Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 11 - 1107. Target Rich - Review

This weeks episode, Target Rich - by long time staff writer Jim Clemente - was about Rossi's daughter coming to her father and asking for assistance with a case that the BAU hadn’t been asked in on. After all these years, we’ve seen this set up several times ("I know we weren’t asked in, but this means a lot…") so we pretty much knew that the team would get involved and help save the day, justifying Joy’s plea for help.

What stood out to me in this episode wasn’t actually the main case - it was overall case of the week and nothing overly special occurred within it (I found it to be competent and by the numbers) -but rather the unique character beats.

Normally in an episode, we get one character with a soft focus and maybe a nice conversation between them and another character. In this one, however, we got several of these time-out type beats. This was led off by the return of my favorite girl AJ Cook to the role of JJ. Always missed when she’s gone, she immediately infuses the show with a sense of vitality and the family seems to come together then. I really enjoyed her opening bit where she reunited with Rossi, Penelope and Reid and then later with Morgan and Hotch, but the really nice scene was the one where JJ and Reid walked and talked about his sick mother and she reminded him that their friendship is a two way street. This later led to a bit where Reid left to go check in on his ailing mother; I hope this pays off as this has always been an interesting character note for him.

After that, we got conversations between Rossi and his daughter and then between Morgan and Garcia. The Morgan and Garcia one was especially emotional and helped to set up what could be coming up next. Morgan and Garcia have always shared a special chemistry and it paid out here.

In my opinion, the strength of Criminal Minds has always been the characters - they are why people come back week after week. The moments where JJ reaches up and hugs the typically stoic Hotch or where you see Garcia crying in the darkness, these are the ones we talk about, and dwell on. A mark of a good show - the reason this one is still on the air - is its ability to make you feel like you could be friends with a character or at least understand them if you were drinking beer with them; after all of these years, I feel like we have earned that familiarity entirely and this episode - even with a case that was very much Criminal Minds ordinary - gave me a lot of character meat to chew on.


~~~~Sir Gareth

5 comments:

  1. I loved the review Sir Gareth and completely agree with you. Why I keep returning this show week after week is the characters. Don't get me wrong, I want to see those characters doing their job, following the premise of the show. But my ultimate buy-in is still the characters. And I'l love to run into Hotch and Rossi have a beer with them. :D

    Great job!

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  2. Respectfully I disagree. What first drew me to this show a decade ago was its USP - the complex examination of the crimes and the motivations of the criminals which led the profiling team with its diverse expertise to identify the unsubs. Of course we all have our favourite characters - I'm a Reid girl with Hotch a close second. But the characters have to be true to the original concept of the show and show continuity of development which so often is just not the case of late. This review doesn't even touch on the cases and the profiling (or lack of) which to me just exemplifies how far the show has slipped from its original and unique concept. The personal moments - Rossi and the far fetched longlost daughter storyline, the frankly embarrassingly bad attempts at romances for the characters and now this predictable excuse for Reid being absent for the next few episodes and Garcia's meltdown - all just to me show a sea change towards the kind of drama that Grey's Anatomy is where who is sleeping or falling out with whom is the primary focus. This is not what so many of us watch the show for. Week after week we say "Where's the profiling? Don't show us the crime as the unsub commits it, let us see the team work it out". We say this in vain. Sorry but even though I adore my favourite characters my main focus and interest in the show is the core concept and we see that so seldom. It has slipped so far that I actually only watch these days to see Reid and Hotch as a great case episode is so rare. So with respect Sir Gareth I do wish this review had looked at the case and examined why it was so unsuccessful. I wish it had examined why there was again no suspense, none of that breathless excitement we used to get. It is descending into soap territory and I am desolate at the loss. I cannot raise a flicker of interest for the next 3 episodes, the Dirty Dozen premise leaves me cold. But as I have done for what seems like aeons now I will brace myself and hope to be surprised when I return to watch 11.11.

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    Replies
    1. Mary, you have touched on my exact problem with this once-great show for the last several seasons. I am sticking with CM for the duration, although often I question myself about that resolution. The show has long left behind the idea of getting inside the criminal mind, and has instead taken up the idea of family banter with a soap-operaish bent taking place alongside a criminal case. Just not the show I signed on for back in Season 1. Sure, it's adequately acted, with mediocre writing, but it is not the brilliant procedural it once was, and it is certainly not befitting the veteran professionals listed in the credits. And as for the dearth of Reid, well, I'm at a loss. TPTB certainly recognized his potential in S1, but once the show was entrusted to clearly amateur showrunners, everyone suffered. We get untried writers, a showrunner with an agenda and a network that doesn't give a damn. I for one will wish CM a fond farewell when the end comes, and I hope it comes quickly, before it declines much further.

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    2. I agree, Mary. They have really ruined all the characters. Rossi is an old softy who can't do anything but be surprised by accidental children and an overabundance of women lining up to be his life partner again (that last is such a soap opera trope, Susan Lucci would find it redundant). JJ and Garcia are each caricatures of women who, if they were portrayed as they were originally, would be more compelling as well as more realistic. Morgan, with his OOC girlfriend, has ceased to exist as a character, to all intents and purposes. Hotch, except for a few good glimpses last season, has ceased to exist altogether.

      And Reid, poor baby, has had more beauty shots in the last season or two, but no character development, no advancement, no storylines, just pretty shots of his bella faccia. His absence for the majority of the next 3 episodes spells impending doom for the show.

      This episode was so pale i barely remember it.

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  3. dissapoint, I wanted to see more Hotch and Garcia, the rest dissapoint me a lot. Too much Tara and JJ

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