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"Criminal Minds" Faceless, Nameless (2009)

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

To Live Is to Die

Author: ttapola from Finland
20 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a pleasant surprise. In the past, this series has had a couple of *brilliant* season finales, namely #1.22, "The Fisher King: Part 1", and #3.20, "Lo-Fi", to which the following seasons' openers (#2.1 and #4.1) have failed to live up to. Add to this the fact that season 4 finale, "To Hell... and Back" ended in a situation similar to "The Fisher King: Part 1", with Hotch being shot instead of Elle, meaning it was only natural to despair when Hotch was found alive after encountering The Reaper just as Elle was found alive after encountering The Fisher King.

But. What first seemed like the series giving us *another* serial killer who apparently can't kill someone at point-blank range with a gun soon becomes a clever trick. Were the writers *pretending* to fail as they did with "The Fisher King: Part 2", only to be able to pull the rug from under the viewers' feet when The Reaper's diabolical intentions are finally revealed? If so, bravo!

Also, with The Reaper, Criminal Minds seems to finally have found its own Jack of All Trades (The Profiler). What The Reaper does to Hotch, forcing his family to be placed into protective custody so that Hotch cannot stay in contact with them, causing him to live in constant suffering makes The Reaper one of the most sadistic criminal masterminds ever. And he has a cool name too!

Yet, there is more. With the Reaper - Hotch situation developed into a state where The Reaper is (for now) *constantly* in the picture, without actually being present, the whole series finally embraces a fulfilling continual narrative its been so decisively trying to avoid for four years in favor of new-viewer-friendly stand-alone episodes. Yes, Criminal Minds is still not The Wire, but hey, *nothing* is The Wire. And if one wants a non-HBO example for fairness's sake (The Wire not having the network-enforced limitations that Criminal Minds does), we can say that Criminal Minds is still not Babylon 5, Fringe or Lost. Yes, they are not in the Crime Procedural genre that has been overflowing since CSI made it so popular, but all three had a grand plan from the beginning, even if B5 and Lost did not manage to realize it as originally intended. Bottom line: Criminal Minds just *evolved*. In this sense, it feels like Supernatural - a show that after a few (three to be exact) flawed seasons found redemption and became must-see-TV (for seasons 4 and 5 at least).

One almost forgets that The Reaper is not the Unsub of the Week. The actual main plot is clever, gripping stuff too, even though after a wonderful twist the climax is a bit of a disappointment. However, overall, this is still great, 8/10, stuff and proves that after four seasons of wildly variating episode quality, Criminal Minds is *not* yet out of the game.

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Season 5 gets off to a promising start

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
30 June 2016

For me, Season 5 is one of the better overall seasons of 'Criminal Minds', and while it's one of the very best episodes of the season "Faceless, Nameless" gets the season off to a very promising start.

As ever, "Faceless, Nameless" looks great, everything looks slick and stylish in the way it's shot and edited, the locations are striking and well chosen and the way it's lit is in a way that's not inappropriately bright or too dark that you can't see what's going on. The music is sparingly used, but utilised when used in a way that's fitting with the mood and not being intrusive, jaunty or pedestrian. It doesn't enhance as such, but it never distracts either. The theme tune still haunts and hypnotises.

The writing is very strong on the whole, though the somewhat too close banter between Garcia and Morgan is overdone and can be annoying in general on the show (it also seems unrealistic considering the job) and it's true in "Faceless, Nameless". The main case is very compelling, tightly but never too hurriedly paced and it doesn't feel convoluted or underdeveloped. The flashbacks between Hotch and Foyet are absolutely chilling.

Charles S. Carroll directs solidly, and the characters are written well with a nice dynamic in the team. The unsub is well played and solidly written if somewhat forgettable compared to other unsubs on the show. To be honest, Foyet's return here and his torture and taunting of Hotch is much more memorable. The performances are very good, with Paget Brewster and Matthew Gray Gubler coming off strongest of the regulars and C. Thomas Howell being unforgettably creepy.

Overall, a promising start for Season 5. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An okay season premiere

Author: LoveIsAStateOfMind from United Kingdom
29 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Where to start? Prentiss being awesome and being in total ~CRISIS~ mode throughout the whole episode. Reid being awesome. Garcia keeping it together after Emily tells her about Hotch. Hotch/ex-wife. Hotch/his son. Seriously, can't handle so many character-based moments in one CM episode. Head might explode.

Paget Brewster <3. Emily Prentiss you rock my world. The way she had to deal with her friends and colleagues basically get put into hospital one by one and she was always on point. I love how focused she was when she told Garcia not to tell the others. And after she's had to deal with seeing Hotch in a hospital bed unconscious, she then has to hear Reid getting shot over the phone.

The imagery of the SWAT guy squashing one of Jack's toy soldiers as they went upstairs. OMG when they burst into the bedroom and scared Hayley! I think I would have been just as shocked as she was if I'd just been standing there doing housework when armed men burst into my bedroom! Reid! Reid! Why is it always Reid?! Lol. Nice way to write Matthew's injury into canon.

Hayley/Hotch. Hotch/Jack. Awwwh. Finally they follow up on that, especially since Season 1 was quite focused on his family.

What's up with Rossi/Joe's left eye? The case was okay, nothing special. The Foyet arc is really creepy. Like Hotch says, he's not like other serial killers in that he can resist the urge to kill if he wants so now I'm really curious how the team are going to catch him, and I really hope Hotch's family is okay.

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