Saturday, May 16, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1023. The Hunt - Review

NOTE: The reviews for 1022. Protection and 1023. The Hunt were done by the same reviewer because we thought both plots would be more linked than they are, and were written at once. To allow for easier loading of the blog, especially in small devices, they are being posted individually, but to keep them as linked as was the original idea, the article with the review for 1022. Protection has its comment area closed and we invite all of our readers to express their opinions in the comments area in this review for 1023. The Hunt.

First, please bear with me as I get a small rant out of the way. Across Social Media all, year there have been people posting hate against Jennifer Love Hewitt. Mind you, not the character of Kate Callahan, but of Jennifer Love Hewitt herself, so now she's leaving. Is that bullying responsible for her leaving? Yes, I think so in part. At least it made her decision to leave to be with her children a lot easier to make. Those people who spewed such hateful comments about her should be ashamed of themselves, what they've done is nothing but out and out bullying. People did it to Jeanne Tripplehorn, now they've done it to Jennifer Love Hewitt. I don't think any of those people "get it"; sure critique, complain, bitch, rant and rave about the CHARACTER, but for God's sake!, leave the actor/actress alone. There is "zero" place in any fandom for such hateful attitudes. Yes, I dislike how the character of JJ has become but I would NEVER, ever, spew hate or dislike towards AJ Cook. Clue here people, there are real people, with real feelings and emotions, behind these characters and their Social Media handles.
/:Rant Over:/

Now, as for the episode. While I was expecting a poor episode, especially after the previous week's submission into "worst Criminal Minds episode of the season" category with "Protection", I will say that I was pleasantly surprised that this episode did so well. Was it the best season finale for Criminal Minds? No, it wasn't, but it certainly was better than Season 6, Supply and Demand, or Season 8, The Replicator. I liked the catch up scenes in the beginning. Both, the writers and the director, brought us viewers back up to date with the storyline quickly and efficiently. Seeing Meg's evolution from boy-crazy teen to Profiler's daughter in that van was smooth and seemed to fit.
Hailey Sole did a wonderful job of playing Meg in this episode. KUDOS to the writers for making her into a not so obnoxious teen anymore; I actually felt for those girls watching the scene play out in the van. As they cut back to the BAU and the continuation of "pizza party" from last week, the interplay between Morgan/JJ and Reid was well done; Reid blabbering about black holes was just priceless, and I loved Kate's addition to the universe discussion with her "My universe is expanding with nausea and vertigo"... Geez that brought memories of long forgotten pregnancy aliments back! But the happiness is short lived as we see often, and all too soon this "family" is on "The Hunt" for one of their own. I liked how they conferenced Markayla's mother to find out if indeed the girls were in trouble. I was glad to see that Hotch informed of the potential situation immediately by Reid, Although as a mother, I would think JJ could have been the first to get up and go to him, but that a small blip on this finale's overall consistency.

Once Hotch is aware and starts the process of calling the CARD (Child Abduction Rapid Deployment) Team and from there it's "let's go, time for the BAU". I want to add here, I appreciate that they brought back Molly Culver as Agent Tanning from episode Gabby for consistency, but sadly I didn't buy her portrayal of the CARD Leader. If wishes were horses I would have liked to have seen them bring back Nigel Gibbs as CARD Leader Agent James Franklin from the episode Seven Seconds; he was a spot on character... Anyway back to the episode.

