One thing I noticed and forgot to mention about "JJ" was how it parallels the first-season episode "The Popular Kids." "JJ" works because we the audience believe that Criminal Minds will kill off a person in peril. "The Popular Kids" depends for its impact on the audience's belief that TV network shows don't kill children.
I mention this now because last week's episode, which I did not do a review of at the time because hello, Viable Paradise is demanding, does not succeed in maintaining that tension. It errs on the side of Disposable Victims Except The One Who Has A Name And Gets To Keep Her Shirt On, and yeah, new writer, maybe she'll shake out.
I did think it did a very good job with characterization, especially for a first-time writer. Which is promising.
That said, now I complain a little.
The cold open is a bit of a mess; when I first watched it, I was a bit late in starting, and came in just as the mother was leaving the house. On second viewing, it's a little more exploitative than I'm used to on CM. The forcing-the-daughter-to-call thing is sadly not a television writer's fantasy, however.
And then there's Rossi, suffering Blank Cursor Syndrome. At last, I can identify with him.... Interesting that he appears to write in a DOS text editor... there's a guy who came up on typewriters.
I guess Rossi lives in Virginia. And has a closet full of cold cases?
And there's Hotch doing JJ's job.
And a bit of continuity with Ellie and Morgan--and his teammates worrying about Morgan getting too attached.
Also, we're using nicknames. Bad writer. Good characterization, bad profiling. (And why do we call a guy whose MO is electrocution "The Butcher?")
Arrgh, new opening credits. I HAVE NOT FORGIVEN YOU, NETWORK.
"Rossi, what's in the box?"
Dave Rossi, I think you mythologize too much.
Reid's lavender scarf! Drink! And a Bad Sweater AND a Bad Shirt. Oh, CM, you bring me riches.
I want to like the ME, but she's a little stiff.
Serial killer avoids eye contact with cute girl. And Daniel J. Travanti is cast against type.
"Are the words hers?"
Oh, come on, what Reid said wasn't that complicated.
Travanti is pretty buff for an old guy...
Is that a Bureau-issue iPad?
Prentiss and Morgan crack the case!
The thing about the woman in the hallway is indeed creepy.
"I got her for you."
And there's a nice level of horror in somebody trying to keep contact with a parent they're losing any way they can. I think I wanted more focus on that, more nuance.
The montage scene is nice for silent characterization, but I'm missing a buildup of tension here in the middle.
Paget Brewster can do more with a downward glance than most actors can with a paragraph.
Obligatory BTK/Grim Sleeper shoutout. We've done our homework!
"Reid might be on to something." It does happen occasionally.
Crap, whatever I said about Travanti being pretty built for an old guy was inadequate. He does physically intimidating really well. Also, nice abs.
Reid gets it.
Garcia gets it.
Nobody rocks the boxer shorts and wifebeaters look.
Never leave the door unlocked when you're out for a nice spate of serial killing.
"Those your trophies?"
"What do you know about trophies?"
"I like trophies. Proves you won something."
Garcia cracks the case! With some help from Rossi.
Rossi gets to do the big talk down. The dialogue is not quite convincing me, though. Until we get to "She left us."
That works well. As does the crying serial killer/crying victim.
"Trust me, Princess, I get it."
"Or someone who's been there."
The thing is, they're both right.
And a Mark Twain quote is rarely the wrong choice.
And now, on to tonight's episode, which I shall review tomorrow....
I'm a bit frustrated that we get the women who we haven't met naked and objectified, but the final girl keeps her clothes on. This is kind of not my CM. The victims are lacking agency, and I'm never really worried that the final girl will get killed.