Another theory, this one from Rossi, involved the anniversary of the JFK assasination. Of course, this turns out to be false, but we got to guess and wonder about if Dave was on to something.
In the meanwhile, we follow Colin and Maya, who seem to have fled the scene of the shooting. From their conversation, we gathered they were hiding from an unknown person/s. One of the two interesting parts, is that first we followed those people, got involved into their fear of being seen/caught, - Colin appeared to be very protective of Maya, - only to discover later that all this was in Colin's head, a fantasy to keep his focus on his target... Maya! We learn from the team that snipers will often have fantasies about their targets, so they can stay focused on the victims for long periods of time. Very nice twist!
Finally the teamwork lead us to the person who hired the sharpshooter, who Colin talks about with Maya in his fantasy without ever naming the man. The team would learn that Maya was an abused wife who was trying to run away from her abusive husband, a man with a military background who ran a security agency, and who hired Colin to kill her. Eric, the husband, had to hide that Maya was the real target because the cops had been involved in their problems. He hired Colin to use counter measures, hence why Colin killed all those people at what at first seems like random shootings, but including those involved in Maya's escape!
- What this reviewer absolutely loved was that Criminal Minds was back to what made it a great TV show: focus on the team and what they do so well, profiling. Did we see the unsub in the first 2 minutes of the episode? Yes, but he was masked and we had no idea who he was. How refreshing not knowing who he was and having to rely on the team to find out who it was and why he was killing people! We did learn about part of who the killer was and about his 'job' as a hired hitman from the man himself. Usually that would have been a complain of mine, this have been used way too much since mid season 5 to end of season 8, but this time it was all hidden in Colin's fantasy, and we the viewers didn't know it was all his imagination at play. Once it was revealed who Colin really was, near the end, when the team figured it out, the viewers were left with the joy of going 'I didn’t see that one coming!'.
- Back was also having one of the profilers, in this case Reid, walking the scene of the latest massacre and explain what happened and why, as if Reid was there when it all happened. This is such an effective way to show profiling, We were used to have that a lot in seasons 1 and 2. Glad it came back for this episode. Of course, as great as this is, been overused, like showing the unsub too early or having the unsub tell us why they do things and not let the team profile the unsub, would get the viewer less interested if overused.
- Another throw back to past seasons was that everything about the unsub came from the team working the case. Not once what the unsub did or said explained why he was killing, - and yes the unsub did lots of things, BUT not once did we know he was the LDSK until the last 10 minutes of the episode, and by then once this was revealed it came as a shocker! That piece of writing by Sharon Lee Watson was very clever. Not once while watching Colin Bramwell, - very well played by Mike Colter,- running away and hiding with the sniper intended victim, Maya Carcani, - also well played by Yetide Badaki,- did this reviewer had any idea that Colin was the sniper, and that everything I was seeing was actually just a imaginative tale.
- One of the two best scenes in that episode was the one with JJ and Morgan interrogating that racist inmate: JJ and Morgan read the man well, and knew exactly how to behave to make him reveal that he really had not changed and was still a racist. Excellent writing and acting.
- Another favorite scene was the last one, where Hotch took down the sniper. Way back when Criminal Minds was created, it was said in the note about Hotch, that he had been a sharpshooter with SWAT before joining the BAU. Was pleased to see that that Sharon Lee Watson remembered that and used it in this episode. Last shot with Hotch hugging Maya was just beautiful.
- One thing that I wonder about is that, in the scene where Reid and JJ are talking with someone working at the shelter for abused women, Reid mentions that it would not be easy with this sort of secrecy (funny coming from Reid after he was so angry at JJ for lying about Emily not being dead!) . Is he refering to when JJ had to lie about Emily? Does it have to do with the scene at the BAU when JJ was talking to Will on the phone and Reid asked her if everything was OK? is that something that will be addressed in the 200th episode, as it was hinted in recent interviews? We shall see.
- Have to mention that camera work in the locker scene where Hotch open one up, with the camera inside it, and we see him take out a big rifle. Love that view, it is as if we, the viewers, are getting a glimpse into what is going on.
On a side note: the second victim, Daniel Bukowski, at the plaza shooting, the lawyer, was played by Criminal Minds Stunt Coordinator Tom Elliot!
At the hospital, when Brooke, the girl who went to talk to that 'creepy programmer' - we, programmers, disagree; we are not creepy, just a bit weird ;). At some point during the interview with Reid and Blake, Brooke, while recalling the moment Axel was killed, lost it and hugged Blake. Blake is SO uncomfortable! Blake strikes me as not being very maternal type, unlike say JJ!
Garcia: “I have checked all the assassination buffs and conspiracy theorists, including myself and I’m all sad to say, we are all in the clear!”
JJ: “Who uses a 308 rifle?”
Rossi: “In Texas? Hunters, Minutemen, housewives,...”
Last, have not to praised writer Sharon Lee Watson enough for an excellent story that had the viewer guessing from start to finish about who the killer was. Many fans have complained a lot about Criminal Minds taking out much of the guessing who the unsubs are by showing them in the first seconds of an episode; in this episode Watson did this, BUT the killer was masked and we were left guessing who he was and why he did what he did, while we watched the team profile the killer and his motives. This IS what most of us love about Criminal Minds, well one of the many things we love about the show.
So far Criminal Minds is off to a great start. We had very solid, entertaining episodes with "The Inspiration" and "The Inspired", "Final Shot" took it one notch higher by also going back to what made Criminal Minds a must see TV show. If the rest of this season is as good as this episode, we will have one of the best season in Criminal Minds history!
This reviewer gives this episode a 9.5/10