I am fast becoming a fan of @VirgilWilliams. [I SWEAR it is just random coincidence that the weeks for which I signed up to review episodes -- hey, we sign up at the beginning of the season! -- often turn out to be his!] And considering that I really disliked his first outing as a CM writer, There's No Place Like Home (7x07) , I'm relieved to reverse my initial opinion.
Case in point: NANNY DEAREST is one of the very few episodes that made me weepy. Many CM episodes can make me angry or disgusted, sure, but the only ones that immediately come to mind which make me sniffle and/or break out the hankies are 100, VALHALLA, and LAUREN and Virgil didn't kill off a major character to make me teary-eyed this time.
Instead, it was the catharsis experienced by the "one that got away" -- Tara Rios (portrayed excellently by @Yara_Martinez) -- at the end of the episode with baby Phoebe's mother which touched me. That could only happen because Ms. Martinez (and veteran returning CM director Doug Aarniokoski , @dougaa ) pulled off the delicate balancing act of manifesting Tara's traumatization without making the viewer (well, this viewer anyway) want to throw up their hands in frustration.
|EMDR: bet you can't say "eye movement desensitization and reprocessing" 5 times fast!|
Clearly this episode dealt with issues of survivor's guilt (both Tara's and the UnSub's -- we'll get back to HIM later) and promises: JJ was mighty free with her guarantees (to her son Henry, semi-acceptable; to Tara, even in Hollywoodland FBI, NOT okay). Morgan seemed to agree with me, judging by his concerned glances at JJ when they were on the BAU jet with Tara.
I was glad to see some traces of JJ's old media liaison savvy show through in this episode (DO Amber Alert newscasts go national?) as well as her returning sharpshooter skills (see: Deputy Jason Clark Battle in Penelope, 3x09 and note to self: do NOT tick off the women of the BAU).
Speaking of the women of the BAU, it's a pity that Jeanne Tripplehorn's character seems remarkably development free, aside from her Maeve-related interludes with Reid. What a waste of a talented actress' skills.
As for the UnSub, he was appropriately creepy / slimy / deluded, without verging into the dense / thickheaded territory of the blood artist in Magnum Opus, 8x13 , whom I found entirely, well, stupid. With his patience and stalking, THIS UnSub was quite the opposite. To me, the final reveal of his sister's drowning after HE distracted their nanny explains why he was so enraged by Gina Mendes' sincere protestations of caring for Phoebe. (Of course, that could just be me and @VirgilWilliams may be thinking that I'm as deluded as the murderous and sadistic Mr. Covey.)
Tempting as it is to cap off this review with a LOVELY close-up of the killshot that JJ delivered to Jonny Ray Covey (who really made my skin crawl), I'll just post a link to it instead.
So all in all, wholehearted applause for NANNY DEAREST!