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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds prentiss deed's sake tenn

"I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Not a brilliant episode (I'd had hopes), but certainly a very good one, with some lovely character moments. And indeed, vintage Criminal Minds, with the moral complexity and the victims who fight back. I'm wondering if the "I did it all for love" schtick is going to turn out to be a thematic statement for the season, of if that's just early misdirection.

If this is indeed the Prentiss Backstory season, that might be either intentional or fortuitous (never underestimate the influence of the creators' subconscious in art, especially art by committee. I suspect it's something like the well-established predictive effect of averaging guesses--one gets closer to the mark than if one just consulted a single expert) especially given the number of hints they have dropped over the past couple of seasons regarding her and relationship issues.

Criminal Minds 4x03, "Minimal Loss," written by Andrew Wilder and directed by Felix Enriquez Alcalá.

...in which we discover that Luke Perry can act.

It's Emily who floats the idea of not identifying them as FBI Agents. The lie of omission.

Reid, the slicked hair is still not your best look--though this version is better than the S1 skullcap. "Actually, it's Benjamin Franklin." And Reid geeks on the solar power. And he's doing his refusal-to-judge schtick, and winning friends again. And it's a nice way of showing us Cyrus' charisma, and how even now he's working it on Reid.

Jesse and her mother, the mom stroking Jesse's hair, a gesture she'll later repeat with Prentiss. 

"The state of Colorado requires parental consent."
"She gave consent."

Apparently the state of Colorado uses black SUVs too. That must be what's keeping Ford in business.

Reid and Prentiss and their repeated injunctions to "Stay Calm!" as the nightmare unfolds around them--and how that echoes what Cyrus says. Also, Cyrus yelling "Cease Fire,"saying "I didn't start this." I also like him begging the cops to pull back. They do a really fine job of showing how it is that he's become what he's become.

It's like late November in BAU-land, by the look of those trees. Time in BAU-land, still not like our earth time. Drink!

And Reid with the second Ben Franklin quote.

Tracking shot following pregnant JJ through the bullpen is love.  Notice her crashing through the FBI logo she shot out last year...

And Morgan bellows for Mom. It's good to have somebody to yell for when the shit hits the fan.

All the phones ring at once. Where have we seen that before.

Ohhh, JJ furious at other, bad liars. Because JJ lies for God. And the AG intentionally put the child service workers in danger.

Carrying out the dead.

"God will see us through."

Black SUV, drink. *g*
"Because the teacher is emotionally involved. So is the agent in command." Dave, you are so on a popularity upswing with me.
And Hotch is relying on Rossi the same way Morgan relies on Hotch--except Hotch doesn't get to relinquish authority when he does it. He's still the Boss. "I'm the guy who's going to tell the Attorney General of the United States whether to charge you with obstructing a Federal investigation, or negligent homicide."
Hotch is love. Especially when he's kicking in the teeth of some self-absorbed asswipe who desperately deserves it.
Hotchalanche! And Hotch wins the staring contest.
Hotch in casual clothes, drink.

"Every person we get out is a life saved. We won't save them all." Way to lay it on the line, Dave. And everybody thinking about their own people inside. Hotch looks drawn and old--it's the stark lighting. And Morgan is calm and efficient.
"They have the ability to see what each person needs, and then they become that thing." And we get to watch him doing it with Reid, which is a lovely bit of narrative.
"We'll lose the fatigues."

Cyrus tries to establish dominance by calling Rossi "Dave," even though Rossi introduced himself as "David." And Rossi c ontinues calling him Benjamin, maintaining an air of respect.
"I have no issue with your beliefs."
No, but Morgan does. Stomp, stomp.

"God will answer for everyone in the final battle. I have forseen it."

"Her name was Nancy Lund." And the little winces of relief and guilt.

Another conversation about trust--Morgan wants to cover Rossi's back, and Rossi--not grandstanding this time, but doing it for the team--knows why that can't happen. Thematic statement, drink!

Insert parabolic mike exposition here.
"How familiar are they with the book?" "They wrote it." *g*
Blood on the wall behind Rossi as he steps up to the church.
"Dave? I'm Ben." And there's the next step in the building relationship.
"This isn't Waco." You sure hope not.
"Trust is earned." Thematic statement.

