Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1007. Hashtag - Review

The episode opened up with "Christmas music and atmosphere at a mall", my first reaction was "what the heck, it's not even Thanksgiving yet!". But then I remembered cringing in my local mall seeing Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations all displayed together in September. So the fact is that this happens on TV too more often than not isn't surprising. Kudo's to Rick for inserting that little piece of seasonal creepiness.

On to the show. In the mall we meet every cliché of a Social Media teenage poster imaginable in Tara and her BFF Riley. Am I the only one who thought that the scenes were designed to be over the top to illustrate the absurdity of fanatical Social Media worship? Because if that wasn't the case it sure made me feel that way. The outcast young man who hung on Tara's every post and blog was also so stereotypical of the nerdy kid in everyone H.S... but was very well played by Paul McKinney. Tara Harris comes off as everyone definition of a "mean girl". I didn't mind the overabundance of the teen favorites, from Social Media to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all which worked well to capture the look and feel of today's teenagers. Rick seems to have a good understanding for who, what and how teenagers act and react.

We cut to the hospital where Derek's girlfriend Savannah is working. I can't put my finger on it, but sadly these two on screen together just don't seem to fit. Rochelle Aytes isn't a bad actress but I don't feel she really has much chemistry with Shemar. That said, seeing the anxiety surrounding the couple due to an upcoming planned vacation was somewhat heart breaking. Both have very demanding jobs yet Savannah seems to key in more on Derek's job being to blame if they didn't get to go on the vacation. I was talking to my TV by this point saying “Come on Savannah, like you wouldn't be all 'gotta go' if an ER emergency came up and you were called. Takes to tango darling.”

Moving onto Tara in her bedroom, again so clichéd but so perfectly spot on. I liked how even though we see the Unsub we don't know who he or she is as the figure is covered. Tara's death seemed to scream "vanity gets you nowhere".

I must say the scene in the BAU roundtable room was exceptionally well done. The fact that this was a local case made it more interesting for me also. Each member contributed to the processing of early information and I was happy to see all the team members participating. I loved the real life scenes from outside Quantico VA doing something like that at times makes me at least remember that while Criminal Minds is a TV show, it is based on a very really group of men and women who have dedicated their careers to stopping killers like these.

I'm going to insert here, and this comment encompasses all of the episodes so far: Kate Callahan is a good character, I like her. What I don't like is the constant snide sarcastic comments that are written for her. At times they're used when it feels inappropriate.

When Garcia notifies Hotch that the media has gotten a hold of the story, giving the killer a kitschy name and everything, Hotch says that they need to contain the media. I know JJ was made a profiler but "media" is, or was her specialty, so why not use her where her best talents lie? To me this was a missed opportunity to pay homage to the career that brought her to the FBI and the BAU to begin with. This fact becomes glaringly obvious towards the end of the episode.

As the team separates to begin their investigation we see Morgan and Reid driving up and I love how they say "no comment" virtually simultaneously. I like how Morgan and Reid work together at the crime scene, they have a great chemistry. I do like Rossi and Callahan together at the M.E.'s office, two sarcastic alpha personalities in the same room "Oy Vey!".

I loved Hotch interrogating Charles Lorne, he just seems to know how to get witnesses and/or potential criminals to open up, and is fun to watch. Also, his blank expression, no matter what the revelation is funny; I was cracking up over the "Trixie, my Chihuahua" comment and Hotch didn't even blink. Great acting by Thomas.

Seeing JJ back in a skirt talking to Tara's BFF Riley made me appreciate her a little more. It was shades of JJ past and I loved it. Riley seemed genuinely upset and concerned over his friend. Playing as if he wasn't just like Tara until Garcia busted him was touchingly cute. Garcia was great in this scene.

I was a bit confused as to how the whole Mirror Man story came to be and how it applied to Tara's death in the first place. Nor did I understand why the buffed out gorgeous dude was killed. Was is simply because he had some connection to Tara? There were a few areas where I did get confused. But I thought it was brilliant working the title of the episode into the killing of the beefcake with the nail gun "hashtag" symbol. At this point the show is going a little slow for my tastes but overall story was very interesting and I did enjoy the mix of team members at the crime scenes. The team giving the profile was well done and employed a good amount of all the team. And their explanation regarding the whole Mirror Man symbolism and meaning lit more than a few light bulbs off in my head.

