Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1021. Mr. Scratch - Comments Thread

This thread is open for you all to post comments and talk about tonight's new CRIMINAL MINDS episode, titled 'Mr. Scratch', written by Breen Frazier and directed by Matthew Gray Gubler.

Hope you've enjoyed today's episode, and remember that next week we'll have a new brand one!


  1. I have never been 'scared' by a CM episode until tonight... Breen wrote a doozy and MGG directed a masterpiece... KUDO'S...

    And the implication of the Unsub about what he's done to Hotch... and that Ending!!!! just WOW..

    10 out of 10 from this fan

  2. I have never watched a Criminal Minds episode with any lights on in a while. Upon hearing what was to come in the episode i left on one. I am glad i did! Knowing that by the end of the episode they would be alive did not stop me from clutching a pillow for dear life or keep my heart beat within normal range... It didn't help that while watching this my town was experiencing thunderstorms and some hail. All of that contributed to GREAT EPISODE and viewer entertainment by me.


  4. 10 out of 10 from me as well! GREAT directing from MGG and wonderful acting from TG. There are just too many things to love so at the moment, I will just say: PERFECT!

  5. It was both great and terrible for me, I don't like untidy endings like that. I need to understand the ending in an orderly way. This leaves me confused. I do think MGG did a great job, the suspense was awesome, it was scary as MGG intended but the ending left me hungry to have more explained.
    Thomas Gibson does deliver in the acting dept.


    1. Although Reid is my favorite character, Thomas Gibson is by far the best actor on the series. This would still be a true statement with any series and any group of actors. Thomas Gibson is truly exceptional. There are often scenes where not one muscle on his face twitches but he still conveys the perfect emotion.

  6. I...I don't know what to say. Er...I don't know if I liked it or not. I'm actually at a loss of words. Honestly I got lost. I have no idea who he was, why he was doing, why he targeted those people. And the sad thing was I was watching I lost it when they lost the power.

    What I do know is that it didn't scare me because I knew they were hallucinations brought on by the UnSub drug cocktail. And I knew the team entering the first time was a hallucination especially when Reid went down. The one thing that did bother me though was that Hotch is a by the book guy. He went in without waiting for any backup. I know it set up the whole tense ending, but it just seemed like something he wouldn't do.

    This is sad but could someone tell me who he was and why he did it?

    1. I said that to my husband too, that Hotch would not have gone without backup. He said to me it almost seemed personal to Hotch, kind of like when he went alone when the Reaper had Hayley....

    2. Ok, so I'm not the only one who didn't quite get the unsub's motivations. Let me see if I remember correctly... He was not adopted, but his family fostered children and those children were manipulated by the female shrink who made the kids remember things or forced them to lie to the police to incriminate the father? and because as children they incriminated the father, the guy wanted revenge or something? Why blame them? I don't get it. I can get why he blamed the woman and wanted to get her.. But then it seemed to be a ploy to get to Hotch.. Does that mean he was adopted and/or as a child someone manipulated him to say things to the police or remember abuse that didn't happen? Again, I'm not sure on the motives.
      And how did they let this guy be in such a high position of power if he was so disturbed?

    3. Hotch would enter without backup if he felt someone's life was in imminent danger as the former child psychologist's was. I do think that was in character.

    4. Hotch told I think Garcia that he was the closest to where the child psychologist was. Yes Hotch would have enter even without backup knowing someone was in danger, he did it in the episode 'The eyes have it' and when Morgan confronted him his reply was 'would you have waited?'

  7. Before I can be my usual "Chatty Cathy" reviewer, I need to watch this puppy again.

    However, a preview: Oh. Holy. Shizzers.

    1. LOL well said Rockie; can't wait to hear your thoughts!

  8. wow CM is on a roll lately, delivering one great episode after another!

    Tonight CM did hit all the right notes. Intense, scary, creepy, some action, lots of going into people's mind and what they fear.

    First, the writing. Breen got a clever script! I love how we got to see Hotch in total control of the situation, he great at interviewing the killers/victims, showing great strengh and leadership. Then when he became the unsub victim we saw another Hotch, the one who could play mind games with the unsub even if the unsub seems to have the upper hand ( he had Hotch under the influence of his drug). Yes Hotch did not fall prey of the unsub game, he didn't shot anyone of his team BUT the unsub rattled him. Did he planted a seed of doubt in Hotch and the team mind? maybe this will be revisited in Season 11! I dearly hope so!

