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bear by san

December 2021



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criminal minds fate

"So sorry."

Criminal Minds 05x18, "The Fight." Written by Chris Mundy and Ed Bernero, directed by Richard Shepard

Being the back-door pilot for Criminal Minds: San Francisco, unless it's Criminal Minds 2.0 or some other title, a spinoff I am deeply conflicted about.

The dialogue between the father and daughter and the Sinister Stranger is a freaking type example of how to write dialogue. Oblique, elided, and most of the argument in the subtext, but perfectly clear. So shiny.

Forrest Whitaker, whom I have loved since Species, in which he is the best thing in a terrible movie.

Oh noes, maverick cop. A trope I have never loved. And yet, they are selling me on it with compassion. It's nice to see that smile on Hotch. Also, his trauma hair is repairing itself.

"They're working against the director's orders?"
"We need to concentrate on the dead men abducted from the tenderloin."
See? That is how you write dialogue.

...and Prentiss is Lawful Good.

They're trying a leeetle too hard to show us how cool the new people are. Quit posturing and tell a damned story please.

Although the guy playing Prophet is a good physical match for Sol Todd.

Third Watch cast member guest stars. DRINK!

I like the Asian detective. I'm not familiar with the actor.

Whitaker still has that ground-eating stride and sense of physical presence.

I'm uncomfortable with the "I won't ignore my gut" thing.

Prentiss and new guy, clumsy exposition is clumsy. Oh well, I guess we're in a rush.

Oh Emily, not enough sigh in the world for this moron.

Morgan looks very pretty in that leather jacket.

It's a good thing they started making Polaroid film again.

Oh, like Emily would back down from that. And furthermore, Em, take your hand off your ear when you're talking. Although in this era of bluetooth devices....

Emily Prentiss, one tough broad.

Oh man. Poor Jason Wiles.

JJ and Reid are Sir Not Appearing in the Episode.

Hi Erin!

"Aaron? Mom's pissed."

Penelope is love. Hotch has his own daddy issues. Lovable rogues are boring and irritating, but maybe it will play well to the people for whom CM is too morally complex.

And Janey is finding her own way to fight. Hello agency.

Aww, why does JJ always have to stay with the victims?

I think I'm kind of meh about that ending. I didn't believe the suicide, because the pacing and tension of the whole thing felt off--directorial choices, I think.

And too uncomplicated a happy ending--although there's a creepy reminder of Gideon and his trophies there.

Overall, it had some good bits, but not a strong episode.


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I really didn't like this one, but at least they reminded me that this was CM with the victim-has-agency thing. That was a good scene.

Hopefully we can clear out the extra characters and get our show back at full strength next episode.
I really, really wish they'd just done a regular pilot - the pacing was off throughout because there were too damn many characters, and I would much rather have watched the new team interact with each other than see Emily and Whatshisname clumsily flirt, and worry every time Morgan and Lasalle were onscreen together that flirting would commence there, too. I guess I'll give the new show a try, whatever it's called, because I don't hate the characters at all, but...I don't think this format worked at all for such a character-driven show. Sigh.
For me, there was a seed of Does Not Suck in the scene where the new team was setting up a command center. Something about the setting up, plus the blonde giving her technobabble, just gave me a really strong 'Sneakers' vibe.

Which if that continues, might build to Awesome levels. Not that I'm holding my breath ...
All in all, I don't think it was that bad of an episode. It seemed like there was a little bit too much emphasis on "here is the new team" instead of the plot itself. I felt like they never really explained enough with the kidnapping-homeless-people thing. I felt like something was missing there.

Not completely sold on 2.0 yet. Not sure what it was about them. But, then, we don't know too much about them yet, because of the way the episode worked. I'll have to wait for the actually show for any final yay/nay.

I was trying to figure out why the hell Emily would just assume that the guy was dead. But then, I suppose that if you think someone jumped off of a building, you'd think they were dead. She didn't have a lot of luck in this episode, though, did she?

I did like "I could've just missed." "With your ego? Not a chance."
It had very little of the things I like about CM--the moral awareness, in particular, was missing. And oh god, the TV trope of the maverick cop who is always right in the face of bureaucracy.

I deeply respect and admire Chris Mundy as a storyteller, though, and I have hopes that this one is intentionally dumbed-down for the network, and if it does get picked up, he'll do something worthwhile with it.

