Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - 920. Blood Relations - Comments Thread

This thread is open for you all to post comments and talk about tonight's new CRIMINAL MINDS episode, titled 'Blood Relations' and written by Breen Frazier.

Hope you've enjoyed today's episode, and remember that next week we'll have a brand new one!

32 comments:

  1. I really wanted to like this episode for Matthew's sake, but I just couldn't. However I blame that more on Breen's writing than I do Matthew's directing. I can handle bizarre and creepy if I feel the writing is good. A perfect example is "Mosely Lane"

    Too much JJ for my taste I put her own mute every chance I got. On the plus side Hotch and Blake got some decent screen time.

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  2. o.0 well that was different. MGG is an odd bird. On the plus side lots of Hotch.

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    1. Well now Breen himself must be rather odd since he wrote this.Yeah Hotch getting some decent screen time was about the only plus for me.

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  3. I was happy with episode up until Hotch and Reid stayed behind on the raid.... I was like "WHY?" then we had JJ/Morgan (of course) and Rossi..... The ending made no sense either...

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  4. But at least Hotch did get some decent screen time. Too much JJ for me. I was actually expecting less Reid so I wasn't really bother by it.

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  5. I liked it a lot! I was expecting it to be creepy and MGG didn't disappoint. He is great at implying horrific things without us actually seeing it. You could see all the cinematic influences that he talked about in his live chat and I quite liked the black and white bits which made a nice emphasis of the time change. And hey, a rare one where the unsub got away! Of course there were flaws in the story - the end was really off. Why did they split up singly in that environment? Why did both Hotch and Reid stay at the station? I could get one staying there as a point of co-ordination but not both of them. Would they have shot so wildly into the lake like that? But listen up CM - Blake;s reaction after her lake experience was spot on!! She didn't recover instantly and out for a party like SuperAwesomeNinjaMom did in "200"!! I thought Blake was great in this and it was great to see much more of Hotch. I liked it. Oh forgot, the biggest annoyance for me was Gracia yet again trumpeting on about how amazingly clever she is. If she comments on her "genius" one more time I will scream!

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  6. I like my Criminal Minds episodes weird and freaky and ones that remind me of a horror movie. I would have to say that delivered on that idea. I can certainly see why Matthew was so excited about directing this episode, because he likes his episodes dark, creepy and off the wall.

    This was definitely a different sort of storytelling, and the profiling was much more fluid than we have seen in episodes past. There was no BAU briefing the local law enforcement on a profile. Instead the profile constantly evolved as they got more information. It was interesting to see the team explore different ideas. This episode blended both very gothic horror (remniscent of X Files "Home") and a more straight forward family feud. I will admit that the main plot point is something I first imagined once I heard about this episode, but the way it was employed left me guessing. It was interesting to see the team work through the very thick mess that was both families' histories.

    I thought Matthew did a very good job directing this episode. I like the visual choices he made, and to me, they felt different than his previous directorial efforts. He brought his trademark visual creepy quirkiness to this episode, but it didn't feel derivative of other visual choices in previous episodes. Matthew is very capable of creating new worlds, and this time he did it different times over. The flashbacks were different than present day, which were different than the unsub scenes. The flashback scenes looked like an old timey horror movie, and the unsub scenes were definitely gothic horror to me. And to complete the horror movie trope, we now have another unsub that survived its encounter with the BAU. I doubt he will turn up again, but it is still a shudder-inducing to realize he is out there in the world. I can only imagine what he would do next.

    For the most part (which I address below), I thought the team was well represented in this episode. Yeah, there was a lot of guest stars, but I didn't feel it was that out of balance like we have seen in other episodes. Hotch was definitely the team leader in this case, and to me, he felt like the more competent, leader Hotch of seasons past. Alex had plenty to do in this episode, and Penelope was helpful, on point and professional. I do like the character when she is toned down into an actual person.

    Some of the things I didn't like really came down to Breen's storytelling choices. The main one was the very weird and distinctive lack of Reid in this episode. It felt very glaring. I don't think you can chalk it up to the fact that Matthew was directing this episode. Reid has been very prominent in some of the other episodes he's directed. Hell, Reid even got to deliver a baby in his previous directorial effort. So it was very bizarre to see Reid disappear for long stretches of the episode. He very pointedly did not go on the raid with the rest of the team and was left back at the station. Why I wonder? And I personally would have preferred the last scene between Alex and JJ to be between Alex and Reid. I love the Alex and Reid friendship, and I love it when Reid gets a chance to show his gentle, empathetic side. We've seen it more than once with regards to JJ, but I wanted to see him shower Alex with mother hen goodness. Not only would it have been nice to see, it would have made sense since they really are close to each other. I will say that what little we did see of Reid was very nice, but there just wasn't enough of him.