    Speaking of Hotch, such great acting by Thomas Gibson! When the man is given great material he delivers great performances!

    This episode would not have been this great without the work of Matthew Gray Gubler behind the camera! He did set up great atmospheres. At time creepy ( great use of shadows!), scary ( the team getting shot!) intense ( Hotch and the unsub playing mind games). Tonight MGG showed how taleneted he is behind a camera, Bravo!

    btw how creepy it must have been for Matthew to direct a scene where his character get shot in the head!

    I will rewatched this episode a lot during the summer hiatus! Well done CM cast and crew! You deserve a 10/10 for this one!

    1. Couldn't agree more about Thomas Gibson's acting. Combine perfect acting with the perfect character and WOW.

  9. Once again, I'm speechless... I must say, this episode surpassed its hype! I knew Breen Frazier still had it in him! Those Criminal Minds BAU chops we all know so well from Seasons 4 and 5... Combine that with Matthew Gray Gubler's incredible, unique and superior directing, and you get the masterpiece that is Mr. Scratch!!! This is the best script Breen has written in a very long time, no question; but Matthew has completely outdone himself. I think Erica Messer is an amazing showrunner, no doubt; we are 10 seasons deep and this show clearly still has a full tank of gas left, but Erica, pleeease let this man write his own scripts!!! When he puts his giant mind to it, and his only, he brings it home. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the ending, and I also agree that Matthew and Breen make an excellent pair.

    My curiosity has been peeked, however; I would very much like to see what Matthew can do with Virgil Williams writing, and I'd love to see another MGG/Sharon Lee Watson episode now that Sharon has risen to Criminal Minds royalty. Any way you dice it or slice it, this was a 10/10, A+, out-of-the-park home run, mind-blowing, and honestly it scared me more than any episode of Criminal Minds I can remember. Maybe there are a couple that are still up there on the creepy scale but nevertheless, this was a masterpiece. Well done, Mr. Gubler and Mr. Frazier! Please God let there be a Season Eleven!

  10. I've got so many thoughts rolling through my head right now, I'll just start with the one that I know is right. I haven't watched the full episode yet at CBS online because as I post this, it just airing in the US Pacific time zone. After that is when it becomes available online at the CBS site.

    But my ol' VCR, God love her, came through again so I could re-watch the last act. However, that puts me ahead of of myself.

    From the top: I agree totally with SCMA. Breen Frazier got the memo and has returned to his butt kicking greatness of earlier seasons. And this episode was totally Breen; there could be only one person that could direct it. I know a lot of folks like to kick Erica Messer in the chops about her show running of CM. She got this one drop dead right. MGG was the only logical choice.

    While this was another TG centered-episode, once again it featured the team. With the BAU team doing their jobs: profiling. Garcia didn't come up with the magic answer (gotta love a huge power outage). But even before that, the team had their profile. Rossi complained about the 1980's thing with Satan. (And why I'm not really comfortable posting my review now since I can't give that name). But I think all of you get what I'm alluding to; it was in the Act II in the Bullpen with the TEAM working the profile. Crime Fan 12 and Zayina, that was the BIG clue. I just wish I could give you all the name: my apologies. Some of the brighter reviews around here will fill in the blanks for you both. ;)

    To the final act: Breen (purposely or not; that is the question) gave away the first of Hotch's hallucination's with JJ going in the door first. That was a dead giveaway for me. Yet, what spiraled out of that part of the scene was outstanding. CM fans, no matter their favorite character, know Hotch's worst fear is for his family. That bore out in 100. Yet, his very close second fear is his next family; his BAU family. Breen's script and MGG's direction of the critically shot Rossi at Hotch's feet nailed that fear. And like a bad-a** rollercoaster ride it just tumbled down the final hill from there.

    And thank you Breen for understanding continuity and having Rossi being the one kicking Hotch in the butt to talk things out immediately. No matter their roles now, Rossi will forever be Hotch's mentor, sound boarding, and his best friend. That's why Jack calls him "Uncle Dave".

