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Criminal-minds

Criminal Minds Review: Father and Child Reunion

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Hotch is down for the count. Haley and the Reaper make an appearance. And a father catches his daughter's would-be rapist and fulfills every father's sincere wish, right before attempting to whisk her away from Wichita.  

What more could you want from such a brilliant episode of Criminal Minds?

Visions of the Past

"Route 66" gave us the story of a father who, after spending a number of years in prison, finally got re-acquainted with his daughter, mostly via text message. Fortunately for her, he showed up in person right as her date for the evening decided that the word "no" was unacceptable. After beating the man to within an inch of his life, he and his daughter decided to skip town and head for Mexico. 

Cue the Amber Alert system. 

Only this wasn't a case where the daughter went unwillingly: they had been talking about doing something like this for a while. At first you kind of wonder why a missing child case would come up on the BAU's radar... until learning that the father had killed a few people along the way during a robbery. 

It's hard to recall an episode where it was possible to feel any kind of empathy or sympathy for the Unsub. Granted, the man wasn't a saint, but what's a few dead people in the grand scheme of things when he has a daughter to care about, a girl he hasn't seen for so many years because of his stint in the Big House? Despite her initial bratty attitude, you could tell she had him wrapped around her little finger. Although not entirely:

Eddie: We had a deal. You wanted out of Wichita. Here we are. But you have to lose the 'tude or we're never going to make it. Angel, I swear you are going to love it down there. Ocean, breezes, sunny every day. Nowhere near Wichita. | permalink

I like how the writers gave us both sides of a coin with the similar histories between the Unsub and JJ: time spent with his father's dead body after he committed suicide clearly unhinged the Unsub to the point where he chose a life of crime. Yet JJ - in the same circumstance, having seen her sister's dead body in the bathtub after she slashed her wrists, instead turned to a life of crime-fighting. The takeaway? You can allow your circumstances to shape you, or you can use your circumstances to create your own path. 

As Haley put it: happiness is a choice. So choose.

Meanwhile, Hotch developed some internal bleeding because of an old injury suffered during an attack years ago. You may recall that back then, The Reaper stabbed him multiple times, all in non-lethal locations on his body, before dropping him off at a hospital.

This time Hotch is again taken to the hospital - with Garcia by his side - where doctors operate on him feverishly to repair the damage. During the operation Hotch dreams of being in a movie theater with Haley where they watch a silent movie about Jack, Beth and Hotch spending time together. Later, The Reaper (George Foyet) joins them. 

This foray into Hotch's psyche was trippy. At times it was easy to forget that the words of advice from Haley (you should talk about me more. You should talk more, period) came from his own subconscious. As did that marvelous car that took him to the imaginary movie theatre. If you recall, it's the same car Rossi was showing Reid at the start of the episode. In fact, in Hotch's mind, Rossi was the chauffeur.

I think the entire multi-episode story concerning The Reaper formed some of the most interesting Criminal Minds arcs, so it was a bit of a surreal pleasure to see him back again:

Foyet: I hope I didn't miss anything.
Hotch: What's he doing here?
Haley: It's okay. I invited him.
Foyet: Wowza. She is hot.
Haley: Isn't she?
Foyet: I would tear that up. Hey, I'll bet she's a real tiger in the sack, huh? Popcorn?
Hotch: No!
Foyet: Would you like some?
Haley: Ooh. Yes. Thank you. | permalink

What did you think of the episode? Do you think that, despite the continual pain of Haley's loss, even years later, that Hotch is now ready to carry on?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (139 Votes)

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

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    33 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    The storylines have been weak lately, but I'm an eternal optimist and believe the writers will rebound and give the fans what they deserve. As for Hotch, "moving on" is always a good thing, but not with that dullard, Beth. If the writers insist upon inflicting a "love interest" upon Hotch - and the Fans - at least let it be someone who is Hotch's intellectual and emotional equal - and an actress who has real on-screen chemistry with Thomas Gibson. Meredith Monroe (Haley) had it; Bellamy Young (Beth) comes up empty.

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    Great episode. Hotch's subconscious is telling him to move on personally; to let go of Haley and forget about Foyet's cruelty. I like some of the personal back stories of the characters. A lot of fans have asked for them.
    The time between when an incident happens and when the character returns to work is usually explained by the dialogue between characters. One time when Hotch was returning, Morgan and Rossi had a conversation that stated Hotch had been out for a month since the incident. Besides, this is entertainment, not real life. If it were, we would have to sit here for six months to see one case get solved, if then. Lighten up.

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    Ah I dont even read the comments here anymore.. ,,boring" ,,too much private stuff" bla bla... dont watch it then - and dont comment every week

    I loved it. Aw it was so sad Hotch looked like a sad puppy ;) Good episode!!