    No, it wasn't a traditional Criminal Minds episodes. But when I like the story, I will go along with it. And since I do like it when they veer off into these horror movie worlds, I was pleased with this episode.

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  7. Adrienne Barbeau was a bit over the top. I think it’s been noted before, but Garcia should not be presenting the cases. She isn’t qualified. Garcia should be toned down considerably to give her character more credibility. Wonderful, wonderful Aaron and Blake, finally. I know MGG was directing himself, but when he stayed behind while the others left for the field and there was the quick shot of the back of MGG’s head, a voice inside my head was yelling, don’t leave me here! So wrong to have had JJ in the last scene with Blake. Should have been Reid. I found it interesting that the writers would delve into incest and not be afraid of backlash regarding stereotypes.

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  8. I am going to have to re watch this episode. At first I initially didn't like it,but I think it may have been that I was pissed off because once again JJ was so prominent.
    It was nice to see Hotch and Blake get good screen time. And I think that was some of the best acting I've ever seen from Jeanne since she joined the show. I also agree that it should've been Reid with Blake. Heck even Rossi would've been a better choice than JJ.

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  9. Got the best laugh from Debra who puts JJ on mute every time. I so want to like JJ, but I Simply Can't. Jeanne was outstanding and they would never have put her in the field alone, as already noted. MGG did a fine job directing. I loved that Aaron delayed delivering the profile and that the unsub got away. Really curious if they will bring the unsub back. I was griping to myself that JJ is too young and inexperienced to be comforting Blake, especially where Blake is a bit older. That felt so off to me and I wanted Reid by Blake’s side. I realized JJ and Reid are about the same age and it has nothing to do with age and everything to do with the character.

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    1. Unfortunately my mute button is used quite a bit these days.I too wish I still liked JJ.In the earlier seasons I had no trouble believing JJ could be empathetic with someone.However nowadays I'm just not buying at all.No matter what they do.

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  10. Sadly, I think TPTB do not have a clue that they have ruined both JJ and Morgan for a good many fans. I used to love JJ, she was smart, she was funny, she was sympathetic, she was the softer side to a horrible job and horrible case sometimes.... The interactions she has in the past were priceless.. I remember the scene with her and Hotch on the plane and she's reviewing cases telling Hotch she's trying to pick where they go next. Hotch says "I thought we did that?" with his quirky eyebrow, and she chuckles and "Says, you'd like to think so." proving that she was more involved in the profiling then her 'position' let on.... She was in the field before they made her super JJ, she was on Raids and everything.... Back then she had a purpose.... Now, she is just another profiler....They've ruined all the qualities that made her likable...Between her and Morgan this year they've pushed Hotch to the donut run, and Blake or Rossi grabs the coffee for him.... It's a no wonder that John's pic from "Angels' roundtable room show TG eating, he's practicing for his donut scene.
    Sadly CM isn't the show I fell in love with back in season 1. TPTB have so altered characters that I don't like the 'chemistry' of the team anymore. I don't care about Morgan and Savannah, I don't care about Garcia and Sam....we've only scene Jack once and for 30 secs. What's Hotch doing with him on off time, did he dump him with Jessica and forget his kid? There's no cute comments about soccer or school or holidays or even over protective Jack taking care of his dad after his stay in the hospital.... Nothing zero zilch..... You don't need the 'actor' present to have at least some interaction between characters about it.... Nothing about Rossi's emotional state since Erin died. How did he deal with Valentines day? OR the Holiday's? How's her kids holding up? Again we get nothing?
    I hope that the season finale will at least show me that TPTB have gotten their heads straightened out and realize their mistakes and try to correct them in season 10.... But alas, I'm a dreamer and that won't happen.... But then again, the mute button is right by the channel change button so that's my option too.
    Sorry for the rant...

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    1. I remember when Aaron was talking to Strauss about his team and said, Agent Jareau fields dozens of requests for our team, and every night she goes home hoping she has made the right choices. JJ was the gatekeeper and that was integral. In a way, she decided who lives, who dies. I wouldn’t mind knowing more about Morgan and Savannah. It looked like Savannah could kick Morgan’s butt in a relationship and that could have been interesting. A lot of viewers don’t want the personal side, but to me, it’s essential. The scenes between TG and Jack were priceless as we saw the polar opposite side of Aaron’s personality. I miss Jack but not if it means Beth will be back. I fell asleep at the wheel since I had no clue that Rossi and Erin were an item and have wondered, too, how he dealt with Erin’s death and how did they ever get together in the first place. I miss Strauss. I get that this is not a real time series but there are gaping holes. For me, if the team’s personal lives were skillfully intertwined with the cases, the show could go another ten years.