Prentiss and Reid crack the case! And Rossi's right behind them.

"We have drank the poison together."
Mark 16:18: They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

And Revelation 21:4, And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. In case, you know, you were asleep in class that day, and missed the connection.

"I think he's bluffing."

"Amazing memory that kid had. Anything he read he could repeat back to you." Heh. Who does that sound like?

"God can tell me himself."
"He put a gun to my head and said, he just did." (Watch this space!)

"I need a map."

JJ and Garcia don't have a lot to do this ep, alas. JJ holding her head, that's a beautiful shot.

The confrontation scene, "God will forgive me for what I must do" is wonderful. As is the dirty look Reid shoots Prentiss when she says, "It's me." Yeah, Reid, we all know you are perfectly capable of staring down a gun barrel. but he'll kill you, and Emily is a girl. You can use the sexual predator's pathology against him. (Also, Reid already established his role when he pretended not to know what Cyrus was talking about.)

Hotch and Morgan and Rossi wincing over Prentiss's beating is a beautiful thing. Hotch, with the little helpless hand gesture. The shattered mirror, and the camera shots that follow it, are fantastic.

"I can take it." There's an icon waiting to happen. And it makes me wonder if Prentiss doesn't have a history of abuse. Because that is such an abuse-survivor dynamic. Take the hit you know you can take--even provoke it--to protect yourself from worse later, or someone who is more vulnerable now.

Also, Prentiss' oblique conversation with the mom is love. As is Reid lying-by-omission. "I can't tell you the number of times I've investigated abuse charges."

"Reid has 'em."

And Morgan goes to get the little girl. I bet it's killing Hotch to stay behind.
"Trust is earned."

"It's not as bad as it looks." Yeah, he knows.
"I'm so sorry."
The wondergeeks are in the house. Planning, and observing, and trying to comfort each other. That's lovely.

"I told her she shouldn't have lied to you like that."
"To either of us."
Cyrus attempts to put himself on Reid's side again. Yeah, he's good.

Reid and Emily and the Secrit Messages! And Hotch Secrit Messages right back! Southpaw FTW.

Emily, high heels on the job? Say it ain't so!

Shades of Revelations again, with Jesse's mom bringing Prentiss the water.
"I wanted to save her from Cyrus." And that's the thing you can't do; you can't save anybody from themself.

"I have faith."

"I know I can't go in there." Aww, Hotch. Way to cowboy up to the hard truth, man. This is the brave choice, even if it sucks.

"I--I don't know."
"You're not alone."

The repeated shots of Reid and Cyrus with the stained glass behind them are awesome.

"It's 2:45." And Emily has to make the awful choice to help the victims and leave her partner behind. And then when she has the chance to go back, she's willing to do it despite being injured.

Galahad to the rescue.

Oh, man, Reid quotes scripture. You ever think he wakes up in the morning wondering what it is with him and religious crazies?
"You think you know the word better than I?"
"No. I'm just demonstrating that you can use the Bible to manipulate anything." Yeah, Reid's an agnostic or an Atheist. And still the bravest little toaster around. And Morgan is still Big Damn Hero.

"God could have stopped me."
"He just did." (Were you watching this space?)

Spencer Reid has found his Higher Power. Or possibly, Derek Morgan, like David Bowie, really is God.
That whole thematic discussion--the one dating back to Revelations--in which the FBI is the New Testament god standing in opposition to an Old Testament God of destruction just got another strut slapped up on it.

Morgan gets another one.

"You all right, kid?"
"Fine. Where's Emily?"
Good agents. Look out for your partner.

"RUN!" Yeah, where have we heard Reid bellow that before?

"Reid! Morgan! ...reid? morgan?" Awww. She would not be a happy camper if he died in her place.
And Hotch's jaw tightens as he watches Emily stagger up the steps to meet them. yeah, Mom, you did all right.
Aww, two agents with cracked ribs hugging.

Not a win, though. They still lost Jesse.

Oh, beautiful irony of the Ayn Rand quote.