While we see the Unsubs early on, I was happy to see that they weren't the ones telling the story. Their scenes were filling in the blanks and adding confirmation to what the BAU was finding out as they went through the case. It was very well designed to bring this case back around to what happened in X, it made sense. Although I didn't quite buy the whole "targeting Meg to get back at Kate" angle, going back to the Torso Killer and the events of X worked well. I did enjoy the group dynamics as they gathered in the BAU room. Hotch was in charge, Garcia was using her knowledge in the most accurate capacity; I liked how the team guided Garcia in her technical searches. Jennifer Love Hewitt did a great job of portraying the panicked mother. And I liked the balance in the team. Morgan and Reid were great in interviewing the girls' friend Sam and ultimately getting the picture that led Kate to know who took the girls. This was connected the Unsubs' dots to perfection. Great job to Janine and Jim for a harmonious storyline. Hotch does well as the in-control team leader, and he was definitely that in this episode. The interwoven scenes with the girls helped us understand their mentality through all this, and that then fueled our understanding of where the team was going in their search. At times, when I would see the team's thought process, and then see that thought process played out via the girls I was like "yes, the bread crumb trail is leading somewhere". That fact alone is what kept me glued to watching, I wanted to follow the bread crumbs right alongside the BAU. Meg actually surprised me with her quick thinking in remembering all that her Aunt taught her about unsubs and predators.

Again, how the writers wove those events from X into this episode was very well done. I had a flashback to that final scene between Hotch and Kate about how she didn't feel this was over, and was glad to see that Hotch too must have been following up on various informations that came to him or he found throughout the year.

Alas, I'm not going to go through the episode scene by scene because quite frankly, I find I only do that when there are a lot of inconsistencies to point out. This episode didn't have that, "The Hunt" managed to weave a spell binding story with exceptional team work and believable events. Were there a few glitches? Yes, there were, with my biggest gripe being Hotch saying "Let's go!" when they discovered the first Unsubs' location and then not being anywhere in sight when they went after them. And we were treated to "JJ/Morgan" leading the charge. Will add here too, that "we", fans, already know AJ Cook is pregnant, we already know from "leaks" by Erica that JJ is telling Reid that very fact in this episode, so... can someone PLEASE tell me WHY then she allowed herself to be in the field, on the take downs no less? Wouldn't she be overly cautious seeing as last time she was pregnant injury caused her to lose the baby? That just didn't sit well with me. That rant over, I will continue. I was also hoping for a bit angrier Hotch in Alex Zorgan's interrogation once they caught him, especially after he had told every cop in that BAU bullpen "As you know Meg is part of this family. We do not rest until she is home safely."

The whole case unraveled via excellent profiling by the team, using all of their knowledge and resources. We knew that Criminal Minds rarely kills off important cast or anyone that is a part of their "family", so there was a confidence that Meg would be found and found OK. Which is exactly what happened. Cut to the BAU room after the case and JJ reaching for the saltines, which Reid catches. JJ and Reid felt "right" in that scene Reid seeing his friend doing something that is different, quickly extrapolating what that could mean, and talking to her about it. I did like that JJ wasn't super committal about being pregnant. I at least, got the feeling that she suspected but wasn't 100% sure yet, which could be why she remained in the field, not that I liked her being in the field even if she wasn't sure.

Now for Jennifer Love Hewitt's departure. I liked how these writers harkened back to how Kate joined the team and the final scene in X with just Hotch and Kate. This was right, to have Kate go to Hotch in person; no cryptic text messages, no evasive "I can't do this, I don't feel comfortable anymore" plot line. Just pure parental concern. Kate left the BAU to be there for Meg and her new baby, end of story. I like how they left it open that Kate could come back after a year if she wanted. And I loved how changed Hotch is today, that he is comfortable enough to hug Kate and wish her all the luck in the world. That was a very nice "family" moment to end the season.

Now, my fellow fans, we sit and wait for Season 11, and we still have to wait to see if Jennifer Love Hewitt is replaced or if (my preference) they leave this team at 6 and use guest cast to fill any voids that may pop up. In my mind Criminal Minds can go on for several more years if the writers and TPTB realize that when you focus on the "team" and not the "unsubs" or just one member of the team, you very often get a great episode. I like the personal details about the team being shown, BUT I prefer to have it creatively interwoven into the case of the week. I do not need the bookend "feel good" scenes to make me understand this family's dynamics.

Mordred's final thoughts: I give this episode a solid B+. There were a few issues I had with some inconsistencies, but overall it worked and worked well. My hats off to the writers and director, and to the whole cast and crew of Criminal Minds, who without a doubt, work very hard to try and keep this picky fan happy. Happy Hiatus! See you all in July!


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