Break out the white hoods, Criminal Minds watchers, this week's theme of intolerance left me thoroughly unsettled. Of course having an episode that basically doubles as a PSA can come off as cheap if done poorly, but in this instance I think they pulled off the message well: racism and bigotry are dangerous... on multiple levels.
When "The Thin Line" began, I thought it was going to zig, and it ended up zagging. What seemed like a clear cut case of home invasions being used as a tool to cover up a different motive for murder revealed something larger: fear. And ignorance. And hate. But mostly fear.
The browning of America? I'm with you, Morgan, I scrunch my nose up and say that phrase with as much disdain as you did (even if they did come dangerously close to making you the cliched "chip on your shoulder" character this week).
I have to say, I secretly wanted Morgan to reach across the table and punch Clark Preston in the face, but I'm glad that he didn't... and that Preston got his in the end anyway. When he told Morgan that he realized that she "probably had to work extra hard to get into the Bureau" and that he "wished there were more like him" I nearly snorted out loud. I guess that was his attempt at a compliment, but I can't really tell because I don't speak Jackass fluently.
The fact that the writers used home invasion as the vehicle to uncover such a shameful motive (to "take back" our community) seemed ironic on two levels. First, because it's one of the most violating crimes you can endure; and second because someone revealing their unabashed ignorance also leaves us feeling horrified (though I'd imagine on a smaller scale).
The idea that a politician was using - brainwashing, whatever - an Aryan supporter into inciting fear and hatred for his own gain while simultaneously framing undocumented workers and gang members for crimes they didn't commit is just too many stereotypes to digest at one time. But it shows how far we haven't come, I suppose. There were lots of not-so-subtle moments in this week's episode, and also lots of this-is-too-blatant-to-be-plausible moments, too. As far as this season goes, this week's action wasn't exactly top three.
As for the early reveal of who the UnSub is, they did it again. Even with their attempt at creating intrigue as to how he knew about pain killer dosages and the real backstory into his own family's home invasion, it still felt a little forced. It wasn't terrible, don't get me wrong, but when we think back to past UnSubs like the Reaper, sometimes these little filler bad guys just seem to fall short.
On an unrelated note, did you get a load of Prentiss speaking Spanish? It wasn't the most flawless accent I've ever heard but she did a pretty damn good job! I'm sure there will be a bevy of opinions on this comment, but coming from someone who lives in NYC and has to listen to Mayor Bloomberg's pathetic assault on such a lovely language, I was just happy that she didn't massacre it in a similar fashion. In fact, I think she was pretty impressive.
And then she got shot.
I think her moment with Morgan at the end when she acknowledged that it comes with the job was a heartfelt scene, if a wee bit campy. I'll be sad to see her go (again), but if it inadvertently gives Morgan more of a storyline, I guess that's one up side to it. As it stands they've both been woefully underused, and even Reid has been sparse lately.
JJ was pretty much a ghost this week - no matter, after her JJ-centric episode last Wednesday. But we've also seen more about Rossi, Hotch, Garcia and even Strauss this season. We still need more than just some funny Reid one-liners to even things out.