I think it's safe to say I'm never going to Kansas after this week's Criminal Minds.
Everything was bigger on "There's No Place Like Home." More destruction, more special effects and more creepiness... or maybe it just seemed that way from all of the storms and lightning. Is it me or do well-timed cracks of thunder on a show about murder make you jump off your couch a bit?
This week found the team traveling to Tornado Alley to investigate the murders of young transient men in the aftermath of some very angry storms. Their bodies were mutilated and damaged extensively, but was it from gale force winds? Not even. It took the team no time at all to rule that out. Mother Nature really doesn't appreciate being blamed for stuff like this, by the way.
Our UnSub was a special breed of eerie this time around, as the gore was in full effect. It really didn't bother me, though, not nearly as much as seeing the Medical Examiner eat his sandwich surrounded by severed corpses. I know it's your day job, but really dude? Who has an appetite after that? I'm liking the trend of the team working more closely with the coroner lately. It gives us more of an opportunity to see their minds at work. Or, really, Reid's mind at work. I swear without him they wouldn't solve half of their cases. The man is a walking encyclopedia.
Reid's uncanny knowledge of storm facts was an invaluable tool, as were Garcia's research skills, thanks to her "binary machines that don't say gross things." After a lull last week, she was on fire with the one-liners this time. Her "jazz hands at the ready" was classic Garcia, as was the disclaimer that folks shouldn't let her PG initials be misleading. They really do write her dialogue well. At least Morgan has started warning Garcia when she's on speaker, even though that's half the fun.
JJ's insight was a solid bit of collaborating when she came up with the notion that the UnSub was trying to rebuild a loved one. The team seemed to mesh well and helped piece together - no pun intended - the mystery of Travis and his deceased brother Tucker. Apart from the fact that Rossi and Hotch were pretty sparse, the team was on point this time. Losing their Internet connection and needing Garcia to lead them into the storm was a nice touch, too.
As for JJ's highly anticipated personal life storyline, I was kind of underwhelmed. It was nice to see some of Will and Henry, poor little man on the mend, but for some reason I thought her marital strife would be more severe. Not that I'd wish that on anyone! We knew that her transition into profiler wouldn't be easy on her family, but that plot seemed a little skimmed over. Anyone disagree?
Prentiss, Morgan and Reid may or may not get much personal story screen time, depending on what direction the writers choose to go in the remaining episodes. We already know Hotch is getting a brief love interest, but it would be nice if they could delve a little further into how Prentiss is holding up post-resurrection, too. And a little more of Reid's mom and Morgan's - whatever, family, love interest, something - to break it up a bit. Not all of you like having anything other than profiling featured on this show, but like it or not they're going to veer off course from time to time. It's here to stay.
Overall, I thought this was a suspenseful episode. I mean, it ended with the team narrowly escaping a tornado's wrath and rushing into a shelter at the last second. What's more suspenseful than high winds and flying UnSubs? That's right, nothing.