Thursday, March 20, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - BTS: 922. Fatal

This post may contain spoilers, probably small, but they may be big too; proceed with caution!
This post will be updated when more images of our dear gang are shared from the set.

When you get a "booked it" from Scott David it changes your LIFE!!! And, makes my Mom super proud at the same! She loves #CRIMMINALMINDS!! This one is for you Mom. Let the filming begin. #workingactor #tvseries #CBS #dramaseries - Photo by Tisha French
Scouting Long Beach, Ca - Photo by Harry Bring
Location scouting for #CriminalMinds Ep 922... Boatyard warehouse. #TimeToGetBackOnTrack
- Photo by Larry Teng
Treating tech scout crew to ice cream. My favorite thing to do. - Photo by Harry Bring
#CriminalMinds Ep 922 read thru! - Photo by Larry Teng
My assigned spot for Criminal Minds table read today! #criminalminds #tableread - Photo by Tristin Rupp
Day-1 & first shot of Ep 922 "Fatal". Directed by @larryteng and shot by @SpiresDarcy. - Photo by John Hatchitt
A photo from the read thru yesterday, Ep 922 "Fatal" written by Bruce Zimmerman.
#criminalminds #bigmoney - Photo by CM_SetReport
My dream car works in a scene today. #Impala #criminalminds - Photo by Larry Teng
Here we are on day #1 #CriminalMinds. BJ and her #wardrobe team have taken such good care of me! THX you ladies. ALL my clothing changes are PERFECT. - Photo by Tisha French
Setting up for the night work - Photo by Linda De Andrea
Working high up - Photo by Linda De Andrea
From 922 Thursday nights filming. - Photo by Harry Bring
Check out this bitchin lil Man Cave in the backyard of this house.
- Photo by John Hatchitt
Day 2 #CriminalMinds. Such a treat to work with Brian Baumgartner from #TheOffice. Such a really nice person. #onset #setlife #workingactor - Photo by Tisha French
Came up with a great way for @larryteng to find a Start-Stop mark for track.
Water bottle caps with holes drilled. - Photo by John Hatchitt
Might get a few drops of rain today. We need another drenching. Not going to get it from this front though.
- Photo by Harry Bring 
Day 3 #CriminalMinds. Hello #MondayMorning!!! This day is already fantastic already in full motion at 6:30am. It's not a job. It's a lifestyle!! #onset #setlife #workingactor - Photo by Tisha French
The future's so bright he's gotta wear shades! - Photo by Vanessa Livingston
#CriminalMinds has lifted my soul higher. With deep thanks to Exec Producer Bruce Zimmerman & series cast Joe Mantega - Photo by Tisha French
There are people that have gone above & beyond to say "Yes" to my dreams! #CriminalMinds Director Larry Teng! THX U!! - Photo by Tisha French
Hotch. Spotting land. #CriminalMinds #922 - Photo by Larry Teng
The many faces of Matthew Gray Gubler. Horrific, sly, skeptical, and frog. #criminalminds - Photo by Larry Teng
Final draw for @larryteng March Madness Game for $1000.
The final four are set to draw before wrap today. - Photo by John Hatchitt
#Itsawrap 4 #agreatepisode of @CrimMinds_CBS #CriminalMinds w/ @tristinrupp #ThomasGibson & @JoeMantegna! #Somuchfun - Photo by Layla Crawford
Day-8 with @larryteng always sucks, hate seeing him leave.
Gonna miss u buddy and see u soon. - Photo by John Hatchitt

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - 919. The Edge of Winter - Comments Thread

This thread is open for you all to post comments and talk about tonight's new CRIMINAL MINDS episode, titled 'The Edge of Winter' and written by Janine Sherman Barrois.

Hope you've enjoyed today's episode, and remember that next week we'll have to be happy with a rerun!

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - 919. The Edge of Winter - Sneak Peek

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - 922. Fatal - Casting News

Brian Baumgartner (Kevin at The Office) will guest-star on episode 922. Fatal, of the recently renewed Criminal Minds.


Monday, March 17, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - 918. Rabid - Review

I sat down to watch this episode and was really hoping after last week's episode I was going to be wowed. And the truth is the opening seen with the single woman struggling with her grocery bags getting on the bus provided sufficient creepy to get me excited.

Watching the other riders as she walked to her seat had me trying to guess 'which' one was the unsub. When she sat down and we see the geeky young man staring at her I was so sure that “Ahhh HA” he's the unsub! We saw how each of other riders fade out as they got off at their stops and yet Mr. Geeky was still on the bus. I just knew he was the unsub. Boy was I wrong.

