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February 2017



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criminal minds hotch shades of justice

"The FBI knows how to play ball."

Criminal Minds 04x16, "Pleasure is my Business," written by Breen Frazier, directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton.

Niiiice. I'm putting this in my top three for the season so far, with "Normal" and "Memoriam." Ahh, mid-season. When the network isn't paying attention, and the show gets to snuff people any old which way.

The cold open is totally dedicated to deconstructing the male gaze. We start off with a scene that should be shot to titillate, and really isn't. Rather than being objectified, the lingerie-clad blonde becomes our point of view.

DNA and fingerprints on the wine glass!

Breen Frazier. I should have known. He seems to be the show's resident feminist, and he does a good job of it. Nice, man.

Hotch, watching Jack learn to ride a bike. Poor Hotch. :-( And he, being Hotch, tries to send the guy going straight to the top through channels, but the caller wants the old boy's network, not some jumped-up secretary. (Not that Hotch would ever think of JJ that way.)

"The politics of this are your problem."

The businesswoman getup falls apart around the hooker heels.

"These Tokyo markets are killing me."

UNSUB is trying to flirt with the nice FBI agent and getting nowhere. Awww. She's sharp, and I like that.

Nice Camille Paglia quote, guys. Gee, I'm pretty sure that was meant ironically.

"So basically, women are more efficient at killing."
"Historically, they've had body counts in the hundreds."

"Every silver lining has a dark cloud." JJ win!

No, Reid, the rest of us don't have an eidetic memory.

Oooo, Hotch has a stalker.

Not only did they totally fucking deconstruct the Male Gaze in the cold open, but they just personalized and valorized a trophy wife as a human being. I think I love Mrs. Anders.

Oh, CM. Just say no to fake Texas accents.

"You're a problem solver."
"And we have a mutual one."
I also love Ellen Daniels.

"Actually, there's a lot of overlap between real estate and sex work."
Apparently, Reid has been hanging out at Prentiss's place. Wasn't she in a high rise, last time we looked? Must have bought a place.

"I teach a class." Oh, honey. You rock.
"Now. Who wants a scone?"
I also love that this episode has gone out of its way to give us a wonderful assortment of really rocking female secondary characters.
Speaking of rocking, how about Prentiss and those burgundy highlights? Nice.
Hookers hit on Reid. It's the law.

"It's not for sex."

Hee. Hotch and his boys: still running better game than you.

"And here's a picture of him as fetish Batman. That is... wrong."

Prentiss asks about the kids.

"That's cold."
"Narcissistic, self-absorbed."
I love this scene.
Reid, were you up late? Itchy eyes? Oh honey, that plaid sweater. You may be dressing less like Gideon, these days, but you have not stopped dressing like yourself.
And JJ knows *just* how to sell it to them. And Ms. Barnes steps up. Oh, Mr. Frazier, you clever boy. I love what he's doing with gender roles here. And all in a episode that centers on a male character and his failings as a father and husband. Makes him the object of her gaze.

Awww. Poor Trent. He's hapless and adorable and looks rather a lot like my friend colomon's older brother.

"The FBI knows how to play ball." Oh, sweetie, your privilege and your assumptions are showing.

"Hey Prentiss. Got a whip?"  Nice way to objectify your partner, Morgan. *g* I love Prentiss's eyeroll.
Also, I love this scene.
Garcia saves the day.
"Prentiss, get ready to vamp."

"But I've disappointed you, haven't I?" Oh, look at Hotch setting himself up as the target.
"In hotels, you take the side elevator."
And Hotch is doing to her exactly what she does to her clients. He's understanding her, reflecting her, giving her an ear.

Garcia has the best superpowers!
Devolving! Drink!
We crack the case!
Hotchalanche! Oh, I love him when he uncorks that on a deserving target.

More smart, capable businesswomen. You know, this show is better at sex workers than anything else I have ever seen on TV.

Oh, daddy. "That's what they told me you liked."
The lawyer's already got Andrew dead. She's talking about him in the past tense. *g*

"You're my little girl." Yeah, and if I get you out of the country, I can conceal what you were trying to reveal.

Oh, she is so playing him.

Paglia is just wrong (Oh, please, honey) and Hammett is wrong is a different and more subtle kind of way.

I'm not thrilled with the last scene, because I can't imagine that Hotch wouldn't have tried some sort of first aid, but then again, it's not like induced vomiting or CPR would help with a fast-acting neurotoxin.

