I drew the lot of getting to review the landmark 200th episode of CRIMINAL MINDS. I've been watching this show since the first season, and I've been a massive JJ fan since the beginning so I was delighted that the focus was on our media liaison turned crack profiler.
The basic story was that what we thought was just bureaucratic idiocy by Strauss and the State Department turned out to actually be a classified mission that involved JJ being tasked with interrogating female captives. While doing this, she discovered a traitor (but not both of them), lost a baby (we learned that she and Will had been trying), made a loyal friend in Matt Cruz, and found a way to return to Washington long enough to be there for Prentiss when she needed it the most.
Some Things I Especially Liked:
- The entirety of the Emily/JJ relationship. This friendship - so unusual in today's television landscape which is heavy with stories of female competition and cattiness - was strengthened, and that's saying something considering that it was already tremendous. I really loved two scenes in particular: when Emily saved JJ, JJ commented that she knew that they would call in Emily and then moments later, we had our two women on the roof going after an amazed and overwhelmed Michael Hastings.
- Hotch pretty much blowing off the diplomat who suggested that saving his people wasn't his business. No sooner had he left the room then he was on the phone with Emily. I love protective Hotch.
- The misdirects. We kept trying to figure out if Cruz was a bad guy, and when he talked JJ into putting in her code, we figured that yeah, of course he was. But then we realized that it'd been a tactical move to save her from further torture (it backfired because Hastings then moved to attempted rape). Ultimately, it seems clear that Cruz has an unrequited crush on JJ, and he would have laid down his life to protect her. Nice turn.
-The re-occurrences of Anderson, Garcia and Kevin.
What I Didn't Like As Much:
- How long it took Emily to get there. Honestly, this ep screamed to be a two-parter because by the time Emily was with the team, there was only 15 minutes more, and I just wanted to see more with her and everyone. I think we could have cut some of the wind-up and information gathering and gotten deeper into the team action. Normally, the argument is that we want less action and not more on this typically very cerebral show, but there's something about watching this group go badass for one of their own that I wanted more of.
- JJ being out with the team at the end of the ep; while I always love and adore the team moments we get more and more of as of late, this particular one undermined the intensity of what she'd just gone through to have her out and about after being water boarded, electrocuted and nearly raped. She'd need at least one night in the hospital, and then several days of just rest time. I'm glad we got to see Emily hanging with everyone (and the scene with Blake was a nice touch) but I wonder if there was a way to do both things.
All in all, I enjoyed the episode, and I continue to appreciate the way the show respects the strength of the character JJ has become.