Criminal Minds

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Criminal Minds Review: Time for a Blitz Attack

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"The Pact" featured Mackenzie Phillips as Ellen Russell and Kim Wayans as Darlene Beckett, a pair of mothers whose children were victims of killers. 

Ellen's child was hit by a drunk driver and Kim's little girl was murdered by a sex fiend... actually a group of them.  The mothers were out for blood and agreed to swap vengeance in the manner of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train or the more recent Throw Momma from the Train, directed by Danny Devito.  Only one of them happened to enjoy the process a little too much, while the other could barely keep from blowing chunks after each episode of their vigilante justice.  

Two Killers Connected

This partnership, or pact, formed the theme for the episode, summed up with the BAU's profile of them when it was stated they felt the "justice system has gone wrong and it's up to them to set it right."

Overly lenient court sentences were at the core of this story and served as catalyst for the vigilante moms. At one point, Darlene tearfully shouted "my baby's life is worth more than 10 years!"  It seems many parents have often said the same in real life.  This, of course, set us up:  their outrageous vengeance - which we saw when a few of their targets were taken out for a drag - was at least marginally understandable, though we could never fully sympathize.

As the BAU sat to discuss the case, we again got to see Reid being Reid - although, frankly, I would have enjoyed seeing just a bit more of him. Still, his joyful yet gruesome description of historical acts of vigilantism was a treat to watch.

It's so hard to fathom a guy who gets so caught up in the details of those acts that he forgets entirely about his audience. A while later, you just had to grin at Blake and J.J.'s reaction to him as he quickly computed the distance and time it would take for two of the murders to take place, hundreds of miles away from each other, and finally concluding that yes, it could be done. Genii are like that. ("Genii" by the way is three syllables. Reid would be the first to agree.)

As this is my first published review of Criminal Minds, let me just state one thing at the outset, never to be mentioned again.  I love Garcia but am absolutely aghast at her computer skills.  Tippitty-tap and presto - multiple windows come up with photos and texts pulled from multiple databases and everything.  That stretches credulity to the breaking point.  Nevertheless, in the interest of proper story flow within the hour limit, we have to let it go don't we?  If the time she took was as realistic as it is in real life, most of us would change the channel out of boredom.  So, never mind.

The sweet relationship she has with Derek, who calls her "Baby Girl" all the time is endearing and compelling. I find that I always wait for that phrase in each episode. (We sure heard it last episode, when Derek objected to her abrupt manner on the phone: "Let's try this again. Ring. Ring. Looking for my baby girl.")

Tonight's episode didn't hit any of the two major story arcs introduced to us from the premiere. We didn't find out more about the mysterious photographer who seems to have taken an unhealthy interest in the BAU team. We don't know anything more about the origins of Alex Blake's career, or why it went into a temporary dive as a result of Strauss. We don't know why it took those extra years to build up enough cred to allow her into the BAU and we don't know exactly how Strauss betrayed her.

But that's okay. We have those unanswered questions to anchor us a bit.

A few final notes:

  • Mackenzie Phillips is best known for her role as Julie Cooper Horvath on One Day at a Time (her TV sister Barbara was played by Valerie Bertinelli).   She is also the daughter of John Phillips who was one of the singers in the 1960's group The Mamas and the Papas.
  • Kim Wayans is the sister of Keenan Ivory Wayans and Damon Wayans.
  • Tonight's new term: "blitz attack."

So what did you think of tonight's episode? Will the police or the BAU ever catch up with Darlene? Would there be reason to? Do you think Ellen is a psychopath? And how cool was it that Rossi decided to give up most of his vacation days to BAU staff who have spouses that are in the military?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (88 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter

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It was a great episode and both women put on a superb performance in depicting the extremes in the emotional spectrum of revenge and the aftermath of taking revenge; the psychopath emotional release of goal fulfilled and the devastation and void of tragedy that never ceases. This is why I love Criminal Minds...it dwells deep inside the human psyche and emotions.

