So let’s get this show on the road for the episode written by Karen E. Maser and directed by series regular Joe Mantegna. The cast is all stars in my world.
The opening segment then rolls into Play60 PSA (public service announcement). All I’ll say about this is that CBS signed an agreement with the NFL to promote Play60 during the month of October. I totally agree with what Play60 is about; and as an NFL fan, I’m glad to see the league and its current and former star players support it. But really?? *shrugs* I’ll let it slide because Michael Irvin is a huge Criminal Minds fan and it gave a little homage to Morgan’s backstory of being a standout college player until he blew out his knee.
Criminal Minds Costume Department for Garcia’s shirt.
The case layout in the Round Table room was pretty standard. I don’t expect a lot with them that’s going to really give me more clues about the who the Unsub is. My only question was do people in that region of the US really go to Savannah to get married? No offense to that beautiful Georgia city with its great southern charm and atmosphere.
And Tara Lewis, keenly played by Aisha Tyler, delivered a great line with "weddings have become their wakes". I’m still on board with the Lewis character. It just goes to show that given a "proper" introduction into an elite FBI team, it can work. Breen delivered that in the first episode. And thank you Criminal Minds Hair Department for toning down Lewis’ hair.
"And if you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course."
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet quoted by Tara Lewis.
The scene opens, like many episodes with the stock footage of the team’s Gulf Stream jet. Are we ever going to meet that jet’s crew? And for the record, Google that jet’s specs; it’s off the charts. When JJ said back in the Season 2 episode Legacy "this is a pretty fast jet", that is a total fact.
The rest of the opening part of this act was also the usual. Hotch and Dave received an update from the local lead police officer of the case. The ME scene with Morgan and Reid profiling a bit based on the findings was good; but can I get an Ugh, Ugh and Ewww on the nail biting thing? That was gross, but typical Criminal Minds. However that provided the team with their first major clue.
The scene rolls into Morgan and Lewis interviewing the maid of honor about the night at the Wolf and Rose. I really liked that Lewis suggesting the cognitive interview but letting Morgan do the actual interview. To me, that’s a rookie that has some chops but still understands she is a rookie on the team. And I loved Joe capturing the shot of Lewis pushing the tissue box to Kelly. But the next part with Lewis blowing off the call from Douglas on her cell was a total tell. Oh goody; another team member having problems in their relationship with the job! This has been done Criminal Minds writers; too many times. I get it. The job is tough on relationships; I figured that out with Hotch and Haley.
This moves the episode into our introduction of Dana. With a plus sized woman, my brain is already putting things together. When Ryan puts his hand on hers and then leaves with Nicole, I’m done doing my viewer profiling. I know who the Unsub is. And I’m sure everyone else did as well. It’s just a matter of “why”. Then throw in our first delusional scene with Dana and Ryan together and I've got Dana’s goose cooked. That’s even with Joe’s great over the shoulder shot of Maddie and then the nail biting. Plus, add in Garcia’s phone call to Rossi and Morgan ruling out Albrecht, and I’m looking at my watch thinking "So, how are they going to keep me interested the rest of the way?"
At this point, the fantasy scenes between Dana and Ryan are just too much. I’d rather see the team profiling, digging more information than see more of Dana’s psychosis. And we did get a bit of that with the Morgan/Lewis scene and the tie into the profile with an engagement. Plus, I questioned on my third watch during the Nicole/Dana scene in Dana’s room if Savannah had a lake to walk around. However, a Google search confirmed that, so Maser gets let off the hook on that one for a continuity issue. We then get taken to the restaurant scene. Dana’s breath of anticipation only to have Ryan propose to Nicole was disappointing. I knew exactly where this episode was going and who was going to be Dana’s last victim; especially when Dana started biting her nails.
I did enjoy the snippet with Reid and Lewis working together. That’s two great minds on the team and it worked for me. Plus Garcia coming in with just the right amount of clues, along with the flashback scene of the shorter boy dancing with the taller girl worked as well. Then add in we got to see some consciousness on Dana’s part as she is torn between reality and her psychosis of Nicole being her next victim.
Reid and Lewis making the final discovery of Dana’s meds in her room and the two of them putting together the diagnosis of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) was quite good as well. I didn't understand all the medical mumbo jumbo; but I usual don’t anyway.
However, it was Reid looking around the floral shop that sealed the deal. By recognizing the flowers, Reid gave the team the biggest clue to where Dana had Nicole. Hotch deduced that it was a greenhouse. And then the closing line: "Ryan’s mine you slut" which tied in the slut reference on Maddie’s head. But like I said earlier: too little, too late.
To do my reviews, I re-watch the episode a couple of times online at CBS with my headphones on to catch more of the dialogue. And yes, that is getting just about as bad as watching the episode air on regular TV. But I gotta say the Amazon ad with the little white dog with the broken leg is just too precious... Oops, back to reality!
Cue the Joe Mantegna now much loved slow motion shot of Dana dropping the weapon. He’s used the slo/mo before; but if it works for him, I can live with it. Joe gets the skate on that with his shot of Hotch gently touching Ryan’s back to tell him he did it right as he then gently leads Dana away. Add in Gia Mantegna’s very lovely song and it was a good scene.
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote,
"I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’."
Final quote delivered by David Rossi.
Remember when I said just a bit ago that the greenhouse scene was one of the best of the episode? The final jet scene was THE best of the episode. Rossi started it with his line “Wow; so that’s where the sun went” as the team flies into the dark sky. That was an excellent shot by Joe.
And the terrific scene of learning about the “third ex-Mrs. Rossi”. When Lewis asked if there was a story there and Hotch saying “oh there is” I was laughing. As Rossi tells the story and Hotch says “wait for it”, I’m peeing my pants. It’s soooooo obvious that Hotch has heard this story before, which gives more validation to how close these two agents are. And it was another Hotch-smiled in the scene! Good lawd! Are they finally showing the human side to our stoic Unit Chief? Then add Morgan’s question with Rossi’s comeback, imitating the King and the rock and roll music provided by the wonderful Criminal Minds Music guys, I left this episode with a huge smile on my face.
Doing the Grades
I’ll start with Joe Mantegna first. While I’m a fangirl, I won’t let that cloud my judgment when it comes to my review. I read some of the comments here about the episode concerning the direction being choppy. I have deep respect for everyone’s views. However, I’d like to add this. Each scene of an episode is filmed from multiple camera angles by the director, with the much valued assistance of the Greg St. John, the Director of Photography. But in the end, it’s the director’s call. I don’t doubt Joe’s direction of the filming. Where I totally agree with the “choppy” part comes with Joe and Michael Schweitzer, the episode editor, in the editing room. That’s where the chop happened. As much as I loved that final scene, the two close-ups of Rossi instead of maybe showing a team reaction shot, just seemed totally off to me. Joe gets a B- on his direction/final cut.
To Maser's script: I think I've pretty much pointed out the errors of her ways in my review. That said, I have to give the Criminal Minds newbie two grades. Notice I didn't call Karen a rookie; she earned her writing chops in my world with her work on ER. Karen is no rookie at writing; and it showed with her complete understanding of the core cast of Criminal Minds. For that, Karen gets an A.
That said, if Karen can find some creativity to drop the red herring rouse and write a solid second act, I can’t wait to see her next penned episode. But for her first on the Unsub portion, her script gets a C-.
Putting those grades into my curve, this episode gets a Rockie C.
And before I exit, I’m going to get ahead of the game. My deepest thanks to Sir Elyan for the amazing, awesome screen caps that add to any review. It’s a pleasure working with you and seeing “our” final product. ;)
~~~~rockhotch31 (Guest reviewer)