    And if Virgil "Big Dog" Williams' script next week doesn't touch on this episode a bit, I'm gonna pull my Big Dog by the ear into Rockie's dog house.

    The CM train is rollin' my friends! I don't know what they're drinkin' or smokin' in the Writer's Room but let's all hope it keeps rollin' until the end of the season.

    Rockie's grade is another no-brainer: A

  11. I will have to watch it again because I kept getting interrupted. Phone rang a few times and I had to make dinner for my mother.

    I think the macaw sound worked, although, since I read the interview I kept picturing the bird and started laughing. I thought all of the victims did a good job of being totally traumatized. The first one had a weird thing going with his pupils looking totally dilated as if he were still drugged.
    I loved that Garcia didn't freak out and back away from her computers in terror like she did in one episode. She was on top of it and trying to do some damage control. I also liked that she went and got printouts and that Reid got to look at things. I do wonder about the legitimacy of people with such a high math score being considered "dangerous" though. And I wonder how Reid scored on the math tests and if he was recruited by the government.
    Hotch meeting with the one guy in the parking garage reminded me of X-Files (Mulder meeting Deep Throat and later X). I liked how the guy verbally said he couldn't do things and then wrote something down.
    I actually thought JJ didn't seem cold and dismissive while interviewing the victims who killed their family members. She seemed more human. Her reaction to seeing Reid get shot was realistic. I also liked how Rossi sounded weak when telling Morgan to go. And Thomas knocked it out of the park with frightened and horrified Hotch.
    I like how the unsub went in and out of focus and how they picked someone with a face that, in certain light, was rather creepy.
    I also thought they got a very good child actor who had great line delivery. He seemed very natural and believable (instead of sounding like he was reading from a script), which is something even adult actors can't always pull off.
    I really did enjoy this one, but I do have some nitpicks:
    1. Why was the holding area so dark? There were a lot of scenes that were dark and they were a little too dark so it was hard to see.
    2. Either its my TV or my hearing, but I had trouble hearing some of the dialog-- especially the whispers. I had trouble hearing Hotch talking to his NSA contact and I had trouble hearing some of the things the unsub was saying (but again, that could be either me or my tv or both- because I had trouble hearing a tv program the night before).
    3. I was never fully clear on the unsub's motivations or what exactly happened. I get that as a child he'd been manipulated by a shrink to remember abuse that didn't happen? So, were all of the adult victims people who were made to remember things that didn't happen and then they told the police stuff that caused someone to get into trouble? I wasn't clear on that. And if they were victims, why did this guy want to lash out at them if he blamed the woman. Also, why did he target Hotch? Was Hotch actually adopted? Was he the victim of a shrink manipulating him to remember abuse that didn't happen? And what was the deal with the guy turning himself in instead of suicide by cop?
    In terms of entertainment and keeping people's attention, this one scored. And maybe re-watches will answer some of my questions.
    Oh, I also liked that in Hotch's hallucination, JJ entered the house first but when it came time for the actual entry, Morgan and JJ went around back while Rossi and Reid went in the front.

  12. Wow...I am new to the Criminal Minds series and after tonight, I am done hooked!!
    I have every light on in the house lol...
    <3d it

  13. I hope I'm projecting here but I'm worried this episode might be the precursor for how Hotch is written out of the series. After the CM wrap party, Thomas Gibson was in most of the pictures the cast posted online. He normally is the one cast member that doesn't seem to be at these parties - probably due to the fact that he lives in Texas. This year, however, he was the only cast member I saw in any of the pictures. I immediately thought that might mean he is leaving the series. If he TG did choose to leave, I realize the writers have to write him out somehow. HOWEVER, if they write him out by letting an unsub mess with his mind and ultimately that forces him to leave, I will lose it. Like I said, hopefully I'm seeing things that aren't there.

    One thing that I really liked is during the hallucination, it looked like all of the team members were shot in the neck. I think that goes back to last year when Reid was shot in the neck. Since that was the most recent close call of a team member, that is what Hotch hallucinated happening to his team.

