Monday, September 26, 2011

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 7 - 701. It Takes A Village - Review

The Lords and Ladies of the Criminal Minds Roundtable loved It Takes A Village so much, we had to have a jousting contest to see who would win the honor of writing a review of the Season 7 premiere episode.

The two lucky winners have penned the following reviews. We hope you enjoy them!

Review #1:

Happy Criminal Minds fans rejoice! Criminal Minds had their highly anticipated Season 7 premier this past week. The build-up to Wednesday night’s episode had the fandom all worked up. We knew that we were getting AJ Cook’s Jennifer Jareau and Paget Brewster’s Emily Prentiss back on our team. The questions were how were they going to pull this off and how would it impact the team.

Erica Messer’s script wove an intricate story of how the team was brought back together. Telling the story in both present tense and flashbacks she was able to pull it all together into one cohesive story. The team told the story of what happened as they faced a Senate Inquiry Committee because the BAU went on a manhunt single-handedly; crossing jurisdictions and bypassing proper protocols with other agencies along the way. We saw our team handle themselves with conviction and strength.

We saw the newly returned JJ provide testimony before the committee with grace and poise as she explained the first part of what happened two weeks prior. We saw that Hotch had been on assignment in Pakistan while Morgan secretly worked on finding his friend’s murderer with his girl Friday, Garcia. All their hard work prevailed and they finally had their man. Ian Doyle was in custody. What they weren’t bargaining for was that Doyle’s son was in still in danger - while Morgan and Doyle had been looking for Declan, so had his mother.
About 26 minutes into the episode, we start to get the story of Emily’s death. Emily nearly died that night in that Boston warehouse but the doctors were able to stabilize her. We already know Hotch and JJ made the decision to let everyone think that Emily had died that night. It was the only way to keep Doyle away from her. Once Emily was stable, she was secretly airlifted from Boston to Bethesda.

And at the 27 and a half minute mark we get what we have all been waiting for…the resurrection of Emily Prentiss. The looks on the team’s faces registered various degrees of shock. Hugs were given all around and then they knew the reunion was over and there was a little boy that needed their help.

Yes there was a case here but this episode was more about the team being brought back together. JJ and Emily shared a nice personal moment showing not only their friendship but the friendship shared by the actresses that portray them. If we had to bring the Doyle case full circle to have the ladies back, that was fine by me. The case was solved, Doyle and Declan’s mom were both killed and the little boy that Emily worked so hard to protect was safe once again.

At the end of the Senate Inquiry, the team was reinstated because Emily convinced them that this was the only team that could have pulled this off as quickly as they did. She convinced them that this team was the very epitome of what the FBI stood for and it was very moving when Emily recited the FBI oath to the committee.

Lots of hard feelings I’m sure will surface. Betrayal is very hard to overcome. Nearly half the team was in on a secret that the others knew nothing about. They suffered knowing that their friend and colleague was dead. They looked at her picture on the wall every day when they walked down the hall. It will be very interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks as the team learns to heal.

All in all, as a huge CM fan, I was very pleased with this episode. Maybe it’s just because the magic 7 are all back together. Either way, this CM fan has had a smile on her face since last Wednesday and is really looking forward to where this season takes us to.

Review #2

The much-anticipated season seven premiere of Criminal Minds did not disappoint!

It was well-written, well-conceived, well-directed and of course, well-acted by our beloved cast – all together again! I always know when it is a good episode, because the time just flies by when I watch it, and this one flew by at warp speed! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The whole team, the writers, the cast, the director and crew did a fantastic job to create and tell the tale of Prentiss’ return. There was a case, which was apprehending Doyle and rescuing Declan, and it brought Prentiss back from the dead.

I thought about doing a recap of the episode and then telling you what didn’t work for me and what worked for me, but I don’t think I can do the episode justice with a recap.

It wasn’t perfect, no episode is completely perfect, but it was a great way to start the season.

What didn’t work for me was pretty minor. I really wish they could have done a 2-hour episode or back-to-back episodes because they packed a whole lot into the first 15 minutes and I got a little confused with who was doing what when the senator said to JJ that only 4 people remained on the team, 1 was reassigned, 1 was on sabbatical, etc. I really wish we could have had even 5 or 10 more minutes telling us what the team had done during the past 3-1/2 months.

What I loved:

The flashback formula.

JJ and Prentiss being back!

JJ and Prentiss walking arm in arm to the round table room – it shows their great affection for one another – I really appreciate that they made all the women friends and not frenemies or backstabbing one another.

JJ seems so much more mature and capable. She seems so much more self-assured – take the scene with Strauss while they were watching the interrogation where she points out the physical characteristics about Doyle to prove her point that Doyle was genuinely upset and didn’t know where Declan was. She knows her stuff.

I also like the more assertive Reid. We saw a little bit of the Reid from Uncanny Valley in this episode, and I loved that Reid. After 7 years, he has to mature and grow as an agent. He can still be quirky, and clueless about things, but I like that he is showing that growth as a person and an agent. I also loved his stance with the Senator – looking him in the eye and telling him not to punish HIS team for something that was his idea and when the senator told him to “calm down, agent”, responding with “this is calm and call me doctor”. Yeah, the senator got TOLD!

I think we got a hint about a future episode when Morgan and Garcia, while trying find Doyle’s son Declan, were going through the belongings of Emily’s friend who had been killed during Valhalla. He had been a forger and Morgan said something about that there couldn’t be many fake ID’s for children and Garcia saying “you’d be surprised”. Something to think about and look forward to!

The look between Rossi and Strauss while they were observing Doyle’s interrogation; what happened between them? It brings to mind the line between JJ and Garcia that Rossi was one of the main reasons for the fraternization rules in the FBI. Hmmmm, food for thought!

The looks on all the characters faces when Hotch told them Emily was alive, were so true to each character: Rossi was somewhat bemused (idk who feeds him the inside FBI information, but I think he may have had some inside information that she was still alive); Garcia was happily surprised, Reid was confused and Morgan was highly incensed. Hotch didn’t say anything about JJ being in on the secret (although she stood next to him and faced the team thereby aligning with him when he revealed that Prentiss was still alive), but I don’t think JJ will skate by with no one finding out that she knew, there will be some fall out there.

And finally, I loved the ending. Strauss told them that the committee would not support a rogue team, but what Emily told them saved the team and that all their suspensions had been lifted. Morgan asked Emily what she told the committee and it cuts back to her alone facing the committee and saying:

“The only people I know who could accomplish that mission just walked out – they do their jobs with integrity, and most importantly they honor their oath:

I will support and defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic
I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same
That I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion
That I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office for which I am about to enter
So help me God.”

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