The bits that were right--that felt like CM--were all Jason Wiles and the kid.
I admit, I spent a lot of time distracted by Homeless Guy's tattoos and trying to decide if Brit Agent's voice was faintly Irish, but the victim-has-agency moment was a shining beacon.
I thought it was Northern Ireland there for a second before it disintegrated into the pseudo-British accent that is not really British at all that one so frequently finds on North American tv (even when the actor is actually British themselves).

Just another thing that annoyed me about the new crew, with their too cool for suits spiffiness and the whole rogue thing. A British FBI agent (with possible special forces background who will die for Forest) is just a bridge too far for me in this attempt to seem off the grid.

Also, did anyone else think it was a little fluky how he chose the correct building to sniper from? I mean, I'm not a gun-master or anything but as far as I could tell a sniper would actually be a waste of a team member? I mean He couldn't really be involved in the hunt and once he chooses a building he is kind of committed, yes? He can't really change his mind and go to a different building if he made a mistake - there wouldn't be time.
It was not My Show. At all. It was like they tried to tack an 'edgy' cop show on it and it didn't work. I spent the whole episode wanting it to be over.

Also, why didn't they have all the grunt work at the start of the episode done by Garcia? And what was the point of setting up the fancy laptops and then not using them?
I know why Hotch was going to read that whole list of names to Garcia--it was so the new guy could swoop in and save the day. No, sorry, Hotch isn't stupid, and pretending he is won't make me think the new guy is smart.
I kind of liked how the unsub's regrets are all about not protecting his daughter, and then the father's regrets are that he *only* protected his daughter and didn't listen to her. And then I adored Jane's quick "I need to know you're not a liar too" thinking.

Other than that it, um. Wasn't exactly a good episode. Even given the difficulties of that many characters... I think I'd have kept the teams divided up so we'd alternate scenes of Our Team with scenes of the New Guys - that way we'd get to see the interaction among them which would give a better idea of what to expect than the series of autobiographies we ended up with.

Since they didn't do that, I guess I'll have to wait for an episode of the spinoff before having any idea whether or not I'll like it.
The directing and editing were kind of a mess, weren't they? I kept feeling like the tension was getting its ass kicked all over the place.

And there was all that awful exposition. I wonder if that was network interference, or just the fact that the episode was a blivet (five pounds of shit in a two pound sack) because Mundy can write wonderful dialogue. (See the first couple of scenes.)

I feel as though my show was hijacked for some rather poorly thought-out commercial. It's already bad enough with the horrible scheduling and the episodes this season (after 100) have mostly been mediocre. I'm afraid it's inattention and a feeling that oh, the audience, they'll go along with anything. It kills me, because when CM is on its game, it's stunning.

Tonight was far from stunning. It was greedy people playing to stereotypes and trying to "shake it up."

I really believed, and still want to believe in the integrity of this group. I know. It's a profit making venture in a time of great fear. But still, I hope.
Or rather, "San Francisco" - I know my downtown LA SRO hotels, and the Rosslyn and the Mllion Dollar Hotel are off Main St, certainly not in the Tenderloin...
You should try living in Las Vegas or NYC, if you want your geography rearranged.

At least they made the road trip.
I want to know how a former felon can be a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI - pending or not. I'd also like to know how a pending agent gets to be a member of the BAU.

Before I saw his intro-chryon thing, I figured that I could maybe buy that they'd have him as a consultant (I also watch "The Mentalist" and "White Collar"), but as an actual member of the FBI? No way. I suppose it would be possible for someone with a criminal record to get some kind of special permission in some kind of special circumstances - but nothing I saw or heard in this ep implied that this character was worthy of any such bureaucratic consideration.

Aside from the fact that I don't find his existence believable in the slightest, I could potentially find him somewhat interesting... Maybe. His original casting character breakdown said he'd been in prison for murder - I can't remember if that was indicated at all in the ep though (if they kept that though, my inability to even consider his existence is even more amped up). I also think I've reached my limit on the redemption-from-behind-bars angle from that one scene alone. If they make me believe that he actually believes it, I might not automatically tune it out (this assumes of course that I'll be watching the spinoff, which I haven't decided yet). In fact, the only positive note I had on him was that even though the casting notice listed him as African American, the fact that he isn't means that while he's an enormous cliche, he's at least not a total, enormous cliche.

