Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1010. Amelia Porter - Review

This episode opens with a lone young man driving in the dark with some very haunting music playing. I have to say the opening score was excellent choice for this sequence of scenes. We see the young man get a girl out of the back seat of the car, then go around to the trunk and retrieve a flare and a can of gasoline. Nothing ever good come with that combination, does it?

At this point early on I am impressed we do not know the name of the unsub. We don't know who the young man is or who the young girl is with him. We aren't privy yet to why they're together to begin with. Nice job done writing the backstory without revealing too much upfront. What we are left with that scene is a sense of dread. What drove these two to be driving in the desert in the middle of the night and why?

Cut to 12 hours earlier and we are transported back to the BAU. There we were treated to Rossi and Hotch talking in Hotch's office. Oh, how I love these small intimate moments between these two good friends! Rossi is shocked that Hotch didn't tell him beforehand that Hotch and Beth had broken up. Hotch is fine with the break up however, and explains that he let Beth make the decision to take the job in Hong Kong or not, so she would have no regrets later on. Rossi on the other hand was hysterically miffed over the lost opportunity to drink a 12 yr. old bottle of Scotch. I liked how the whole break up was handled subtle, adult and most importantly, without malice. It's nice to see that two people, even though they may be in love to some extent, can go their separate ways without being nasty. I also loved finding out that Daddy Hotch took Jack to "Orlando" (which is code word for "Disney World") as a distraction for he and Beth's breakup. Yes Aaron, there is nothing better than Mickey and Minnie to distract a young boy; good job Dad! But, what had me laughing even after re-watching this episode four times was the comment by Rossi about "online dating" and Hotch's facial expression and comment of “Really?” Cracks me up every time. Loved Rossi corralling Aaron to be his wingman because he's got the hots for some Jazz Singer. Poor Aaron, somehow being David Rossi's wingman scares the bejeesus out of me! Sharon Lee Watson did an excellent job in writing the break up, so that there was no animosity between Hotch and Beth. Take a bow Sharon! (Mordred is clapping wildly)

Back to our case. The scenes in the BAU room were fluid and dynamic. No one team member seemed to have the answer or the questions they needed answered. As we already know, we're 12 hours earlier from the opening scene, yet it is still somewhat surprising to find out that there are now "two" male unsubs and the girls name is Rebecca, and she's now apparently a hostage. We also know that the Male from the opening scene has killed the three people the BAU were discussing as their case. Yet, even with what we do know, I never sensed that we knew everything that had transpired. That in itself is refreshing lately in this era where we've seen unsubs early and know the entire story with the team playing catch up as the episodes progress.

Again, the team on the jet is very cohesive and an even distribution of contributions. I love how Sharon writes Hotch as truly being in command. I did like the pairings in this episode also. Rossi and Morgan work well together, JJ and Hotch do too. Reid and Kate at the couple's house was written and filmed excellently. I liked how Reid was made to be the genius he is. He'd figured out that the unsub must have lived in the home where the couple was killed. He was able to connect what was before him and extrapolate back to what must have occurred. That was something Reid did in earlier seasons and it was so nice to see it here again. I love intelligent Spencer Reid so much more than weak, socially inept Dr. Spencer Reid!

During this investigative analysis we came to find out that the house belonged to one Amelia Porter. We also discovered that Amelia Porter was a notorious murderer, she and her much younger 17 year old lover murdered his sister. At this point the BAU makes the connection to Benton Farland, Amelia's much younger lover, who was convicted and sent to prison for raping & murdering his sister, Miriam. We still didn't know who the young people with Benton were, but we were treated to him saying he didn't kill his sister. The team did some really good profiling regarding Amelia Porter, and when they arrived at Benton Farland's family home they discovered his father dead, and the dead sister's children missing. It was a safe bet now that the other young man and Rebecca were indeed Miriam Farland's orphaned children.

I like how the team was gathered outside the Farland residence, and it was Reid who deduced Benton's movements from the time he was released from prison until he arrived back at his father's house. I also liked how the profile played out with recreating the scenes from before and after Owen Farland's murder. It was well done and an excellent use of the team. Using the flashbacks to cement the team's suppositions was excellent choice to explain the story. We found out too that the brother, Andy Farland, had contact with Benton while he was in prison, which helped connect that it was Andy and his sister Rebecca traveling with Benton. Ooooh, how the plot is twisting! Can Andy actually be helping Benton?

I have to say I do enjoy the split profile delivery that has been used several times this season. Having some of the team talking to the local police and others in the field giving the profile to the press just works for me. Yes, for some JJ doing most of the talking for the field team might have been a lot. But for me it worked because after all Media Relations is her strongest quality. The scenes with Benton, Rebecca and Andy were well done and very cohesive. They did an excellent job of casting the roles and all three felt believable and plausible.

