Friday, November 14, 2008

Criminal Minds - Recap & Review - Memoriam

Criminal Minds

Original Air Date: November 12th, 2008

JD - TwoCents Reviewer

What I learned from this week's episode of Criminal Minds: Spencer Reid is an angry, vindictive young man. Okay, that might be just a slight exaggeration. Regardless, a lot of fans have been wanting to see Reid reunited with his father (played by Taylor Nichols) since Mandy Patinkin's abrupt departure from the show after season two, which rehashed all of Reid's 'daddy issues', and those fans finally got their day. Unfortunately for them, they didn't exactly get the 'time heals all wounds' vibe they were probably hoping for, but that's life... Or at least that's life being relatively realistically played out on television.

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  1. What I learned from this week's episode of Criminal Minds: Spencer Reid is an angry, vindictive young man. Okay, that might be just a slight exaggeration. Regardless, a lot of fans have been wanting to see Reid reunited with his father (played by Taylor Nichols) since Mandy Patinkin's abrupt departure from the show after season two, which rehashed all of Reid's 'daddy issues', and those fans finally got their day. Unfortunately for them, they didn't exactly get the 'time heals all wounds' vibe they were probably hoping for, but that's life... Or at least that's life being relatively realistically played out on television.

    As this episode opens, the team is assembling before they fly back to Quantico. Hotch gave them all an extra day in Vegas at Reid's request, and Prentiss, for one, enjoyed it to the fullest. And is paying for it dearly.

    Reid shows up late and tells them all he wants to stay a few days to spend more time with his mother. Reid really should know by now that he can't lie to his co-workers--between his freak out in the last episode, and Reid's inability to act, it's no surprise that when Reid gets back to his hotel room later that day, Rossi and Morgan have broken into it with intent to stick around whether Reid likes it or not.

    At least the wait for Reid to get back to his hotel room gave Rossi and Morgan a chance to catch up on their soaps, though. The Young and the Restless, to be exact. It's only a shame that handsome Malcolm Winters isn't still on the show, though I hear the guy who played him went on to better things.

    Between shrugging off the flight home and interrupting Rossi and Morgan's veg session, Reid has gone to the Vegas PD and picked up all the files on the murder of Riley Jenkins, the boy Reid was dreaming about in The Instincts. After last week's cliffhanger ending where Reid sees his father standing over Riley in his dream, Reid really does think his father killed Riley Jenkins. You would think for a man with three Ph.D.s, he would realize that dreams almost never show us reality in an accurate fashion--if I dreamed I was Boris Karloff, I wouldn't wake up and decide to make neck bolts my newest fashion statement--but that doesn't seem to be the case.

    After making certain Reid really wants to pursue this, Rossi, Morgan, and Reid sit down to go over the details of the case. Riley was six when he was killed. His father was late to pick him up from a Little League game, and Riley walked home by himself. When his mother arrived home, Riley was dead in their basement. He'd been sexually assaulted, his mouth taped shut, and stabbed nine times. The killer was probably a white male, around the age of Reid's dad, and likely lived in the neighborhood. Reid's family lived less than a half a mile from the Jenkins.

    Reid goes back to his mother and asks about his dad. He can't seem to remember much of anything about him, not whether he liked to be around kids, or even the fact that he used to coach the Little League team Reid was on, which is coincidentally the same team Riley Jenkins played on. I'm going to pause for a moment to let you just picture geeky, awkward Spencer Reid trying to hit a Tee Ball more than a foot's distance, and then ask... does anyone else smell a red herring? William Reid might as well have a bull's eye painted on his forehead and a big neon 'suspect me!' sign floating over his head.

    Of course, it doesn't help that Reid is still angry at his father after all these years, and rightfully so, and is determined to pin this murder on his dad, even after someone shoves a file under his door pointing to a man that fits the profile much more accurately. In fact, Reid is determined to nail his father even after Garcia does some digging and finds absolutely no evidence of anything notable in William Reid's life, except that he seems to have collected every scrap of information about Reid's accomplishments that he could get a hold of over the years. I almost felt a little sorry for William. Almost. Except that I completely didn't.

    Meanwhile, back at the BAU, Agent Todd (Meta Golding) is shadowing JJ in preparation for JJ to go on maternity leave. I particularly liked the scene in which JJ explains how she picks the cases: go with what your gut tells you. After as little training as Agent Todd is getting, considering JJ's baby is coming sooner rather than later, Todd might as well put the case files all up on a board and throw darts at them. And we already know that no one has JJ's prowess at darts beat. Still, I like Agent Todd already, so I'm looking forward to what she will bring to the team.

