Criminal Minds: Season 5, Episode 22

The Internet Is Forever (19 May 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.5
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A serial killer in Boise, Idaho is revealed to have been posting his murders on the Internet, accumulating quite a collection of fans in the process.

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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A.J. Cook ...
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Detective John Fordham
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Austin Chapman
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Brad
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Unsub / Robert Johnson
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Norma Renmar
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David Caston
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Louise Hightower
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Lucy Masters
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Storyline

Three young women have gone missing from Boise, Idaho in the last six months, each abducted from their home without signs of forced entry. Through Garcia, the BAU learn that the unsub is tracking these women through social networking sites, and that the unsub, using those sites to tell the victims' friends that "they are on vacation". The BAU assume the unsub has already murdered his victims. The BAU find out how the unsub manages to get into the houses when they find evidence in the houses. They also quickly learn that the unsub is using the Internet for more than just tracking his victims. When Reid figures out the similar physical characteristics of the victims, the team are able to put together a profile. As the BAU get closer to figuring out who the unsub is and his next potential victim, he becomes more brazen by taunting the BAU who he knows is watching him. It becomes a war between computer expert Garcia against the unsub computer expert. Written by Huggo

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19 May 2010 (USA)  »

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David Rossi: [voiceover, closing] The internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had. - Eric Schmidt
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References Twilight Zone (1959) See more »

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Furthest from the Truth
30 September 2011 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

Season 5 of Criminal Minds has definitely been the most disturbing. It's apparent that the show-runners are pushing boundaries, and that is a good thing *if* it produces innovative, gripping episodes. "The Internet Is Forever" sure seems to be one: it's turning the social networks of Internet as the hunting grounds for the unsub(s) of the week. An environment familiar to modern people and therefore all the more relate-able. After this episode, you should be just a little bit more terrified of the social networks. Also, after Rossi's questioning of the point of the social networks should make you think about spending less time logged into them. These are both excellent points.

But the episode is just starting. The victims are not just picked from the social networks. The situation is much worse. It has been dealt with in the flawed but horrifying 2002 movie My Little Eye. So, Criminal Minds is recycling an idea almost a decade old. If you've seen the movie, you can pretty much guess where the episode is going – the new addition is the social networks that did not exist in 2002. Not that recycling an idea is bad in itself – some remakes and re-imaginations are actually better than the original idea. And as this episode progresses, it starts to seem that it will bury My Little Eye forever. The tension builds masterfully, and things get more and more disturbing. There is a sequence around the middle of the episode that is just nerve-wracking, making this one of the most memorable of the 112 episodes the series has produced by this point.

Then, just as it seems the writers are about to pull a classic where the unsub is a criminal mastermind (Rossi even describes him as one) to rival Hannibal or John Doe, they find their creation to be *too* much for the BAU to be able to logically capture. So, instead of doing a rewrite where the unsub is less genius, the writers lower themselves into using the old, tired cliché of the dreaded Enhance Button, through the use of which the BAU is able to determine the unsub's location and catch him. For those unaware of this trope, a brief description: The Enhance Button is a trope where a photo or video image is "enhanced" (hence the name) by *enlargening* it. And it always produces details that earlier where too tiny for the eye to see. There is just one serious problem with the Enhance Button: it is *factually* impossible to do in real life – it would require magic, and the last time I checked, Criminal Minds was not a fantasy show (except when it comes to science, ironically). Why doesn't the Enhance Button work in reality? Because the laws of physics and mathematics state that You. Can. Not. Create. Information. That. Already. Wasn't. There. There is such a thing as 'focus' on both photographs and video. Unless your high definition camera is *focused* on the area being enlarged, all you get is pixellated mush. Try it. And so, with this fatal flaw, the whole episode collapses like a house of cards. Not the first time in the history of the series. Sadly, probably not the last. Because of the flaw, the entire ending becomes implausible, a mere fantasy, and runs this potential 9/10 to the gutter of 4/10. A real shame. And an insult to the viewers' intelligence.


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