"I need you to listen to me."
Reid too overcome with emotion to talk, and the dazzling smiles and little hand-squeeze he and Prentiss trade at the end there are just lovely. I love the geeky friendship between those two, and the way they reassure and look out for each other.

And what step is "Accepting that there are circumstances beyond your control," Spencer? I'm sure you remember....

Derek Morgan surges into the lead with 3.25! (Charm & Harm (split with Elle), Lessons Learned, Open Season (split with Prentiss), Legacy (split with Hotch, Prentiss, and the CotW), and Minimal Loss (three in the center of mass. Do not mess with that man.).

Future vigilante killer Elle Greenaway: still a strong second, despite having left the show in 2x05, with 2.5 (Extreme Aggressor, Charm & Harm (split with Morgan), Aftermath)

Aaron Hotchner, third with 2.25 (The Tribe, A Real Rain, Legacy (split with Morgan, Prentiss, and the CotW) unless that places him third.

Dr. Spencer Reid, fourth-place finish at 2 (LDSK, Revelations)

Emily Prentiss, moving up in the pack with either 1.75 or 1.25, depending on whether one of those offscreen gunshots in Open Season was actually hers, or if all three were Morgan's. The .25 is the other quarter of Charles Holcomb in Legacy, who went down like Frankie. The 1 is the suicide-by-cop in "Lo-Fi," actually the only new addition to the list since 3x09, unless I missed one.

JJ: 1, in Penelope. And RIGHT THROUGH THE FBI SEAL. Hello Symbolism Much? Also, three dogs and my eternal respect. She is 1:1 bullets:kills, at this juncture. So is Reid, incidentally.

Rossi: in second-to-last place with 1, in his very first episode (About Face).

Garcia still doesn't kill people.

Gideon discharged his weapon once. (Psychodrama, a futile shot across an aqueduct.) However, we all know that in the real continuity, the one where Mandy didn't have a say over whether the character lived or died, Jason put that pistol in his mouth at the beginning of this season. The AU is actually what aired. ;-)

And of course, various killings perpetrated by unsubs, victims, the families of unsubs, cops of the week, snipers, random bystanders, cultists, lovelorn teenagers, and Frank Miller's ego....


I always love your recaps. Even if I miss the episode, I'll still spoil myself, read them, and remember it when I'm finally able to watch the episode.


i totally agree

I just discovered your recaps last week..
I totally agree, i just spoiled myself, then watched my vhs and read your recap again along the way..you are totally right with what you're writing and your recaps are just hilarious and super-interesting .. thx for that, hope you never stop :-P
Amusingly enough, I got curious about that Matthew chapter 10 scripture, so I rewound for the numbers so I could look it up.

Cyrus was off by ten verses. It's verse 34, not 24. So technically, Reid's still teh bestest. *Yeah, I know that was probably actor error, but it still ads an interesting 'I'll read it my way, and so long as I speak with conviction, and emphatic hand (or rifle-butt) movements, you'll buy it' angle.

Hee. Yes. *g* It's also quite possible they did it that way on purpose.
Big Damn Hero ... FTW.

Is there a listing of the rules of said drinking game available somewhere? Or is it more of an off-the-cuff gentlewoman's agreement format?

Here. It needs updating for season 3/4, I thing....

We recommend sticking to water. Even diet coke can have deleterious effects in those quantities. Especially now that they're letting Reid drive.
I always thought Gideon not taking that shot was more in character than if he had. Because, just like everyone else on this show, he too is always questioning, always searching. He's the one who taught Reid and Morgan to live with themselves and the consequences of what they do every day. He wouldn't just give up.

The Emily and Reid interactions were awesome. They're such good friends and they play off each other so damn well.

This is the episode where Rossi gets the official "BAU family" sign of approval. Because JM was really good in this episode.

TG was also fantastic this episode. The staring contest, the look of relief when he found out neither Emily nor Reid were dead, and the desperation in his eyes while listening to Emily get beat up. He was the only one who didn't take off the headphones.

I was hoping to see JJ kick that reporter's ass for being incredibly stupid.

I was also hoping for Emily backstory. We got none. This is getting a bit frustrating. I wanna know already. Although they have been dropping hints. It seems she might be familiar with abuse. Also, i felt like that 'rape' line at the beginning might have been directed at her. Or it could just be the editing.
we were at a concert last night and so missed the scheduled airing. nor are we possessed of TiVo or DVR.

could you point me at some way to watch it before the DVD comes out?
Steal it off the internets, like everybody else? All I have is my crappy VIHS tape, which has been re-used about 70 times.
The Hotchalanche was <3, especially since the Hotchalanchee was Joel Murray, who played Greg's best friend Pete in Dharma & Greg. Talk about dramatically different characters.
I really enjoyed watching Greg throw Pete off the scene, myself. :)
The endquote, significantly, came from a writer who is (A) an icon for many Libertarians, and (B) frequently accused of espousing blind dogma in rationalism's clothing (and thereby becoming what she most professed to abhor.) Would that be where you found the "beautiful irony"?
Got it in one.
What I loved about this episode is that both Rossi and Morgan stop listen to Prentiss getting beaten about halfway through. Morgan throws his headphones down if I remember right, and Rossi sort of slips his off sadly. Hotch listens to the entire thing. If Mom can't help, can't charge in and rescue, he's gonna damn well stand there and bear witness.

(My current pet theory is that you're right and Prentiss has some sort of abuse history, but she stood up, hit back, but because of some sort of politics her mother swept it all under the rug and she never got more justice than that.)


I was really feeling for Reid in that scene when Emily identified herself as an FBI agent. I mean, it would obviously be much worse if Reid were the one labelled as an FBI agent, both because he is a guy, as you mention above, and also because of his own personal PTSD issues. But it seems like it would be really psychologically difficult for him in particular to let someone else take damage in order to protect him. He spent his childhood without protection and has been consistently reckless about his own safety in the show. I think watching Emily do that must have just been gut-wrenching.

Also, I just really liked the visual of Emily's boot heel in the window. I seemed like such a practical, even geeky, thing to do with such fashionable clothing.
Plus he'd already been bonding with Cyrus, whereas Emily was slightly too prickly, and holding herself slightly too apart, for Cyrus to warm up to her (aside from the gender issue). She just 'looked' more cop than Reid did.
Sounds like an interesting one. And I will be seeing it in about three Wednesdays' time, eeep! ~wriggles impatiently~
I agree. It wasn't one of the best episodes, but it was good.

As I think you've said before, even the worst episodes of Criminal Minds are generally better than just about anything else on (I'm paraphrasing from memory, so apologies if I'm misrepresenting you).

Either way though, your recaps are aces! :)

Thank you.

Oh! Also! This time, when Reid said he was fine, he wasn't lying.
I watched this last night. When Prentiss so-very-gently moved Spencer's safety barricade book out of the way, I held my breath. Oh, Reid. Oh, Prentiss.

So much of what makes this show great is that it's not just about the 'it's a tough job but someone has to do it' aspect, but about the importance of communication, talking to each other, who tells the secrets, who asks for help, who argues to save themselves or others, and how you get the information out there that has to be out there. So much of what happens in any given episode is about what the characters figure out by what you don't say, and what's hidden between the words. There's so many great moments that hinge on the ability of one character to say the important thing in a way that the other person can hear.

(I still smile every time I hear Derek call Garcia "Baby girl", because they are saying so much to each other with those little asides. I adore them as the sweetest non-couple couple.)
Yes. So perfect.

Reid puts no value on his own life, because nobody else ever has. And now he's having to learn how to be cared about, and it's *hard.* It's much easier to let yourself be shot by a madman than let a friend take a beating on your behalf. Reid knows how to take a beating; he's done it all his life.

Now he knows that Prentiss knows, too. Her "I can take it," is right up there with "You kick like a nine year old girl." And that sometimes you have to let the other guy make the sacrifice, because it's not about being a martyr. It's about being a friend.

(Eddie Bernero is on record as saying that in some ways, Garcia and Morgan are the emotional core of the show. They're a love story, and the fact that Morgan's damage makes it a completely platonic love story does not change that in the least. I love my show.)