Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1001. X - Review

The Season 10 opener is 'simply' entitled X, and it quickly starts the new season off on the right foot. Throughout the episode we are treated to multiples red herrings, a victim who fights back, and a new profiler joining the team, as well as our much loved returning team of profilers who are on the job and ready to catch this season's batch of unsubs!

Writer Erica Messer did a good job of introducing the new agent, SSA Kate Callahan. We first see her in a bar talking to a guy, who she follows after a few minutes into a back room after some coaxing on his part. Once in his office he rather proudly shows her pictures of young, underage girls. We find out this was a sting operation and Callahan arrests the creep. Next we see her on the elevator that Spencer Reid rushes to catch. While on the ride to the BAU she does have a funny conversation with Reid, who remembers her from the karaoke bar party from the episode 'Gatekeeper'. Agent Callahan too remembers Reid and the team, and how they didn't do justice to Billy Joel's song 'Piano Man'! As Reid and Callahan enter through the BAU doors into the bullpen we discover that he has correctly deduced that she's there at the BAU for a job interview with SSA Aaron Hotchner, the BAU unit chief.

The interview Hotch did with Callahan was interesting, not in what Hotch said to her, but by the fact she was profiling him by looking at what is on display in his office, family pictures, achievement awards and then, she noticed the big pile of folders sitting on the desk. Hotch, aware of what she was doing, choose to alleviate some of her apprehension, by telling her that no, they do not usually have that many cases. This got the reverse effect, she tells Hotch it takes her often months to close down one case, while they do that in one week. Now Callahan knows why Hotch has so many achievements awards/commendations on display, the man and his team are the best, and you march to their rhythm or you join another team.

The case was good. It had the creepy undertones that Criminal Minds fans have come to expect. Kerr Smith played a real weird creepy guy with a fetish for severed legs (which we find out later that he bought from the actual unsub!). The actor did a good job at playing the everyday dad who hides his creepy kink away from his kid. Of course he was a decoy, even if some of his behavior screams 'unsub!' For example, the scene where he got angry at his son when he came into the garage to pick up some tools, and saw that dad had JUST locked the chest in which he keeps the limbs; being secretive can be one big red flag.

The real unsub wasn't either an anatomy professor who had exhibited a behavior that caught the team's attention, no, the poor guy turned out to be one of the victims!

The real unsub was creepy too, but add to that he apparently was a sadist; he loved to dismember people, but the sick twist is that he did it while they were alive and conscious, and he would take one limb at a time keeping the victims alive for as long as he could… Yes the BAU deals with the totally deranged!

I love when we have victims that don't give up, don't give in, and even fight back and don't just scream and hope the gods will save them! The last victim, who we saw the unsub bring in, despite having a limb cut off (nice unsub, he bandaged his evil handiwork), is wise enough to try to gain his trust and hope he will make a mistake giving her an opening to escape. Which he does after she begs him to let her up, and to untie her so she can do that. Once untied, she hit him and fled! Luckily for her, the BAU had already figured out who the real unsub was and where he was hiding. They got there just in time for Hotch, Rossi, JJ and Callahan to save the victim. The unsub hits Kate from behind and just as he is about to hack her to pieces with a VERY big knife, Hotch shows up and shoots the guy, thus saving Kate's life and, in this case, limbs!

As far as a season opener this was like last year, a new case, not one that carried from the prior season like 'Mayhem' or 'Nameless, Faceless' did. Ratings wise, cliffhangers, when done well like 'Mayhem' and 'Nameless, Faceless', when they ramp up the anticipation of 'Who was caught in that SUV explosion?' or 'Is Hotch dead or alive?', bring more viewers and amp up the excitement tenfold. As opposed to this season and last season's opener, which feel more like the usual case of the week; I am from the school that believes the start and the finale of the season should be different from what we see during the rest of it, where good writing and excellent acting ramps up the excitement and anticipation for the next episode each week.

Something that I found weird was how the team went from Rossi and Kate talking with Frank Cowles, and knowing something was off with him, to Hotch, JJ and Kate arresting him in the middle of nowhere. There seems to have been no transition from one scene to another. Maybe something was left on the cutting room floor, I don't know, but it felt weird to me.

Lastly, we come to the ending with a van stopping and the woman in the passenger seat asking a jogger for some info, only to have another accomplice grab her and force her into the van. This scene sets up what I believe will be a season long unsub that the team will be chasing.

All in all it was a pretty good start to Season 10. The introduction of new agent Kate Callahan played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, -whom I never saw in anything else prior, so my opinion of her is based on what I saw on Criminal Minds,- was handled well, and the actress did a believable job as a FBI agent. I hope the writers will not make the same mistakes they made with JJ (over-exposure and writing the character as if she was a super woman who cannot do wrong, and does it all with an attitude) with Kate. Yes, use the character, but remember that  Criminal Minds got to Season 10 because of Rossi, Hotch, Reid, Morgan, Garcia, and yes, JJ (I may not like the new JJ, but love the old compassionate one, and acknowledge her importance to the development of Criminal Minds). As they say, moderation tastes better!

I'll give this episode an 8.5/10!

~~~~ Merlin


  1. My first thought with interactions between Reid and Kate and Hotch and Kate was , wow these guys really now how to profile on the fly. Reid picked up on things instantly with Kate, which probably will ease her transition. Hotch of course knew, saw and allowed Kate to do her own profiling of him in his office maybe to make her more comfortable or maybe because he appreciated the fact that she wasn't shy about it... Either way this episode had the team back on track and ready for "Sicko's R'Us" Part 10.

  2. I liked thiis premiere. Kate Callahan's introduction has been easy and they have shown her strong. The Hotch's interview was very funny when Kate talked with Garcia about videos has been fun.

    The case has been very strange and it seemed very strange when they had caught so fast the unsub. He couldn't be the bad guy.

    I hope you like me all season!

  3. I loved the episode.... Except the conversation between Morgan, JJ and Cahallan on the way back from the case kinda rubbed me the wrong way. Given the fact that AJ Cook said in an interview JJ's PTSD will tear its head this season it just didn't fit with that upcoming plot

  4. Great review Merlin! You made some wonderful observations and I enjoyed reading it.


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