Lose. And another big lose. They didn't save the UNSUB. They didn't save the sympathetic victim.

All they got was cold scraps of victory in dismantling a tiny little corner of a vast edifice of hypocrisy.

"You're the first man I ever met who didn't let me down."

"The attorney general denied that he was responsible for the leak of the client's names." No, really. I suspect somebody took care of that for him.

Somebody with a finely-honed sense of ethics and fair play.


Usually I write while CM is on, but this week I was pretty riveted. (Funny enough--LIFE, which airs at the same time on ABC, used the exact same Hammett quote this week.)
I was struck by that too. I also wondered what the odds were that (given the airing schedule) Reid and Prentiss were talking to the madam at the same time Crews was?

It was odd symmetry.
[the determinedly non-viewer of TV programs silently wonders for the nth time what "UNSUB" means, but has finally learned her lesson and googled it for herself ;-)]
Mmmm....Toll House, my favorite cookie.
Which inspired me to do the same. Good to know.
They didn't save the UNSUB. They didn't save the sympathetic victim.

I keep thinking of the UNSUB as the sympathetic victim. The official Sympathetic Victim was kind of a doofus.
Seriously. This one, I was practically rooting for the unsub to keep killing, please.

I think I might be ever-so-slightly prejudiced against rich aging over-privileged businessmen. :P
No! Really? But they're all perfect! Just ask them!
That would be funny, if it weren't such an accurate description of an inaccurate self-image.

...Actually, it's still pretty funny.
I say it about myself fairly often. Usually I'm kidding. ;-)
Actually, Megan's father does say it. Why would she kill all those men? They were such good guys!
She's a sympathetic villain. That's different. *g*
She had more brains than your average UNSUB, that's for sure. Too bad Professor Rothschild wasn't from Houston. She'd have eaten him for breakfast.
That's what I love about CM; the writers even flesh out the UNSUB to the point where the titular villain is sympathetic enough that the viewer regrets that she died rather than turn herself in. The Hotch-UNSUB interaction at the end was actually rather poignant, in contrast to Prentiss' confrontation of the father.
I'm moderately fascinated by that opening sequence because of the difference between a semi-clad sex object and woman in bra and panties. (And whether that's a matter of camera work or acting or a combination of both)
Yep. That was a woman in a state of undress. I think it's both....
Hotchalanche -- *Snerk!*

I also liked how Rossi was kind of standing back with hands in pockets, and the full knowledge that not only could he not top that, he absolutely did not have to. When Mom ain't happy, Dad just stands back and fields 'em back into play.
*g* I'm still not ready to accept Rossi as Dad OR Bill Cosby, but yeah. When Hotch has a mad on, you just get the fuck out of the way and hold the bucket.

Because somebody is gonna need a bucket.
It's not a party till someone goes home cryin, as my ex would say...
We used to say that it's not a party until someone ELSE goes out the window....
Hi - I've been lurking here for a while and have posted anonymously a couple times as Stephanie G. I finally got an LJ.

You are entirely responsible for my CM addiction, for which I'm grateful. I liked this episode very much too, and have a few thoughts about it.

I like how Megan's female gaze is illustrated by the snapshots taken in her scenes with the victims. The first time I watched this episode, I thought they were actual snapshots being taken and that someone was going to get blackmailed by them. Looking back though, I think they are a cinematographic choice that emphasizes that we are seeing what she is seeing.

She does not kill the second guy we see her with. He's the one she makes sure is up in time to see his kids off to school.

It made me wonder why she killed Trent. Certainly, she was devolving, as Morgan says. But despite his faithfulness to his wife, he still sound really smug and privileged when he tells her that they have the FBI in their back pocket and that the FBI knows how to play ball. I think that was enough to label him in her mind as someone who used other people for his own gain.

I continue to love and watch for your weekly summaries!
Hi! I think you're right about Guy #2: I mentioned that in my (forthcoming) tor.com review. (I try to have different stuff in both posts, because to do otherwise is lame!)

And yeah, Trent was problematic. Sympathetic in some ways, but still soaking in privilege.
She was going to let him go until he started showing off with all his insider knowledge.
Wasn't she in a high rise, last time we looked? Must have bought a place.

She probably wanted to get away from the view.
Can't blame her even a bit.

I love that Reid not only knows where she lives, but researched it. Awww. Wondergeek powers activate!
I'm imagining Star Trek marathons at her place.

