Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - 904. To Bear Witness - Review

This episode of Criminal Minds was written by Erica Messer, and introduces the new Section Chief played by Esai Morales to the show. The story revolves around a case of sibling rivalry that has gone horribly wrong. The story itself was just okay. It was painfully slow at times and I wanted to fast forward through some parts of it. What I did like about the episode was the team profiling. This season has done a great job with the team solving the cases with actual profiling, instead of "lets see how creepy we can make the unsub and his or her crimes show" episodes that we have had to endure the past couple of season. I am glad the team is back to being active in solving the cases through profiling and relying less on Garcia to produce names from the computer at the end of the episode. I am very happy to see that aspect of the show back because I missed it very much.

As far as introducing the new Section Chief, hummm... I can't really think of anything positive to say about it. I don't have a problem with the new chief, (although Erin Strauss was one of my favs and I will miss her very much) but the story introducing him was almost laughable in my opinion. I get they can't talk about open cases, sure I can buy that no problem, but to act like they don't know each other after they met in public to run and have breakfast is juvenile and silly. To me it feels like trying to create drama when none exists. It would have been way more interesting if JJ had actually had an affair with him. I guess it is impossible for anyone to see them together in public because they have a cloak of invisibility. HUGE EYE ROLL. Oh yes and lets not forget the whispers around the "Round Table" and the elevator. Oh wait, Rossi might think something is up because they forgot to push a button! OH NO, they do know each other. OH MY GOD NO! Wait and he wanted to meet up to run again... LOL Stop all this drama, is killing me!

All in all it was an okay episode. The team profiling was terrific, and I am glad to have it back. The ep would have been much more enjoyable without all the absurd drama concerning the new Section Chief . I look forward to the team being back on track and the stories that get resolved by the team, not Garcia on her computer, after watching thirty minutes of "how creepy can we make this new unsub"... If I wanted to watch American Horror Story I would. Welcome Back Criminal Minds, I have missed you.



  1. I agree absolutely! Half of DC must have seen them together - the whole JJ/Cruz thing is laughable and improbable and I'm afraid it has blighted the 200th episode for me long before we get there! At least we are seeing some credible profiling this season but it's a shame the JJ.Cruz storyline is dragging things down.

  2. Excellent review. I couldn't agree with you more concerning that ridiculous JJ/Cruz storyline.

    And I too am glad they seem to be making an effort at getting back to the profiling.
    I'm also glad that they seem to be relying less on Garcia's computer skills and I hope it keeps up. Garcia should be seen as a valuable asset to the team. But the problem is too many fans see her as the one who actually solves the cases. That to me has made the BAU team almost seem irrelevant at times.

  3. I agree with some parts, and disagree about others. There's a couple things I want to add too, soooo...


    Of course, about everything the reviewer has said about the profiling, in this ep, and in all we have already seen from this season. Feels like suddenly all characters have gone back to their correct places and started to do what they are paid (by the FBI) to do, profile! And with that small correction, our show is back in full force. LOVE IT!


    About the new Section Chief storyline with JJ: Both were surprised, and both stated it clearly, with Cruz sudden appearance as new big boss.

    During the Round Table scene, she didn't know how to react, wasn't sure if she'd been had in, or there was something else going on. At the same time, Cruz notices how much she stiffens, and knows he's some explaining to do, which he mostly screws soundly trying to make an out-of-place joke.

    And then, the case takes over, and there's not more opportunities for them to talk. JJ was never in the same place as Cruz, nor during the car rides, neither during the case, until the very end, with FBI, cops and EMTs around them!

    Last chance for the conversation to happen? When it did, when Cruz catches a wary JJ when she's about to leave. This time he manages to explain himself, and that's it; Rossi comes and kills their conversation... when they're still debating how far their secrecy orders reach, plus who's behind the instant appointment of Cruz as Section Chief of the very same unit where JJ now works after leaving the State Department.

    Of course, now they've painted themselves on a corner, because how on earth they go now, and tell the team they did know each other, and are friends?

