Monday, October 17, 2011

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 7 - 704. Painless - Review

Director Larry Teng and writer Breen Frazier

In my life, there have been three “where were you events” – 9/11 of course, Oklahoma City and Columbine. Just recently out of high school when Columbine occurred, I remember watching the coverage almost unable to breathe. It was horrifying. The aftermath was equally awful as the media pored over every detail of the case wondering what could have caused those boys to do what they did. 

This excellent episode, written by the always fantastic Breen Frazier (as nice a guy as you will ever meet. Totally not someone you would expect to be able to so hauntingly plumb the depths of loss of innocence as he’s expertly done in both this episode and others he’s written such as Pleasure Is My Business and, of course, Lauren) spun me back to those chilling post Columbine days.
From the visit to the younger brother of the killer who had been idolizing his deceased sibling (loved that the mother who had lost so much didn’t ask for a search warrant), to being introduced to the Unsub - a young man who alone had had the guts to stare a killer in the eyes and then been denied his story, his moment of heroism and strength in the aftermath of it all – we were led down a dark and winding path full of badly-healed pain that I found heartbreakingly sad.

Thankfully, this episode was made up of more than just the melancholy moments. It also added in some wonderful personal touches such as the laugh-out-loud prank war between Reid and Morgan (Reid’s revenge made me giggle for several minutes), the sweet interactions between Jack and Hotch (I love that Jack seems to have inherited his father’s intellectual way of trying to resolve an issue), JJ and Reid’s “mean girl” conversation (had we heard before that she was a Valedictorian?) and of course, who could forget the awesome moment where we learned that JJ and Emily had stayed in touch via online scrabble (with a shout-out to long-time fan Cheeto Breath!).

These scenes grounded the episode, and made it hopeful. They seemed to show that in the middle of amazing tragedy, friendship and family can shine a bright light.

Definitely, one of Breen’s finest outings – and a great one for season seven.


  1. I loved this episode!! It was well- written and very emotional. It almost seemed like the old Criminal Minds. I think Breen is a great writer for Criminal Minds and his past episodes were great as well! However,this sadly is the last episode that I am watching of the show since Hotch will be getting a love interest soon. This is so sad for me because I somehow believed that we would get more episodes like 7.04 this season.

  2. ^^^^What a ridiculous reason to stop watching a TV show. But it's your choice. Hopefully you'll change your mind when you realize that this romance for Hotch will probably amount to about 5-7 minutes of total airtime.

  3. Good recap. For me the episode was so/so. I liked the story of the unsub and everything related to the case.
    I though the team interaction was off and I had a difficult time with it, but good for the other fans who enjoyed it and I mean that honestly.
    I still hope for some good Hotch/Reid scenes in the future.

    About JJ being a valedictorian, no it's something new and it doesn't make that much sense :
    in "North Mammon" it was said that the only way for JJ to get a scholarship and go to college was through soccer. Soccer was her only way out....and now Breen tells us that she was a would think that if she was really a valedictorian it would have been way easier for her to get a scholarship.
    But her being a valedictorian might just have been Reid guessing instead of a fact...And it's not a big deal anyway.


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