Saturday, October 11, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1002. Burn - Review

To begin, I would once again like to thank the wonderful CMRT staff that has asked me to be a guest reviewer for this season. I truly appreciate their kind invitation.

Off to the races…

From the top, I'm going to be honest. I had my doubts about this episode, especially the “B” storyline with Garcia. However, like always, I'm a wait, watch and then judge person so I kept that pretty much to myself. My first watch of the episode as it aired on CBS pretty much confirmed that.

To do a decent review, I need to watch the episode more than once. As I've mentioned before, I do that watching it online, wearing my headphones. I catch so much that I missed in the initial airing. And I'm now glad I did that for this episode.

The opening sequence of the death row scene was interesting until I saw the overhead camera shot of the “inmate” dressed in orange. When I noticed a certain particular part of anatomy, I knew it was a Garcia dream. The shot of Morgan in the viewing room tipped it off more.

We get so few and far between scenes of just Hotch and Garcia together, I cherish every one. And after those too few scenes (House on Fire [S4] and Compromising Positions [S6] come to mind), Hotch understands Garcia more than the average viewer is led to think. So I found the office scene very believable. And I loved the “get up, sit back down” part of that scene. It was totally Garcia; and Hotch, being the true gentleman.

The extended promo put out by CBS (don't get me going on THAT subject) pretty much spoiled the Morgan/Garcia scene. However, I agreed with Morgan. Janine Sherman Barrios wrote some great lines of tough love from Morgan that Garcia needed to hear.

I loved the Round Table briefing, starting with Rossi's snark line about a “Morgan/Garcia love child” with Morgan calling him out. “Busted,” and Rossi's impish grin. You all know I'm a fangirl of Rossi after Hotch. I love me some Rossi snark!

And then we move on to our unsub. I don't know why Janine refuses to listen to the Criminal Minds fans. We don't want to see the unsub in the opening intro. And yes, sometimes it is necessary to see to the devolving of the unsub. This episode wasn't it. The CBS press release didn't help with naming C.S. Lee as the guest star and naming him the unsub. I knew going in that the unsub was Asian and the goggles with the red lenses couldn't hide that, including the camera shot through the water.

In my first watch, and doing an online chat during the episode, I couldn't hear what was being said in the background. The headphones provide me the clue, and I knew we were going to visit Dante's Inferno. “Abandoned hope all ye who enter here.” I immediately thought of the season 3 scene from Lucky with Rossi saying that in Italian and Reid translating for the team. And by the way, was I the only one that noticed the unsub seemed to be wearing a ladies swimsuit underneath his plastic protection? I don't know if I'm right; if it was; nice touch. It further showed the angst of the unsub's feeling of being broken down and ashamed for some action in his past.

The farther backward you can look the farther forward you can see. Winston Churchill.

Act One was solid for the most part. The bus stop scene with Garcia could have totally been edited out to give us viewers more time with the team. It simply wasn't needed. I could have also done without the scene with Garcia checking into the prison; however it did fit into the further plot line.

Morgan and Reid at the ME's office provided another clue with finding the Roman numerals in the rooftops of the victim's mouths; and deducing there were two previous victims started to add to the profile. But I did notice one thing that seemed a bit odd to me. Reid picked up a second dental instrument to examine the second victim's mouth. Umm, excuse me, but the victims are dead. Why did he need a new instrument? He couldn't cross contaminant DNA or anything else. But if it was Reid being Reid, I can accept that. It just struck me as odd.

I enjoyed the team pairings. For the second week in a row, Rossi was paired with Callahan. In my world; this fits. Callahan obviously has the profiling chops; yet she is still the rookie on the team. To have her paired with “elder statesman” and BAU co-founder makes perfect sense to me. Plus I think this is a writers' room plan: put Joe with JLH to get the fans to like her more. Yet, the two found another significant clue to the unsub's M.O. And I like the quirky bits of humor they show about JLH's character.

Hotch and JJ's interview of the victim's families provided a further clue about the unsub. Even though we saw the unsub up front, Janine wrote a script of the team slowly building their profile. My kudos to Set Designer K.C. Fox; (s)he gave the SPD a totally tripped out headquarters. Significantly, it had a wooden statue in the lobby that is part of the Native American culture of the area I love to visit. That was a great touch.

