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S16.E03: Moose

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There's a small sense of irony with the scene where Elias Voit is telling his daughter that, in order to make the shot, she needs to focus.

Ah...focus. The word of the day. Perhaps the series, really.

Because this episode showed- as I've said before- what Erica Messer's Criminal Minds has essentially lacked since she took over the show.


See, Messer's CM is pretty much only about coming up with as many different tangents and side stories as possible. Whether or not they all make sense or fit in will depend on whether or not the writer of the episode did the work to put them together.

Which was not the case here.

Each of the three main subplots that were in this episode- "what makes Elias Voit tick?", the Domestic Terrorism/BAU joint operation, and finding a Sicarius infiltration operator- could have easily been an episode all on its own, and maybe could have made a good or even great episode if the proper attention was paid to crafting the story behind it.

Instead, none of it worked because it was all just slapped together and we, the audience, were told to make sense of it all. That's not really how writing works.

If the audience has to put the pieces together for you, then you haven't done your job as a writer. Period.

Regardless, though, this episode's disjointedness points to Evolution's overall problem- there seems to be a lack of a clear, drawn-out plan.

The writers are acting like they did in this episode, putting together a pastiche of storylines that they think are "cool" and slapping them together, without regard to whether or not they work.

Don't get me wrong- there's nothing wrong with having several subplots, especially in a serialized story, if, for no other reason than you need to fill out the time.

However, those subplots have to connect in some way and, so far, in Evolution they don't.

If I had my way, since they wanted to spend so much time on Voit and since it would at least help answer the series' burning question- why do these serial killers want to join Voit's network- this episode should have solely been about what made Voit tick and what made him a serial killer. Perhaps this episode could have been a flashback so we can set up the next serial killer "activated" by the network (as it appears that Voit gains his lackey's compliance because Voit killed someone important to the lackey). Perhaps, further still, this flashback would lead to the infiltrator episode story, which could be a two-parter- the first part being the DT/BAU joint operation and the second the infiltrator's interrogation.

The latter may still happen yet.

A few other notes before I close:

  • The show, again, repeated the same mistake that I pointed out in the last episode- just because someone is dead doesn't mean you can't investigate them. Heck, Penelope Garcia did just that in this episode. The only thing a dead person couldn't do is directly tell you about his connections to the network boss, but that's it. Those links can still be explored and Garcia showed that exploration can still be very fruitful.
  • Deputy Director Bailey may have had a bit more reasonable reasons for being obstructive in this episode but he still very much fell into the "I'm saying 'no' because I'm saying 'no'." Not entirely unrealistic, but it's a dull, dull story, especially coming from a peripheral character.
    • Again, I fail to see the point of having him. I get it, the show wanted some drama surrounding Prentiss' decisions, but the stakes of hunting an elusive killer should have been enough. Bailey adds nothing to this drama and only brings it down.
  • Worse was the Domestic Terrorism team being shown as obstructionist themselves. I suppose the only positive was the fact the BAU going rogue and defying orders because "they think they're right" blew up in their faces, but it's only a Pyrrhic victory. If DT had done the operation their way, the whole thing would have blown up in everyone's faces.
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I like the wee little character things that pop up...like Penelope unable to repeat Rossi's "fucknut" description of the ringleader, because it wouldn't sound right coming out of her mouth.

The whole Bailey thing seems to be thrown in as a manufactured barrier for the BAU.  It's not like, as other characters have pointed out, it's not like they've done a shit job catching killers.   I can't help but thinking he's more important in the grand scheme of things than he seems right now.

I'm not sure I follow how a dog can be trained to maim someone just by playing music it doesn't like. I missed something somewhere.

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9 hours ago, StarBrand said:

The whole Bailey thing seems to be thrown in as a manufactured barrier for the BAU.  It's not like, as other characters have pointed out, it's not like they've done a shit job catching killers.   I can't help but thinking he's more important in the grand scheme of things than he seems right now.

That's what I'm thinking, too. I've got a fondness for the character simply because I like the actor from his other work I've seen, and I do like his interactions with the team, Emily especially, so while his role may be the whole "bureaucrat standing in the way" type of setup the team's dealt with before, I still like seeing him in and of itself. But yeah, I do hope he does wind up playing some kind of significant role for the team going forward. Preferably a good one, but hell, even if he turns out to be a real obstacle in more ways than one, I'd be interested to see where that could go, too. I do feel there's a way that the domestic terrorism unit and the BAU could work together - yeah, these serial killers' motives aren't political, but hell, there's been talk in recent years of how mass shooters, for example, regardless of their reasons for committing the shooting, should be considered domestic terrorists simply because of the huge public safety threat they pose in general, political or otherwise. I feel like a similar argument could be made here in a way that could allow both units to work together without one trying to override the other. 

As for the rest of the episode...well. That ending was deeply unpleasant. Poor Moose. 

I do like the subtle moments where Elias' wife is starting to get a little concerned about some of his behavior. I know a lot of serial killers have tried to put on the whole "family man" façade, and it's amazing how long they've managed to make it work before it all blew up, so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out here. I also wonder how long it's going to take for him to turn on that obnoxious neighbor of his. His restraint, such as it is, can only last so long.

The twist at the end with the guy they arrested actually turning out to be an informant is intriguing. I wonder if Garcia will try and talk to him at some point to get more information. And while the BAU's efforts to take down the guy turned out to be a mistake, I did like the ruse JJ and Luke came up with, and that was a good tackle from Luke. I'm liking Luke and JJ working together, they bounce off each other well. 

I also really like Tara's girlfriend. For as much pushback as the team's getting from Bailey, it's nice that they've got her to help them out when needed. 

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I "enjoyed" this thouygh it did all seem very dark on my tv.

Its nice that the ladies of the BAU all look normal - i mean they looked older, like actual (actractive) women of their age. Of course the men always did generally look normal, but the women far too glossy for actual FBI work!

case - it was okay - i think i need to watch the "previously" on part carefully with this contuning plots (i have a bad habit of going to pause when its on the recap, which actually hits "skip recap" each time)

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What happened to Tawny? Did Elias kill her before taking Moose to his bunker?

Can a dog be indoctrinated in a short period of time using deprivation technique and loud music?

Zach Gilford excels in conveying the fake emotions. Elias’ violent fantasies are creepy yet captivating. Very Dexter.

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I think I relate to Elias more than I should. When he grumbled about how if he wants something done properly, he has to do it himself, I was all, This is me minus the serial killer network. What always fascinated me about true crime is what makes people cross that line and give into their murderous impulses. Sure, I’ve wanted to bash my annoying racist neighbour’s head in more than once but I wouldn’t be able to do it. I wish CM would go into that - like Daniel said above, what makes Elias Voit tick? 

I think I like this smaller BAU team. The cast felt too bloated towards the end of the original run. I don’t miss Simmons. I don’t even miss Reid, because his absence spares me from the Jeid nonsense that got dragged out in the last 2 seasons. Garcia annoys me less in here than before. I’m weirdly OK with this revival. Must be the Covid getting to me. 

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Foul language doesn’t sound right coming from Rossi or anyone else here.  Sure people use foul language in their personal lives.  Or even when talking to their computer (me) or phone.  Office workers  don’t use it in meetings with their coworkers, especially with the team members they supervise. It’s only being used here because ‘ it’s streaming so we can say it’.  

This revival is off somehow.  Either new writers or the actors are having trouble resettling into their characters. 

I really didn’t like goof ball Moose being used to murder someone. 

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