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