'Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.' - F. Scott Fitzgerald
In the town of Providence, Rhode Island, a serial killer is randomly murdering people in prominent places to instigate fear among the population, to see the reaction of the community afterward, and take pleasure in the turmoil it brings to the residents of Providence. He is likened to an arsonist, but slits throats instead. As the story unravels, we find out through Rossi's and the team’s profiling, what the stressor is that pushed the man to kill and that it will bring him to annihilate the reason for his behaviour.
'When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.' - William Shakespeare
"Public Enemy" is a very well-written story like we haven't seen in a while - since the beginning of season 5 and with "100" and "Slave of Duty". It was great to have a good episode since we are heading for a long break (which will be torture for a lot of us) and also because some prior episodes were not the “sitting on the edge of your seat” type we were blessed with at the beginning of the season. The way the story unraveled without giving away too many clues at the same time was really skillful.
The plane scene at the beginning of the episode is always interesting because it is revealing as to how the case will evolve since this is where we get to know who does what. In this case, Prentiss will go to the Laundromat, where she will later be meeting Detective Moreland. Rossi will go to the church where he will meet a disturbed priest, Father Kendellen. JJ and Morgan have the most difficult job, to meet Meg Collins, the widow of the last victim, to have her recount how the murder of her husband happened. Hotch and Reid will head to the police station to start setting up and meet the detective in charge.
The team showed us their awesome skills. It shows us how, all put together, they are the authority in their line of work. Even though we didn’t see Hotch as often has we have become used too, it is always astounding to witness his legendary authority and professionalism in some situations, such as at the Library - where he was in complete control of the situation (a setup by Rossi using the situation to bring the Unsub to reveal himself) or when he gave an update to the local officers and lowered their anger and frustration as one of their fellow officers was murdered by the unsub. Also with Rossi, when they profile together at the police station, which is always a delight because they work so well together.
After his profiling at the church, we have Rossi “taking charge of the case” without disrespect toward Hotch who trusts him implicitly and won’t take offense because he knows his old friend too well and that a case is never in jeopardy with Rossi in the lead because of his extensive experience and skills he showed all the way through the case.
Even though Rossi was mostly at the forefront, the very professionnal JJ, whose has become a mom, was the emotional center of the episode. She is there all the way to protect the wife and daughter of the soldier killed in the church and she was amazing. At one point, Hotch asks her to head out to the latest crime scene and she refuses to go arguing that they need someone to stay with them, but Hotch orders her to leave for the market and control the press and that brings out some tension between both of them.
Prentiss, Morgan and Reid were not left behind. They were essential in the whole process of finding the serial killer. Prentiss' deductions at the Laundromat and her finding the clothes in the garbage bin helped focus even more on who was the unsub. Morgan talking with the wife took a lot of emotional control on his part but he was able to deduct that the killer wasn’t psychotic and wouldn’t go on a spree, because he is too patient. Reid, with his deductions also focused the team’s profile more precisely.
As a die-hard Rossi fan, I was in seventh heaven with this episode. The past few weeks, David had been low profile, almost absent. The way he took charge without overdoing it, showed that his ego is been well under control. He figured a lot about the case; he really took charge in this episode. He showed his self-confidence all the way and went on to kick some butt.
The fact that he offered to go to the church, tells us that his spiritual beliefs are still important to him (as shown the first time in "Demonology") and that crime tape in front of a church is not something he likes to see. His faith was brought to the forefront in this episode, from his trying to comfort the priest to the card that he signed at the end, an idea surely instigated by the thoughtful JJ. The “gift” from Rossi was so generous of him (it brought tears to my eyes)... and this time, no one could argue his big heart and kindness.
There were some other highlights with him that I liked a lot. As the widow is telling the story to JJ and Morgan, Rossi is seen acting it out in the church. I thought it was something seeing Rossi pretending to slit the soldier's throat in the church... His perfect timing when he arrives at the Laundromat as Prentiss is asking a question that he had the answer to. When he presents his idea on how they will bring out the serial killer out by protecting the soldier’s wife during a speech and “take down the bastard”.
But in general with Rossi, I’m still waiting to find out what it is about him with absentee fathers, the military, the church and other little tidbits and hints we got in preceding episodes. Can we have some more Rossi backstory? "Reckoner" was awesome but didn’t give us all the information.
I also would have thought that by then, we would have seeen some back story about Hotch since is wife died. How is he doing really and how is little Jack?
Awesome work from Jess Prosser for a first episode! His writing is really interesting and I sure hope we will see more of him. Congratulations, it was a strong case and I really loved it. The story was more cohesive and had a better plot than last week's episode. Prosser gave a lot of little hints about some member of the team – Hotchner’s father issues, JJ’s past with a small town, Reid’s PhD’s and his dad and Rossi’s faith.
It was a strong case, just the way I like them and the ending was so great.
The character of the wife and the daughter were especially awesome in this episode. Both character's somehow “glowed”, bringing some emotional moments that we couldn’t avoid feeling.
The actress who played the wife was really great and so was the little girl.