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"Criminal Minds" North Mammon (2006)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good way to develop the show

Author: simona dimitrova
6 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's pretty annoying to see them not really try to solve the puzzle but just stand there until it solves itself. However, I think that by this time they realised the original way of the show was starting to look kind of ridiculous so they wanted to switch it up to show that sometimes they can't profile the unsub at all and sometimes they can't get there in time, perhaps because they are getting seriously affected by the passed events and can't think straight. They are really starting to show some real good character development and I think that this failed case really adds up to it. The one thing I don't get is why they didn't show how the whole thing turned out? I really do wonder if in such case they would charge the guy with more time than the girl who actually killed her?? Would she even do time?(It was self protection in a way) I would hate to be the judge on that.

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Despite the disappointing role of the BAU, "North Mammon" is still one of the highlights of Season 2

9/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
10 July 2016

Having been a long-time big fan of 'Criminal Minds', generally Season 2 has been even better than a still quite promising first season. "North Mammon" is a perfect example of why.

While most of the reception towards "North Mammon" has been positive, some citing it as one of the highlights of Season 2 and one of the scariest and most psychologically scarring of the entire show, there has also been disappointment directed towards it due to how the case is handled by the BAU.

This reviewer can totally see both sides. It is agreed that the BAU's role is limited and not particularly helpful, and this is a rare example of them not seeming all that desperate. For examples they do figure out the true identity of the unsub too late, even for episodes that take time to tell their stories while giving us a lot of information, in a rare case of him getting away with his crimes, and a much better job could have been done with the background checks with one check glossed over and another a case of jumping to conclusions too quickly.

However, there is so much in "North Mammon" that is so outstandingly well done that this reviewer while still not overlooking and not able to ignore it still considers it one of the highlights of Season 2. One outstanding standout is the atmosphere, the claustrophobic setting and the unsub's absolutely chilling mind-games made for one of the scariest and most psychologically scarring of the entire show.

Another standout is some of the show's most shocking twists, with the outcome of the ordeal suffered by the captives genuinely frightening and devastating, never expected it to happen that way. And the identity of the unsub had me floored, the only other Season 2 episode to do that to me was "Boogeyman" (while Tobias Hankel was the season's most interesting and most developed unsub, the viewer figures out the truth about it long before the BAU does), and no matter how extreme it was one can buy his motivation.

The disappointing role the BAU plays aside, "North Mammon" is still incredibly well-written, love the chemistry in the BAU which has always sparkled even in lesser episodes (apart from the ones that don't feel like 'Criminal Minds', i.e. "200") and the psychological mind games are chilling. The biggest impact however was made by the unsub's lack of remorse and justification of his actions where he shifts the blame on the victims. The viewer actually absolutely shares Gideon's anger and disgust later on as he says it, it was appalling at how anybody could be so cold, un-remorseful and attempt to justify such terrible crimes.

As always, "North Mammon" is an incredibly well-made episode, stylish and slick without being too glossy or never amateurish and adopts a dark look that suits the atmosphere superbly. The music is some of the most haunting and melancholic, as well as some of the most fitting and mood-enhancing, in the entire show, particularly at the beginning. The story is incredibly absorbing, and is both terrifying and heart-rending, and it's beautifully paced and solidly directed throughout. The acting is very good from all involved, loved the focus on JJ who finally becomes an interesting character here (always liked her in the earlier seasons but here she really shines) and Mandy Patinkin's range of emotions often mirrors our own, especially in the aforementioned scene.

Do have to disagree that the girls overact, their acting is very realistic regarding their horrifying situation and their actions were inevitable and not what they wanted to do. Their bond seemed more sisterly rather than best friends, which made the outcome and situation more shocking, and they did seem genuinely scarred and upset by the outcome. If one wants an example of victims that both overact and commit unrealistic actions that frustrate the viewer, Season 8's "Through the Looking Glass" fits that description perfectly, am still reeling at the actions of the mother in that episode.

Overall, while one can totally see both sides this reviewer is one of those who loved "North Mammon" and considers it one of Season 2's highlights. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Strangely compelling

Author: rwk2
18 August 2010

This episode is really two stories, one good, and one... eh, not so much. The problem is the obvious reliance on JJ's past as a star soccer player in high school. Take that out and the show is fairly good. It deviates from the over-used pattern of "serial killer with someone held in danger so the team can show up to the rescue." Instead, we've actually got a different aspect: old wounds from a small town that express themselves years later among a once close knit group of friends. Basically, their children must pay the price for walking over someone from their own past. I liked that story. I didn't like the writers' obvious attempt to incorporate JJ's past into the series' mainstream. Nothing against the actress, I just don't care what ANY of the team did before they were profilers, particularly all the way back in high school.

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1 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

JJ gets her episode...

1/10
Author: Zachary Chester from United States
5 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...and it is terrible. This was the worst 40-odd minutes of television I've ever had the misfortune to sit through. Criminal Minds is normally an extremely well-written, engaging show. I've never actually written a review for a television episode, but I just couldn't help signing on and writing as soon as the episode finished.

Often, the writers of a television show will write an episode focused on a minor character to provide exposition and build interest in the supporting roles. In this one, JJ picks a case for the team. Coincidentally, she happens to be the grown-up version of the missing kids. This leads to many groan-inducing lines, where she asserts "I KNOW these girls because I WAS these girls." The rest of the team uncharacteristically trusts the judgment of their secretary above their own training.

Look, I could go on and on but I have to get out of the house to get my mind of this miserable drivel. Long story short: the three abducted teen girls all overact. So does JJ. And the small pool of suspects has you convinced through the whole episode that the evidence points toward the cop--who it should have probably been. But at the last second, they throw in a deus ex machina and some rando is fingered for the crime from a conveniently-placed high school championship team photo from the seventies. In the small town where the episode takes place (a town so small that Jason Gideon memorizes the whole street layout within 4 or 5 days of arriving and identifies a location from a map in two seconds---arrrrrgh!), every male was on the football team and has beef with everybody else.

Wow, I could've written a better review, but this episode doesn't deserve it. Skip this if you can.

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