Over the past year or so I have become addicted to Criminal Minds. In my opinion, it is easily the best crime drama on TV. I watched season six, and then went online and endured certain websites time limits in order to catch up on the previous five seasons. That said, I was on pins and needles awaiting the start of season seven, and was not disappointed...until episode two of said season.
While episode one of season seven was everything I expected and then some, episode two failed to suck me in to the world of criminal profiling as per usual. I mean seriously, when 9:00 on Wednesday night comes around, I do not want to be disturbed except during commercial breaks. During this episode (entitled "Proof") however, I was tempted to grab my phone and play a few rounds of Angry Birds.
After reading and watching several interviews with cast members and writers, I learned that there will be more focus on the personal lives of the team. While I was drawn to the characters from the very first episode I watched (not to mention I was a fan of Shemar Moore when he was on The Young and the Restless), Criminal Minds over all does well with keeping the characters likable while at the same time giving the viewer to identify with minus some basic information. With this in mind, and the lackluster writing of this particular episode, I hope this new direction doesn't condemn the show for the future. I remember reading somewhere that another popular series did this, and the fans hated the new direction. I will admit though, I do look forward to seeing the interaction between Rossi (Joe Mantegna - who also voices Fat Tony on The Simpsons) and his first wife, as well as seeing more of JJ (A.J. Cook) and her boyfriend/father of her child, who is a New Orleans detective, I'm still a little bit afraid the dark, sadistic nature of the series as a whole will suffer. I hope that I'm wrong and that "Proof" is just a fluke. Obviously, long running series such as this can't hit the mark every week, but still, I am a little worried.
Ok so, onto the episode itself. The premise is simple: blond haired women with similar appearances start showing up murdered in a rural area of Oklahoma. When found, they've been dressed in 80s style clothing, have been sexually assaulted, and even more disturbing, have had at least one of their five senses taken away with the use of a sulfuric acid solution. Hotch and the rest of the team travel to Oklahoma to track down the unsub (unidentified subject) responsible.
While the majority of Criminal Minds episodes are a 42 minute psychological thrill ride, "Proof" just wasn't. As soon as the unsub started having flashbacks I knew exactly what was going on. In fact, I don't know why it took the entire seven member team to figure this one out. Conversely, I have always enjoyed hearing Hotch and the others explain things, but there just wasn't much to this creepy psycho at all. Normally the motives and stressors are complex, and often times incomprehensible to any normal person, but unfortunately this one was so straight forward that I was almost bored. I didn't even care about the victims like I usually do. Maybe because the fact the guy was completely unhinged should have been obvious to those closest to him, his brother and the brother's wife. Although I will confess, maybe it's because this unsub reminded me of someone I used to know in high school. And so when the case ended, it did just that, ended, and in a rather anti climactic manner. Now, I do appreciate the humorous exchanges between our favorite profilers at the beginning and end of the episode (Hotch thinking that a cooking lesson at Rossi's house might alleviate some of the resentment harbored by some of the team after learning that Prentiss's death was a hoax). In fact, I still find it odd that before Criminal Minds, Thomas Gibson was best known as Greg on the sit com Dharma and Greg.
Like I said, I hope this was a rare miss for the show. I'd hate to see the cases suffer in the interest of character development. Sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing.
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