The scene of Morgan and Reid discussing what was going on with Garcia, following up on their conversation on the jet, was fantastic. I really liked Janine looking back at season 1, pulling in Reid's experience in L.D.S.K. Reid was right; ultimately, it's the victims that need justice.

Through her tweets during filming, Janine sang the praises of having Karen Gaviola directing the episode. I know she's one of Janine's favorites. But I didn't understand Karen's symbolism of the two long hallway shots of the team developing the profile. I would have much rather had more camera shots of the team doing their work in the conference room. Janine should stick to Constantine Makris that directed the brilliant episode Strange Fruit from last season.

Cue up the unsub moving on to burn his next victim alive. This is a heinous death that I would rather not see (like in Devil's Night [S6]). However, I understand that serial killers can use different kill methods and this is one of them. As Garcia once said, this still gets an “ick, ick, icky” for me. And I still didn't understand the goggles with the red lenses.

Act Two started off with Garcia in her shabby hotel room. It was great touch to paint the scene of how bad it was with the stripes of (I can't come up with the proper word) showing the AC running before Garcia described the room to Morgan in her voicemail. Gaviola gets props for that little tidbit. Baylor's phone call to Garcia provided a foreshadowing of Garcia maybe getting some closure.

Examining the sixth victim, Reid put together the clue of the unsub using the circles of death from Inferno. I've never read the piece so I would've had no clue to this. I totally enjoyed the lengthy profile the team gave, explaining how they connected the poem to the unsub's profile. That was great writing on Janine's part.

That led us to the unsub targeting his next victim (which should have been the first shot of the unsub through the rear-view mirror of the vehicle) as the team worked the profile. I really like Garcia; that said I totally enjoyed a technical analyst, aka Kevin Lynch giving concise answers without all the rest of Garcia's usual additional verbiage. And welcome back to Criminal Minds Nick!

In my first watch, this is where the “A” storyline fizzled for me. I didn't get the connection of Nathan Chow and him being a campus bomber to the unsub. While Nathan was obviously a fractured kid with the scene of him walking through the dorm hallway, it made no sense to me. In Act Three though, it all come together.

Yet, before that could happen, we got the scene with Garcia finally meeting Greg Baylor face to face. It started with another long hallway camera shot that I didn't get, finally putting us in the room. This is the part of Janine's script that chased away my skepticism of the “B” plot line away. Baylor called it: Garcia was there for herself.

In between, we got the team working the profile more. God love Janine for giving me a snippet of Hotch and Dave working a profile off each other. But there is no writer currently on the Criminal Minds staff that can script a scene to match these two senior profilers working off each other like Oahn Ly did in Identity in season 4.

And then Baylor revealed his true feelings. He was alone and Garcia was the only one that reached out to him. This scene was powerful. And for me, it brought home Janine's idea for this plotline. Garcia had to make a choice. And when he finally walked out, the long hallway camera shot did make sense to me; it was perfect as Garcia kept calling his name. However, if that was Gaviola's symbolism with the earlier ones, it was too little too late.

Then we got the final connection to the unsub through Hotch profiling Nathan Chow's edition of Inferno with the team adding in. Through Reid's account, we got to see the background of Justin Leu's tortured life. Those were great vignettes that tied the unsub plotline together, along with the scene of Leu changing the grade on the student's paper. This is one of the reasons that I love Criminal Minds; how, with the team's profiling, it all comes together.

Enter Morgan and JJ. I was proudly one of the peeps that ranted against this duo taking down unsub after unsub in the later part of last season as the rest of team disappeared; particularly Hotch and Rossi. Don't get me wrong; I'm not against the pairing of them together. It fits for me most times, given that Morgan re-certified JJ when she came back to the team. I'm just against them being together so much, always being the ones that take down unsub after unsub. As a proud AARP cardholder, those of us over 50 have game. That includes Hotch (even though in Criminal Minds canon he's not there yet) and Rossi.

Yet the scene, with Leu seeing his father instead of his victim had merit. It showed me Leu's total breakdown of his psychology that drove him to kill.

