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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds gideon and morgan gun


This show is going to give me ulcers.

Dunno if Reid's shooting up, but he's definitely jonesing. And not sleeping. Flinchy, defensive, and fiddling with things. He's traded in his trademark paperclip for a ball point pen, I see. Still pretty sharp, though, when he's not jumping down everybody's throat with his spikes on.

Also, Reid not all over those cookies like cologne on an aging gigolo? A true sign of damage. Narcotics kill your appetite....

scruffy!Reid is not a good sign.

I have an alternatheory to drug use, although I dunno if the writers have the guts to do it. Because he could be twitchy from narcotics, or from psychological dependence (craving).

Or from post-traumatic stress.

Or he could be twitchy because he's suffered a brain injury. And if Reid thought he was losing his smarts? Man, that would explain the defensive. And the freakouts. Because that's where he thinks his value lies.

Also, I totally buy his PTSD freakout in the homeless shelter. That was Reid saying OMG I COULD GET KILLED ANY SECOND.

They do this trick a lot, where the characters TOTALLY project.

I like the layering of conversations. When we talk about PTSD, are we talking about the unsub, or the team? Or ourselves? As you know, Bob, everybody here is FUCKING BROKEN.

You know, if the directors will just get the HELL out of their way, this cast can carry anything the scriptwriters throw at them.

And again and again. Hump your own load. Nobody is going to carry it for you. Hi, we're the FBI, and we consider denial to be an art form.

I really wonder if Hotch is going to get a big enough clue to change the office culture. It's where I think they're going. They don't waste much, these guys.

The character development is slow, but it's precise.

You know, Hotch, storming in demanding to know what Reid is working on when he's working on what you TOLD him to work on, and is apparently working his shiny Spencer magic on it, isn't a nice way to make him feel you still have confidence in him.

Gideon was a tunnel rat. "I'd stake my life on it." Picture Mandy at 19. Short, slight, and wiry. And he ain't going in no hole in the ground.

And Morgan knows why.

Gideon relates to this guy. He's been there.

Poor Garcia. Poor Prentiss.

Criminal Minds drinking game: drink when a SWAT guy ices somebody who probably didn't need icing. The worst part is, I can't predict it. They change it up enough to keep you hoping we might get out of this week in one piece. And sometimes we do, and sometimes we don't.

Was Mandy actually shouting "OH SHIT?" My lip reading is not quite up to it....

Oh, that shot at the end from Prentiss to Reid--lowering his phone--and JJ turning away and trying to find the words. Beautiful.

It's Hotch's turn to lie comfortingly to Gideon.

Tell me another lie. I need to hear a few.

Usually, it's Gideon who is the true believer. Not this week. Another step to the edge.

Hi. Welcome to my TV show. It's a Greek tragedy.
Cop shows are not supposed to be this honest.
More boom.
Less scraping people off the pavement

This ep leaves me feeling haunted. There's Gideon an inch closer to broken, and JJ too (I notice they've changed her makeup) and Reid is just gone. I miss the ebullient Reid of old.

As, of course, I am meant to. If it didn't hurt, if you weren't praying for the rescue, it wouldn't be drama.

God, I love this show. It leaves me feeling squidgy and uncertain. I can't believe there is a TV SHOW that gives me butterflies.

For once, it wasn't Gideon's fault that somebody got shot. Fancy that!

Interesting to me that they're even abandoning the pretence that the individual episode plots are... well, not meant to stand alone, because each one has a beginning and a middle and an end. That they have a life outside the protagonists. The show is becoming a bit solipsistic: it's all about reflecting the internal life of the ensemble through the external happenings, and vice versa. It's not precisely an allegory... it's a demonstration in iterations. "Here is one way this story plays out. Here is another way this story plays out. Here is a third way this story plays out."

It's all about the interplay between the episodes, in other words, and not about the individual narratives at all.


"Should be simple." Hello, bitchy Reid. His hair is out of control.

Hotch's Significant Look at Reid after "be vigilant; nobody goes anywhere alone" is all the entertaining ever.

"Where's he going?"
"Find out when he gets back."

No subtext THERE.

Look, another black cop.

Gideon is already on the trail of an ex-military killer in this scene, I think: he only has one question: "Did the security guard fire his weapon?"

JJ, worst Southern Accent Ever.

Look, Reid's got another velvet jacket! Also, hello freaked out by loud noises. Echo echo echo.

Man, this guy with the jackhammer has a death toll.

"We're with the FBI."

Defensive much, Reid?
Prentiss is so gonna feed him a knuckle sandwich. And he will have earned it.

Oh, look at Reid beat feet out of there. He's shaking in his boots.

The confrontation between him and Emily is nicely done. And man, he looks like hell. Filthy hair.

Oh, Hotch, you know better than to ask for a lucky break. The universe you live in listens. And then you get to live with the nightmares.

Linguist Prentiss strikes again.

Oh, nice trick with the little girl having traumatic flashbacks.
Just like the unsub's.
Just like Reid's.
Just like Morgan's, if we remember back to last year.... "They were dead eyes. Accusing eyes. And they were looking at me."
And Hotch tries to help Maria ("What you did was very brave.") by giving her a hook to hang her recovery on, but all he has to offer Reid is Authority.

And now, we explain PTSD-war related-to the cop, en masse. As you know, Officer Friendly....

Prentiss, again with the sharp. She picks up on details. Like that wedding ring, and the drive time in REVELATION.

Oh, and Reid will not answer Mrs. Woodridge's question. "Why?"
Yes, Spencer, everyday things make you jumpy too.

Oh, and Gideon describing post-traumatic stress? Is so describing himself. Just like Reid is. Just as Prentiss is. I do not think it is an accident that those are the three characters discussing disassociation.

Combat Vet #2 does a nice job.

Oh, Mandy is good at his job. "A child." Voice of experience. And the implications in this conversation are lovely. So much subtle in the character interactions, when they let the actors carry it.

And there's a flash of the old Reid, in defense of the mentally ill, his voice breaking when he says "What happens if he tries to fight them?"

"He never really came home." Yeah, we know, says JJ. We're watching it happen to one of our own.

"He's reliving the worst moment of his life. He's gotta be terrified."

Garcia is so happy to have helped find this guy. Poor Garcia.

"Thank you God." Okay, that broke my heart. Damn.

Oh, the crane shot through the trees and then the flag? That works very well.
So does Garcia throwing in the headset.

"We're grateful to you." We just want a little attention.

I really like the Hotch and Gideon relationship. Two old warhorses.
And there's the refrain. "We did everything we could."
And this time, it isn't enough for either of them.


I have to ask... does this show ever pull off a happy ending? Or at least not a traumatic one?
Sometimes they win. *g* Sometimes, even, everybody lives. Or everybody except a redshirt or two.

The pisser is, you never know when.

If it was always unhappy, you'd know to be braced for it.
The worst part is, I can't predict it. They change it up enough to keep you hoping we might get out of this week in one piece. And sometimes we do, and sometimes we don't.

As the SWAT team headed out I said to Jordin (who doesn't usually watch), "Now, on a normal show you'd know exactly what was going to happen. Tense minutes, near disaster and happy ending. But with this one you can never tell." And sure enough, they killed the poor son of a bitch.

So last week Reid is having flashbacks. This week he's tense, jumpy, dishevelled, and irritable. And tries to help save a guy with PTSD but the guy gets killed. Oh man.

Hadn't figured out the thing with the cookies though my brain snagged on it at the time and said, "Something's happening here." I don't think it's drugs though. I think it's just PTSD. Hah. Just. They ran through the symptoms for the guy's wife and friend and every single one of them fit Reid.

They all fit Gideon, too.

These guys are tricky bastards. They never settle for showing you one angle when they can turn it inside out and show you the other side, too.

I'm not sure about the drugs. They have been so on about it in the media I think it might be a red herring, especially as I can't figure out how he can continue as an FBI agent with a history of narcotics usage.

Unless Hotch bent the rules for him.

Which would be a hell of a character twist.
I spent the episode alternating between saying "Oh, Reid. Honey, NO." and saying to everyone else "That is not the way to handle him, y'all."

A lot of the time Reid's mannerisms and language patterns remind me very strongly of a family member with Asperger's Syndrome. Which maketh me to go all-over mushy and impatient with Reid at the same time.

Yes, 'he could be in this room right now'. Because Reid's been there when the he in question was right in this room.

Gideon. Ah, Gideon. And yeah, I get the whole he's been there done that vibe off his reactions to matters military. Also there's something in the way he handles the burden of command. *handwaves*

Brilliant and broken. Complicated. Dedicated. This show's characters push all my readerly buttons.

I thought Mandy was shouting "Don't shoot!". At everybody, cops and unsub alike.

They're not counselors.

They're the cleanup crew.

And it shows.
Or he could be twitchy because he's suffered a brain injury.

Ah jesus. That would be such a ballsy move. And right in line with their tendency to desexify the kind of pain that TV normally glams up.

Repeated head trauma and a tonic-clonic seizure.

I wonder if they have the balls.
it felt really weird to see this episode on TV just a few hours after watching the Millennium episode "Collateral Damage" on DVD.
Two issues about last night's episode:

1) These people are behavior specialists. Why has no one challenged Reid on his uncharacteristic behavior yet? They're all staring at him from time to time like he's nutsy kookoo, but no one says a word.

2) It bugs me when a show is supposed to be set in a location--e.g. Houston--and they make precious little effort to simulate that city. I did like the mentions of Highway 59 as the Eastex Freeway, which is how it is commonly known around here, but I saw nothing beyond that that even remotely reminded me of Houston.
I'm close to giving up on the plots of this show, and just enjoy the character interaction, as I do with NCIS. Last night, Gideon (I think it was) asks the team something to the effect of "Where did he learn to kill so efficiently?" and not one of them says, "He could be a vet." Who compose a large category of the homeless? Duh.
From my admittedly secondhand understanding, what our friend the Army Ranger was doing was beyond the capabilities of many veterans.

That's special forces training.

There's also a fair number of as you know, Bob, in any given episode, but yanno, if they solved the case in the first ten minutes, I'd have to watch another thirty minutes of commercials....
The ending bothered me from a purely tactical POV. (Okay, big shock there.) I mean, what happened to the part where they told them to get all the construction people out of there? And what yokel, after seeing eleventy-four S.W.A.T. team members, big black SUVs, and guns galore, would just carry on suddenly with his jackhammering? What, did he have is ipod on or something?

And the S.W.A.T. sniper--well, lets forget that no one gave him the green light to take the shot. (Since the FBI was in charge, it would have been their call most likely.) Or that there were already several agents right behind the target, moving up on him to handle the situation. Why shoot the guy when he never even raised his gun in a threatening manner?

IMO, they shot him purely for dramatic effect. I hate when that happens.
They have an ongoing problem with overeager snipers. *g*

I think, from a narrative perspective, that what we got was cascading errors. Which are meant to reflect the cascading errors (lack of support) that put the guy on the street in the first place.

Which are meant to parallel the cascading errors that are taking place around Reid....
I've had another thought about our different viewpoints, not about the show or episode specifically: Are you looking at this as a writer, and I'm looking at it as a reader/viewer?

Further: Is there a difference between "this does/doesn't feel realistic" and "this is/isn't realistic"? I think there is, and I think one of us is saying the one and the other, the other, but I'll be damned if I know who is saying which.
I'm totally watching for the narrative structures. Dunno about anything else.