Sunday, November 8, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 11 - 1106. Pariahville - Review

For this episode, our scheduled reviewer Guinevere had real life interference with her assignment (pesky work!) so we, Merlin and Mordred, did step up to do our own review-turned conversation, as presented here.

[Mordred] I have to say Felix’s staging and filming of the murder scene were very well done. Every episode I’ve watched of Felix’s has been very well directed. That said, after viewing the episode same day as well as a re-watch, there were many areas where the writer could have pared down the guest cast scenes in favor of providing us, the fans and viewers, with more actual profiling. [Merlin] Yes, there was not enough profiling and a bit too much time spent on the Sheriff's kids.

Excellent camera work when we are with the Sheriff on his rounds and he comes across a bloody guy standing in the middle of a street. As the cop enters a home the camera view changes to one that is on the cop's chest, and we see things as if we were him. Reminded me of the opening scene in ‘100’ when we are in the shoes of the EMT who arrives at the scene.

We get to meet some of the residents as we see two kids challenging each other to go inside the community that others have dubbed as ‘perv city’ and come across three guys who, by the looks they gave the kids, you know that what they are thinking is not innocent thoughts! Creepy scene!

Gotta love Reid and how he is so not at ease to ask questions about people’s sexuality! He was hesitant asking questions to Paige's husband about their role playing. Nice to see Erik remembered that trait about him.

[Mordred] The opening scene with Hotchner and Lewis was well done and well written. I do like how well Hotch and Lewis work together and have so since Tara Lewis was introduced to the Criminal Minds Universe. [Merlin] Dr. Lewis works perfectly with Hotch, I was surprised at the chemistry between Thomas Gibson and Aisha Tyler, it is a joy to see them on screen. [Mordred] To the average viewer, this sequence was definitely designed to lead up to Lewis’ departure and the return of JJ. So far, so good. One thing about the scene that I didn’t like was Garcia whining to Lewis "Don’t Leave", just as she was coming to Hotch’s office to inform him about the case. I like quirky Garcia, don’t get me wrong, but when writers go over the top and insert overly flamboyant Garcia into the mix something gets lost in the uniqueness of the character. [Merlin] Unlike you, I did like that scene with Garcia and didn’t think it was over the top. Garcia’s got a very small filter and she does wear her heart on her sleeve for everyone to see. It was very Garcia to say this.

[Mordred] One thing that I have noticed since Tara Lewis came on board is that she seems to know a lot about everything. As the case was being presented, and finding out that of course she was instrumental in setting up this community of sex offenders, seemed to set her above the other members of the team and frankly that’s distracting. Especially considering Hotch and Rossi’s long careers and experience. [Merlin] Yes, as much as I like Lewis, the writers are in danger of making her a Mary Sue (in fanfiction parlor this mean someone who knows it all, does it all and shows the established characters, who are experts in their fields, how to do their jobs, and often better than they do). The best characters have flaws, are not the best at everything. The writers have done this with JJ and many fans have disliked this new JJ for that reason, among other things.

[Mordred] The case was different I must say. I actually had gone and looked up if such a community existed because I didn’t think that was possible. Well, color me silly, but there is a community in Florida called “MIRACLE PARK”, that is exactly like Glennport Village. [Merlin] Was very surprised too that this community exists for real! That said, I like the idea of the BAU looking for an Unsub in a community that is made up of people who could ALL be unsubs! The part where Morgan and Lewis talk to the pedophile was so well done; Randy was a creepy guy for whom no one would feel much sympathy. One problem I had with that scene, Morgan is all in the dark, barely no lights on him, we mostly cannot see his face; if it wasn’t for me knowing his voice, I would not know who was in the interview room with Lewis and creepy guy. Nice acting work by Kurt Scholler, who played pedophile Randy Nelson. During the whole time he was in the interrogation room, he is in a corner, with his back to it. It shows how isolated he is.