I certainly wasn't expecting the plot twist of Andy driving them off the road, and it was very sad to see Benton shoot him because of it, but I was glad to see that Andy made it through. And his revelations that he was pretending to be working with Benton when in reality he was just trying to save his sister from whatever dark depraved ideas Benton had was heartbreaking. These revelations had me wondering just how manipulated 17 year old Benton actually was.

The revelations made by Rebecca as she and Benton were walking were more pieces of the puzzle that wasn't quite ready to be solved, and I liked that aspect. When Reid, JJ and Kate deduced that Benton might be heading to Amelia Porter's place I raised an eyebrow; that was an awfully quick deduction, but time wise I can understand it too, so I won't complain too much -- the scene was actually cohesive in the way it was filmed. I will add here that Alrick Riley did an excellent job directing this episode.

Finding out that Benton was actually dominant in his and Amelia's relationship was definitely something unexpected. One only had to see the shock on Amelia's face when Benton entered the house to know that he wasn't as innocent in participating in his sister's death as he may have been portrayed. Watching Benton throughout these scenes was like watching Dr. Banner change into the Incredible Hulk. It was swift and it was total. Here was a psychopath who wanted nothing more than to feel the same "high" he felt when he and Amelia raped and murdered his own sister. Thank god by this time the team was on its way to the possible locations of Amelia Porter. Seeing Rebecca struggle to get free of Benton, causing him to shoot himself was also unexpected but in a good way. Was this poetic justice from beyond the grave? Could it be that Miriam Farland was watching out for her daughter even in death? Ending the case with no more than the same haunting music that started the episode was an excellent idea, and highlighted the sadness of the whole situation from start to finish. The reunion of Miriam's children was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Well done to all!

Now for the ending part with Hotch and Rossi at the Jazz Club. First, I will say I love me some dressed down Hotch. But, come on! couldn't they think up any better names for these two women other than "Celine Dustin" and "Audrey Hansen"? Well, at least Hotch doesn't have to dig far to change the monogrammed towels should he and Audrey hit it off... I did like how Audrey seemed to be able to profile Rossi and Hotch on the spot. Rossi is so less than subtle about pushing Audrey and Aaron together... "Amble up to the bar?" Really? Oy Vey! Rossi just can't help playing match maker, can he? But, it's nice to see Aaron smiling and relaxed, even the slight blush looks dignified on him. Since when is "tour guide" a synonym for "date"? Corny maybe, but it worked. And Hotch still has a few things up his sleeve? Ooooh la la! Overall though the wingman/wingwoman meeting between Audrey and Hotch worked well and wasn't so over the top that the viewer was made to feel that it was a love-at-first-sight relationship, but rather something more that this viewer would like to see explored. I know I'd love to see the "tour" of the gardens at the Smithsonian during sunset happen between these two.

Overall the writing was excellent as well as the directing. There was an even balance of the entire team and all of the members were utilized well. Casting for the guest roles was very good and, of course, the musical score was divine.

Final Score from Mordred is a solid 9 out of 10.

~~~~ Mordred


  1. While there were alot of Unsub scenes... the one thing that I loved about how Sharon handled that was that 'first' we saw the BAU profile what was happening, then we saw the unsubs 'acting out' what the BAU had already determined, reinforcing for the viewers that the BAU was on the right trail and closing in. I can't say anything different then Mordred about the rest of the review because I agree 100%

  2. I agree the case was pretty good and for once they showed Reid as a grown up genius instead of a kid. The plot twist wasn't much of a surprise however and of course there was still too much JJ for my liking. But it was a good competent episode on the whole. As for the bookends with Hotch and Rossi - just meh and a distinctly cheesy meh for me. A good review though Sir E even though I donlt agree with all of it..

    1. Thank you for commenting and congratulating our reviewer, Mordred... I'm only the knight who has published it ;-)

    2. Whoops! Need my specs! Good review, Mordred.

  3. Sharon Lee Watson should be the show-runner since she seems to have more understanding in her pinky finger of this show and its characters and how to write for them than the others do if you pooled their efforts. It's too bad that I think TPTB are likely to miss this.
    Great episode and spot on excellent review of it.

  4. Mordred; a simply amazing review. I agree with almost every word and your analysis was brilliant.

    Until........ (hold on; it's not that bad) :D

    I remember reading folks that found the opening scene with Hotch and Beth meeting, commenting that it was "off" to "stalking". I shook my head at those feelings, but kept my mouth shut, respecting other peeps opinion. That said, that is somehow the way I felt about Audrey. It just didn't work for me. But also, just MHO. So unlike you Mordred, I hope we don't see her again. That said, I did love Hotch getting back out into "the game" hehehehehe. And like you pointed out Mordred, only his good bud Rossi could do that.

    So without deducting points for a minor difference of opinion, I give Mordred's very well written review five stars out of five!!


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