The theme for ‘From Childhood Hour’ is what people are ready to do to help themselves or others with their pain.
We meet the unsub George played by Patrick Stafford, a young troubled man who works as a 911 operator for the city of St-Louis. He ‘saves’ kids who are endangered by their parents’ troubles/behaviors by kidnapping the kids and asking them if they want to ‘help’ their parents by having them escape their troubles. George’s solution? Killing the parents! The twist here is that the unsub will not kill if the kids don’t want or agree to the killing. One kid will lose his mom to the unsub while another one’s, a younger one, mother will get saved by being in protective custody. The last kid the unsub will kidnapped is a teen girl whose mother’s boyfriend was arrested after he had touched her.
Why is the unsub killing? At an early age he pushed his suicidal mom of the ledge of a bridge. Her death brought a change in the life of young George, a change for the better as he was adopted and had a better life. He is trying to do the same for the kids he abducts.
For the unsub it is all about ‘saving’ these kids, that is why he works as a 911 operator. While the unsub’s answer to cries for help is to kill people, David Rossi is faced with a similar dilemma when his first ex-wife Carolyn comes and visits him. Dave thinks Carolyn wants to get back with him. But Dave wonders if they still have that spark? Will it work this time? In a nice scene he tells Prentiss about Carolyn. Emily’s gives him this advice “We rarely get a second chance in life, take it”. After the case is resolved, we see Dave back home, sharing some wine with Carolyn, She tells him that she has something to tell him while she still as the courage to do so. They hold each other’s hands and instead of telling Dave that she wants them to get back together, she tells him that she has ALS and only has a few months to live. This shocking news hits Dave hard, then Carolyn reminds Dave of the promise they made to each other when they got their divorce, to be there in their time of need, then she asks him to help her end her life when the times comes!
The acting in that scene was top notch. Both Isabella Hoffman (who played Carolyn) and Joe Mantegna (Playing David Rossi) bring emotions and subtlety to the scene. Here we do not get over the top acting but subtle acting. We can read the shock and sadness in Dave’s teary eyes. Hoffman plays the woman who is unsure how this request will go. She is nervous, anxious.
While this episode had a disturbing theme, suicide, we had funny scenes that help with the heavy subject. Garcia and Morgan going back to what we so love from them, their sexy and sometime osé banter! Another funny scene was with Morgan and Reid at one of the victim’s home where Reid asks why women have so many pairs of shoes, that question will be asked again at the end when Morgan, Reid, JJ, Garcia and Prentiss are on their way out with JJ attempting to explain to Spencer why women do have so many shoes. Those little team moments are what makes Criminal Minds such an enjoyable show despite being very dark and disturbing. We fans live for those moments!
Only one negative comment is that the rhythm of the episode is at times a bit slow.
Very well written episode for first time Criminal Minds writer Bruce Zimmerman who was not afraid to tackle subjects like, depression, suicide and how we face the end with respect and intelligence.