On a creepiness scale of 1 to 10, this week's episode was a solid 15. Or should I say 11, which is apparently the devil's number. Hey, you learn something new every day.
After viewers complaining for months about the unnecessary "filler" storylines that Criminal Minds writers have been dwelling on, this week they turned the tables. We got exactly no ancillary plot action whatsoever. So to those vocal opponents of personal story lines I ask you: was it better? Hopefully so. One thing's for certain, though: I'll probably have some scary dreams tonight.
This weeks' "Heathridge Manor" episode - directed by none other than Matthew Gray Gubler, incidentally - was one heck of an eery ride. It had a strong Silence of the Lambs feel to it, and it made me never want to see a Shakespeare play again. Maybe that's harsh, but it's true.
From a profiling standpoint, we saw a lot of action. It took the team quite a bit of time to nail down that the UnSub wasn't worshiping the devil but rather trying to fend him off. Also, Reid's revelation about the significance of the dates was a brilliant piece of the puzzle, but it didn't excuse the fact that we knew who the UnSub was from the very beginning again. As I've said before, that doesn't particularly bother me, but it irks many of you. Just trying to play devil's advocate here (pun intended).
Garcia had some straight up zingers this week. I loved her clarification that Renaissance fairs weren't just "nerds in costumes eating turkey legs," and when she compared the head of the asylum's hatred of digital records to Reid's technophobia, I couldn't help but chuckle. Everyone on the team seemed to be fairly well utilized this week, and Hotch's head to head with the UnSub was actually pretty exciting.
As for the backdrop, it doesn't get much more unsettling than an abandoned asylum for the criminally insane (or a basement dungeon). And a conveniently electricity-free storage room stocked with old hospital records. (P.S. Prentiss must have some sort of radar for finding obscure paperwork. She just materialized that file out of nowhere, damn.)
I could've done without the weird, incestuous undertones between the UnSub and his little sister, but I suppose it all served to round out the reality-detached picture of that family. Did anyone else get an Edward Cullen vibe from our UnSub? Probably because of the hair and the pale face, but his lack of pigment and her prosthetic arm just gave me the heebie jeebies (and no, that's not a shot at people with missing limbs, calm down).
Ending the episode off with her own delusions of the devil taking shape was a great way to leave the audience feeling off balance. I'm glad this episode wasn't a two-parter because, frankly, I'd be freaked out to have them elaborate further.
Next week we leave the occult, nicotine poisoning and Renaissance-era themes behind us, and I, for one, will not complain. What did you think of Reid's directorial masterpiece? Were you into the off color themes? Even though it creeped me out, it also fully entertained me. The floor is yours, TV Fanatics, have at it.