Criminal Minds: Season 7, Episode 1

It Takes a Village (21 Sep. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.1
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It's been seven months since Prentiss' death, and three months since JJ returned to the unit to fill Prentiss' empty position. Ever since Prentiss' death, Morgan had been working to find ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Senator Cramer
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Chloe Donaghy
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Lachlan McDermott
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Declan
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Storyline

It's been seven months since Prentiss' death, and three months since JJ returned to the unit to fill Prentiss' empty position. Ever since Prentiss' death, Morgan had been working to find and capture Prentiss' murderer, Ian Doyle, first unsanctioned but then within the scope of the team but still without any government authority. It is because of that unsanctioned nature that the team members individually are appearing at a senate committee hearing into the case, which led to the death of two agents. Morgan felt the best way to locate Doyle was to locate his son, Declan, who Prentiss spent the better part of her post-Interpol life protecting. Morgan did find Declan. But Declan went missing shortly thereafter. The team didn't believe Doyle kidnapped Declan, but rather enemies of Doyle's did. Hotch decided that one person could have special insight into the case, and made a unilateral decision to bring her in much like the unilateral decision he made without the team's knowledge seven ... Written by Huggo

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21 September 2011 (USA)  »

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Trivia

At one point, Strauss says forcefully, "How the HELL did this happen," and Rossi looks over at her, surprised. In another scene, Strauss joins Reid on a bench outside the hearing, and helps herself to a mint. These two indications that Strauss might have had alcohol on her breath seem like small clues to her drinking problem revealed later in the season. See more »

Goofs

The senator asks JJ at the beginning of her testimony if her team was reduced to 4 members. She replies that yes, it consisted of agents Rossi, Morgan, herself, and technical analyst Penelope Garcia. Flashbacks throughout the remainder of the show clearly depict that Doctor Reid has also continued working as part of the BAU team. His ongoing participation brings their roster at the time in question to a total of 5 personnel, not 4. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Senator Cramer: And how long have you been back with the bureau?
Jennifer Jareau: Three and a half months, sir.
Senator Cramer: A lot has happened since then. Sabbaticals, transfers, reassignments. Four of you remained in the unit?
Jennifer Jareau: Agents Rossi, Morgan, and I were there with our technical analyst, Penelope Garcia.
Senator Cramer: You had 14 cases in that time.
Jennifer Jareau: Seventeen, sir.
Senator Cramer: Oh, yes. In 14 weeks. That's impressive.
Jennifer Jareau: Thank you.
Senator Cramer: But what's more impressive is the fact that you were reinstated, promoted, and suspended in that short time. I believe ...
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Minefield
26 March 2012 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

After Prentiss' "death" in #6.18, "Lauren", the six remaining episodes managed 6/10 at best. They were lacking, in more ways than one. It was also troubling that Seaver (Rachel Nichols) was not even given a proper exit scene in the season finale. As of this episode, she's just gone. Prentiss (Brewster) and JJ (Cook, already present in Season 6 finale) are back, so all the writers need is to come up with a satisfying conclusion to the Doyle arc.

They fail. First of all, they reuse the hearing structure from #5.9, "100", the conclusion of the Reaper arc that did irreparable damage to the credibility of the series. It barely worked then, now it just doesn't. At start, we are told in the hearing that "two members of the team" are dead, yet we are shown JJ and Morgan alive, limiting the possible dead core members to Prentiss, Rossi, Reid and Hotch. Knowing that this is also Prentiss' return to fold, the stakes are effectively halved immediately.

It gets worse. Sooner than you can say "Redshirt", two nameless agents are revealed to be the dead ones. Way to keep up the suspension! The writers do, however, introduce a mystery to the flashbacks: someone had Declan, but it was not Doyle. A new player to mix up the game?

Then comes the heart of the episode: Hotch and JJ revealing to others that Prentiss' death was staged and the funeral merely a hoax. Conveniently, there is no time for Morgan to blow his fuse or Reid to point out to Hotch that the team leader betrayed his partners. Everyone must rush to find Declan.

Cue more retconning. Contrary to original status, Declan's mother isn't dead either! Doyle was only lying in Season 6. It's hard to believe the writers would have planned this when most of the stuff on this show is made up as they go along and retconning has become more common.

From thereon, it's all downhill. Sure, the climax stirs some adrenaline, but what the writers still haven't grasped is that for the audience, it is *really* hard to care about the fates of characters introduced in the same episode. Also, just like with Hotch totally losing it with the Reaper, the team breaking the strict rules and going all Jack Bauer, everyone is only chastised with a stern speak. They will be "closely" watched. Really? Seriously?

Ultimately, it's a combination of elements that are faulty already on their own - together they just make the whole episode collapse. Over-complicated plotting. Limited character moments. Lack of suspension of disbelief. Worst, once again the writers have forgotten that important rule of drama: "Without a sacrifice there is no heroism." It's also practically a safe bet that this show will *never* pull an "Amber Benson" on us like Joss Whedon infamously did in Buffy... This is a barely tolerable 4/10 and understandably I was ready give up hope, but surprisingly, the next episode, "Proof", is actually great!


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