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March 2017

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criminal minds prentiss deed's sake tenn

Families take on the traits of their leaders.

Criminal Minds 4x13, “Bloodline,” written by newcomer Mark Linehard Bruner, directed by Tim Matheson.

I have some issues with this one on a cultural appropriation front, which are discussed in more detail over at Tor, whenever that goes live.



Jordan charges across the bullpen, in command of the situation--until it's time to go into the field, when she freezes again.

"I'm going to call you Elayna." Creepy depersonalization of the girl, turning her into a pet and a dependent.

On the plane, Todd personalizes while everybody else becomes clinical.

Nice time lapse and fade to the crime scene.
"I recognize you from the TV."
Greenscreen, Drink!
"I prefer cities. You can see them coming." Maybe we should drink when Rossi has a moment of seeming to channel Gideon.

I think Reid's hair indicates a girlfriend. *g*

"He's not good for this."
"But he might know who is."

"Listen, about the plane--"
"Oh, no, it's already forgotten." (I compartmentalize better than most people."

Woo, check out that arterial spray.

And the classic CM trick of the whole team getting to the same point via different paths. And detail-girl catches the detail.

"Two UNSUBS change the dynamics."
"They'll spend more time with her."
Aieee!

"I've cleaned up barfights smell better than he does right now."
Torment of the families of victims, drink.

"The primary cause of seizures is stress."

"This is my family."

"Prentiss, you should do this alone."
"...okay."

This is a great scene.
And we're back to Prentiss and kids.

As is the scene with Hotch and the dad.
I think Hotch is telling a little white Hotchly fib when he says he had to make up an answer. Because it's what the dad needs to hear. But self-sparing lies are not a Hotchy thing to do.
*hotchloff* What a good boy.

Cognitive interview! Drink! Greenscreen! Drink!
Garcia pet names, drink!

There has not been nearly enough Garcia lately. We got spoiled last year.

"I don't know why they left her alive."

Cognitive interview, drink!
"Old? Old like me?" Emily getting kid age distinctions = win.

"I'm nine. Almost ten."

Prentiss' mom and foreign languages. Drink twice.

Rossi is actually kind of great in this episode. "We don't talk about the ugliness we see."
"Where's the horror."
"We can't do this job if we let it get to us."
"Exactly."
Also, I notice he and Morgan are on a first-name basis now. Guess they've sorted it out between them.

Garcia, made of win with the Cher reference. And I am comforted by Rossi's flat statement that Romani do not act like this, which makes me think that (as in the first season Indian reservation episode) we're talking about a case of cultural appropriation--outsiders perverting an insider culture.  

"They'll have to try again."

Greenscreen, profile scene. Lots of camera tricks in this episode.

Rossi's beard is expanding. Soon it will have eaten his entire face.

"There's thirty of them." Foreshadowing for the big reveal at the end. "It looks like it's been going on for generations."

Photograph that before you touch it, Derek.
"We got lucky." Drink!

"I think it was a countermeasure."
Morgan explicates how cold cases happen.

"Are you sitting down?"

"I just need to build a thicker skin."
"You don't need to do anything you don't want to."

And Rossi tells Todd The Awful Troof. I love how there's never a scene where we see him realize it. Just him explaining it to her, him so matter of fact and her horrified. Rossi knows how the evil goes.

Stockholm syndrome: you adapt, or die.
"The UNSUB twisted and distorted traditions."

And they throw the monther to the wolves. She was never anything but a means to an end, anyway. (You know, I shudder to think what happens to the girl babies born into this family.)

Cop smiles, sees Hotch, unsmiles.

The interrogation scene makes me like this episode, despite the ways in which it unsettles me. Not just Hotch and Prentiss playing good cop/bad cop, but Hotch and Prentiss replaying the only dynamic Kathy/Sylvia knows. Hotch as monster, Hotch as abuser. Oh, he knows that role so well. What does it feel like, Aaron, to put that on? And who are you channeling when you do it?

And how long does it take in the shower to wash it off again?

"Serial killers like to relive their crimes, did you know that?"
"His hand will be steady."

Prentiss and Hotch and the silent communication, win!
I love Reid's hard flinch when Prentiss says "Your little boy is only ten."

"I won't tell you."
"You just did."

"You'll never find my boy."
"We already have."
Reid in a pink shirt with a gun, and the bitchy come back. Oh, Spencer, I love you so when you are catty and androgynous.

"And honestly I'm ready to get back to counterterrorism."
"This team is like a family, and families take on the traits of their leaders." Thematic statement!

And an ending analogous to "The Fox," except not only is it worse than we thought, it's still going on.

Lost another one. You can tell it's the middle of the season, and the network's gotten distracted by other things, because the team is back to getting their asses handed to them on a weekly bases.

Comments

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morgan_dhu pointed out to me that the alleged 100 missing girl children with murdered parents over the past century adds up to a lot more than just one family's worth of serial wife-to-be abduction/murders. There's a whole little clan of parent killing, little-girl-abducting-and-marrying Romany out there, if that statistic is accurate. A point which the writers appear to have totally fallen down on.

