Extreme sibling rivalry was front and center in this compelling whodunit directed by Joe Mantegna.
Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 3 gave us the story of a mentally ill woman who suffered delusions of romance with a photographer. Only she never realized that in fact that her fantasy love interest – Ryan Becker – was in fact wooing her sister and not her.
She saw every woman with whom he flirted as a threat, and imagined that he was telling her to kill them. So she did, as obedient and faithful lovers are wont to do.
It took us a while to get to the point where we understood what was going on. And that suspense kept us captivated and invested, as the BAU struggled to figure out what kind of guy was going around killing brides-to-be.
It's hard to understand why it was that this particular class of woman posed the greatest imaginary threat to Dana Seavers, given the fact that they were about to get married. You'd think those would be the least threatening. But no matter: we can assume her already fractured logic was in full force anyway, so that little detail falls nicely into the "suspension of disbelief" basket.
Another unexplained detail was also evident: Reid's theory that the unsub bit the nails of her victims wasn't shown. We saw Dana bite her own nails all the way through the story, but it never translated to her need to bite the nails of her victims.
Again, we can let that go, only because the story itself was so entertaining.
I like how the BAU gang is meshing so well with Tara Lewis. She's getting to see them for who they are. She's also beginning to realize that there's not a lot one can keep from them, especially when it comes to secrets.
Morgan spotted immediately that she was purposely not wearing her engagement ring. She explained her relationship as "complicated". Yet the gang didn't leave her out there hanging, did they? Instead, they became inclusive, which we witnessed when Rossi explained the story around "the third ex-Mrs. Rossi":
Reid: When Derek Morgan says "I do" it'll be a national day of mourning for single women everywhere.
Rossi: Just don't elope.
Lewis: Wow. Sounds like there's a story there.
Hotch: There is.
Rossi: I married the third ex-Mrs. Rossi at a drive-in wedding chapel in Las Vegas. I had an Elvis impersonator perform the ceremony.
Lewis: You're kidding.
Hotch: Wait for it.
Rossi: I'm playing 21. I've got a streak going. I can't lose even if I try. Krystall's the dealer. One thing leads to another. I should have known it wouldn't last. Krystall spells her name with a K and two Ls. When we sobered up the next morning, the divorce was just as quick. I'll never make that mistake again.
Morgan: What? Get married or have the King of Rock and Roll as your justice of the peace?
Rossi: Both, thank you very much.
That was generous of him to do. Or not: he obviously enjoys telling the story, almost as much as the gang likes to hear it. Hotch: wait for it.
Plus she got a small peek at Reid's obsession for detail when he blurted out the real dynamic around how bulls become enraged. It's not the color red; it's the movement of the cape. Bulls are ultimately just huge thunderous cats with horns that can kill you.
The look on their faces after his explanation was hilarious.
This was a good episode and enjoyable to watch. It's great to see the team coalescing so well, even though JJ is out of the picture for a few more episodes. Hope they keep Dr. Lewis with them when she returns.
- There's now an exclamation point on what will be the season story arc, around the "Dirty Dozen" targets. That was the only purpose for Hotch to tell them about his failed attempt to interview Giuseppe Montolo.
- Hotch said that Montolo is in ADX Florence. That's a facility that specifically houses irredeemable killers. People who have zero remorse for their actions. Psychopath Central.
- In case you missed it, that was former Dallas Cowboy football player Michael Irvin working on the field with Morgan near the start of the show.
- I'm always appreciative of the research that goes into the series' stories. In this case, Reid talked about the condition Dana likely suffered, which is called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The list of symptoms is eye-opening and troubling for anyone who suffers from it.
- Remember, you can always catch this episode again when you watch Criminal Minds online.
Now it's your turn. What did you think of this third episode of the season? Let us know in the comments below!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.