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  11. The personal side used to be artfully done and woven into the case of the week. It was often a line or two in the break room or the elevator and that was enough. I really don't want to see Savannah whinging about the amount of time Morgan is away with the job because I know it will be done clumsily and not with the spare and effective skill they did this same thing with Haley. I am not surprised you missed Rossi and Strauss because it was shown in the simply awful "Hit/Run". I do not think they currently know how to do the personal stuff - we get cheesy bookends to episodes that add nothing to the show. And yes, please dispose of Beth!! I don;t like to be so negative but the cheesy, Disneyesque and unrelated "family" and personal moments really wind me up.

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  12. I wouldn’t mind seeing Savannah because it would be Morgan whining about the amount of time she is away with her job. She seemed like a potentially strong character, but neither here nor there since it isn't happening. I checked my cheat sheet on Hit/Run (yes, I make notes; yes, I have a life) and see nothing about Rossi and Erin. Definitely cannot watch “Hit” on rerun because Beth is in it. That's why I make notes. The criticism was earned when viewers trashed JJ after “200” as she frolicked around with the gang after her ordeal and also when Garcia and Reid prepared for the field test in “Rabid.” For me, those are cheesy. I would like to see in-depth and interwoven personal storylines after nine years, but I know that’s not CM.

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    1. I don't know why some people don't like Beth... I think she's a good compliment to Hotch... She's a strong independent woman but yet not 'alpha' like him. Their scenes together have always been well done. TG/BY are both professional and they make the relationship believable. I would love to see her back on the show.

      In my mind Hotch can't be with someone to Alpha like the 'new JJ or even Prentiss. They're too strong willed for his 1950's persona of an Alpha male... Hotch needs a strong independent woman who respects his job, and his dedication and is willing to work within the confines that his job brings. She also has to be good with children because of Jack. Yet she has to be soft and yielding to his more alpha nature... Beth fills those roles... Mind you Aaron isn't sexist, he appreciates a woman who is in charge of her own life, yet he doesn't want the confrontational woman who will second guess everything he does like Haley did....

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    2. Hotch fan - in "Hit" Reid and Garcia at the Doctor Who convention see first Rossi on his way home to bed at 9 am then a ruffled Strauss exiting the same hotel a moment later and Reid and Garcia exchange telling looks. Actually that was pretty subtly done and if you must do the personal stuff that's not bad. It obviously wasn't rammed down our throats like Beth and all the better for it. It didn't need to be more than that. And I'm with you all the way - watching Hotch and Beth together is like running fingernails down a chalkboard - I cannot stand it!! (And please note I am NOT a Hotch/Emily shipper! I could never see them as more than friends.)

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    3. Mary, thank you. I’ll watch “Hit” and fast forward through the fort scene. It sounds well done. We’re saying, is that what I think it is, will the storyline expand, was it looks like this, and turns out to be that. As you say, subtle. I love Emily to pieces but she is not for Aaron. I am rabid on the Beth thing. It was a casting cluster. It was noted that TG had input into casting. Call me arrogant, but I feel I know the character better than TG – and TG is that good an actor to make me feel that way. I agree with Barbara on many points, but (I guess I don’t agree) even down to physical type, BY is all wrong. Aaron isn’t sexist, as you say, but he needs to be loved, admired, adored, and not just needed. Aaron needs a woman who is his emotional equal, actually, his emotional alpha – she doesn’t need to be his intellectual or educational equal. And Haley was a wench.

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    4. Aaaaagh!! The fort scene! I wish you hadn't reminded me! That would have been sickeningly sweet even in a Disney movie!! It had no place in CM.

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    5. The fort scene was cute.... Keep in mind what it represented...
      1. Aaron's defensive walls
      2. Protection for Jack against evil in the world
      3. Aaron moving on from the guilt and grief that Foyet caused
      4. Allowing another person in who 'possibly' could hurt him and even Jack emotionally

      Haley's actions with the separation and divorce shook Hotch to the core. And before he could come to terms with that Foyet had struck forcing him to never be able to have closure with Haley about their relationship. As he asked Rossi "Where does it all go wrong?"
      After Foyet, Aaron had hardedned himself against the outside world. He felt responsible for Haley's death, and Jack no longer having a mother. In Slave of Duty, Jessica tells him that he could never give up the job because there he can protect Jack. And Jack seems him as a superhero.
      Letting Beth into his 'fortress' her breaking through those walls was important for Hotch to begin to forgive himself..... While the scene itself was cutesy, and I agree about that the meaning was so much more.

