Y'all didn't think I had nothing to say about this episode, did you? Honestly?? Hehehehe... My thanks once again to the wonderful CMRT staff that asked me to guest review.
"Hey Rockie! Wanna review the episode that Joe is directing?" My answer was a resounding affirmative. And I even knew that Bruce Zimmerman was doing the teleplay this time. I believe this is my third reviewing one of Bruce's scripted works. He doesn't throw me for a loop anymore.
So let's get this party started!
The opening was an eye catcher. It was obvious the guy driving and the injured lady were not related. So you ask yourself WTH is going on with that; I did. A random guy takes a woman from an accident scene and drives her to the hospital, imploring her to hang on. OK; that's good. Bruce is playing with us.
Yet, it is Bruce. As I've said before, Bruce is a sneaky and cerebral writer. He wants to make fans think. And he's got that methodology down pat. But part of that methodology is he has to show the unsub right away. The deities help us all if he ever wrote a Criminal Minds episode that didn't do that. It would be off the charts crazy good. But alas, he didn't. Again.
Here's what caught my attention next: the guy gets out of the car, helps the woman up against a tree, and then pulls out a gun and shoots the injured woman. Now I'm totally confused.
Dissolve into the BAU with Morgan in Rossi's office. Nice piece of editing that Joe thought of. I loved the scene with the two of them. Rossi has such a personal connection with each member of team; past or present. He's sorta the patriarch of the BAU family. But what did catch my eye in the scene was the Zebco reel on a very short fishing rod; cheapest around. I hope that was a present for his grandson. Because that is not a rod and reel David Rossi would buy for himself.
Enter Garcia and we get the sad news about Sgt. Harrison Scott's death. I love them two together. They're like Forrest and Jenny: peas and carrots. And Joe's wonderful, yet subtle direction of looking at the gift of the military service weapon he received from Sgt. Scott in The Road Home (Season 9) and then to Rossi's shadow box of his military career, focusing on the Purple Heart was excellent. I love foreshadowing.
We then see the unsub strike again, making a 9-1-1 phone call; wiping down the phone he used barehanded before he dumped it. There's significance in that camera shot. Fade to black with the camera shot of the street sign. It's exactly the street crossing sign the unsub called in.
Hotch's interview with the psychiatrist was excellent, bordering on cognitive. And the camera shot of the doctor looking back at the victim with the street sign in the view was the tie-in to the first camera shot I mentioned. Joe can be as subtle as Bruce. However, Hotch getting the doctor to admit that sirens attracted him to look back was the first hint for the team.
This is also where Bruce's script shined. Before I continue, let me say that Danny Ramm was a contributing member to the story idea. However, I feel his contribution was solely the Harrison Scott storyline with Bruce filling in the gaps and connecting the dots. If I'm wrong, I humbly stand corrected. Anyway, Mr. Wright's words in his wife's hospital room to Morgan and JJ were prophetic. "Think you have years of time with someone; suddenly you don't." Segway to Rossi going through Harrison's things, coming across the picture of the old platoon we first saw in The Fallen (Season 8).
And here's where Joe's shot on the Purple Heart in his office first comes to bear with the retro scene with Sgt. Scott and PFC Rossi. We once again get the "scars" quote, hankering back to The Slave of Duty (Season 5) that Rossi delivered. That quote was so special back then for that episode and to hear it again was priceless in my world. By the way, a little
trivia: that was also used in The Fallen but got edited out; it's a deleted scene on the DVDs.
It's back to the unsub and his daughter. My first watch, I questioned who was sick.
Then we see the unsub again, making another 9-1-1 phone call. And he's now wearing gloves. Our unsub is learning to be more sophisticated and that simple shot of him with the gloves that Joe focused in told all of us that.
The scene with Hotch, Morgan and JJ looking at the surveillance footage was wonderful in my world. First off it explained to me, through Morgan, my earlier question: why the unsub suddenly pulled out a gun; it's Florida's gun laws. Secondly, Hotch narrowing down the hesitation and body language change of the unsub gave the team, and us viewers, another insight into the unsub. It felt to me like I was profiling along with the team.
Plus, plus, -sorry channeling my inner Garcia,- Hotch's phone call to her and saying Mrs. Wright's organs were being harvested before Garcia could was my heroic team leader. Garcia's dialogue concerning that was wonderful as well.