They said thirty, unless I misheard. And it does look like there's a large extended family, at the very least.
It's got a lovely set of thematic resonances, especially around the question of family, and how the leader shapes it.

And I think that's reinforced by watching Hotch pull out the person he has chosen not to be. Because monster-Hotch is terrifying. And it works on me every damn time. When he's playing the abuser, I am *scared* of that man.
I have a friend who's Romany. And I just kept shaking my head at the TV, though being relieved that all Our Team kept saying this wasn't *real* Romany culture, it was weird messed-up misinterpretation of same, but that's not what a lot of casual viewers are going to see.

My husband had an interesting suggestion about a tack the team could take -- approach some well-respected leaders of various actual Romany communities and say, "Look. We know these nutjobs aren't you guys. But they do make you look bad, and they're dressing up their stuff in some of your customs. If you hear anything -- anything -- please tell us so we can get them off the streets? And if anyone knows about a crazy cousin who went off and disappeared in (timeframe) who might have had something to do with these nutjobs starting, please encourage them to talk to us?"

I don't know that it would work, but it was an interesting thought.
Funnily enough, "Girlfriend" was not the first thought I had when I saw Reid with a new haircut and a flash wardrobe... especially the salmon pink shirt.

*Doffs slash goggles and grins!*

I was thinking, when the interrogation scene was going on, that they were going FAR too heavy-handed in it, and that surely she would catch on to such a blatant manipulation... but then I got to thinking, and it's entirely probable that SHE hadn't ever been arrested before. She was taken on as a breeder, and a mule, primarily, so if anyone had experience with the police, it wouldn't be her. I'd forgot that she would be viewing the whole thing through Stockholm Goggles too -- that is, I'd accounted for the brainwashed loyalty, but not for the desensitization to mental trauma that would, perforce, go along with it.

What I wondered, and this was a fairly blatant plot hole, too, is why in the WORLD they completely glossed over fingerprint evidence on all that glass! We saw Kate spread the glass with her bare hand, so clearly there was no concern on their part, and it was stated in the BOLO that they should look for Eastern European indigents who were likely to have had run-ins with the law. And the glass from the campsite MUST have had prints, at least partials on.

*Plot holes make my teeth itch...*
Didn't she have it in a baggie? I must have glanced away at the crucial instant.

Kathy's fingerprints also might not be on file.
I was wondering about the daughters, too.
I think we are supposed to. Honestly it's creepier that way.
Evil!Hotch is kinda hot, for as long as he can put it on and take it off at will.
0.o
I like how this show is examining methods of interrogation that are NOT TORTURE.
Hey! They won an award for that!
Ok, I have a hearing problem, so this may be entirely my mishearing, but something's been bugging me - wasn't there a scene where Prentiss recognized a term as Romanian - and the team immediately clues in that the killers are Romani?

Not that there aren't Romani who speak Romanian, and there are a lot of Romanian loanwords into Romani, but...

I dunno. I may have misheard, or missed something. (Knowing me, probably. :D)
Prentiss recognizes the term and Romanian. Reid is the one who figures out they're perverting Romani culture, from the broken glass.
I really thought the appropriation part of the cultural appropriation got glossed over a bit too fast; what annoyed me was that I'm pretty sure you could pull off fundamentally the same crime without a creepy slightly-racist subtext, and then I wouldn't have had to spend the whole episode preemptively wincing. Except for the parts where I was *actually* wincing at bad cop!Hotch, which is, as you say, scary.

(Hello again! I've finally caught up.)
Yes. This. Alas, because it scars an otherwise good ep.
Things I noticed:

Jordan charges in then locks up when Hotch immediately agrees. Like she's not quite used to being taken seriously right out of the box, not having to explain her take on a case more. She doesn't fit here, because she's known all along it wasn't for keeps- and she's begun to suspect if it had been for keeps it wouldn't have changed things much.

And Rossi steps in and does a little emotional caretaker stuff, which makes me cackle with glee for the incongruity. Then he does it more than once just to show us it wasn't our imagination. Oh show, you so crazy.

Reid cares what his hair looks like again. He's still got no idea what to do with it but mad props for trying.

Garcia. I charge extra for groups. Captain oh my captain. And a shout out to Cher. And she breaks the case way the hell open, doesn't she?

Morgan watching the interogation was interesting. He knew he wasn't the guy for this one, but it dodn't stop him from wanting to be.

Oh Emily. What a wringer to put you through. Interviewing the kid- I'm right here. I won't leave you. I promise. Who didn't say that when you needed it, Emily? The whole cognitive interview scene was wrenching.

The families, dead, or broken or twisted. The kids under stress, under pressure. Conform, survive, become the enforcer in your turn. Hello, abuse cycle writ scary freakin' large.

And the mother. Victim? Accomplice? Both? Neither? Bad Cop is scary, and she doesn't trust Good Cop as far as she can throw her. How late is too late for the calvary to arrive?