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    6. I guess my view is coloured by my intense dislike of the flat and characterless relatonship but you make a very good case. However, although I like what you say it represents, I would fall over backwards if Dunkle actually meant it to be other than a bit of the cutesy!!

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    7. For sure, Haley’s actions changed who Aaron is. I don’t feel that Foyet forced Aaron to never be able to have closure with Hayley about their relationship. It was Haley who did that. She slammed the door and locked it. It all went wrong because Hayley was not Aaron’s emotional equal. She did not tap into his elite work, she did not tap into Aaron himself as the years went on. Jessica’s statement to Aaron that he could never give up the job because there he can protect Jack shows Jessica’s unconditional understanding of the man her wretched sister was married to. Your points on the fort scene are excellent and I am choosing to go with your interpretation because it’s much less painful than remembering the giggles during the scene.

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    8. I will give you that Dunkle didn't do a very good job of portraying what I believe was supposed to be conveyed....

      As for Haley, I agree with you... SHE's the one who created the situation between her and Aaron. Haley was all about Haley..... However, in typical Alpha Male character Hotch took the blame for what happened. Even when confronted with her own infidelity, (and you won't convince me otherwise from that scene in In Name and Blood) he was still looking for what 'he' did wrong. With Haley dead he could now never find answers to the question he posed to Rossi. "Where did it all go wrong?" To me Hotch's mind is/was in turmoil... He admittedly gave everything of himself to Haley and Jack when he was there and To the job when he was working? Hotch's problem is that Haley would have never been reasonable enough to put her own desires and wants aside to help Aaron figure out how to make things better for all of them. And I don't think he can quite understand that and he'll never be able to now because she's dead. Her death left a huge gapping hole of insecurity regarding relationships, and it took many years for him to get past that to the point he'd let anyone in again.

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    9. Yes, you are giving Dunkle more credit than he deserves, you are kind! I think Aaron knew the job was the problem but he knew he could not give it up. I remember one scene with Rossi (was it In Name and Blood?) where Rossi said something about marriage? and Aaron seemed to take offense and said, I gave it my all. I almost cried. I see your point about Aaron expecting more of Haley, qualities that she simply did not possess, and he can’t recognize that. Haley’s death and Foyet and any kind of relationships – I see Aaron as a broken man on the inside forging ahead on the outside with incredible strength.

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  13. I really enjoyed Blood Relations, and won't repeat all the positive comments except to say that I agree with them. I want to add a few that have not been mentioned.

    Matthew had the liberty to go to a whole new level, and it was a really a movie that showed what a fine director he is. The way he shoots scenes and angles, the connections, the casting, music....it is fresh, artistic, real...but in a way that is not distracting from the flow of the story, it enhances it. The performance Matthew and "Saw" put together for Malachi was just perfect.

    Matthew builds emotions in a satisfying way, and the twists and turns were surprising, clearly built on each other, flowed well, but each time added an important new chapter of the story. One that sticks in my mind is when the brother and sister came out of the police station to face the "mob", who all of a sudden understood that they had been feuding with their cousins, aunts, uncles, half-brothers and half-sisters. The scene was subtle but powerful....it did not hammer us over the head with that new understanding but Matthew just used a moment of silence and their expressive faces to show how the shock and betrayal was hitting them Much better that way.

    Another is the way the heartbroken, needy, angry unsub asked his birthmother the questions most adopted people want to know. It showed the true anger some feel when birthparents go on to keep and love other kids.....the difference being that this guy was consumed by it and allowed rage and revenge to take over. It was a fine example of CM at its best, showing how there is a deeply hurt individual within the worst killers. Again, the performance Matthew and the actor produced was heartbreaking, creating sympathy for the abandoned hurt child without minimizing the monstrous acts of his adult life.

    As Matthew promised, he made my teenage daughters jump in their chairs and gasp out loud but I am sorry to tell him that no one peed their pants as he hoped.

    I really like MGG as a person and artist, and I am glad he gets to expand his experience and build his resume as a director. If he stays for season 10, I am guessing it will be because he has continued opportunities to grow in the work he loves. In the live chat on April 3rd, it sounded like he needs to use his entire brain, the full scope of his talents, by developing as a director...and that he is now a bit bored when he is just "a guy in a suit" saying lines.

