A boxer’s whose son is dying from leukemia loses control when he is struck by ‘blood lust’ which makes him beat people to death. Meawhile, Hotch meets an interesting woman while training for the FBI triathlon.
This episode had guest stars Shawn Hatosy from Southland fame and Charles S Dutton who did among other things Without a Trace. There was a lot to like about this episode; excellent acting from Thomas Gibson, Hatosy and Dutton, who all had great scenes to shine in. Good writing. Attention spent on the details of the world of small time boxing, from the coach who drinks and bets against his boxer, to the washed up boxer who doesn’t know anything else but fighting but who is nothing more than a punching bag for other boxers. The boxing scenes looked good and not faked and so was the boxing club. The scene with the little boy passing was a powerful one. Great acting by Thomas Gibson in that scene! Another great scene was when Jimmy, the unsub, killed his coach. Dutton’s character pleading for his life, telling Jimmy, that like him he was dad was one of the better moments of this episode.
The Hotch and Beth meeting was, as some fans have said, yes awkward especially on Hotch’s part. He looked shy and a bit unsure but that is understandable. When was the last time Hotch dated? Probably way back in high school when he met Haley. It was refreshing to see a woman going after a man she found interesting. Loved that Hotch showed some of his humor when he asked her if she was training for surveillance! It was high time that Hotch got something to smile about in his private life that is not about his son. Small detail, funny that she is the one who gave him her information but he didn’t give her his.
One thing I love is the friendship between Hotch and Rossi. Those two are first friends and it shows. Loved the scene where Rossi tells Hotch that ‘distracted is good!’ Loved that in the last scene, in Hotch’s office, Dave showed Hotch some support by asking him if he would meet with Beth on the weekend.
Oh and poor Reid who didn’t get the bicycle reference but Garcia sure did, just look at the look she gave Hotch!
Favorite scene was the plane scene where everyone were gossiping about Hotch’s love life and Garcia got carried away until she realized that Hotch was there and heard it all.
Although, I did enjoy this episode more than Janine Sherman Barrois’ previous one, this one was, again, us watching the unsub do what he does. Although we got some profiling, as a long time viewer, I much prefer episodes where we get to learn about the unsub via the team profiling them. Episodes like ‘Brother’s in Arms ‘and ‘Catching Out’ are episodes where all we get to know comes from the team’s work. Another problem with episodes that have us watching the unsub do what he does is that there are no mysteries. With this episode, we knew who did it, why and when from the promo and the first 2 minutes of the episode. What was left was for the team to catch up with him. As a viewer, the previous episode where we get to guess who the killer is and why throughout the whole episode was much better because we still get to guess who and why until the end. We never get to lose interest.
Yes, the episode was violent but unlike Janine’s previous episodes, I didn’t feel like the violence was over the top like in the ‘Thirteen step’ where the violence was almost glamourized for the YouTube generation. This time we had a boxer who was losing control over his blood lust, who had for weapons his hands so yes it got messy but it never felt exploitative.
If I was to rank this episode despite being one that again was a ‘watching the unsub’ episode I would rank it in my top three for this season, a season that is so far turning out to be a much better one that last season!