The Wife:

I have a lot of catching up to do on Criminal Minds, I know. I got so caught up with all the other great stuff on TV before the holidays that I just let all these deliciously fucked up things sit on my DVR for weeks. There are a couple I watched while doing something else, holiday related, so I’m afraid my five-episodes-in-one catch-up won’t be as detailed as my usual writing about this show.

4.7 “Memoriam”

This episode was a great conclusion to “The Instincts,” with Reid staying in Vegas to continue his personal investigation into the murder of Riley Jenkins. During the course of his investigation, he reconnects with his father, whom he hasn’t seen in 17 years and with whom he is still incredibly angry. Based on information from his mother and a dream he relives through hypnosis, Reid begins to suspect that his father may have killed Riley and others, which would explain why he so suddenly left his family and why Reid remembers seeing his father burn bloody clothes in the backyard. As the investigation progresses, however, Reid learns from his mother and father the terrible truth about Riley’s murder and the murder of another boy around the same time, Gary Michaels: Riley’s father, Lou, had definitely killed young Gary, and Diana Reid walked in on the event, slipping in Michaels’ blood and covering her clothes in it. Realizing that she looked like an accessory to murder, Spencer’s father helped his wife burn the bloody clothes so that she could not be implicated in a crime she didn’t commit. Through this investigation, Reid puts his demons to rest and learns to forgive his father for being absent from his life for so many years.

As a nice coda to a two-episode arc about dead children, JJ gives birth to her son and the whole team is there to welcome the newest member of their family. Reid and Garcia are named as the baby’s godparents, with Reid promising to get baby Henry into CalTech with one phone call (because Yale was Reid’s safety school, and no godson of his will go to such a lowly place as Yale).

4.8 “Masterpiece”

And then that great episode was followed by something truly puzzling and bizarre, featuring Jason Alexander in a long white creepy wig with a mild soft-spoken Southern accent as a killer playing mind-games with Agent Rossi, who had previously convicted Alexander’s character’s brother of a violent crime. Alexander saw the elaborate torture and kidnapping scheme as a way to get back at Rossi for . . . doing his job? Alexander’s character also was obsessed with DaVinci and ancient Pythagorean geometry, devising his entire scheme around the golden ratio, which he knew would be very easy for Reid to solve, because Reid knows everything about everything. I have serious issues with the ideas presented by Alexander’s character, who claims to be a follower of DaVinci, but believes in killing humans simply because humans are a blight, an idea that is antithetical to DaVinci’s humanist principles. This episode was just freaking bizarre, and the casting of George Costanza in the role didn’t help. I just look at Jason Alexander’s face and all I see is a man who was once nicknamed Coco by his boss because he acted like a whiny monkey.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I will personally punch the casting director and the wardrobe stylist in the face for this episode.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I will personally punch the casting director and the wardrobe stylist in the face for this episode.

Although, I now know that Reid holds three doctorates (in chemistry, engineering and mathematics) and two bachelor’s in psychology and sociology. I’m totally intimidated and in awe of this character. I want to be like him when I grow up. And for the record, I laughed at his existentialist joke.

4.9 “52 Pickup”

I really liked this episode about a serial killer learning tricks of the trade from a pick-up artist for a variety of reasons.

1. The pick-up artist was clearly based on Mystery, star of that lame VH1 show that teaches losers how to get ladies and key player in the book The Game. You can tell Viper is supposed to be Mystery because he wears a large, fuzzy stovepipe pimp hat. Constantly.

2. Jordan really got initiated into this case, working side by side with Prentiss to catch Viper off-guard and demonstrate that none of those mind games work on the kind of women you’d actually want to have real relationships with. (Smart girls, for one.)

3. Reid got a girlfriend! He picked up a hot bartender by asking her for information on skeezy patrons with a magic trick. The Barney Stinson method works, my friends. Chicks dig magic.

It was also just a good case that involved everyone on the team using their skills well — and it was pretty funny, as far as Criminal Minds episodes go.

Wow, youre right. That hat really does make him look like a tool.

Wow, you're right. That hat really does make him look like a tool.

4.10 “Brothers in Arms”

I was doing something else entirely while I watched this episode, so I don’t remember any of it.

4.11 “Normal”

A crazy, unsettling episode in which The X-Files‘ Mitch Pileggi drives around batshit crazy straight up SHOOTING PEOPLE IN THE FUCKING FACE ON THE FREEWAY! Specifically, blonde women who drive luxury vehicles just like his wife, Faith Ford, who I realized during the course of this episode that I know way better as Corky Sherwood from Murphy Brown. Californians already have enough trouble merging; they don’t need Mitch Pileggi forcing them into confrontations at alternate merge sites in numerous construction zones just so he can shoot them in the face. It was interesting to see Mitch Pileggi play something other than a nose-to-the-grindstone hard-ass, and I actually found his foray into crazy-as-batshit to be quite terrifying, especially when we were shown scenes in “wacky Mitch Pileggi vision.” Also horrifying: the revelation that when he takes his family hostage and drives them at insane speeds through L.A. before crashing into a cop car on the freeway that his family wasn’t in the car with him at all because he’d already shot each of the blonde women in his home to death in their beds.

Yeah, I know, these write-ups are half-assed. I’m sorry. I also decided to go to sleep last night instead of watching Top Chef, so, for the five of you who care what I have to say about Top Chef, I’m sorry about that, too.

The Husband:

That episode, 4.10, that my wife doesn’t remember, it wasn’t worth remembering. Morgan got all hissy about cops dying in Arizona, Guillermo the drug dealer from Weeds shows up, and that’s about it.

As for 4.11 (“Normal”), Criminal Minds has redeemed a season full of missed opportunities and meh stories (except for the season premiere, half of the cult one and two-thirds of the Pick-Up Artist). Without question, this joins the premiere, plus episodes s1’s “LDSK,” s2’s “Sex, Birth, Death” (which re-airs on A&E this week), s2’s “Open Season” and all the Frankie Muniz stuff in s3’s “True Night” as one of my favorite episodes of this positively screwy and violent CBS procedural. Sure, the final twist was cheap, but it was also extremely effective. Mitch “The Shocker” Pileggi strikes again.

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