    I have noticed one more thing he directs very well, which has not been mentioned so far. He is really good at directing fun, sexy, playful interactions...before or after the sex. The sex cannot be shown, obviously. In Gatekeeper, the interaction between the girl and the first guy killed, as he was leaving her bed was very sexy and real. Same thing for the couple at the end of Blood Relations before the unsub made his scary appearance. The woman was playful, sexy, fun, without any porny vibe. But, it has to be said that Matthew had a lingering shot of her cleavage hanging out, black bra and all. It was just enough, and you have to give MGG credit for showing the body part he really digs.

    These (sorta) sex scenes are not childish or inexperienced,nor are they overwrought, overdone, or romance novel crap. Matthew seems to know just how to get this performance of real, cool, fun, sexy partners...that I like to think comes from his own experience and tastes. Fangirling, I will admit it.

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  14. Although I had some problems with this episode the main one being too damn much JJ, I was so happy for Matthew that it did rather well ratings wise.

    Out of the 11 dramas that air on CBS during the week, Criminal Minds was #1 in the demo and #6 in overall viewership.

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  15. I was just bothered by the excessive shooting into the lake. By the time they started firing Blake was safe, so why shoot to kill? It's at odds with their normal tendency to go to great lengths to keep the unsub alive.

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    1. @John, Because Blake told them to do it,that's why.But I do agree with you and the other people on here who felt it didn't make a lick of sense. IMO one of the biggest problems with these writers is they don't stop to think whether or not a certain scenario would be plausible or even probably.
      Of course now to me the most egregious example of this was that ridiculous JJ story line Rick Dunkle wrote for "200". Egads what an absolute waste of a milestone episode. I'm still peeved about it.

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  16. I was very surprised when they started shooting into the lake. It reminded me of scenes from The Godfather. Blake was extremely agitated and told them to shoot but it was not a decision Aaron would have made, had he been there to lead. I empathize with your angst over "200." I am like a dog with a bone with Aaron's ex-wife and The Girlfriend.

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    1. Hotch fan, I am not at all sure Hotch wouldn't have made that decision,especially in regards to these writers. I mean just look at "200" with the whole team going rogue including "Mr FBI" himself, Aaron Hotchner.
      One does not expect an elite FBI group such as the BAU to be going rogue.After all they are paid to protect and uphold the laws.Now of course going rogue is something I'd would expect among a group of spies.Sadly it appears that Erica Messer and her other former "Alias" cohorts can't seem to tell the difference between the 2 of them.

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  17. I view "200" as a stand-alone episode, went along for the ride, but am not interested in seeing more. Ironic that Savannah was brought up as she appears in this week's episode. I'm still very hopeful for season 10.

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  18. I was prepared not to like this episode. I knew the creep factor would be high, but it wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. MGG does a wonderful job directing. Visually it was great. That's something he always does well. I wasn't crazy about the script, though, especially the whole inbreeding thing. It really wasn't necessary. But while I didn't hate it, I doubt I will ever watch it again. At least Blake got something to do for a change. But why did it have to be JJ who empathized with her at the end. Anyone else from the team would have been better. I am grateful for more Hotch but there still wasn't enough of him. Can we please have an episode where JJ is not prominent?

    As for the whole Hotch/Beth thing, I hate it. I'm so relieved BY is so busy on Scandal. I hope we never have to see her again. Barbara, I have to disagree with you on Hotch needing a woman like Beth. First of all, I think TG and BY have zero chemistry. We know that he is capable of having chemistry with a love interest on screen. In fact, I just saw Extreme Aggressor on ION today and his relationship with Haley was quite believable. I do agree with you about Haley cheating on him. I definitely think that's where they were going in In Name and Blood. But I can't stand Beth, and I hated that they turned the Route 66 ep into a Beth love fest instead of really letting Hotch come to terms with losing Haley. I also miss seeing Jack. He is really sweet. And as for the scene in Hit it was such a rip off of the tent scene in the movie The Holiday. Even the line about it being "inspired" was lifted from that film. It made me gag. The look on TG's face was did not convey love and interest. All that talk season 7 about wanting to see Hotch smile again was irritating because his smile in the scenes with Beth never really reached his eyes. He always looks uncomfortable with her. I would so much rather see a woman SLOWLY become a part of Hotch and Jack's lives that this silly, giggly stalker chick who chased after him and made all the moves.

    I agree with those who think the personal bits are more annoying in recent seasons. Hated Hit and Run. Hated 200. I'm not interested in either Morgan's or Garcia's love life, again because these things feel so forced. I really do miss the characters and the writers of the early seasons. There have been a few really well written episodes this season, but Blood Relations was not one of them as far as I'm concerned. I'm afraid I don't have high hopes for the remainder of this season.

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Respectful opinions, and constructive disagreement is welcomed, but insulting/foul-mouthed, malicious, or just plain disrespectful comments towards anyone are not, and will be removed.