And while I like the actor who plays Cooper, I just can't like Cooper at all. He's the one that made me most conscious that I was watching an hour-long-promo-ad, I don't care about him enough to feel anything but annoyed over his angst and demons. Most of that backstory would've been better saved for the actual spin-off, when the viewer would at least be choosing to invest their attention into these new characters, whether they end up liking what they see or not. And Penelope's comment about thinking he was just a story or legend or something - when he does supposedly work in the same place that our team does (or did, but is now apparently too cool for skool - argh).

I have to say that I like the Brit and the young woman the most, but only because they're the least unpacked, character-wise, of the set (well, the Brit is, but I wasn't paying attention to the scene where the female character was expositing on herself, so I don't know what she said - heh). I liked the back-and-forth between the Brit and Emily, mostly because of her responses, but I didn't think he was actually wanting to get anywhere with her, just enjoying the verbal sparring (the more outraegous comments only came after their initial exchange), so that made it palatable for me.

I wonder if this is the first time a former unsub has guest starred as a victim. The dad in this ep was the baddie from Psychodrama, after all. I recognize the head cop from a previous episode (I think), but I don't think I've noticed actors appearing more than once if they weren't playing the same law enforcement type role. Interesting.

Edited at 2010-04-08 04:49 am (UTC)
The only way I'd find felon-in-the-FBI believable is if he was innocent and his conviction overturned. I did not get that vibe.
This has the scent of NCIS: LA (by way of Nash Bridges) all over it, in that sense of Team #1 works out of an office and appear to have been career professionals however odd and Team #2 is a Spycraft RPG party of former criminals and military & whatnot nominally under the direction of the vaguely irregular Lead Guy. I bet they will have nothing resembling proper offices but work out of some converted warehouse or some such. Ex-cons & SpecialForces snipers in the BAU??? ummm...did this team really want to go join "Leverage" or "Burn Notice" instead?
Being an obvious spin-off set-up, the sideways plot & character hooks all over the place detracted from what was actually going on with the story. The sub-pattern being the actual purpose of the crime, the twisted Fight Club aspect layered with Father/teenager daughter conflict definitely had points of interest (as Holmes might say).

Didn't Emily already get to do her "Back-off Flirting Guy" with the cop from NYC who took a few rounds during the terrorist double-header? It feels a touch stale on the repeat.
Yeah. If this is the spinoff, I think I would rather keep Mundy.

I would not mind him getting his own show. I adore his work, and I'm sure this thing had network fingers in all its orifices.

But man. They gotta do better than this.
They had a helicopter!
I find myself distinctly 'whelmed by that episode. I liked the bits between JasonWilesDad and Daughter (and the fact that she took the initiative to save them both). And the case had potential in the setup, but there was no follow-through. Who are you, and what have you done with Chris Mundy?

I spent the scenes with the new team...wishing we were back with the old team. The Chick With Rote Mysterious Issues reminds me too much of Thirteen on House, which is bad. (Doesn't help that the actress *just* played a (psychopath) patient on there a few months ago. :)

Did like: Emily's flirting. "What was [Manson] like?" "...Small." And the fact that seeing/helping Cooper was bringing out Hotch-smiles all over the place. Though I have to agree with someone elsewhere who pointed out, "How is our team really By The Book?" Except in comparison to the Cowboy Cop archetype/cliches. Lawful Good is not the same.
And I was thinking of that when Hotch told Cooper that he was worried to protect Cooper, and not himself. Hotch knows he's not moving upwards any more, and Rossi doesn't give a crap, and both of them only worry about the politics on behalf of their younger agents.
Yeah,Rossi was awesome this episode.

I was so over the "We will show you that the new guys are awesome by having the usual guys in awe of them" thing, though. Last time we got that, it was Reid fangirling Rossi, and it worked because Rossi had feet of clay.

I mean, I'm glad Whitaker got a paycheck, but if this does get picked up and they want me as a viewer on it, it's going to need the moral complexity and ethical compass and character development of Criminal Minds or Third Watch, and not of NCIS. :-P
Poking my head in because the level of disgruntlement in our house needs an outlet:

I'd have been much MUCH less resentful if, instead of ruining an episode of my show that I've been looking forward to over several weeks of reruns, they'd had a Special Thursday Pilot with Bonus! Guest Stars from My Show.

Them invading and making laughable my show = badness and resentment.

My show invading and making more awesome their new show = brings me along with excitement.

(It still might have sucked, but it would have been Extra My Team instead of less of them.)
Yeah. I did not engage with the new guys. And it's not like they can't do awesome CotWs. It just... didn't feel right.

I'm claiming network interference ("Explain this more!") and giving them a mulligan.
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