It's been what seems forever since there's been a new episode (thanks, World Series), and this is the prize?
In Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 5, the BAU is off to Minnesota, the Land of a Thousand Lakes and one demented serial killer (if that's not redundant), to find out who is killing all members of a family but one.
First off, flag on the play. There has to be more than one set of murders for there to be a serial killer, right? Or is it just any multiple body count to qualify as a serial killing?
Anyway, the murders start to multiply once the squad hits town. It's like the phrase "The unsub is accelerating" must be in every script. Of course, there's only an hour to solve the crime, so ...
This episode seemed to hold about 20 minutes of narrative. About eight minutes to dismiss the first family as anyone particularly noteworthy, a few minutes to rule out the red herring in the ugly cardigan, and then it's time to trot out the unsub and his motivations.
A couple of minutes later, he's turning on his fellow victims because he's a tortured loon. Then Prentiss ends the tension by appealing to this unhinged soul's sense of reason. OK.
The ghost of Hotch didn't even make an appearance. Surely his off-screen departure will be sooner rather than later.
But Rossi's short-and-sweet leadership style fit this condensed episode.
We good? We fly.Rossi
As always, the best lines belonged to Garcia. Her musings on social media led to this colorful exchange.
Garcia: Oh, my God! Am I officially not young?
Rossi: You, my dear, are the portrait of everlasting youth.
Garcia: I'm timeless, right. Good answer.
She's also coming around on Alvez, now that she's decided that he's not a man-whore. She meant well bringing a pink sweater for Alvez's dog Roxy (who obviously isn't a girly girl) but nails it with a collar later on.
Alvez is even becoming a bit more of a social animal, which is good, since drinking to forget is de rigueur at the BAU.
Garcia: You're not fooling me, Alvez. He just wants everyone to think he's a smoldering basket of mystique and contradiction. I don't buy it.
Alvez: I just want a beer.
Garcia: There may be a glimmer of hope for you yet. But, just so you know, the new guy pays.
Tara wasn't there again, and I don't even remember anyone bothering to give an excuse why. It makes me wonder how much less we'll see of her once Damon Gupton joins the cast as another profiler in Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 8.
Originally, I figured that Reid had taken time off to spend time with his mother. But upon a second viewing, I discovered he was there, spouting psycho-babble in a couple of group scenes.
The producers must remember that we need a little, lighthearted team interaction to balance off all the grim and gore.
Also among the missing are the eight to nine serial killers still loose from Criminal Minds Season 11. You would think recapturing them would be a BAU priority. Maybe Tara is off tracking them, and no one thought to mention it. As the only ongoing storyline (beyond "Where's Hotch?"), it should at least be referenced every episode.
Good news! Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 6 promises more kids in jeopardy (younger ones next time).
To watch the continuing development of Luke Alvez, criminal profiler, or whichever established character you prefer, watch Criminal Minds online.
Did this episode feel a little scant to you? How long did you take to figure out it was a teen unsub? Is Alvez a worthy replacement for Derek Morgan? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.