    The fact that nobody that matters has seen them together is of no importance, and frankly, realistic. Other than Hotch and maybe Reid, looks like none live in DC. Their office, in fact, is way south, in the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA. And even if not, DC is a very, very big city. If they meet any place the others never go to, they'll never be seen. Easy.

    About Rossi noticing: Rossi doesn't notice because they forgot to push a button, he notices something is off right away when Cruz barges in during the case briefing. And because he notices then, he asks pointedly to JJ if she knows Cruz while talking about him with Morgan in the car. And keeps throwing JJ sly looks while working together the case. And his look at them when he sees they've forgotten to push the lift button is not a something-is-off-with-you-both look, is a very-much-Rossi smug look. And JJ's face when entering said lift is her we-are-busted one. Only thing we don't know yet, is what Rossi thinks he knows.

    Why nobody else notices? Only Morgan could have caught JJ's evasiveness in the car (the only outright lie said), but he's too preoccupied about how Cruz is going to be as Section Chief, and driving. He's not paying attention. Same during the introductions, he's too focused in Cruz.

    We should never forget something very important: we, hardcore fans know they're not having an affair, but the normal viewers have no clue what is being said on the web, and the eps are written with them in mind (we get cookies, we get to give the writers some tiny input, maybe some ideas, but THAT'S IT!)

    [to be continued]


    I'm not a Morgan fan, I like him just fine, but he's at the bottom in my characters' preference list. That disclosed, this is the Morgan I really, really like. He's without a doubt, the go-to action agent. Him being the patient one able to reach to others, his caregiver/action man duality, is what gives him deep and makes him compelling to me. Hoping, hoping, the always-angry-Morgan we've got one too many times these last past seasons, is gone for good. This one is SO much better!

    Liked very much seeing Blake and Reid brainstorming together, complementing each other, and showing their strengths in the process.

    Loved the differences between Strauss' style, even during the last year when she's not contrary to the team, and Cruz's style. Cruz does still have plenty of room to create trouble for the team, but his approach is clearly different, so little chance of repeated scenarios if/when that happens.

    THANK YOU Erica for NOT pairing JJ and Morgan this time around. If there was any doubt they don't work well together, seeing them working separately just proves it even more!

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with Maria above. Season 9 has been great so far and it's because of so much profiling going on.

    I'm loving the JJ and Cruz arc and it has so much potential. I think the problem with many online CM fans is that we read spoilers and we know what the writers want us to think or feel because they tell us in interviews and that can have a negative impact on the episode itself.

    If I hadn't read the spoilers, it would have been better, but I did love the introduction of Cruz and I'm excited to see more. I loved Strauss in the early days but she got a little boring and was better as an adverse character. I like when I don't know everything and I have things to think about, so not knowing exactly what Cruz is about is great.

    I totally agree with Maria about Morgan, by far my last favourite character but he was good in this episode. Reid and Blake are way better together than apart. And hallelujah for not pairing JJ and Morgan.

    I wish we would get some more JJ and Hotch scenes and I hope JJ's relationship with Cruz is developed more and we see it played out rather than rushed through to get to an ending.

  6. Sorry Maria I'm just not buying it. just because they didn't know they were going to be working together doesn't negate the fact that they were out there in broad daylight jogging together
    for anyone to see them. And now they are trying to pretend they don't know each other.

    The whole thing is ludicrous. No matter what spin some may put on it in order to justify it.

  7. Maria, my point is, if you are not suppose to know each other due to an active ongoing case then you DON'T meet in a public place to run! SIMPLE!!! Who cares if they worked with each other in the past? Even if they are still working the case and have to meet outside of work to discuss it don"t linger and enjoy breakfast together!!!! LOL It doesn't matter who lives in what part of town!!!! Don't talk at work, and don't try to make plans to run the next day.. The team will not care if JJ is following orders they understand the job.. This is just trying to add drama to a situation that doesn't warrant it. They know each other because they work in the same building! Simple! Done! Move on!