This is where the episode sorta steamrolled at bit. Garcia and Rossi's conversation with Rossi saying that Hotch knew about Sgt. Scott. Estelle not receiving a liver after his father's hope got up, and him, the unsub shooting Keith, her friend from her support group. Reid knowing the MELD [Model for End-stage Liver Disease] score and his comment on how a transplanted piece of liver can regenerate. That was all good stuff.
I really enjoyed Rossi and Joy's conversation in front of New Directions. It tied into Dave's original claim of still not recognizing being called dad and then telling Joy "it's a two way street" on the learning curve. I giggle now. I live chat at another site and one of our significantly younger members posted "Who's Tony Bennett?" God bless her; she got deluged in mere seconds with Youtube videos. Seriously, who does not know the Velvet Fog Voice? I know; I know; don't start on me; I'm old. *proudly shows off AARP card*
Back to my review; may the deities bless Bruce for showing Hotch's profiling skills, figuring out the connection to the DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles for you non-States folks). It was my biggest highlight of the episode. However, this is where I join the chorus of the ever growing one of getting sick and tired of Morgan and JJ taking down the unsub. Please! There are four other supremely trained FBI agents (and as a commenter noted, one with two weapons) that are capable of doing this. It's getting old. However, I beg all commentators to this review to not beat this horse into the ground. It's been said and then rehashed enough. Rant over.
So was the case wrap up on the jet. I too questioned how a daughter could live with getting a life-saving donation, knowing what her father did to try and get her that, and then ultimately gave. Hotch's explanation put it all together for me about the brain masking some truths.
To the crux of my review; I really don't know what to say about the case part. It had its merits; but for me, it wasn't up to par for a Bruce Zimmerman penned episode. I dunno; maybe the Writers' Room, trying to fulfill Joe's desire to say goodbye to his dear friend Meshach overwhelmed Bruce. The episode "A" storyline had some redeeming qualities that I pointed out. However, I expected better out of Bruce and got disappointed. I like to call it "the mid-season writer malaise" that has happened in every season. Including the ones with the prolific writing staff of Wilder, Mundy, Mirren and Frazier (when Breen knew how to write a team of profilers). That part earns a "C" on Rockie's grading curve; and solely got upgraded by showing Hotch's profiling chops.
To the second storyline of saying goodbye to Sgt. Harrison Scott, and Meshach. It was simply superb. From Joy understanding the pain her father was in and joining him in LA; the wonderful conversation with Rossi and Thomas, Harrison's son, going through Scott's meager belongings; to Kate asking about Rossi and Hotch leaning his head back into his seat, thinking about his dear friend was absolutely wonderful. In my true heart of hearts, I had dearly hoped that the team would appear at the funeral. However, I get it. The tie between the two plotlines was a father and his daughter.
The short talk between Thomas Scott and Rossi was very nice. I loved Rossi's comment about the two three-star Marine generals in his cigar club. The final scene with Sgt. Scott's funeral I could really quibble with. If I'm an expert around here about anything, it is all things USMC. The funeral sequence was not true to US military funeral standards. Yet, as one who has raised the point more than once around here "it's a TV show; they take dramatic license" I must heed my own words and let it slide. And the notes of Taps will always be haunting. And for sharp-eyed viewers, the sergeant that served as the lead of the casket detail was indeed the same one that gave Anthony Hernandez's Marine grandson his medal at the end of The Fallen.
The gesture that Joe wanted for his dear friend, a final goodbye was excellently done. And I totally loved one of Joe's ending shots. The Purple Heart, the worn metal box, and the picture of the platoon were excellent. And the final shot of Rossi saluting Sgt. Scott's casket with Joy in the background over his shoulder was brilliant. Joe knows how to pull the heart strings and tie the whole episode together. The "B" storyline receives an A+ from me.
A final personal note: many of you may know Meshach Taylor from Designing Women or any other of his acting bodies of work. I remember him from that show as well, and with great fondness. Yet, in my humble Criminal Minds
fan world, Meshach Taylor will always be Sgt. Harrison Scott.
Thank you Meshach for blessing this fan with your gift of two wonderful
episodes as a character I came to love. In my heart, you will always be Sgt. Harrison Scott. OO-RAH!
~~~~rockhotch31 (Guest reviewer)