Criminal Minds Review: "Devil's Night"

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Criminal Minds got into the Halloween spirit last night, and that meant even more heart-stopping, gruesome drama than usual from the CBS procedural. Good stuff though!

When you're Criminal Minds, unquestionably a show that's hard to stomach (in terms of subject matter, not quality), and Halloween is your medium, you have to step it up.

"Devil's Night" was a solid episode that certainly paid tribute to this time of year, albeit a side of it we would all like to pretend doesn't exist. Our setting? Detroit, Michigan.

Prentiss Pic

We thought it only applied to October 30, the night before the big day, but apparently in Detroit, the three nights surrounding Halloween are collectively known as Devil’s Night.

In any case, it's flat out mayhem, with criminals taking over the beleaguered city, looting, breaking stuff, setting things on fire, the works. Makes you not want to live in Detroit.

Our latest UnSub, Kaman, has marked the occasion with grisly abductions and murders for several years now, meaning the BAU knows where and when he'll likely strike again.

The only question is whether they can stop him in time.

On the first night of his annual three-night killing spree, Kaman takes a victim into an seedy, empty warehouse and sets it, and him, ablaze. This is absolutely terrifying stuff.

Morgan figured firefighters and first responders could be potential UnSubs given the nature of these crimes, but a huge civilian organization throws a wrench into that idea.

In talking to the victim's wife, Rossi learns that the kidnapper's body has likely been badly burned, and that disfigurement allows him to blend in only at this time of year.

Kaman abducts victim #2, but panics and hastily burns him alive in a back alley after a police barricade thwarts his planned escape route. They know is identity. It's on now.

Rossi Pic

In a race to find and save the third and last victim before it's too late, the team makes its way to Jay-Mo’s, a restaurant owned by the father of Tracy, Kaman’s ex-girlfriend.

Before the accident that mutilated him, she and Kaman were together. Feeling abandoned by her has led, in large part, to the killing spree this UnSub's been on ever since.

As Kaman tortures Jay-Mo, finding her is what he cares about now. Hot on the trail, Hotch barely gets a badly-hurt Jay-Mo out of the place before it goes down in flames.

Closing in by the moment, police surround Tracy’s house with Kaman inside. With the home covered in gasoline, any bullets flying could risk innocent lives. Time for Plan B.

Hotch convinces Tracy to tell Kaman they had a son together, one he had never met until now. That detail is enough to end the tense standoff without further bloodshed.

This was all frightening and unsettling to watch, but very well-written just the same. The action moved along at just the right pace, and the resolution felt appropriate.

The strong episode also included a sweet sequence in which Hotch and Jack prepare for Halloween, with Jack deciding to dress up like his father – a real hero. *Sniff*

What did you think of last night's Criminal Minds?

Devil's Night Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (35 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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