  14. Simply stunning. Someone needs to give MGG an A list movie to direct because his direction was superb. Best episode for a long, long time. This would have made an amazing finale.

  15. Ok, I watched it again and now I caught some things that I missed. So Peter Lewis (the unsub) was the bio child of the parents who took in foster children (the victims turned killers) and one of the boys accused the father of sexual abuse and dressing up like the devil (possibly under duress by cops and/or the nasty shrink who encouraged the cops to keep at the kids until they said what she wanted to hear). Even Peter got manipulated into saying what the woman wanted. The father was in jail pending trial and was murdered (the autopsy thing said he had an eye gouged out, face slashed, chest slashed, genitals slashed, and 3 and a half toes cut off on his left foot-- ouch).

    I enjoyed this more on second viewing. The screams from the first guy's wife were well-done and not sound fake.

    Loved the line from one of the victims when asked by his son if he had a boogeyman. "FICA, and he haunts my paycheck" LOL! I still wonder if that guy really did kill himself to avoid killing his child or if Peter, as nasty as he was, decided not to have an innocent child killed. If the kid had been killed, it would have been a real Hercules moment. For those who don't recall, in mythology, Hercules was driven mad by Hera and unwittingly murdered his own family.

    Ok, so Peter was excellent at math but was too unstable to be recruited by the NSA, but they were keeping an eye on him. What was the name of Hotch's friend from the NSA? Axel.. something?

    When Reid talked about recognizing the type of math and spoke about the different levels of math skill, I wonder if he was in the math55 range and either declined to work at the NSA or if he did a stint there before moving to the FBI.

    I admit that I do like that we don't know for sure what really happened before the team got to Hotch, and Hotch doesn't know either. He seemed so confused. Interesting when the guy said "Now I know what scares you" and Hotch did that long "No-o!" But it wasn't overdone. That moment when Peter turned around to look at Hotch and smiled was great-- total creepy looking grin.

    In a few online chats, I asked the writers about what really scared Hotch and said it would be great to see him in a situation where he got to show some fear. Some of them initially seemed to shoot down the idea, but I'm glad that Breen was up for the task. Loved how Hotch shoved his gun to Rossi and told him to take it-- looking totally rattled. Btw, it was great to see Hotch's ankle weapon again.
    I actually liked JJ in this one. It was like having the old JJ back. Instead of coming off as harsh or sarcastic, she had the right level of firmness, yet right level of gentleness in her tone when speaking to the victim. And her reaction to Reid being shot (albeit in hallucination) was realistic. Loved that Rossi's voice was weak after being shot (also in hallucination).
    Someone pointed out that Rossi and Morgan were both shot in the Neck like Reid had been in last season's finale. I wonder if that was a coincidence.
    Again, Elfman was creepy with the "I win. You don't know what I did to him" was great.
    But, my question is, why did he target Hotch? Also, why now? What triggered him to take his revenge at this point in time? I hope they do a followup and explain a little more in a future episode.
    I actually enjoyed this more on second viewing.

    1. Sesky, I agree with your points, especially about TG's acting and the old-school JJ making a welcome appearance.

      The look on Hotch's face…...

    2. Thank you for the update on who the UnSub was and his motive. I'm still a fan of the show, but it doesn't interest me as much as the first seven seasons so I don't go back and watch it again. If I catch it in reruns I'll probably watch it.

      After a night to sleep on it I would say it was another solid team case. Since I knew from the previews the boogeyman was going to be the result of drugs or hypnosis I ignored the hallucinations and focused on the actual case. I think I got lost in the crucial scene in the bullpen because I had a hard time hearing it and there was a lot of dialogue flying back and forth between the characters. Also Garcia was talking too fast for me to follow when she was explaining his background.

      Thomas Gibson was very good in the final scenes, but I still have a problem with him going in by himself. I can see Hotch going solo if it was a interview, but he knew it was a dangerous situation because he put on his vest. So if he knew the danger why didn't he call the cops? The cops didn't show up until after the team got there first. Hotch has jumped on other members of the team for going in without backup.

      I don't think the UnSub targeted Hotch. I think he heard Rossi calling the woman and saying that Hotch was on his way and waited for his chance to play with an FBI agent.