Is it too much to hope that they're Farscape fans?
It's definitely not too much to hope.
(Is it too much to hope that Emily has a crush on Aeryn?)
That MIGHT be projection. *g*
I am unashamed. *g*
ExCUSE me! Even straight girls have a crush on Aeryn! I think it's reasonable to assume crush unless proven otherwise!
I didn't occur to me until i read this, but yes, totally.
A crush only superceded by her crush on Vala. ^^

The eidetic memory accounts for him knowing her date of birth. But the history of her building?

...No, no. I do not 'ship. *g* Farscape marathons, it is.
They are either bestest buds evar, or something's up. I choose to believe in A.

But she's not the one responsible for his scary blowdried hair, because it went away again. (Thank god!) *g*
I think Reid disposed of his collection of dubious cardigans. He traded them for truly abominable sweater vests. *g*
No, he had the dubious grayish cardigan on a week or two ago, and the questionable sweatervests have always been with us. There is no escaping The Bad Sweater Brigade!
Oh, but never as questionable as that brown one with the watch chain (which apparently ends in an actual watch, since he wasn't wearing one on his wrist)! I think that one was knitted for someone six inches shorter. The extraordinarily forceful argyle vest we'll count as baseline. In spite of its forcefulness. *g*

And I think the dubious grayish cardigan, stretched-out and dejected as it looks, is less horrific than the navy one with the crest! or the brown one with lime-green trim! which make me groan and salute the wardrobe department.

Heeee. Poor Reid. One gray sportcoat and a new purple scarf forward; two disturbing sweater vests back. But at least I know the nice black trench coat is still in his closet. (Seen two weeks ago. Before that, last seen in *gulp* Atlanta.)
The most dubious cardigan is the one with the little cutout square holes.

He must have left the trenchcoat in the car, and JJ saved it for him.

(You are officially in charge of tracking wardrobe from now on.)
Have we ever seen Reid and JJ's black trenchcoats in the same place? Because I swear, she has one that's almost identical to his.
And as a return to their 'profilers talk about themselves in the profile' tendency, Prentiss was the one who talked about how the unsub grew up with an absent, abandoning father-figure ...
At least Reid's latest vests have buttons. I always coveted his tan cardigan, but then realized that it was so much like his Mom's (or did the wardrobe dept. pull a fast one on us and use the same one?) that it started creeping me out.

I loved this episode. I aked the same question as the unsub: how could Haley have ever left Hotch (we know the "why", but the "how"?). And this isn't the first time Hotch has held a dying woman's hand, and I absolutely love how it isn't any easier the next time; he hasn't been jaded or hardened when it comes to people in need of empathy and compassion, unsub or not.

As an aside, I thought it was interesting that Reid not only knows where Prentiss lives but things about her building. And not only her birthdate but the time of birth! He'd make a great stalker - how would he know that unless he saw her birth certificate - most people don't know their own time of birth :) The fact that the madam was hitting on Reid went completely over my head, tho. Is that why he was so flustered, or is it the writers just trying to keep up the fantasy of cluless, inexperienced Reid? ("I teach a class" was my favorite line; do either of them really need a class?)

Haley leaving

It could easily be a matter of self-preservation for her -- if it's easier/more doable to single-mom it than to put up with the stress having Hotch unavailable and unpredictably, suddenly out of town while still nominally in her (and Jack's) life, the emotional calculus makes a lot of sense.

--> Child of divorce ...
"What did you have in mind?" Totally hitting on him. And totally doing it just to fluster him. *g*

Yeah, Reid knows all SORTS of things about Emily. Interesting, isn't it?

Unless he was researching her when he was pissed off/suspicious, it seems like a pretty broad hint.
Actually what I find most fascinating about the fact that Reid knows her birth date and time of birth was that no one seemed surprised that he did.
Garcia went to him for the information because I think everyone expects him to know their DOBs but no one really batted an eyelid at all the extra info which if it was unusual I think would have been prime teasing material. Although perhaps teasing Prentiss at the time was more interesting to them... :: shrugs::

Just watched this episode. Definitely one of my favorites this season.

"The attorney general denied that he was responsible for the leak of the client's names." No, really. I suspect somebody took care of that for him.

Somebody with a finely-honed sense of ethics and fair play.

Ah, yes. The return of SSA Aaron "Screw the rules, I have ethics" Hotchner. And we love him for it.
That stuff they do in the background. Like Hotch letting Morgan walk from lockup. *g*