[Mordred] For the most part, the episode and case went along smoothly and cohesively until the Sheriff felt it necessary to introduce Hotch to his children, and then the children took center stage. That telegraphed to me that these kids, especially the daughter, were going to be more deeply involved in this case than one would normally expect. [Merlin] Yes, the moment we had the scene with the Sheriff and his kids at home I knew one of them would be a victim, most likely the daughter. Even worse, the next scene showed us the next victim, a young girl walking back home with friends. Then she goes home and the Unsub rushes her as she gets inside her house. Why show us the Sheriff's kids, then this scene? It served no purpose except to telegraph to us how the daughter will be the next victim of the killer. Also, what’s with the close up to the necklace hanging from a tree in front the victim house? It was never mentioned again. I was sure this would mean something as usually the camera will not spend time on things that do not matter.

[Mordred] While I get that new writers for already well-established shows have little to work with in creating 'new' characters to put their own stamp on the episodes, when they diverge from the show's original concept theme by highlighting guest cast and unsubs, this show tends to get boring. This week not only did we get way too many scenes with the Sheriff’s kids, we were also treated *insert sarcasm* to this supposedly Elite Team of Profilers being completely off in their previously given profile. Was that done intentionally by Erik Stiller to maybe justify all the scenes with the pervert unsub-wannabes, as well as let the guest cast, again, be the ones who led us to the eventual real Unsub? I don’t have the answer for that. What I do know is that by the midway point this episode went from being really pretty good to just OK. [Merlin] Could not believe how wrong the team was with their profile! Hello, writer, this is the FBI elite team, the experts here, and they get it so wrong? Even in 'Tabula Rasa', when the lawyer uses the Olympic Park Bomber case do discredit Hotch as an expert, it was made clear that the profile was dead on; so this worked because profiling and the BAU were not shown as idiots. Here the profile is so wrong it makes the team look bad. Ed Bernero once said, "You can bend things, change them, but you cannot do it in a way that will hurt the perception of those characters."

There were some things in this episode that stuck out at us and we thought were very well done.
  1. [Mordred] The chat between Tara Lewis and Dave Rossi about her job offer, and his mentor-ish like response to her about doing what’s best for her.
  2. [Mordred] Shoe Fetish Perv who hit on David Rossi, only to get a classic Rossi smack down with the line “How about I give you a kick in the ass and you can see for yourself.” [Merlin] Without a doubt best scene in the episode!
  3. [Mordred] I did like Morgan’s talk with Tara at the end of the case. He made sense and I believe gave her some food for thought about not only the job with the BAU, but with regards to the job she was being offered.
  4. [Mordred] The final showdown between Tara Lewis and the real Unsub was excellent. At first I’m thinking we are going to get a standard BAU talk-down of the Unsub, and then BAM! WHOA! Tara talked to him long enough to get him to relax the knife he was holding against the Sheriff’s daughter’s neck to take the kill shot. For me, that was the most excitement of the episode. Yes, this was the most exciting scene of the episode. Sadly the excitement is missing in many of Criminal Minds episodes.
  5. [Merlin] I love when Criminal Minds have victims that can fight back! The girl was smart enough to play along until she could get an opening and try to get away.
  6. [Merlin] Continuity, what a wonderful thing to see in a Criminal Minds episode! Yes, I am talking about Rossi telling Lewis about his visit to an inmate on his birthday, this is a reference to the episode ‘Profiling 101’.

[Mordred] The final scene with Hotch and Lewis, and hearing how Hotch found a way for Lewis to not only take the job offer she was given, but also allow her to continue with the BAU, to me was setting up the ‘main character exit’ many here on the net have heard about. Lewis has fulfilled her duty as JJ’s replacement as JJ will be back next episode. And now with this turn of events with the job offer Lewis can be available to the BAU should one of the main cast leave. This also allows the Criminal Minds Universe to honor their word that the BAU would, from now on consist of 6 members rather than 7. [Merlin] I do hope Lewis will be back, I like the character a lot, but I hope the writers will ease up on the amount of time we are spending on her. As a loyal Criminal Minds fan for 8 years, I want to see the characters that got me hooked on this show in the first place. The fact that this was another very light episode Hotch-wise is not something I like; yes I know we had very little of Hotch due to Mr. Gibson's work in post production. By the way, thanks to Mr. Stiller for at least giving the viewers an explanation as to why Hotch disappeared, he was at the police station coordinating the search. In past seasons Hotch would just disappear without any mention, one minute he was there the next, poof! gone!, which was annoying since he is the UNIT CHIEF and should be in the middle of the action! [Mordred] Same happens with Joe and Matthew when it is their turn to direct, and it is very irritating and annoying.