    I was a big fan of the team dynamic in this case. I loved that everyone knew what Reid was doing and was there for him. It was very reminiscent of last season's Damaged, when the team (minus Reid and Hotch) went to Indianapolis to help Rossi solve a case that had been haunting him for years. Given that comparison, I was exceptionally pleased that Rossi was one of the team members that stayed behind in Vegas. The man becomes more and more a team player with every case!

    This was an interesting episode, with an interesting resolution, and a lot of great glimpses into Reid's past. The theme of maternal instincts did come back into play as I suspected, although in a much more understated way than The Instincts. I really enjoyed the case, on whole, and it had a lot of little twists that made it fun to watch unfold. They tried to right a lot of William Reid's wrongs, and, well, I'm not entirely sure it was successful... of course it's more than a little possible, as I take my show way too seriously sometimes, that I was just as angry at William Reid to begin with as Spencer was.

    I was wary about this episode last week, and I'm still not entirely sure how to feel about it. I am relieved by the resolution, even if I'm not sure I like it yet. I have a feeling it's going to take a little more digestion to really process it all.

    So what did you guys think? Love it? Hate it? Not sure? Give me your two cents!

  2. I liked that they didn't try to tie a nice bow on Spencer's relationship with his dad. They left the episode with him understanding more about his parents, that they do truly care for him & maybe even a bit more about how his mom went over the edge. I still don't like that his dad walked away & left Spencer to deal with her alone ~ but I'm bitter like that!

    I had to laugh at the guys watching Y&R ~ that was a nice Hi! to the Y&R fans.

    Rossi is really growing on me. I like that he's growing into the group more this season.

    Finally! An explanation on how JJ does her job ... when she's in the office to have time for it. That has to be a rough position, to know that your decision will be the key on whether someone gets the team's help ... that has to be hard to walk away from at night.

    I loved Spencer with the baby at the end though! (Maybe it was just preggy hormones!) But him telling the baby that Yale was his safety school was hilarious!

  3. I enjoyed this, although Reid isn't my favourite character so I never reached the levels of enthusiasm I would if it was one of the others. Still, they wrapped things up from The Instincts in a realistic way, didn't sugar coat the ending.

    I do wonder though - it's clearly shown in this episode and in an earlier episode, that Reid's parents argued a lot before they split, so was the murder really the only reason he left? I don't think so. Seems there was underlying strife before that happened and it was the last straw. That makes more sense to me.

    Did love the end scene though, with AJ asking Spencer to be her son's godfather. Cute :) And the general team work this episode was fantastic - I cheered when Reid walked into his hotel room to find Morgan and Rossi. :)

  4. Slice of Paradise -

    I think they were trying to make William more sympathetic, but to me, nothing will make a man who left a ten year old boy with a very ill mother and then never spoke to him again more sympathetic. It was interesting the way that he'd kept tabs on Reid, but like Reid said, googling him really couldn't make up for anything. I very much agree that I was pleased they didn't try to make the ending between them neat and tidy. Though I'm very much bitter on Reid's behalf, too. It's funny sometimes how completely loyal you can feel to completely fictional people, isn't it?

    And yes, a "Hi!" to the Y&R fans as well as the Shemar Moore fans. They HAD to have done that on purpose.

    I think Damaged in last season was really the turn around point for Rossi, which is why it made me SO happy to see him doing for Spencer in this episode what the the team did for him in that episode. I went from really disliking him his first few episodes, to thinking he adds an almost irreplaceable character to the team now.

    And Yale! That was very cute. And, hey, now we know Reid went to CalTech! Another bonus Reid tidbit! :)

  5. Mitchy --

    Oh, I totally agree about there being much more to the divorce than this. Riley was murdered when Spencer was four, but his parents didn't split until Spencer was ten. If something like being partially responsible for murder--though I really feel Diana was simply taken advantage of and had no idea what would happen--was going to tear a marriage apart, it should have torn it apart faster than six years, shouldn't it!? It has been implied they fought a lot, and in this episode it also seemed like they even had very different ideas of how to raise a boy like Spencer, with William trying to get him into normal activities, while Diana insisted Spencer simply wasn't normal. Add to that the fact that Diana seemed to have not been taking very good care of herself around the time the marriage split, judging by what we saw in Revelations, and you have a very volatile situation. The Riley thing couldn't have helped with the collapse of the relationship, but I'm completely with you on not thinking it was the only reason they split.

    I cheered when Reid walked into his hotel room to find Morgan and Rossi.

