Closing Time (episode 7.14 written by Rick Dunkle) tells the story of our unsub, Mike Janezscko who is killing men and dumping their bodies in closed lifeguard stations in the South Bay area of Southern California. He is shooting them in the head, castrating them post mortem, and then dumping their bodies; some wrapped in plastic, some not. This was an interesting case as we delved into the mind of a man that was probably leading a fairly ordinary life only to have his world turned upside-down by his wife and best friend. Although this reviewer doesn’t normally like to know the identity of the unsub from the outset of an episode, in this instance it made sense to me. We watched our unsub in the middle of his psychological break and we slowly got to find out what made him snap. Some of my favorite episodes involve people living what we all would consider relatively normal lives and something happens that is just too much for the mind to handle. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone what this unsub did but I do wonder if he would have ever done anything like this if he hadn’t been betrayed by those closest to him.
Turns out our unsub, Mike, used to work at an auto wrecking facility with his best friend, Doug. Mike’s wife recently left Mike to live with Doug and then dropped this bombshell on him…Doug is actually the father of their teenage son, Hunter. This betrayal isn’t recent, this is something that happened behind his back a long time ago and either resumed or continued for years without his knowledge. Our unsub lost the life he knew; his son, his wife, his best friend, his job….everything that we all hold precious in life was taken from him.
Mike took a job tending bar, living in the loft above it. He has to sneak around to see the boy he raised and thought was his son. He listens to all the sobs stories of the people that come into the bar and decides to end their pain probably the way his wishes his would end. He devolved at the end to killing a women that cheated on her husband. The kill was messy and represented the anger that he felt towards his wife.
This episode only had a couple of hic-ups for this reviewer and I won’t beleaguer the point too much. One was the actor playing the teenage son, Hunter seem a little too old for the part and the other was how quickly the team discovered the car of the cheating wife was crushed at the auto wrecking yard. It was crushed beyond recognition and would have been hard to identify.
Let’s talk about the good parts. Nice acting job by our guest stars especially Geoffrey Blake who played Mike Janezscko. He played Mike as a everyman who just got handed a raw deal by people he loved.
We had a new way to kill people in this episode when Mike killed Doug in the auto crusher. He lowered the car on top of a pleading Doug and felt no remorse whatsoever. He even spit on Doug as the machine reduced the car to a chunk of metal with pieces of Doug mingled in it.
Then after Mike took Hunter hostage and the team was closing in, we had a great scene with JJ getting to show us her hand-to-hand combat skills. Though I don’t like how quickly she gave up her gun, she did show that she knew what she was doing by going mano y mano against our unsub. What a great scene and I highly suggest watching the anatomy of this fight scene on the CM Set Report blog.
AJ Cook wanted JJ to mix it up a bit and she got her wish. JJ was more than up to the task and I hope she gets to do it again sometime in the future.
And best of all, we had some lovely team moments in this episode (thank you Rick Dunkle):
Reid making a fuss over a bloodied JJ as she was getting looked over by the paramedics was adorable.
Finding out Morgan had been working as JJ’s hand to hand coach while JJ was with the State Department. To me it seems like JJ was gearing up to return to the BAU all along. We know that she didn’t want to leave and when she came back, it was going to be as more than the press liaison so she put in the work to get there.
And best of all, how cute were Hotch and Beth? I was grinning from ear to ear at their scenes together. It is so nice to see Hotch smile. I think Beth recognizes that Aaron is a little awkward perhaps shy when it comes to women. This is a man that was married to what we presume was his high school sweetheart. He loved Haley and I’ve always assumed (this is my opinion only) that he didn’t date after their divorce because a) he still loved her and b) work got in the way which was really their reason for the divorce anyway. When Haley was killed by The Reaper, he then had their son to raise and he was grieving for the death of the only woman that he had ever loved.
Beth seems like a woman that isn’t afraid to take the lead when needed. She knows Aaron might need someone that will meet him halfway. I loved how Hotch left work because it was Valentine’s Day. He wasn’t going to let work keep him in the office if it wasn’t absolutely necessary, something that he didn’t always do when he was married to Haley. Perhaps he’s learned that all work and no play makes for a very unbalanced life and maybe he wants a little balance for himself and for his son, Jack.
I don’t know if Beth is going to stick around but anyone that can bring about that kind of smile to Aaron Hotchner’s face is golden in my book.
One last thought before I wrap this up…this episode aired on the day that we learned we were losing a member of our team. Paget Brewster will be leaving Criminal Minds at the end of Season 7. This doesn’t come with the same kind of pain, anger or shock that was felt last season when she was unceremoniously let go by CBS and then jerked around by them for the rest of the season. This time it is on her terms, it is her decision. Though we at CMRT will miss her greatly, we thank her for all of the lovely moments she’s given us as Emily Prentiss; the funny awkward moments, the bad-ass door kicking down moments, the way she blended so seamlessly into BAU the same way Paget blended into the cast. Paget Brewster you will be missed on Criminal Minds but you will never be forgotten. We look forward to and will happily announce any future projects as they come. Much love to you from CMRT!