Next we see the young woman walking, apparently to her home, spooky nighttime setting and Bus Dude following her. I was thinking this is it, the unsub going to snatch her. Wrong again, we find out that guy from bus (Russell) was only trying to do something nice for her and return a bag she dropped. Chivalry isn't dead after all.

As my heart and head begin to calm down I must admit I thought 'whoa, I missed something.' Now we have geeky guy calling his mother. Ok, Mama's Boy I get it. Issues from that, ok sounds like typical makings of an unsub, as we had seen the team explain back in 'Profiling 101'.

But then, another misdirection, dog barking dark creepy alleyway, hooded creepy guy and “Mr. Nice Guy stopping.” This is it I think, unsub… And Yes, I'm right… Mr. Nice Guy is snatched.

We are then greeted by our not so athletically active Tech Analyst and our Pretty Boy (OHH the horror of the 80s running shorts) running their fannies off on a track. Huffing and puffing their way into a closer shot.

I have to admit, it was a cute scene. Garcia was dead on with her description of how enthusiastic Morgan is about training, and with her goofy 'training' get up, and Reid apparently in desperate need of an oxygen tank, with his retro shop 80s shorts. You can tell these two do NOT want to be doing this, and I admit I felt bad for them. Dang FBI regulations.

But wait, saved by the ringtone. Garcia's phone goes off and she lights up when she sees the text message from Hotch (ohh, he's still the boss, insert sarcasm) telling her she needs to come for a case.

Garcia's happy, and Reid, awe well hell his line. “I'm just going to have a heart attack really quick” was priceless.

Cut to BAU, poor Garcia and the shoes, you know she's hurting. Yet here comes her nemesis aka: Derek Morgan, all sympathetic yet, sly. He's up to something? And to prove that we then have Derek… Sniffing Garcia for Ben Gay!

The round-table room was really interesting and the input from everyone was good. Not too over the top by any one team member.

We next see Russell, who I'm kind of rooting for to make it through this mess, being hosed down in a cage while a dog barks incessantly in the background… I liked how we saw most of what was happening through the lens of the camera the unsub placed on a stool to record what's happening.

Being caged like an animal is rather unpleasant, but happy to see unsub is 'hidden' from our view. Poor Russell to be caged and alone like that… treated like a dog…

Reid gets the beginning quote and we see the team on the plane. Garcia is on her video link telling team about what she found out about 3 previous victims. The discussion ensues and it's not bad. Seems the whole team is putting in their input. Hotch, rightfully, gives the orders of where each team member is supposed to go when they land.

So we have Morgan and JJ at the crime scene… again.

Rossi and Reid at ME's… again.

Hotch and Blake to the police department… again.

While I wished it was anyone other than JJ/Morgan at the crime scene (dump site) again, their interaction was good and spot on for profiling deductions regarding what they were seeing at the scene.

Rossi and Reid at the ME's office has Rossi asking questions about the condition of the bodies, while Reid speed reads through the ME's reports. Apparently the ME has never seen someone read 20,000 words per minute because his line about “Boy, you read fast” and Reid's reaction to that is cute. Reid has some ideas about what the bite marks are about and he's doing well conveying his thoughts to Rossi, and finally agrees with Rossi that based on what they know there is probably already another victim. *I like Rossi and Reid together*

Cut to Russell hearing a woman call out “hello” and for help. He can't help her but asks her a question about how long she's been there. The silence lasts for a few pregnant pauses of time as we see Russell trapped in his cage, we then hear a deranged sounding voice screaming about how she's going to eat him and eat his face off. We also see the unsub going to another cage and dragging someone (apparently the woman) from the cage. Russell's fear is quite evident, and by this time my heart is begging that the writers save him from whatever nasty is waiting him. The creepy unsub bringing poor Russell food like a dog and telling him he'll need his strength does nothing to allay my fear for Russell's future.

I will say, I was happy to see that the unsub while 'present' was hidden from our view by the creepy hockey mask. Kept us guessing, yet added to the 'creep' factor.

Meeting back at police station poor Reid is stretching his non genius muscles and Morgan is showing concern for him. Reid trying to hide his 'discomfort' with the comment “I'm just stretching because it helps me keep my brain limber” was so 'kitsch' it was funny. The profiling between Hotch, Reid, Morgan, and JJ, with Reid explaining his geographical profile was good, they went back and forth and Reid was 'fast' talking his theories like Reid of old.

Russell pleading for his mom as he's being dragged by his bindings is sad. Having the woman coming at him with her mouth foaming is creepy, and so sad…

That the unsub is videotaping everything also lends to the 'horror' of what's happening.