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This was hands down one the best episodes. This was all about the reality of conscious from a female point of view. It wasn't about Reid or the new agent or Garcia. It was about fitting into one hour how psycopaths and people with a conscious who never get over a loss. Mackenzie Phillips' character new that Kim Wayans character would never kill again. That's is what I took away from it all. Now that was true compassion. That is how we need to live in this day and time.

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I love CM and have watched since Season1:Episode 1. That's why "The Pact" was such a huge disappointment. This isn't just a bad episode of CM, this is bad TV. It was hacky, obvious and stupidly direct. The team almost instantly deduces who they are dealing with and we immediately cut to the dastardly duo having an hilariously expository dialog about their crimes. This episode chugged along at a breakneck pace with very little logic and incredibly obvious plot turns. A shovel in the basement! It has UNIQUE soil on it that Reid is able to identify with a whiff!! And, of course, that soil is cataloged in some bizarrely specific database that Garcia is able to access in seconds. Surprise, surprise, a park containing that very soil is just minutes away. The next SCENE had Derek with his flashlight in the face of the dead psychopath/child killer. Rossi and Morgan didn't just drive to the right park...they drove to the exact SPOT in the right park! But the scene on the beach just capped stupidity with monumental stupidity. My TiVo has several other episodes from this season waiting for me...I'm just hoping that they are better than this horrible outing.

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This show is losing its bearings. I found this episode a mess.

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People did the same thing when the blonde girl had come on some seasons ago to replace Emily and AJ. The poor girl didn't last to another season, and it was not her fault! Fans gotta be more mature and stop being so hateful and biased when a new actor comes on board. I'm sure they hated Joe Mantegna when he replaced Mandy Patinkin, and now look how he's accepted. It takes time so stop griping already!

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I didnt like this episode at all. Usually they come up with who the killer/s might be earlier. I felt they took too long to figure out first of all that it was two persons, and I would have thought they would have visited the mother/parents of the black child much earlier in their investigations. Then, with all that blitzing, you would have thought dna from them would have been found. Personally I found the investigating poorly executed, and I also felt the women killers were over the top. I couldn't believe how easily they were getting away. And why did it take so long to investigate Nelson and his college friends? They knew he had been accused, I would have thought they would have started their investigations there. I felt this was sloppily done. I have no problem with Blake. People always hate new actors who come on board a show that's already going on. Leave her alone people. Give her time. I love Jeanne Tripplehorn esp from Big Love. Stop hating on new stars that join the show. Ppl did the same when the blonde girl had come on in some seasons ago.

Wolfshades

@Carol: yeah, I'm not all that jazzed about the new agent, either. The only thing that keeps me interested in her is her back story. Also, I'm curious about whether the friction we saw with her and Derek will show up again. Other than that, Emily was much more compelling I thought. @Lynda: wild, huh? Couldn't believe that was Mackenzie. Glad to see she's still working in the business though. Nini: rooting for the unsubs was an impulse here too. An uncomfortable one though - I mean they went just a *little* overboard though.

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I'll second that Ellen was the little boy's aunt, not mother. His mother committed suicide. I thought this was one of the better episodes, certainly better than the season premiere. It was morally ambiguous and Nelson's character was wonderfully acted. So much so I may never look at the actor the same! The police could've done a better job searching vehicles leaving the area, though, especially since they caught one woman but not the other! Regarding Blake, expecting back story in 2 episodes seems pretty impatient when other characters' back stories took a lot longer. Example, we learned the FBI recruited Garcia off a list of hackers in Season 3!

Terrie

@Michael You must not have watched because they did get one of them and the other got away..........thus opening the door for that character to return at some point....... Still a little early in my view to make an assessment of Blake, however, I do agree that SO FAR she really isn't adding anything and is not meshing well with the rest of the cast. To the one that said the mysterious photographer is the wrong person Blake arrested, maybe I missed something but I don't think Blake has been with the BAU before so why would it make sense for that person to be after anyone else but Blake? This wasn't, in my view, one of their better episodes, it was just ok. Note to TV FANATIC......Time to change the cover photo.....Paget Brewster isn't part of the cast anymore.

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Two wrong do not make a right and I hope these woman get what coming to them