    I was absolutely grinning from ear to ear. :)

  6. I loved this episode. Like everyone else, I'm glad the William Reid issue wasn't wrapped in a neat box. It gives them potential to bring him into future storylines if Spencer DOES decide to pursue a relationship with his father, but I also think that we've seen how angry Spencer is. Even if William is more developed, anger like that isn't going to go away overnight, and his disappearing that way isn't just an, "Oh, you made a mistake, it's okay, no harm done." Sort of thing.

    Though I wasn't as fond of the godfather thing as others...I think it would have been more fun if Henry had started screaming the minute Reid touched him, and JJ had gone, "Oops, I forgot about the Reid Effect. Hotch'll have to be the godfather." *G*

  7. Personally, I sort of hope William Reid stays out of the picture. I just can't see it working, or the possibility that I will ever want it to. Sadly, though, I'm not sure my opinion really holds much weight.

    I liked the last scene itself for what we learned about Reid, for the funny little bit about Yale. Though I did think the whole bit about Reid being the godfather was a bit... er, contrived? And it seemed like more of a way to tie the end up with a 'look at Reid have a normal sort of surrogate family' vibe. Though after the baby geniuses comment a few episodes ago, I worry about what they're trying to do here. For that matter, I keep getting the feeling they're pushing Prentiss' maternal buttons too, but that's completely off topic. :)

    Oops, I forgot about the Reid Effect

    Really! I know it was a lot of episodes ago, but it was the pilot, people! :)

  8. The whole godfather thing was a cute way to end the episode but definitely contrived. Unless JJ was experiencing some post-partum psychosis. Why would you want Reid in a fatherly position, honestly? I would think Hotch would be better. Though I guess JJ has a bit of a soft spot for Reid. But who doesn't? Do you think she picked a godmother too?

    The Yale line was cute, and the Google bit.

    I like how it brought up subconscious reasons for Reid's interest in murder and catching killers.

    I was a little confused about why the Reids were so effected by these murders. Mama Reid basically figured out who killed Riley (now we know where Reid gets his profiling talent from!) and told Riley's dad. He killed the guy and Mama saw him dead and slipped around on his blood. Mama and Papa were concerned she could get in trouble (although, I don't think she would have) so they burned her clothes. So, surely Mama felt guilt over the guy getting killed, but he WAS a murderer after all. I'm a little unclear: did Mama have suspicions about the murderer before Riley was killed? She protected Spencer from him, right? So maybe she felt a type of survivor's guilt that her child is alive but someone else's is dead. And could she have said something before Riley's murder to prevent it? I guess they didn't want to tell Spence what all happened so they pretended like Riley didn't even exist, and Mama started believing it too. So I can see that overall this experience was a lot of stress on Mama and probably furthered her mental instability, but they made it out like she really had something to do with the murderer's murder.... Maybe I'm not seeing something here?

  9. Unless JJ was experiencing some post-partum psychosis.

    Ahaha! Yes! Suddenly she's calling him Spence again too, which she hasn't done since early in season one. It was, frankly, weird, and I agree wholeheartedly about Hotch being a better choice. Not to mention he probably hardly ever sees his son, poor man; it would have been good for him.

    Do you think she picked a godmother too?

    I bet they probably did, but it seems only fair that they would have picked one from JJ's life and one from Will's. I was honestly really surprised they didn't name the kid William, actually, considering it was a family name and Will seemed to have had a great deal of respect for his father.

    I think it's more a guilt over her pointing him to the guy killed him, so she was sort of "responsible" for a murder, even if she didn't kill him and the guy was a murderous pedophile creep. Even if it was a "public service murder", that sort of secret could put a strain on any relationship. I guess I can see the reasoning, but I still just feel sorry for Diana more than anything.

  10. Re: Prentiss' maternal buttons, we at least have a history of that. She was wanting to take that orphan home with her in "Children of the Dark", and then we had that bond with Detective Cooper, so we can see that Emily is wanting a family of her own. Not to mention the conversation between Emily, JJ, and Agent Todd. :)

  11. Oh yeah, and Garcia is the godmother. JJ said something about "if anything happens to us, you and Garcia have to make sure he gets into Yale."

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  13. Yes! That was exactly what I was talking about with Prentiss!

    "if anything happens to us, you and Garcia have to make sure he gets into Yale."

    Did she? Clearly this calls for a re-watch. So it is at least implied that it was Garcia, then. Oh, that's sort of fantastically funny, if that's what JJ meant:

    Dear Will,

    Not only did JJ veto passing on your family name, but you also have no say in naming Godparents, either. (Also, we think you quit your job in Lo-fi to be with JJ, but the writers never wrapped up that plot thread, so who knows, really?) Sorry, pal, you appear to be out of luck. You also might--might--be just slightly whipped.

    The Fans


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