Garcia's computer skills tracking dot to dot, to find the unsub, and the reason for why he did this was predictable but yet classic Garcia… And we now see Rossi, Reid and Morgan listening to her dissertation about the previous victims. Reid's look of clarity when Garcia mentions that one victim worked in animal control is telling about where his thinking is going, and I liked it. Morgan having to slow down Reid's rambling as he explains what he's thinking is a good addition, as that has happened before with all the team members. Reid just talks too dang fast for most people.

Rossi's comment about Rabies is funny. I know, I know, Rabies is nothing to laugh about but hey, it's Rossi, and Joe delivers the lines just so 'Rossi like'. And Reid's face when he says “Yikes!” is cute.

As is common the whole team is present presenting some aspects of their profile. And in truth, so far so good on the team dynamics.

The director did a nice job overlaying scenes of the tied down rabid woman which only heightens the severity of what is happening and what the team is describing. The actress played the part well and I give her kudos for that. Seeing the 'normal' picture of the woman now so tortured by the Rabies disease and seeing she's a wife and mother is sad. Russell again begging for his mom, just too even talk to her, is heartbreaking.

The team working together trying to deduce what is going on is good, Reid is spot on in his explanations and everyone in the room gives some input. Reid's description of a rabies death has me again worrying for poor Russell, and seeing the woman terrified of the water only made me realize that she probably wasn't going to make it out of this alive.

The progression video on the unsub's computer is actually a heartbreaking way to show the viewers what Reid just explained.

Garcia from her 'lair' is classic Garcia and the information that she dug up was helping Reid, Morgan and JJ hone in on who the unsub was. It felt like cases of old.

Watching the unsub video tape Russell and seeing him tied up sick pulled at my heart strings. Russell begging to talk to his mom because she's just had heart surgery only added to that.

The woman being held captive with Russell is still managing to maintain her humanity but yet her escape is scary as well… not just because she couldn't get Russell out with her but because as infected as she is, she's now a danger to the outside world.

The darkness of the setting used at David Cunningham's (Unsub) house made me feel like the team was too late, in their search for him. I would have liked it better if it wasn't Morgan and JJ with Reid doing the search. But the interactions between the three agents was done well.

Up until this point we've seen little to no Alex Blake and I had to wonder where she was. Is that a product of writers not knowing how to write for her character? My guess is yes.

As the search of the unsub's house continues in the daylight, I did like the use of Reid, finding more proof that they have the right guy. When JJ brings the tape recording of David Cunningham's little brother battling the rabies virus, and then seeing JJ's reaction to hearing it was very good. AJ Cook's facial expressions are spot on to a mother hearing a child in distress. And very 'old school' JJ. Reid's comment about euthanasia all of sudden makes sense as to why there was no death certificate for Hunter Cunningham.

I liked Russell standing up to David in the next scene, gave me hope that he might live. But also brought back the point that the woman had gotten away and was outside infected with Rabies.

And just as I had that thought we cut from unsub to sick woman in crowded coffee shop highlighting the effect that she's sick and people are in danger.

The vendor giving Rossi his coffee with extra foam right before we have Rossi and Hotch finding out about the woman in the coffee shop foaming at the mouth, makes Rossi's facial expression looking at his drink after that revelation priceless. Hotch sending Morgan, JJ and Reid after the woman because they're closer again highlights the severity of the situation.

Seeing this sick woman, who was an innocent victim, desperately seeking “where she is?” in her delusional state is poignant. By this time there is the sense that she is too far gone in the disease and will not survive. 

I cannot imagine how Morgan, or even Reid and JJ watching Morgan try to stop this poor woman from coming closer to them, felt. Having to 'shoot' her to protect himself and his teammates must have been a very hard thing to do, even though he's trained to disable someone with a gunshot. The look of horror on Reid's face, and the pained look of sympathy on JJ's face was more than words could ever do. Very good directing in this scene.

Slowly fading into Morgan and Reid around the ambulance and the team (all six of them, Blake's returned) giving Garcia information to help in her deducing where the unsub's hideout was, was a good use of the team. I liked that it was Hotch who called Garcia, and then Garcia using her computers to find out that there is an abandoned city animal shelter near where they are. What will get me by the end is that this building does not look very big in size. Yet Hotch, Rossi and Blake got lost apparently once inside.

What I didn't like was partnering Hotch, Rossi, and Blake, the older agents, and then Morgan, Reid and JJ the younger agents. Age was never an issue in Criminal Minds but apparently now it is.

We see Russell again begging to go the bathroom and the unsub compiling by giving him a bucket to use. Throughout the episode it is incredibly creepy that the unsub video tapes every facet of what's happening to his victims.