The father. Nature? Nurture? Choice? When? If it's sad and not his fault when it's the son, when does that stop applying? This is the show that likes to ask you questions and not give you answers.

I thought they didn't do enough leaning on the not all X do this disclaimers. I'm not entirely sure the story needed it to be that particular group, that felt like an easy out or a little bit of 'look at the obscure facts that solve the case'.

Yes to all of this. You bring the smart, as usual.

Scary!Hotch was *really* scary, this time. His scariest. *fret*
With the thought that this episode served as Jordan’s exit, I was struck by this episode’s parallels with Birthright (ep. 3x11). We get a generational killer theme both with this ep and Birthright, a liaison struggling with the emotional engagement vs. detachment balance, Prentiss as the one handling the most emotionally fraught interviews, and—possibly coincidental—Prentiss wearing that same grey sweater in both episodes.

Bloodline seems like an interesting bookend to Birthright in terms of describing the cost of serving in the BAU. JJ ultimately seemed to figure out how and where to draw her emotional boundaries, while Todd decided that hers didn't need to encompass the BAU.
Ooo. I think you're on to something.
I think Reid's hair indicates a girlfriend. *g*

not to mention the CLOTHING.
Okay, I'm going to sort of plagarize my own comment from the Criminal Minds Fanatic blog, but...

This was a really interesting episode, but the generational crime seemed kind of out there. But then again, a lot of real crimes are pretty out there. Out of curiosity, does anyone know if there ever *has* been a case like this?
There was at least one family of serial killers that I know of, but it was just parents and kids, not multigenerational.

Still, I imagine it could be handed down...

It was kind of... suspension of disbelief stretchy, wasn't it?
On the plane, Todd personalizes while everybody else becomes clinical.
Oh, yes. "She's got a name! Kate!"
I will miss Jordan Todd. Especially her willingness to utter the hard truths.

There has not been nearly enough Garcia lately. We got spoiled last year.
What you said. Moar Penelope, plz!

And I am comforted by Rossi's flat statement that Romani do not act like this, which makes me think that (as in the first season Indian reservation episode) we're talking about a case of cultural appropriation--outsiders perverting an insider culture.
I really hope so. If that was the case, though, I'm mightily disappointed that they didn't make it clear that these were pseudo-Roma. Maybe that got left on the cutting room floor - but, frankly, just having somebody mention that the "don't tell them about your brothers" line was in a corrupted version of Romani would have helped a lot.

Usually, CM's willingness to let the viewers stew over the loose ends is cool. Not in this case, though.

Unless ... they're setting us up for another episode of tracking down girl-stealers? And in that epsiode, the "gypsies" are exposed as fake?

Hmmm.

I think Hotch is telling a little white Hotchly fib when he says he had to make up an answer. Because it's what the dad needs to hear. But self-sparing lies are not a Hotchy thing to do.
Could be. But I took it to be a true story, what with Hotch being such a workaholic, a blown marriage, etc.

Another point: Hotch shows anger towards Kate's father in their first interview (while Kate is still missing) and a lot more openness towards him in the hospital scene (once Kate has been found). After the other little girl is kidnapped and they catch Mrs. Unsub, Hotch really lets his dark side out. I really felt that he was reacting very strongly to the stolen-child theme, which makes me wonder how much of that is professionalism and how much is anger/fear around losing Jack?

"And honestly I'm ready to get back to counterterrorism."
When counterterrorism looks good, you know just how rough the BAU has it. (Not to mention Down the Hall. So I won't. But I am counting days until March 1.)

Lost another one. You can tell it's the middle of the season, and the network's gotten distracted by other things, because the team is back to getting their asses handed to them on a weekly bases.
I scored this one as a partial win for the good guys. Two sets of parents were killed, it's true; but they saved not one but two little girls. That's gotta be worth something.
And there are an unknown number of other killers out there...

*g*

I think Hotch's extreme reaction in the interview room (that was Monster!Hotch as we have never seen him before) is another symptom of his continuing breakdown.

I notice that Penelope and Reid are over their Trauma Hair....
I think he named the girl Elena, which kind of sounds like Elayna, but the e in the middle is flatter, shorter than 'ay'. And somebody has to tell me, is romanian that hard to pronounce? Everybody was making funny faces while saying it. Not to mention the word for "brothers" got so messed up i needed Rossi to tell what he shouldn't tell them about. I also don't see how Emily would immediately recognize this language, it sounds nothing at all like russian or arabic. [/rant]

I don't think Hotch was lying when he said he hadn't seen Jack for Christmas. And i suspect Hayley got a lot to say about it.

Rossi was indeed awesome this episode. How is it that only Rossi and Morgan are on a first name basis when doing the job?
Photograph that before you touch it, Derek. - my thoughts exactly.

Hotch and Emily were very good this episode. I think they do the nonverbal communication with each other the best in the team. It's kind of like Morgan and Garcia's flirting, except it's all business.

All in all it was a good episode, but it felt kinda rushed and it was obviously written by a beginner in all things CM. Also "unsmile" is a great word.
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