most to how Bruce wrote Rossi. He brought out the true David Rossi; his gut not working like with three ex-wives; to tossing his black notebook down on the table to start his interview with Ezra. The Rossi total bad-ass snark machine was in high gear. I loved it! That's my Rossi! Atta boy Bruce.
The second thing I really liked was Bruce Zimmerman finally got the memo. The Unsub does not have to be in the opening scenes of a Criminal Minds episode. The team slowly worked through the clues, using the "old school" BAU tactics of profiling and interviewing to narrow down a suspect. Add in that Garcia was in total character during the episode, doing her job; but it was using what the team had developed from their profile instead of her coming up with the great answer on her own. Hotch gave her the final clue, surmising that May 3 was the birth-date of the illegitimate child. Hotch also figured out the no sex angle with Mark being a half-brother. Gideon is smiling from his afterlife.
WHAT I REALLY, REALLY LIKED
It all starts with the super hyped guest star in the presence of one Ed Asner. I remember Ed long before his breakout role as "Lou Grant" on the MTM comedy and then his dramatic turn with the same character. "Rich Man, Poor Man" was a huge mini-series my senior year in high school and I loved it. His success after that is no surprise to me.
So in my mind, it was only Ed Asner that could bring the outwardly curmudgeon Roy Brooks to life. The deities bless Bruce for giving Ed the opening salvo at the end of Act 1 to Hotch that was Roy's first scripted line. "Shuddup." I almost pee'd my pants laughing so hard. It was total Ed. He was the only person that could get away with telling Aaron Hotchner that. Period. And yet Bruce wrote the same Roy that lamented to Aaron, looking at Haley's picture later: "I won't know who she is," reflecting on his life soon to come. My heart broke with that line.
All of us Criminal Minds fans complain, loudly, about the lack of love the TV Academy gives to our beloved show. Yet, I’m willing to bet, much like Ed's guest role on "CSI:NY" a few years back, this one might possibly garner him a nomination for best guest appearance. It will be well deserved. Too bad the TV Academy voters, so set against crime procedurals won't see the light and won't give Ed the love again. (Ed got robbed on his role in that "CSI:NY" episode)
And then there's Molly Baker, the wonderful portrayer of Jessica Brooks. Bruce Z. gets kudos amundos for finally giving this wonderful actress a chance to shine instead of her usual 30 seconds of screen time and out. And Molly didn't miss the pitch. She nailed a homerun. The opening scene with her and Thomas and then showing a crack in her armor? Just thinking back on that again: d*mn where's my tissue box again.
Someone said the eyes are the key to the soul; or something like that. Thomas Gibson has perfected the art of acting through this eyes. The near tears at Roy not letting Aaron off the hook for Haley's death was so amazing and riveting. I could see the old demons that Aaron has tried to put behind him rearing their ugly head once again at the tears he refused to let fall.
And sorry my fellow Criminal Minds fans; if Thomas didn't get nominated for "100", don't even think about it happening for this one. I know; that totally sucks.
So this all brings me to Bruce Zimmerman. Like my friend severeCMaddict, I believe this is the best script Bruce has ever penned. First off, to work in the B plotline through the episode was fantastic as many have pointed out. No bookends here; it worked throughout and blended in well. He also gave some of the cast a chance to shine; yes Thomas being the most. And his no Unsub until the episode was three-fourths finished now gets Bruce into my Virgil Williams' Big Dog Club. It was wonderful from start to finish.
Criminal Minds episode, she obviously did her homework. And it shined in the little, little touches. The picture of the Viking ship, obviously colored by Jack over the sink as Hotch came out of the kitchen with Roy's sandwich. Plus the picture of Aaron, Haley, baby Jack, Roy and Mrs. Brooks that Hotch focused on was just a little two second piece of film that I immediately noticed. I asked Harry Bring about it on Twitter. He tweeted back that it was done specifically for the episode. So Meredith Monroe was around as well. That's sorta neat in my world. Laura did a fantastic job with this episode. But h*ll: Bruce gave her plenty to work with.
Guess again: y'all know me better than that. But it's only one.
In the opening scene, Hotch said Jack was in 5th grade. That does not compute in the Rockie continuity book. Jack was born in season 1; so he's now 9 years old; that means 4th grade. I immediately picked up on that live chatting with some friends on Twitter. One said, "maybe they're catching up on how much Cade had grown?" Another said, "Jack is smart enough to move up a grade."
As many of you know, continuity is a huge complaint of mine when it comes to Criminal Minds. And I blistered Bruce's butt over his major continuity gaff in my review of his episode in season 9 with the "Day of the Dead" party at Garcia's and the "Tet Offensive" in Vietnam.
That said, I can almost look past this goof. Because yes, Cade Owens (Jack) has grown up way too much before our eyes. And that alone is why I may let this slide.
Criminal Minds PTB for keeping this wonderful young man around for seven seasons. And I will not pile on the bus, criticizing Cade's line delivery or acting abilities. This is where I draw a big-time-line-in-the-sand: he's a damn kid. Back down. And I really don't care if that upsets anyone. I've got a nephew his age. I say again; he's a kid. And for the naysayers about Cade; in my world the kid was outstanding with the great Ed Asner. He's got game in my world. And then some. Sit down and leave the kid alone.
Bruce may have missed that continuity point; but the Criminal Minds bigwigs have not missed the bigger continuity picture keeping Cade around all these years. I’m a happy family Hotchner camper.
Gee, it's not rocket science. It started with a great script from Bruce Zimmerman. The much unheralded behind the scenes crew of Criminal Minds was at its best again with all the little stuff that Laura Belsey just nailed. And Laura guided them and let her cast bring their "A" game.
So Rockie's grade is easy: A+
~~~~rockhotch31 (Guest reviewer)