It's not often we get a story about a straight-up irredeemable unsub (or in this case pair of unsubs) who just need to be rounded up and taken down.
Often there's a plot twist involved, or a mental issue or compelling back story that drives their behavior. Something we can hang onto, while watching Rossi or Reid talk down the gun man before he kills someone else.
That surely wasn't the case here.
Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 4 gave us the story of a meth-head biker who found a new partner in prison (while his old partner continued doing time). After getting out, the pair took up where he (Mason) left off six years ago, by going into a diner, beating up the staff, raping the girl and then making them all face each other while they were shot dead.
There was simply no room for viewer empathy or sympathy for these guys, as they had gone past the point of no return. In fact, Mason, despite his paternal feelings for his son, had passed that point six years ago. He had just never been caught.
Every once in a while we get to see the preternatural powers of BAU profilers at work, which is always fun to watch. Rossi this time took note of Chief Montoya, who he realized was just a little too buzzed about his job. His takedown of the Chief brooked no other response than strict compliance. It's safe to say that anyone else confronting Montoya might have received an argument. But Rossi knew his number from the get-go and didn't let him off the hook, despite his intense squirming.
This turned out to be a story of redemption as well, in that it was Montoya who ended up killing both of the bad guys.
It was a thrilling case to watch, and this time there was no inter-agent distractions: no character development for the BAU members and no extension of the season story arc to think about. It was just a full-bore "find the bad guys and hunt them down" tale.
- You may have recognized Benito Martinez playing the role of Chief Raul Montoya. We saw him often in The Shield, Supernatural, Sons of Anarchy, House of Cards and a host of other shows too numerous to mention. It's always great to see him in whatever role he plays.
- The funeral scene at the end was meant to be touching but, as we never had a chance to get to know the character of Renee Acosta (the girl who was murdered at the beginning), it was hard to feel invested. So the scene seemed more superfluous than anything else.
- Remember, you can always see this episode again when you watch Criminal Minds online
What are your thoughts on "Outlaw"? Chime in and let us know in the comments below!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.