Written by : Sharon Lee Watson
Directed by : Matthew Gray Gubler
After watching this episode no less than four times, I’m still not quite sure what I think about it. For me, there is still something lacking in the writing. The story was laid out too soon and was very predictable after the first 10-15 minutes. There was no tension, no suspense, and very little action – except for the wonderfully choreographed fight scene between Hotch and James at the end. It reminded me a bit of the fight scene from “The Tribe”, which is still one of my all-time favourite episodes – and I’m not even the Hotch fan of the group!
James, who is just as delusional as his mother was, thanks to her brainwashing him as a child (at least that’s how I interpreted it), is killing women who he believes are the devil’s wives. It’s hard to believe that his younger sister, Lara, is a willing participant in the killings. Their relationship is a strange one, almost bordering on incestuous. He makes sure that she is completely dependent on him and that she has no one else to turn to, no friends, no contact with people at school. In the end, during one of his delusional breaks, he paints a picture of his sister, and believes her to be one of the devil’s wives.
Lara knows she will die and begs James not to sew her into the poisoned dress. Thankfully the team arrives in time to for Emily to save her, while Hotch hunts down her brother, fights with him and in the struggle to get the UNSUB off of him, Hotch knocks James against the well and James accidentally falls to his death. Hotch tries to reach to catch James, but is unable to save him.
What I did like about the episode was great acting, all around, from the cast and the guests. I loved the way the lighting was done, especially in the morgue scene and the scene where JJ and Prentiss were searching for medical records from the psychiatric clinic. It was a great touch from MGG to make it look more macabre. I liked the music throughout and thought it added a nice touch and made a story that wasn’t very suspenseful at least seem as though it was a bit. I loved that we saw more of Emily in this ep. It’s almost as if she’s been an afterthought this season. My favourite line from the ep was Garcia’s comment about the system being down and the fact that she nicknamed the system Persephone. I just thought that was a great line.
Some of the other banter from Garcia throughout the episode almost seemed forced and out of place, like the writer was trying too hard to incorporate some of the banter from previous eps – it was almost overused, in my opinion. I would have loved to have had more tension, more suspense. Not to have known that James was the UNSUB from the beginning. To have not had Lara involved in the murders – for her to have been clueless as to what her brother was up to. At least then, someone would have been left guessing what was going on.
It certainly wasn’t one of my favourite episodes of the season, which makes me really sad, because I believe that Matthew Gray Gubler is a brilliant director when given great material to direct. I hope that the writing for next season will get back to the basics of what made CM great: suspense, tension, not revealing the UNSUB from the very beginning of the episode, and some action thrown in here and there.