  8. Would never have guessed it would be so complicated to understand something so simple as: "they're friends, they're surprised, they mess up".

    The important point is how they - the writers - develop what they're planted with this introduction: all can be realistically explained, or they can screw up this arc. Nobody knows yet, maybe not even them.

    But one thing is sure, every viewer outside the hardcore fans who follow online news, were left wondering exactly what kind of relationship those two share. On this point, mission accomplished.

  9. Maria you seem to be the one who has trouble understanding. The issue isn't the fact that they were totally surprised when they found out they were working together or even JJ's total unease at having him there.
    Rather the issue is they were out together in BROAD DAYLIGHT, IN PLAIN SIGHT for ANYONE TO SEE. And now they are trying to pretend they don't know each other.
    As someone rightly pointed out that is just not something you do if you want to keep the fact that you know each other a secret.

  10. I can see what Maria is saying but I also see the opposing pov.
    For me I had issues first with the role of State Department because I don't think the writers really grasp what SD does. Erica used to write for Alias so I think she still wants to do spy stories, but those don't work on this show.

    Right from the beginning they claimed JJ got sent to the Pentagon but then Erica forgot and changed it to State Department. Nevermind that the FBI could not have forced her to transfer to another agency. They could have transferred her to another unit in the FBI. They could have transferred her to another office. They could have demoted her. They could have closed her job and made her apply for a transfer to somewhere else within the BAU or get fired, but they could not force her to leave her job and transfer her to another agency.

    You know what else they can't do? They can't suddenly make someone the section chief with no prior notice. They have to give a few weeks notice of a job change so they will be able to prepare for it. So there would not be a "surprise! You're the new section chief!" In fact, I think the only way he would have gotten the job is if he applied for it. I miss when they had more people on staff who actually knew how government jobs work. I think they figure that because they get away with some fudging (like Garcia's stuff, the jet, and BAU taking down perps) that they can stretch things even more. It ends up going beyond suspension of disbelief though.

    Then we have the retroactive history of her supposedly meeting him and jogging with him every morning. How long has this been going on?

    My issue is that they are trying to create unnatural drama and are dealing with it in a way that I feel is stupid.

    I'm tired of characters who are supposed to be so intelligent just behaving so stupidly. I hated the spy arc because of that. It doesn't matter how or where JJ met Cruz. Her knowing him would not need to be a secret. She could even say that they met under circumstances she couldn't discuss. She could say she ran into him at work one day and they got along well. She didn't need to be an idiot and lie and he didn't need to start off being an idiot and lying. That just looks suspicious and creates drama that isn't needed.

    As for the case part, i did actually think they were doing pretty well until they decided to show the unsub and then it fell flat. I wasn't impressed and his motivation didn't make sense. The scene where he sees his father should have been moving, but it wasn't. It was just lacking.

    It wasn't the worst episode. It did hold my attention for awhile, but it wasn't the best and I probably would not re-watch it.

    Also, I've heard quite a few people complain that Morgan was doing the interviewing in a situation where Reid would normally be doing that. It would have been nice if Reid had been there too, but Morgan is very clearly Erica's favorite character and Reid seems to be her least favorite. I do think Shemar did a good job with those scenes, but I wish there had been a little more balance in team screen time and contribution.

  11. Maybes we don't know the whole story yet...

    I agree wight he above, the writers struggle with the simplest things, and often don't think through things and hen get stumped when they have to explain things later on.

    But one of my thought is, what if it's not the whole of DC who are not supposed to see them, but the team?

    Also, right now, it might not seem life or death of they're seen together, it would just be complicated.

    I agree with Maria in the sense that they we're surprised and couldn't exactly come out and say that they know each other to the team. But I understand why people would be annoyed that everyone in Dc saw hem jogging together, but we simply don't have enough info yet to know exactly what's going on and that's what the writers want.

    They wanted to ruffle feathers, maybes this isn't how they expected feathers to be ruffled and really need to concentrate on continuity and the storyline but I'm enjoying the arc so far.


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