This brings me to the scene with Garcia sitting in her hotel room, making one last desperate call to Morgan with a plea for help. And then we go to Baylor making the “Dead Man's Walk”. I know I've sung the praises of the wonderful music crew of the Steffan brothers and Scott Gordon in reviews before. Yet, I loved the song that was selected as Baylor made that walk and into the death chamber. I'm not into the current music scene, so a shout out to my Aussie friend Monkster for identifying the song/performers; The Gilded Hand by Radical Face. It was perfect. And so was the ending. Plus, I noticed the different lighting between that scene and Garcia's dream. Hers was dark; this one completely different.

Final analysis: and to the true heart of the episode. Janine wanted to give Kirsten Vangsness a vehicle to show her acting chops; Kirsten got it and delivered. Although I could have done with a little less of her “water works” aka tears. The last scene with Garcia and Morgan was fantastic in my book. Morgan, in his infinite wisdom, by not answering her calls, was giving her tough love. Garcia needed to make this journey alone. The final scene of Garcia, traveling in the taxi cab alone through the dark, late night streets of DC was spot on. Her solo journey was completed. And kudos to Janine for not letting Morgan be her security net or blankie. Garcia needed to make this pilgrimage alone, ultimately understanding who Greg Baylor was; and all on her own. Yet having Morgan there (and total props to whoever perfectly re-created the courtyard outside Garcia's apartment that we saw in Penelope [S3] including the number of the address on the brick front wall) was the ending that Garcia needed. She made the journey on her own. THEN she needed her friend who beforehand refused to be her crutch. Yet he held her up for her in the end.

You may have noticed me recollecting previous Criminal Minds  episodes from this episode. I don't know if that was intentional on Janine's part. Or me just being an over observant  Criminal Minds fan. Either way, I liked it.

All of you that know me; I tend to be the “happy, positive” Criminal Minds  fan. I hate to cut down my favorite show in public. On my first watch of the episode, I found the “A” storyline fragmented at best. I too felt like there was very little team, especially Callahan in this episode. As I've said; I realize that was wrong. And my misgivings of the “B” storyline proved to better than I originally thought.

Still, this wasn't Janine's best effort (even after further watches); so it was a major disappointment to me after the great season opening episode that Erica Messer wrote. I had expected better from Janine. This episode didn't give my cheerleader pom-poms a lot of props.

Rockie's final grade: B- (And being the cheerleader that I am, I tend to grade on “high” curve)


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1003. A Thousand Suns - Promo Video

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1002. Burn - Comments Thread

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

Hope you've enjoyed today's episode, and remember that next week we'll have a brand new one!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - BTS: 1009. Fate

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.