As this review is a collaboration between Merlin and Mordred, we do feel that for the rating of the episode we each need to give our opinion.
  • Mordred gives this episode a 7 out of 10 and a grade of B- to B.
  • Merlin gave this episode a 7.5/10 in the comments thread, but after a second rewatching, I am lowering my rating simply because of the profile. This gets a 7/10.

Thank You for reading,
~~~~Merlin & ~~~~Mordred 


  1. This storyline did not really set up a main character exit, and I don't think this is what Matthew was referring to (nor do I think he was ever on tap to direct this episode). Tara is not in the next episode, episode seven, but she will be in eight, nine, 10, and I think 11. Granted, I think Reid will be virtually absent from episodes nine and 10 (thus keeping the team to six), but it really does seem like Tara will basically remain as a main team member, at least from what we have seen so far. Now granted I like Tara, and another cast member may leave later in the season, thus keeping the team at six. But right now, without having seen the upcoming episodes yet, it does seem like they are slipping Aisha into series regular status, without calling that.

    1. I think you missed what the reviewers were saying. The scene with Hotch set up for Tara Lewis to leave because of JJ's return, not because 'she' is the main character spoken about by MGG. But at the 'same' time it also set up for her to stay when "If what's being bandied about is correct", a main character leaves, with the conclusion of the Dirty Dozen Internet Hitman group comes to a close.

      My guess is that Lewis will be referenced as off starting up this new 'unit' discussed in this episode, and then in 7 forward She'll be brought back because she was apart of the team when the whole Dirty Dozen case unfolded in episode 1.

      BTW: Loved the fireside chat aspect of this review.

  2. I loved the tag team idea! And it provided a great review. If I may, to the continuity point you made, Stiller also got Jack's age correct. Now if they can just get the grade that he is currently in, I'll go back to corner and sit quietly.

    Yeah right; like that's happening. LOL!

    Great job Merlin and Mordred!

    1. Forgot to mention in the review the new picture of Jack in Hotch's office!

      Glad you enjoyed the review :)

  3. *Sticking my parental hat on here* When my kids went to school... IF they were born before 12/1 of the year they started school at 4 going on 5 and would have been in 5th grade at the age of 10.. IF their birthday was after 12/1 of the year then they started school at 5 going on 6 which would make them 11 and in 5th grade... Basically, my best guess is Jack is now in 5th grade... :) And that would be correct for his birth year and age... :) :)

    1. I totally agree with your math. However, the "cut off" age is set by each school district (or at least in the US state I live in). When I went to school, the cut off date was Oct. 1. When my sister (25 years younger) went to school, it had been changed to Sept. 1 and still is the cut off date here in our school district. And I believe by canon Jack's birthday is in late Sept/early Oct. So here, Jack would be one of the oldest 4th graders. I know, its crazy.

      However, I just made the point because last season in "A Place at the Table", the writer had already placed Jack in 5th grade. Which by either of our math formulas, did not compute. :D

  4. Virginia State Law : Section 22.1-1 of the Code defines a person of school age to mean a person who will have reached his fifth birthday on or before September 30 of the school year and who has not reached twenty years of age on or before August 1 of the school year.
    *This is to start 1st grade - Pre-school/Kindergarten is age 4 by September 30th.

    So Jack would have had to reach 4 by Sept 30, 2009 to start pre-school/Kindergarten, because of his birthday he would have started Kindergarten in 2010, 1st grade in 2011, 2nd grade in 2013, 3rd grade in 2014, and FOURTH grade in 2015...So while they got his 'age' right of 10yrs old(at time of filming, episode wise it's wrong)... His school grade should be 4th grade according to Virginia law. Jack should have turned 11 on October 7th. And he'll start 5th grade in Sept of 2016.

    *Phew - going back to relax now that I've dug up the research, my brain's tired*

    1. Never do math when taking pain pills for severe tooth pain.... That is the lesson of the day.

      I was incorrect in my math.. My apologies.. as of October 7th, 2005 (age taken from CM Wiki) Jack Hotchner was 10yrs old and in the Fourth Grade... :)


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