One bulb that went off was when I realized the kid taunting the so called Mirror Man in his video was also one of the three guys who were talking about beefcake before he was killed. His death was particularly gruesome and the actor did a wonderful job of showing that fear as his life was about to end. Good casting can certainly make or break an episode, and this time it makes the episode for me.

I really liked the interaction between Morgan and Garcia. It's scenes like this that made me fall in love with their friendship to begin with. They work so well, and the way they worked off the profile to narrow down the list of potential unsubs was shades of Criminal Minds past. Great job in the writing here.

I really liked that they used Reid at crime scenes. Was very nice seeing Reid formulate and hypothesize what happened again. Hotch realizing that the unsub was a teenager was good. And Garcia finding out about Connor Holt was very well done. I liked JJ and Kate going to Connor's house and the profiling that JJ did in his room. Loved how Derek worked Connor to determine that Connor was innocent of the murders and his friend was actually responsible. Great misdirection regarding unsubs throughout the episode and I enjoyed those twists and turns.

The final take down of the unsub was a bit disappointing to me. First off again it was JJ/Morgan with Kate. Secondly had they used JJ to handle the media from the get go, would we have had a news truck pulling up to watch Derek shot the kids to save the hostages life? All in all, that final take down was rather flat and bland. I do get why JJ went to the hospital as did Derek and why she was the logical choice to be there for a distraught Derek; they have a long standing working relationship, which if it was Kate would have felt out of place. Calling Savannah at the hospital was a nice touch to show how their jobs sometimes do overlap. And Hotch coming to talk to Derek about his guilt for shooting a kid was spot on. Telling Derek he didn't shoot a child, he shoot a serial killer, brought home the fact that killers and criminals come in all sorts of packages.

Finally we had the Derek and Savannah scene. I'm torn about this. In one way it is nice to see Derek maturing, accepting that maybe there is more to life than being a player, and I loved how it showed that even with the best of intentions both their jobs were very important to them. The problem I have with Derek and Savannah is that, on screen, I just can't see or feel a chemistry between the characters or the actors.

Over all the episode was well written, thoughtfully directed and had an intriguing case. While the episode did have some road bumps I liked it, and give is a solid 8 out of 10. Well Done!

~~~~Mordred

7 comments:

  1. I too had hoped that they would use JJ to calm the media, but overall, I absolutely loved this episodes. There were so many red herrings and twists and turns - I loved it. I especially loved the scene in the middle with the three teenage boys, because originally I thought it was drawn out and unnecessary, but the lightbulb went off at the end when you realized that the boy freaking out about the mirror man was the killer.

    As far as genius writing, this is one of the recent episodes that I have been most impressed with. A+

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  2. ...had they used JJ to handle the media from the get go, would we have had a news truck pulling up to watch Derek shot the kids to save the hostages life?

    I'm fairly sure, without the news truck there, they would have been able to diffuse the situation and convince the kid to surrender. Re-watching that scene, I get the impression he was ThisClose to do exactly that, but then the news truck appears and is like if his biggest desire is granted, he's going to be Famous!, and that's when they loss their chance to stop the bloodbath.

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  3. excellent review. Agreed about Derek and Savanah, not working for me maybe because for me Derek is not the settling down type. Derek settling down as weird to me as if Hotch suddently went clubbing and chase women when he was not working!

    Loved how many twists and turns we had in this episode, I love when we can try to guess who did it. CM is at its best when the suspense comes from trying to find out who did it and not showing who it was 20 seconds into the episodeé When they must show us the unsub then let the team tell us why the unsubs does what they do and not have the unsubs do this.

    My favorite scene was with Hotch interrogating Charles. How Hotch could remain impassive as Charles says only Trixie could vauch for him was priceless. Indeed Kuddos to Thomas Gibson for some great acting!

    But unlike you I like how snarky Kate is, hope she will stay that way!

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    1. oh forgot to mention, I love the caps, kuddos to Sir Elyan for doing those every week!

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  4. CMRT -
    Just to let you know, I'm pretty sure that the next episode is entitled "The Boys of Sudworth Place". I could be wrong, I just noticed that all of the headings on your posts said "Sutton" and wanted to make sure. :)

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  5. Madison J,

    You are right, thanks for the heads up!

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  6. Wonderful review Mordred although I like snarky Kate too. And count me in as one of the peeps that loves the screen caps Sir Elyan does for each review. I look forward to them as much as reading what the reviewer has to say.

    Great job team CMRT!

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