  16. I was really worried that MGG had over-hyped this, but it was superb! The collaboration between writer and director was excellent, and it felt like Thomas Gibson has been waiting all year to turn in this performance. I can't wait to see it again. I agree with many of you that this should be the finale. That was a wild ride...

  17. One dumb question??? How could anyone say that this episode could have been better???? I just don't get what people want if they can say that... This episode was just spot on CM and the team all the way... Writing was beyond stellar, Directing set mood, scene, emotion all the way through, and TG's performance was.... well just superb...

    I know CM is always overlooked during the awards season, but god how I would love to see MGG and TG get a nod at least for this episode... THIS is what you can get when you put your core cast at the front and let them make a TV show... EM's poster children could never have pulled this off.

    1. You and me both, Barb! I would include Breen in the awards season...

    2. I would JUST once before CM ends like to see an episode get at least 'nominated'... That said.. This one or even A Place at the Table (for story content) would fit the bill... THIS one by far more so however....

  18. This episode scared the frakk outta me! And I loved it! However, some scenes were so dark I could barely see what was happening like during Hotch's hallucinations, and when they lost power.
    I was a little bothered by JJ being the "all knowing parent" AGAIN when that father killed himself because his parental instincts took over.
    I already miss Kate(JLH), I wanted to see more of her. :(
    And the ending left me with un answered questions.
    All in all I give it 9/9.5 out of 10!
    This was the best MGG directed episode ever!

  19. We are going to see more of this storyline right? About what happens to Hotch? I mean if Hotch is toally his normal self like nothing happened in the next episode I will be severely upset. But it was a GREAT episode! Really, really great.

  20. This episode was amazing. I loved every minute of it. Thomas Gibson did an outstanding job as did everyone else. I usually don't care much for Morgan, but his involvement in the take down didn't bother me at all. It was nice to see him end up going around back while Rossi and Reid went through the front. JJ has always been my favorite character and I love when she gets to be a part of the take down of the unsub.

  21. What bothers me here, with this episode, like I've never been bothered before when it comes to CM besides the 'Suspect Behavior/Paget & AJ' fiasco, is the ratings! 10.06 mil??? WTF!!! The ratings for this episode, 10.06 mil, is in direct conflict with the outpouring of happiness and extreme satisfaction, plus the hype and high hopes considering the fantabulous director. (I know "fantabulous" isn't technically a word, but real words cannot describe MGG's directing, especially for Mr. Scratch.

    "Strange Fruit" got 12.40 mil; "The Return" got 11.63 mil which puzzles me like crazy because everyone knew it was written by Kim Harrison, CM's worst writer, and had no way of knowing it would be by far the best episode she would ever write; and although I loved "200," even though a lot of others hated it, it got 12.92 mil.... It just doesn't make sense! 1009. "Fate" got 11.00 mil... "Fate" is a solid/notable episode, but nowhere near the league of "Mr. Scratch."

    These four episodes I just mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of ratings injustice, (when compared to the ratings for Mr. Scratch) I could list dozens more... The renewal of our beloved Criminal Minds basically rides on ratings. The episodes I mentioned all garnered over 11 million viewers, whereas complete masterpieces like 1018. "Rock Creek Park," 1010. "Amelia Porter," 1016. "Lockdown" and 1006. "Boxed In" are cast aside by the mass populous and, subsequently, the critics who see these despicable ratings and think these are bad episodes, all part of a pivotal season of the show.

    Rock Creek Park got 10.08 mil, Amelia Porter got 10.12 mil, Lockdown got 10.37 mil, Boxed In got 10.48 mil (good, but not nearly what it deserved, considering "X" got 11.74 mil which is great, but Boxed In was a considerably better episode) and, finally, the most gross injustice of all, Mr. Scratch gets 10.06 mil only thanks to the final ratings adjustments, saving it from having fallen to the 9 millions....

    I am extremely pleased with Season Ten, despite the senseless (IMO) lack of my favorite recurring character, Section Chief Mateo Cruz, and I know the last 2 episodes will be amazing, but I won't get a full night's sleep until I know whether we will get to see Season 11 (for which Erica already has confirmed plans for Joe Mantegna to direct two episodes, plans for Reid's love life, - finally that incredible human being finds happiness - and plans for a reappearance of Ben Savage as Young Jason Gideon) Please make it happen!

