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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds hotch and prentiss tennys

"A mother would never give up."

Criminal Minds 4x25 & 4x26, "To Hell... and Back." Respectively written and directed by Chris Mundy and Charles Haid, and Edward Allen Bernero and Edward Allen Bernero.

I'm kind of very happy with this episode, from the setup--it's CM, so the black man cruising the unsavory neighborhoods is a hero, not a killer--to, well, just lots. Garcia, Garcia, Garcia. Reid in the barn, sucking it up--and being the guy who notices the clues at the end. Kelly the kidnap victim, smart as a whip. Morgan the city boy, confronted with swine. Rossi using his powers for good. Hotch drinking alone, in his house that looks like nobody ever goes there except to drop stuff off and crash. Prentiss talking to the working girls--and giving back to Morgan as good as she gets. JJ in her element as facilitator and as gunslinging mom. Hotch without a quote at the end, worrying about his "kids" while his own world is falling apart. Morgan taking on the police detective as a proxy for his own feelings of helplessness and inadequacy. Both CotW and the Family Members Of The Week as well. And the UNSUBs. Reid's offense not just that the dominant UNSUB was a sadist, but that the science was bad.

Did I mention Garcia?

Also, oh, Hotch.

Oh, show. You give me moral complexities where other shows give me packaged answers, and I love you for it.


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I very much agree with everything you said. I'm filled with glee, by the way, that Hotch doesn't live at the house anymore, which is the view I've been holding forth since the divorce.

I'd also rather like to hear your take on the cliffhanger.

It also occurs to me that with the exception of Elle in S1 (and even then, if you get creative), all season cliffhangers have centered around Hotch in some way, more or less obviously. I don't know.

Edited at 2009-05-21 01:09 pm (UTC)
It's an exact parallel to the s1 cliffhanger, isn't it? Agent comes home, tosses some object away, starts to relax, and BOOM.

I suspect that's intentional, given the writer/director team. Ahem. *g*
Interestingly, it seemed that the characters did not consider it a win.
The outcome of the episode wasn't a win. (Probably just enough of a win to get it past the network.)

But this was the first season finale that was not structurally broken somehow.
I was pleased to note that (after looking it up) Charles Haid is a Hill Street Blues alum.

Geez, I just flashed on how this might'a been their Of Mice And Men episode...
No, that was "Damaged" in season three. They even directly reference it in that one. *g*
Thoughts of note:

Jeff Bedwell is, I believe, Chris Mundy's childhood best friend, something I learned from the "Revelations" commentary. That distracted me through the whole episode. That and the fact that I saw C. Thomas Howell's name in the opening credits.

I'm fairly sure the victim's actress is related to Glenn Kershaw--maybe his daughter? Her name is Lily Kershaw, and the only other thing she's been in is an episode of Third Watch.

Morgan talking to Prentiss about his doubts regarding their jobs is kind of a direct reversal of what we've come to expect, isn't it? Also, we now have canon for exactly how long he's been in the BAU--whatever that's worth.

Reid's healed up pretty well from his bout with anthrax, hasn't he?

And, of course, way to deconstruct your own trick with the quotes, there, CM.
Yes to all this.
Oh, plus? Loaded with callbacks. Legacy, Damaged, tiny bits of Revelations, and the gigantic one for Fisher King at the end. ETA: And even A Higher Power; Morgan's conversation with Prentiss in this one is a direct reversal of their conversation at the end of that one.

And you know why this finale worked? They saved the tricky season finale stuff for the very end, and devoted most of the episode to just being an episode. The problem with most CM finales is they try to take on more than a normal episode--CM's most likely to forget that clever A plots are not its strong suit in finales and premieres. This way, they managed to get a strong, self-contained episode and a cliffhanger.

Edited at 2009-05-21 01:39 pm (UTC)
Well, and no incredibly convoluted caper plots. The *only* time they pulled that off was in "Lessons Learned," because they hadt he necessary controlled environment.

"Masterpiece," on the other hand, was an abject eyerolling flop on the plot front. Likewise "Mayhem." (Though Mayhem had other things to recommend it.)