The team arrives at the abandoned animal shelter and with SWAT still a bit a ways, Hotch makes the decision to send the team in in groups. Again Morgan, Reid and JJ together while Hotch, Rossi and Blake stay together.

At first I think that it might be Hotch, Rossi and Blake who would find the unsub, but no, its Morgan, Reid and JJ again. Although seeing Russell get tased right before the team gets there, hurts, because I'm rooting for him to survive.

David using the taser on Morgan, and Morgan struggling to fight him off, is actually kind of refreshing; he's not Superman after all. Seeing Reid however with gun in hand only to have him put it away and get punched down by unsub, making it necessary to have Morgan hit the unsub with an old telephone from the desk was just silly. The unsub was armed, endangering another agent, so in my mind you just shoot him. This is not Spencer 'Eastwood' we're talking about folks. He doesn't do step on bad guys, as a brutish FBI agent, very well at all.

The scene at the hospital with Rossi and the woman's family, and then Reid explaining to Morgan and JJ, that the victim has slipped into a coma and her death shouldn't be too much longer is sad. But Russell thanking them for saving him was sweet and I just wanted to cheer for Russell making it out alive.

Now my biggest problem with the episode comes at the end. I didn't like the whole, black man with a hoodie connotation at all. Reid wearing those bad 80s running shorts again and the workout that Morgan puts them through even though he could have gotten them waived from the fitness test was unnecessary 'cuteness', but I understand where the writers are coming from, they want to appeal to the younger campier viewers too. I have to admit, Garcia and Reid conspiring to kill Morgan because they didn't have to go through all that as he admitted to getting them waived from the test already was pretty funny. Reid's line “If I could raise my arms I'd hold him down for you” was hysterical combined with the 'if looks could kill' faces on him and Garcia.

So to sum this all up.

The case was good. Unique and different. For the most part the team was excellent in their profiling with a special shout out to Spencer Reid and his marvelously intuitive mind. The guest actors and actresses were spot on with their portrayals also. The directing and editing proved on 2nd watching to be poignant and concise, leading the viewer to connect the dots as the team did.

What I didn't like about the episode, was again the overuse of JJ, even though she was toned down, the overuse of Morgan, and the disappearance of Blake for nearly the entire episode. While I wish there would have been more Hotch and Rossi, their scenes were correct to their characters.

While I found the 'fluffy' of the fitness training campy for me it is out of place in a Criminal Minds episode. But as I said earlier I understand the desire to appeal to viewers who like that sort of thing.

Overall I would give the episode a 5 out of 10.

Thank you

Sunday, March 16, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - 917. Persuasion - Review

In this episode of Criminal Minds we have dead people in Vegas, and Reid learns that his mom is doing better under some new medications.

'Persuasion' was written by Sharon Lee Watson, from whom I loved the season 9 episode 'Final Shot'. In this episode the writer went for intentionally misleading us when it came to who was the unsub. First there was the self-proclaimed 'Master of Diversion' Marvin Caul, who lived in an underground refuge for the homeless and those down on their luck. Helping him is Cesar, who is kind of the enforcer among the group, and the mysterious doctor Cesar works for. Watson tries to make us guess who the unsub is, but it never really works out because they spend way too much time on Marvin. We know, from past tendencies that the writers usually show us way too much of the unsub right from the beginning, so when we have lots of one guest character there it is a VERY good chance he/she will be the unsub.

Last, we have Finn, a young guy who seems to be a drifter, but who will turn out to be looking for his missing sister.

So, the team goes to Vegas to find out what happened to the two women found in the desert, what was weird about those deaths is that both died from drowning when the closest body of water is 60 miles away!

On the plane Reid leaves a message for his mother about meeting her and having chicken fried lobster (?). Love the close up on Reid's face as he is turning his back on the team and we can see Hotch shoot him a very impatient look.

Side note: Loved the scene with Rossi and Morgan at the dinner talking to the waitress. What I most liked about it is that the place looked real and the people there, including the waitress, really looked like everyday folks.

Reid talks to his mom's psychiatrist, who tells him she is doing much better under some new medications. Weird that Reid was surprised to know his mom had new medications. I would have thought that he would be kept apprised of any changes in his mom's medications. Even more weird is that Reid was not told that Diana went on a supervised field trip to the Grand Canyon. I have always assumed that Reid was responsible for his mother and as such made the decisions for her, after all he is her guardian, and the one who had her committed. Of course things could have changed and since things are better with Diana, maybe things like field trips do not need to be approved by Diana's legal guardian .

As far as profiling goes, this was thin, unlike 'Final Shot' which was second only to Jim Clemente's, - ex-FBI profiler, - episode 'Gabby'. The only piece of real profiling came from Morgan telling Rossi that no one goes to Vegas to be a strip miner, and Reid choosing how to interrogate Cesar and Marvin.

