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The Crime Fighting Deductionists Are Back for The 14th Time

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More stories from Sally McDonnell

This past Wednesday brought the premiere of the fourteenth season of Criminal Minds, a crime TV show following the cases of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. Fourteen seasons is an insanely long amount of time for a TV show to be on air, yet somehow the writers and cast still find ways to surprise us. After the cliffhanger that was the season thirteen finale which left the show’s two most beloved characters in mortal danger, no one really knew what to expect from the kickoff of this season, including me. If you want to avoid spoilers, I would suggest turning around here because this will certainly not be a spoiler-free review.

The the episode opens with as serial killing cult kidnapping Spencer Reid and Penelope Garcia for reasons unknown to the rest of the team. Arguably, these two characters are the ones most preferred by fans, and having their lives in jeopardy was a petrifying way to open the season. However, I just could not seem to be terrified for the survival of these two.

This episode, despite its spectacular plot and cinematography, was simply not scary. When I watch Criminal Minds, I expect to not be able to fall asleep that night. It is a risk I am willing to take. After viewing this 300th episode, I didn’t feel even an ounce of fear as I crawled into bed that night. There was no unsettling serial killer or strange M.O. that kept me up.

They meshed together storylines from all the way back in season four to create as puzzle that I was dying to watch them solve.”

— Sally McDonnell

Now don’t get me wrong, this episode was probably one of the best that I have seen. They meshed together storylines from all the way back in season four to create as puzzle that I was dying to watch them solve. The religious symbolism and cult mentality was bone chilling in its accuracy. Under the direction of Glenn Kershaw, the cinematography was seamless. One thing that jumped out at me was the lighting choices. The episode shifted back and forth from FBI headquarters at Quantico and the storage facility where Reid and Garcia were held. Inside Quantico, the lighting was bright and jarring, almost like being in the hospital. Within the storage facility, the lighting was dull and bleak, a cinematic touch that boosted the quality of the episode.

It was obvious that the key theme of this episode was family. From the comparisons between the BAUs relationships and the cult’s to how upset the team members were following their friend’s kidnapping, it was clear that the BAU is a family. Now, this was not a new revelation. This has been clear for years. Yet this episode really highlighted the importance of that family through heartbreaking panic and heartwarming reunions.

Although I loved practically everything about the episode, I remain unsure if I enjoyed the episode at all. It just didn’t scream traditional Criminal Minds, with psychopathic killers and brilliant deduction. There was no surprise twist at the end, it was quite predictable. I missed the jumpscares, the mind games, the fear that I associate with a great episode of the show.

After 300 episodes, the cast and crew certainly know how to keep us all on our toes. I sure hope they will. ”

— Sally McDonnell

I have high hopes for this season, and after watching the trailer for episode two (which featured several bodies stored in the wall of an elderly couple’s home), I am optimistic that the show will live up to them. After 300 episodes, the cast and crew certainly know how to keep us all on our toes. I sure hope they will.

 

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The Crime Fighting Deductionists Are Back for The 14th Time