I was working and only got to see the last hour or so, but I liked how it seemed to be a mash-up of Hannibal and Of Mice and Men, with the usual CM-messing-around with it all. And I was rooting for Kelly, because, yes, so smart.
Aieee! I think CM has expanded to be MOST of my icons. But I keep needing one illustrate a point...
Rossi using his powers for "good", but making me v. v. uncomfortable with his fondling of the vent tube, there. But really, he's the only one where they can get away with doing that. Rules are for people who don't have ethics, but some ethics are more equal then others. And the shoes on the sheet are gonna stick with me, like something out of a documentary.

Oh, show, clever clever show, pointing me over there with Morgan's burnout, and not doing the after-black credit thing for C. Thomas. Then up pops Hotch, and his model-home apartment, and the liquor right out there on the counter, and turning around with no hesitation. "Sometimes the day just...ends." But Hotch is NOT DEAD. He's off frolicking with Jack and ponies, and I will not hear otherwise. Or at least the shot we heard was not a headshot, and Garcia and Hotch are tough as nails and can SURVIVE shots to the chest. *lalala* Who is going to clean the blood off his walls, though?
Heh. Rossi's "good" is not particularly "good," it's true. But that's not exactly out of character.
Aaaargh! If anyone I ever trained left their weapon further than arms reach away, especially at an active scene, or, almost as bad, leaned it up against something, I'd have him fired. And in Ontario, if 5 armed police officers opend up on a lone, unarmed suspect just because he charged them, no matter how big he was or what he was accused of doing, they'd be going to jail.
That raised my eyebrow too. Both points.
Reid at the farmhouse - and in the barn. He was so very nervous. I also love that in the aftermath of "amplification", he listens to his instincts a bit more, but he's still unsure on his feet. I think it's the first time Reid has used the words "I don't know. Maybe."

Nah, he's done that before. In "Damaged," and I'm pretty sure other places.
Reid's offense not just that the dominant UNSUB was a sadist, but that the science was bad.

That was awesome - and so him!
It really was. "You're a monster! AND a lousy scientist!"
Hey, maybe this was their Frankenstein episode. If, um. Dr. Frankenstein was a crazy unsub.
Pretty much every case they do is based on a real one--or several real ones. They try to file off some of the serial numbers.

Squicky, that.
Did anyone else notice that the camera was on Reid when Hotch said told the team split up to search the woods near the end or was I over analyzing? I wasn't watching with the roomie last night (she didn't want to stay up till 11 for this one, like she did for LOST last week) so I'm running without my sounding board who's seen alot of the show (I'm catching her up on S3 right now) and instead watched with my fellow... who can count the eps he's seen on one hand.

I was checking for replies on a particularly tense RP thread on my Smartphone when they opened fire up on Lucas, and had to rewind because I was sure I missed some instigating event... except I didn't see one. That's the part of this whole thing is the that doesn't sit right with me the most.

Did anyone else think when we first saw him for a second thru the window, that the Unsub was the still barely living torso of our first on-screen victim, divested of his limbs (which we saw the pigs get)?

Also does anyone know if Gibson's signed for next season? We're a bit overdue to loose a team member... we lost Elle beginning of S2, and Gideon at the beginning of 3S, but no one at the beginning of S4.

I think they totally intended us to think that. Because they are sneaky like that.

(It's not like they intended to have those actors leave. So we'll see.)
I had some trepidation at the beginning, I thought they were doing the stereotypical Damaged War (fill in war of choice) Vet as serial killer, but they spun that around, and then the teen hooker as victim, but wasnt killed because she was able to think on her feet.

Two surprises when you get so fed up with the cliches.
They already did the war vet serial killer--end of Season 2--and it's one of their best episodes. (Entitled "Distress," and well worth a watch.)

What you point out is why, in the final analysis, I watch the show. Victims have agency, good people die or fail, survivors take damage, hookers and junkies are people with a subject position, and even the monsters are human... and what they do reflects on us all.

They blow it sometimes, but... when they don't, it's something special. Nuanced and compassionate without being insensate to consequences.
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