Well, well, well. Hotch and Beth, siittin' in a tree...
Look who finally smiled this week - a lot! I know this episode was primarily enjoyable because of Shawn Hatosy and Charles S. Dutton's killer performances, but can we just pause for a moment and recognize the awesomeness that is Hotch finally being given some dating story love? Thank you, writers, even if it only totaled fewer than five minutes of screen time. We'll take it. And I hope this Beth ends up helping Hotch with more than just his triathlon training, if you know what I mean.
But seriously, this week on "The Bittersweet Science," Dutton did a stellar job playing an old school Philadelphia boxing trainer, as did Hatosy in convincing us he was a mentally unhinged fighter with a critically ill child. The scene where Jimmy killed Tony was so spectacularly acted by Dutton, it was almost painful to watch.
I could probably have done without the part where Jimmy has a vision of his son bleeding out the eyes (but again, that may just be my eye phobia), but other than that I felt the flashbacks/visions worked well in explaining his mental state. I was still a little bit unclear as to how Hatosy's character was driven into his blood lust - even their profile didn't fully explain it, in my opinion - but I don't think it particularly hurt the plot. I just had to rewind here and there.
Rossi was absolutely adorable in encouraging Hotch to get out into the dating world, and when Reid said, "Who's getting a bicycle?" I couldn't help but laugh. Moments like that, and Garcia making fun of the final Rocky movie, are what bring a little extra levity to frequently heavy material.
I thought the scene where Hotch convinced Jimmy to tell his son it's alright to let go was just heart breaking, and seeing Hotch cry was really powerful. We so rarely witness any cracks in his armor, and I really, really enjoyed getting more of a glimpse at his human side. Hatosy's performance in that scene was also gut wrenching. I do see what everyone means when you readers say that it's anti-climactic to know who the UnSub is the entire episode. Knowing this was the culprit from the beginning did seem to take a little something away in the suspense area, but coming off last week I suppose I can forgive them.
Prentiss was pretty much set furniture this week, and it would've been cool to see a little more of Reid, but those are minor complaints that didn't really detract from my viewer experience. I will say that the scene on the plane where Garcia puts her foot in her mouth about Hotch was hysterical. Even if you're one of those people who wants more crime talk and less banter, you have to admit that was an endearing moment.
Other than that, I'm not sure what else there is to say about this week other than any time boxing is involved you can't really go wrong. As always, jump in with your thoughts on Hotch's love interest, the guest stars or even the terminally ill child story line - whatever suits your fancy. We'll be treated to reruns over the next few weeks, but keep it right here for all things Criminal Minds after the holidays.