The mysterious doctor turns out to be Marvin, who is actually manipulating Cesar into killing for him. What doesn't work, unless I missed something, is Cesar, who is busy torturing a guy, stopping suddenly, as if he heard someone at the door, opens the door and talks with the doctor as if nothing was happening. The thing is, there is no one there, so is Cesar just insane, seeing and hearing people who tells him to kill? No, apparently Marvin had him under his control.

As I've said the profiling is barely there: the team gives the profile to the local cops, but how they got to make that profile seems coming out of thin air... a bit like when Garcia almost magically finds clues that solve the case.

Something else that got me confused was the sudden appearance of Sarah among the group of strip miners, (the people working the Las Vegas strip stealing wallets, money won at the casinos that was left unattended by tourists, etc,,,); they are con artists, and they live o  a 'fair' tax from their earnings. So why introduce the character of Sarah? She add nothing to the story except to get Finn  to confront Marvin, but Finn is there to look for his missing sister, that should be enough motivation for him

And Reid solves the case! He does thanks to the ME's report about the chemicals found in the victims, which shows that they drowned in contaminated water that you would find in storm drains.

I guess Sharon Lee Watson tried to mislead the viewers by having multiple possibilities for who the unsub was. She added even more mysteries by having Finn and Sarah joining the underground group. But all this was a bit too much. It got confusing, and I repeat, way too many characters involved; Cesar, Marvin, Finn and Sarah, it got to be a distraction. Why introduce Sarah, the reporter, in a scene and in the next one have her hunted by Cesar? What was Sarah's purpose? To be another victim? Anyone else in that group could have filled that role.

An extremely annoying habit the Criminal Minds writers have is that they write a scene where we see the full team, - which in this case included Hotch and Blake paired going to the tunnels to look for their unsub, - only to have some of them disappear, - in this case Blake loses Hotch - never be seen again until the next episode!

Again JJ and Morgan to the rescue! Doing the action! Hero! Thing! This too is getting old.

I know many are getting tired of JJ, and they have a point. Why not have Blake do the interrogation of Cesar with Rossi? Or Hotch? He had nothing meaningful to do in this episode...

Finally, JJ and Morgan were in the SUV with Hotch, which meant, they would not be the ones involved in the take down of the unsub! (Yes, in this episode Hotch had very little meaningful things to do as Thomas was busy with the post-production of his directed episode, and anyone paired with the-character-with-little-to-do gets to sit on the side lines too).

The episode gets really interesting after the team catches Cesar and Reid gets him to talk by remembering what happened in the tunnels, and then when we see what Cesar saw when he was talking to the doctor, we get to see that he was really talking to Marvin. Reid used something called Neuro Linguistic Programming to tap into Cesar's subconscious mind, which was what Reid was convinced Marvin did to control and have Cesar kill for him.

And Reid, clever Reid, got Marvin to admit the money Cesar collected as 'taxes' was for him, and that he was the doctor, and yes, he did kill Finn's sister Carrie, and Reid did it by appealing to Marvin's ego. I Love when Reid gets to show how clever and intelligent he is. How I miss Spencer Reid this season!

Funny line:
                                               Garcia: 'Hello, American heroes!'

Funny scene: Reid and Rossi walking into one of the tunnels where there is lots of water coming out of a rain collector, and Rossi tells Reid to remind him to call his shoemaker... This was a nice follow up to the episode 'Solitary Man' where Rossi refuses to go down in a ditch because it would mess his nice, expensive Italian boots!

                                               Reid: 'You've got a shoemaker?!'

Reid and Rossi are always fun together!

Best lines:
                                                Reid: 'Can you imagine my mom on a mule?'
                                                JJ: 'NO'
                                                Reid: 'It is like Hotch at the beach!'

I liked the last scene, with JJ, Reid and Garcia opening the box when he sees that no, his mom didn't forget him; she wrote him lots of postcards and she did send him 'The Grand Canyon' in the form of a small facsimile.

'Persuasion' was an OK episode that I enjoyed mostly because of Spencer Reid; Matthew Gray Gubler did a great job. I enjoyed the episode better on a second viewing though, but found it would have benefited from having less characters and having spent more time with the team. All in all I think is an eit was an enjoyable filler episode.

I give this episode a 7 out a 10, and that is mostly because of Reid, who I've missed a lot this season...

... and before some of you label me a Reid fan, I am actually a diehard Hotch fan and missed him in this episode!


CRIMINAL MINDS Season 9 - 919. The Edge of Winter - CTV Promo Video