she's back! get ready.... - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
My job this week!!!! Soooooo excited!!! #werk @CrimMinds_CBS #CriminalMinds @ScottDavidCast xoxo
- Photo by Angelique Cabral 
Writer @Jsbarrois and director #RobBailey getting set to bring you #CriminalMinds EP10x09 "Fate" Day 1 of 8.
- Photo by CM_SetReport 
Shooting in office of what once was worlds largest gaming company. - Photo by John Hatchitt [1/2]
Shooting in office of what once was worlds largest gaming company. - Photo by John Hatchitt [2/2] 
East coast... Six hours. Wait, less than six hours til 2night's super fantastic Penelope-centered EP #CriminalMinds
- Photo by CM_SetReport 
Best coast... Wheels up in less than nine! Let's get #CriminalMinds trending again!! - Photo by CM_SetReport
These two @Dayne9165 & @lindadeandrea never get a break. Ok I might be
exaggerating but they do bust their ass. - Photo by John Hatchitt
Posted without comment. #CriminalMinds EP10x09 Day 2of8 #CM10
- Photo by CM_SetReport 
Working nights with @PamLeonte! @CM_SetReport @criminalmindsrt
- Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Someone is not having the best of days today, even tho it's payday?
- Photo by John Hatchitt
Camera boys found the perfect room to play in tonight between shots. - Photo by John Hatchitt
Playing dead in the Morgue burns a lot of calories. Replenishing with Toast & Jam seem's to be this corpse's choice.
- Photo by John Hatchitt 
Friday fun. #CriminalMinds is getting into the halloween spirit. EP10x09 Day 4 of 8. - Photo by CM_SetReport
TGIF. @shemarmoore - Photo by AJ Cook
Monday morning Boo-time with @rickdunkle! #CriminalMinds - Photo by Kim Harrison
@TheReal_Jlh and @JoeMantegna looking sharp on the set of #CriminalMinds EP10x09 Day 5 of 8
- Photo by CM_SetReport
Shooting! - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Our director Rob Bailey & Stunt Cord Tom Elliott trying to figure Tom's new hair color.
#wentwithchestnut - Photo by John Hatchitt
Guess who's walking in these today? I often refer to her having the Hottest Hair in Hollywood.
- Photo by John Hatchitt
The cast of #CriminalMinds posing with some fans of the show on the set of EP#10x09
Day 6 of 8 - Photo by CM_SetReport
Sunset at the stages take two - Photo by Linda De Andrea
Hairy show! - Photo by Linda De Andrea
Top of the Morning to our Sound Boom Man Todd Bassman. - Photo by John Hatchitt
A Summit Meeting in Paris between two Heads of State @LLPOS & Robb Bailey Director of Ep 1009 "Fate"
- Photo by John Hatchitt 
A fly on the wall. #criminalminds #CM10 - Photo by CM_SetReport
@JoeMantegna and Miss Fabu @pamleonte on the set of #CriminalMinds EP#10x09
Day 7 of 8. - Photo by CM_SetReport
@shemarmoore is bringing the magic on the set of #CriminalMinds #lessthantwohours #braceyourself
- Photo by CM_SetReport
On set. - Photo by Tony Burnett
By far the best day of my entire life! Thank you to everyone at Criminal Minds & Make a Wish, I'll never forget this ♥
- Photo by Kails
It was either a ceiling or a jet. #criminalminds #bestcast #onehour - Photo by CM_SetReport
East Coast, it's time! Pull up a chair for another thrilling hour of #CriminalMinds! #CM10 #SeasonX
- Photo by CM_SetReport
Rob Bailey setting the scene @CM_SetReport@Jsbarrois@johnhatchitt - Photo by Pam Leonte
Retweet! I forgot the pic! Rob & @PamLeonte kicking it on cm! @CM_SetReport
#igiveup - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois 
Prepping for what is going to be a long 11hrs on this trailer today !! Anyone got a Twister Game we can borrow?
- Photo by John Hatchitt 
Driving scenes in cm!! Episode 9! We're rolling! @CM_SetReport @criminalmindsrt
- Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Day8#CriminalMindsSeasonX driving around town - Photo by Pam Leonte
Feeling a lil sorry for our B-Cam boyz having to deal with the fumes.
#someonewillbgrouchybylunch. - Photo by John Hatchitt
Our writers seem to be in the Halloween spirit! - Photo by Joe Mantegna
@johnhatchitt taking over on day 8 @CM_SetReport @Jsbarrois - Photo by Pam Leonte
Getting ready for the first shot after lunch. - Photo by John Hatchitt
Late day! Almost a wrap! - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Night Beauty ... Last night great shoot @Jsbarrois @CM_SetReport - Photo by Pam Leonte
Almost a wrap! @johnhatchitt @CM_SetReport @criminalmindsrt
- Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
The first iPhone 6 casualty..poor tony@CM_SetReport - Photo by Pam Leonte
Ok this is the real martini! @CM_SetReport - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
In the makeup chair at Criminal minds - Photo by Paulette Ivory
Working 80s hair with the wonderful #JoeMantegna on #CriminalMinds - Photo by Paulette Ivory 
Working my character Hayden on the set of #CriminalMinds ;-) - Photo by Paulette Ivory  
On set for #CriminalMinds in an apartment in Paris! :-) So much fun - Photo by Paulette Ivory  
My episode is on tonight! Lots of pics to come. Here's a hint!! - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Don't miss tonight's special Rossi centered episode! It's a BIG one! #CriminalMinds - Photo by CM_SetReport
Get ready! It's time! @CM_SetReport @criminalmindsrt @CrimMinds_CBS @johnhatchitt @Ryks808 FATE
- Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Don't be scared! @criminalmindsfandistrict - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Our man! Can't post anymore until west coast sees it! - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Thanks for watching tonight! Love @JoeMantegna @AmberoniStevens
@CM_SetReport @CrimMinds_CBS @criminalmindsrt - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Guess who this is? @CM_SetReport @criminalmindsrt - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Thanks director Rob Bailey and the incredible Tina Holmes!
- Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Paris in the '80s... Where it all began! - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois