This is an awfully short ep--41.18 minutes, including close to three minutes of "last year on Criminal Minds." I wonder what the missing scenes are, and if we'll get them on the DVD, and why they were cut--and if they contribute to the reasons why some parts of this ep feel a little thin.
The opening scenes of this episode are some of the best TV I have ever seen, and a perfect--textbook--presentation of what point of view should look like, handled well. I'm doing formal reviews of the episodes over at tor.com, and I go into that in greater detail there, so I won't natter on too much here where I am merely being fannish.
However, man, that whole bit from where we see through Hotch's eyes the experience of emerging from the first shock of the explosion, Kate's attempts to normalize a hopeless situation... god, it's all heartbreaking, and so much more like real life than Hollywood. Damn. Well done, guys. Well done. The smear of blood and bits behind Kate where she's been scraped across the pavement... god, that's devastating.
"Call 911...tell them... a Federal Agent..."
"Aaron. They're not coming. We told them not to." Yep. You guys are being played.
This episode does not have a lot of subtlety in the misdirects. I'm pretty sure most people caught on to both the bystander and the paramedic (Notice the kid leaves the wrong way, and the ambulance comes in the wrong way too--and you can see the kid making a phoen call in the background in one shot).
Reid and Rossi in crisis mode, very very nice. (Reid apprehends The Awful Troof: drink.)
Garcia, fluttering but efficient. She is love. (I like Lisa too, and I'm glad she didn't turn out to be a bad guy.)
"I'm still here."
"Yes you are."
And we now know Agent Jareau's actual title! "Communications Director."
The explosion, Hotch being tossed by a rag doll, is really effective.
Kate's getting worse. She remembers the American word for purse, but then gets all tangled up in "cinema." I'm not sure if that's an intentional scriptwriting decision, but it works. Nice dolly down the street--the camerawork in this ep rocks. It's flashy, almost cinematic.
"That's my boss down there." Morgan is love.
Meanwhile, Garcia is cracking the case.
The chase into the subway is some really good editing and camerawork. Love Reid lunging for his dry-erase marker. They all respond to stress in their own way, but it's all effective.
And then, in the subway, again. No music. Just the sound of Morgan's heaving breaths. Damn, that is fine work. Claustrophobic, panicky, using the camera to replicate adrenaline tunnel-vision. You can see Shemar shaking as he clears the train.
Danger: High Voltage. Yah, you betcha.
"Is that all you see? Darkness?"
"You fear what we embrace." Thematic statement! Drink!
Reid has his ramscoops open, hyper-oxygenating his brain. And he and JJ together, figuring out the next horrible implication. "They target a single SUV?"
Drive. Hotch. "Thank your partner. He did it all." Oh yeah, if you didn't know by then that the paramedic was a bad guy...
"The hospital is closed."
It's really an overcomplicated plan of the sort that would only happen on TV, but I love a good caper plot with an abiding passion, and this is a good caper plot. With the twist, of course, that this time the good guys are the victims of the caper. Eddie B. and his boys and girls tried to pull off this game with "The Fisher King" and it didn't materialize, but this time, they nailed it.
Oh, and back into the shocked-cop POV, as Hotch collapses. Team member covered in somebody else's blood, drink!!!
"Well, it's not. They're wrong." Rossi FTW.
"Wouldn't you wait until they were in it?" Prentiss cracks the case.
"So far, these guys have accomplished nothing." The scary side of Reid makes an appearance. Yep, eight innocent people killed, three cops injured. Still, Reid is right. On the scale of an effective terrorist attack... nothing. And Rossi explains in short words, with the glance at the WTC photo. "That was memorable. This isn't."
"Acute acoustic trauma in his right ear and I pulled shrapnel from his leg." Yep. So Eddie Bernero is a lying liar who lies, but he also is setting up exactly what he promised: one of our heroes will be permanently impaired. Money on Hotch either losing his hearing or getting real close? (Maybe vertigo?) Especially since it's reinforced at the end of the episode?
Oh, and again with the ringing sound, so faintly. And Hotch a little too loud, bellowing for his clothes. Could be adrenaline, could be he still can't hear. And Morgan has taken care of everything. Hotch's go bag is on its way. *g*
Morgan and Hotch. They have their differences, and sometimes they do not make each other happy. But they take awfully good care of each other for all that.
"Hotch and Kate were a diversion too."
Hotch presses the cloth to his ear. "Straight into a hospital with a bypass order on it." Well, yeah. My team, you have been played.
"Where are you?"
"Not where I want to be right now."
Garcia and Morgan under pressure. Of course he went alone: Morgan is bomb squad guy. And Prentiss is the one who says no elevator, man.
The elevator shooting--that last bullet is also very unsettling.
Morgan hotwires an ambulance!
"It's nothing! It's nothing! Just talk to me."
We're going to need some more Secret Service guys....
Thomas Gibson remembers to limp.
"Something I really want you to know, Garcia."
Should have been some arterial spray from that throat-slitting....
"Garcia, I'll tell you what you are to me. You're my god-given solace. Woman, you promise me one thing. No matter what happens, don't you ever stop talking to me."
"I can't right now because I'm mad at you."
"I can wait."
That's true love right there, that is. And such a painfully nuanced conversation, given the backstories of both characters.
The shot from the dead guy's POV and Hotch picking up the gun, so nice.
A little television reality in leaving Hotch alone with the body, of course, but nicely played. What a mess, what a freaking mess. And they didn't even catch the rest of the cell.
"Smoking in a hospital is a federal offense."
"And a catheter connected to my... skiddelypop." Det. Cooper FTW. He can come back too.
Prentiss in extra red, drink.
"He's gonna be fine." Prentiss is getting better at lying. "It could just as easily have been me."
Aww. They're cute. And no, she's not most people.
The closing scene between Morgan and Prentiss is really well done. We don't know whose life we saved, we don't know who or where the terrorists are... and Hotch is wearing a suit that is a bit too big for him and his hair is sticking out all over the place. God, what a prickly uncomfortable conversation this is.
Hotch is being brutally unfair--he's projecting at Morgan the way he was projecting at Reid, last season: then it was, "I need your mind on the job," and now it's "You need to trust me." And of course it's Hotch who is having the trust issues with Hotch (not trusting himself), just as it was Reid who came through under pressure when everybody around him was falling apart. And that sidelong look Morgan gives him after "Still want to drive?"--Morgan knows it. Because that was a cheap shot worthy of Gideon, right there.
Hotch is broken. And the only thing keeping him upright is sheer force of will. And if we don't think that scene of him collapsing on the floor of the ER was foreshadowing, we are not paying attention.
And Morgan chirps the car, and you bet both of them (about to get into a black SUV) are thinking about the parallels to a cell phone detonator.