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    The complaints are coming because the writers of CM don’t even try to write a good story anymore. It all about gimmicks, bring old characters back like Haley, Emily and the reaper in random story lines. The writers’ focus so much on the FBI personal lives and so little on the cases, it’s becoming boring. Who carer if Hotch and Beth get together. The writers never gave Haley character any substance so why should Beth character be any different. Why is it so important for Hotch to have a girlfriend?

    Same with JJ story coming up, who carers what she was doing in her year off. Technically none of the other characters should known because they should have been working other cases across various states. If the writers themselves are stuck in the past referencing old stories, why shouldn’t fans discuss old storyline from previous seasons, especially seasons 1 -3 when the cases took priority over FBI agent’s personal lives.

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    I'm starting to wonder how much of the criticisms are legimate, and how much are just bitter fans trying to justify why new episodes are automatically inferior to earlier ones, because apparently they always are.

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    Geez, where'd all this hate come from? I admit the dream sequence didn't really make sense (then again, since when do dreams make sense in the real world?) but since when was Hotch a bad character? OK, the aftermath of Haley's death was rushed. But how much do you want to bet that if it was handled in more episodes, people would start complaining about how Haley is still ruining the show after her death?

    Lately this message board is consisting of nothing but complaints about this series, all about how this season sucks when compared to previous seasons, even though apparently the previous seasons were bad too with Hotch and Haley and JJ and Prentiss and on and on. After the huge stink with Seaver and everybody begging for JJ and Prentiss to come back, the season seven reviews (the comments at least) were complaining about their acting and characters. Then Prentiss gets a good sendoff and a decent enough replacement, and everybody wants her back. Honestly, I'm starting to wonder how much is legitimate problems with the show and how much is just fans trying to justify when newer episodes are automatically inferior to earlier episodes, because apparently they ALWAYS are.

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    Talking about couples that kill there was an episode on where a man sets his wife up to get killed and then kills the person he paid to do it. May be this could be an episode criminal minds have copied. Let's face it haley and foyet both died in weird circumstances. Hotch story was never plausible. Having the address of your ex partner under her maiden name was never normal. He meet haley at high school, they must have gone to college together and he has the address of the house they brought together in a address book under her maiden name for foyer to find. His story never really made sense. This episode would have been better if haley and foyet questioned him on the sequence of events leading up to their death rather than hplay his matchmaker.

    This would definitely have made his dull character interesting

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    @ pen
    Two words continuity and consistency.

    Something that all good writers should invest in, and clearly something the criminal minds writers have lost since season four and would explain the current random story lines. Maybe you don't mind writers insulting your intelligence but some people do.

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    When Mandy was on the show, Thomas and him were always aligned with on another but lately Joe not only dominates the photo shots but screen time as well. You never see the team leader behind anyone on NCSI or CSI. Maybe once on CSI:Vegas with Marg Helenberger but everyone knows CBS are sexist, so what’s the deal with Thomas.
    I think The New York Times sum up the show well when they said "The problem with "Criminal Minds" is its many confusing maladies, applied to too many characters" and felt that "as a result, the cast seems like a spilled trunk of broken toys, with which the audience - and perhaps the creators - may quickly become bored.
    Clearly this writer knew what he was talking about.

    (continues)

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    Actors take DUI seriously????? What does this involve a two minute break from shoots? It more uncommon for actors not to have a DUI these days, and wants the most Thomas Gibson will get a slap on the hand by the courts. These actors get away with everything. I am sure his job will help him particularly as he plays a policeman. Half the stories on criminal minds are taken from couples who kill and real life crimes, and when you watch them half the time the criminals are could on a whim, whilst CM claims there a great deal of intelligence process of catching a criminal. That’s not what is reflected on CWK and RLC.

    I not surprised that Thomas is drink so much; it must be awful to play a bland character like Hotch when all the writers do is scratch their head thinking about what to do with him. He is the only team leader to be pushed at the back on publicity photo and not at the forefront. CBS own website is a prime example where Joe Mantenge is at the front and Thomas behind. When Mandy was on the show, Thomas and him were always aligned with on another but lately Joe not only dominates the photo shots but screen time as well. You never see the team leader behind anyone on NCSI or CSI. Maybe once on CSI:Vegas with Marg Helenberger but everyone knows CBS are sexist, so what’s the deal with Thomas.

    I think The New York Times sum up the show well when they said "The problem with "Criminal Minds" is its many confusing maladies, applied to too many characters" and felt that "as a result, the cast seems like a spilled trunk of broken toys, with which the audience - and perhaps the creators - may quickly become bored.

    Clearly this writer knew what he was talking about.




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