Criminal Minds has clearly learned from past mistakes. The second episode featuring new team member Alex Blake already goes straight back to business as usual. No-one mentions she’s new with a single word; Garcia says nothing about the concerns she had one episode ago either and the case doesn’t have anything to do with Blake’s special field. This and the fact we still learn more about the new team member pleases me.
So Blake’s husband is a doctor and currently overseas for a humanitarian organisation; they have a Skype marriage and she thinks of this as an efficient arrangement. When Rossi tries to get rid of his unwanted vacation days and makes Garcia give his days off away to FBI agents with spouses serving overseas, she tells him it’s a great gesture – but doesn’t mention she would qualify, even though Rossi desperately tries to get rid of 6 more vacation days. That woman makes sense to me and so does Rossi, as usual. They know their priorities – work comes first. And that is something I also always appreciated about Prentiss.
Anyway, to the case. I liked this case – two women going vigilante on the people who killed their children and got away with minimum sentences; one being a reluctant killer trying to find new meaning in life after her daughter’s death, the other a psychopath unwilling to stop after avenging her nephew’s death. It gets interesting when they go after a guy involved in the murder, but never convicted, who is a manipulative psychopath himself and tries to team up with the ruthless half of the duo. The one thing that keeps bothering me is the following dialogue, as seen/heard in oh so many CM episodes:
Agent 1: I wonder why the victim was blitz attacked.
Agent 2: The unsub is most likely a woman.
The one case I’m waiting for is one where the unsub is a 1.90 m, 125 kg butch, for no other reason than teaching the team that not all woman are helpless weaklings who need to use blitz attacks against men of average build. You see, it just makes cases way too easy: Blitz attack? Ah, must be a woman. So give them a woman who does not use blitz attacks. Let her kill with her bare hands. Break with the stereotype. Just once.
First of all, I’m really glad to have a weekly show back.
Secondly, I’m not going to complain and be overly nitpicky due to that.
So Alex Blake is the new team member, as especially Garcia keeps reminding us. Every five minutes. Well, yes, I noticed that person is not Emily nor any other known team member, so I kinda assumed she’s the new one. Though it’s annoying, the bright side is that the show at least actually deals with and follows up on Emily’s departure instead of pretending she never existed. I even think Garcia says out loud what many viewers were thinking; concerns if they can get along with the new person, if she’s nice and not just super-duper qualified on paper and that saying goodbye to Emily isn’t so easy. Thing is, for us viewers, the entire spring/summer passed and gave us the time to deal with the latter. I doubt I’m the only one who made peace with the cast change in that time. In the show, however, only a few weeks passed since Emily left – and Garcia permanently talking about it sounds like a broken record to me because it’s all the stuff I already put behind me by now.
Alex Blake. What can I say? I loved Emily and I especially loved the team up of her and David Rossi. Now, we have Alex Blake, seemingly getting into a team up of her own with Reid. I should be the first in line to complain. But I’m not. I actually like Blake and I also like her in combination with Reid. He was on the losing side of attention all through season 7; it’s his turn to be a bit more in the spotlight. And it makes perfect sense to combine his skills with Blake’s.
I forgive the unbelievable coincidence that the first case with linguist Blake deals with an unsub and his relation to words and languages. Yes, of course it’s constructed like hell; only rivaled by DS9 in season 7 when Garak suddenly became claustrophobic outta nowhere to justify the existance of Ezri Dax. In CM, it’s not so bad. All other team members had cases where they had to use their specific skills in the past and there were earlier cases where the team could really have used a linguist (and Reid played the part). So I don’t mind this obvious show off because it makes sense on all accounts.
In short, this was a decent season pilot. It could have been better, yes. But it could also have been a lot worse. The focus was clearly less on the unsub and more on the introduction of Blake as a new character and that’s understandable. What earned some extra points: the teaser for the future in the end; photos of all team members being developed by a mysterious stranger.