    I've said my peace. I hope people read this, and I hope, in fall 2015, every Wednesday night, to see an episode of Criminal Minds, Season 11, immediately followed by an episode of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Season 1. CBS, please make it happen! You won't regret it!

    Even if we lose JLH along the way (I'd prefer not, but I'll take what I can get; who knows, maybe the ratings will go up)Look what happened when you (CBS) gave this show a chance the first time! It is returning to its original greatness and unbeatable superiority and entertainment value.
    FINAL NOTE: Whoever went on this site and rated "Fail" for "Mr. Scratch... My god, they must've been expecting stacks of money fly out of the screen and into their lap(s) (that's right, there were more than 1) or they are completely delusional with a laughable taste in Crime Drama and were expecting to see a rerun of CSI: Miami....
    LONG LIVE CM!!!!!

  22. SevereCMaddict,

    The ratings system as we know it , the Live+ Same day viewing numbers, are something that are being hit by the higher DVR usage. Just two years ago CM use to get about 2m viewers via DVR, now 4m+.

    If you look at the season opener 'X' it got in the live + Same Day viewing a 11.65m viewers and a 2.7 demo 18-49. That was the lowest for CM ever. But if you look at the L+7 days viewing then CM got a 16.28m and 4.5 demo best start since season 7 which saw CM get in the L+7 days a 17.19 and a 5.2 demo 18-49. So far CM season average is as high as previous one, the only difference is that now more people will watch at some other time. Here is the average for all the seasons;

    S10: 14.5m (L+7)
    S9: 14.42m (L+7)
    S8: 14.61m (L+7)
    S7: 15.7m (L+7)
    S6: 13.6m (L+7)
    S5: 13.7m (L+SD)
    S4: 14.2m (L+SD)
    S3: 14.1m (L+SD)
    S2: 15.4m (L+SD)
    S1: 13.9m (L+SD)

    To really know how Mr. Scratch did we have to wait for the L+7 days viewing. btw ALL shows are being hit by lower ratings in the L+SD, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family etc....all are down from previous season. But just to make all CM fans smile, CM been beating routinely NCIS and all the other one hour dramas on CBS in the most coveted demo 18-49, L+3 and L+7 :)

    1. Wow, that makes me feel so much better!!! Thank you so much, CMRT! That actually makes a lot of sense to me; many more people these days just record their favorite shows and watch them on DVR because they know they can... barely anyone makes a point of watching it live. (I am one of the exceptions lol) I just hope that the powers that be, who have the authority to decide whether or not the show is renewed, realize this and when they go to compare ratings, they take into account the Live+7 Day Viewership.

      Once again, thank you so much CMRT! That was extremely helpful; since I read this, I looked up those ratings for CSI: Cyber and much to my satisfaction, CM has been beating it by a long-shot every week since it started, in Live+SD, Live+7, and the 18-49 demo. I'm a happy camper. Bring on "Protection" and "The Hunt"! Sure hope I see Criminal Minds, Season 11 and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Season 1 in the fall!

  23. I just want to make a comment before I read the comments from last night's episode. I had surgery last week and wasn't up to commenting here, but I did watch Mr. Scratch and thought it was wonderful. As much as I love MGG, I usually don't like the episodes he directs. It is not his fault. The writing is just not up to CM standards (of old), but Mr. Scratch held my interest the whole way. There was adequate profiling and we didn't see the unsub right away. Hotch was magnificent. There was a good balance of screen time for the team, even MGG who was directing. While I thought the whole power outage thing was a bit silly and unbelievable, the rest of the episode really delivered. Since I'm usually here complaining, I just wanted to let you know that I'm not always negative. The writing is usually the culprit and Breen did a great job on this one. I am far more interested in learning how this case affected Hotch and the others long-term than in any plot concerning Kate's niece. Now I'm going to take my pain meds and work up the strength to tackle last night's fiasco. Ciao.

  24. I wonder if Matthew scared some people off. It was really scary, but more people would have tuned in without all the warnings but loved it anyway.


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