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S15.E03: Spectator Slowing

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That was a strange case. I thought the concept of targeting those who search out sites of tragedy as though they were tourist attractions was a really interesting angle, and the stuff with the funeral cards and blowing up the dead body in the shed were particularly creepy touches. 

I don't know that the connection between the victims' loved ones felt strong enough for a motivation, though. I would've maybe had it much more specific than them happening to stumble upon a scene like that on a random road trip. Like, maybe they were part of a tour group who visits sites like that, or they were part of online groups that liked to discuss those places, or things of that sort. And I feel like there could've been more tension to the final takedown of the unsub, too. 

Interesting to see Reid and JJ pairing off again, though. 

On a lighter note, Matt's got a really cute family :). 

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So we have eight episodes left and a "Big Bad" the team needs to catch...

...but, Criminal Minds is still going to do run-of-the-mill Cases of the Week.

OK then.

I suppose the CM writers didn't want to stop doing COTWs...but it feels jarring to go back to them after setting up the final season to be the "Hunt for Everett Lynch".

Still, it's really only a minor complaint about this episode.

No, the real issue is that this episode is, once again, your average, sub-par middling drivel that CM has called "episodes" for the past several years now. To illustrate, I'm going to quote one of my favourite books, "How Not To Write A Novel", because this section could describe just about any episode CM has written lately (either directly or indirectly):


Sometimes, uncomfortably aware that the antagonist is turning into a caricature, the author tries to “round him out” by giving him a good side. Jack robs and cheats and beats his kids—but still pines after his first love. Adolf introduces Fascism to Germany, spreads war throughout Europe, murders millions in concentration camps—but he’s a strict vegetarian and loves his dog. Tossing in a touching scene with his German shepherd Blondie and a dish of lentils won’t make Hitler’s character “balanced.” Hitler’s character isn’t balanced. The only way to avoid caricature is the hard way: making the bad guy’s insane behavior and motivations believable.

(Mittelmark, Howard; Newman, Sandra. How Not to Write a Novel (pp. 86-87). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. Section: "But He Loves His Mother- Wherein a villain is given one good quality to round him out")

It pretty much could describe this episode because, once again, we got an UnSub who's an over-the-top, unbelievable whack-a-doodle who's the personification of "pure evil"...but he watched his mommy get beaten as a kid! See, even though he's "pure evil" he's only this way because he's suffering the pain of losing a loved one! So deep! So personal!


I mean, it's not necessarily a bad story if it's told correctly...and, admittedly, Will Tranfo (who played the UnSub) did an admirable job displaying the UnSub's pain...but, the truth is, CM has gone down this well way too many times, and often (as was the case here), it's a "tack-on" reason just so the UnSub can have some sympathy. The UnSub's actions, motivations and the whole mechanics of the case don't make any sense...but, you guys, cry for the UnSub because he lost his mother/daughter/sister/wife due to an unbelievable crime he's playing out!

Stuff like this makes me wish we were still hunting Everett Lynch...and that's saying something.

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I didn’t get this one at all.   Nothing about it made particular sense.   The only thing I figured was an already troubled guy went back to his family home only to find it a site of a grizzly murder/suicide and a bunch of people taking selfies and stepping all over the flowers he had left there for his mother who had been murdered herself even before that.    Or whatever.   Even the supposed victims,  the girl in the hospital’s family were acting bizarre and stupid.


Matt’s family is adorable though.   I really like that Matt seems to be the Anti-Hotch.  You know perfectly fine staying home and watch the kids and isn’t itching the whole time to get out of the house.  And just to be fair his wife isn’t berating him for helping out when the team genuinely needs him....because he is home dammit.  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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4 hours ago, Chaos Theory said:

Nothing about it made particular sense.   The only thing I figured was an already troubled guy went back to his family home only to find it a site of a grizzly murder/suicide and a bunch of people taking selfies and stepping all over the flowers he had left there for his mother who had been murdered herself even before that.    Or whatever.

The plot of this episode was another example of the writers lifting the premise from Season 9's "Fatal", where the victims were selected simply because they were in the same room/bus/reception hall/etc. that the UnSub happened to be in at the same time. In this case, the site at least had a personal connection to the UnSub, which makes his rage understandable- but it's ridiculous that he would go through all that trouble to build those elaborate bombs and stalk those particular people just so he could send them those bombs and watch as he set them off. If that site was truly a memorial, there would be way more than just five people who would visit it, and, furthermore, you would also think no one would think of disrespecting the site (think of all the trouble one causes when they desecrate gravesites). This is before we get to the mechanics of the crime, which would make more sense if he was a home invader who stabbed/shot his victims.

It's typical of CM in its final days- nice ideas but nothing is ever really thought out.

4 hours ago, Mysteyman said:

Yeah, the Matt stuff was adorable.

Which is a bright spot and a sore spot for CM in its current state. CM under Erica Messer has shown it is excellent at being "personal", focusing on a character or a character group and examining an aspect of their lives, and Matt and his kids is one example of that. The problem is that CM was never designed to be about one character (being an ensemble), so far too often all we get on CM are these "vignettes" into the characters' lives that feel out of place in the episodes, as well as a lot of stories that take shortcuts or don't get examined as they should because CM doesn't allow for a truly serialized format.

It's always been my contention that if Messer were helming a show that was about one person she'd produce some stellar television, because that's way more up her alley- and hopefully now that CM is done she can do that. It just never worked on CM because CM requires the writer to weave several different stories together and that's just not Messer's style. It's not like it can't be done- S.W.A.T. has done an excellent job creating an ensemble show where the characters are well developed and have meaningful and very personal stories, because S.W.A.T. understands ensembles require you to integrate those stories together and they do that- and do it well. It's the one lesson CM never learned.

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The question I had that I didn't think the show addressed (or maybe I just missed it), is how the unsub actually tracked down the names of these people on the road trip. That would seem to be a bit of a Herculean effort, and then the additional time and effort of tracking down the group's families. If this guy was that talented, he could actually do something with his life, than being a loser criminal. All because one woman accidentally stepped on some flowers? If anything, his rage should have been directed at that Collin guy who was posing like an ass in front of the murder house. 

While the idea of the episode was interesting, I don't think it was adequately explained how the entire thing actually happened. The whole thing just seemed to be a reach in its execution. 

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On 1/21/2020 at 1:53 AM, Sparger Springs said:

I don't care if I ever see Matt or his kids again. They have a few episodes left and there wasting time on Matt and his forever pregnant wife and kids.

I know right ? Fortunately, I don't watch the show live, so I can choose which episodes and which scenes I wanna watch. And Simmons' family scenes are definitely not among those. Even in the "Saturday" episode, I only watched his scenes because my two faves Emily and Dave were in. Otherwise, my FF button would've been put to great use.


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