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"Criminal Minds" Proof (2011)

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Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
26 September 2016

Again, not a 'Criminal Minds' classic, also not a low-point. "Proof" however is a good episode, and although to me "It Takes a Village" was a solid start to Season 7 this was the better episode.

It is definitely creepy and unsettlingly disturbing, definitely the creepiest Season 7 ever got. At the same time, the torture/murders were disturbing to the maximum there are worse examples of unnecessarily gratuitous scenes in 'Criminal Minds', the nature of the torture and murders added to the atmosphere and may have made even more of an impact if the episode provided a reason for that particular method.

In a way, the reputation somewhat that "Proof" has for being uncomfortable to watch by some has to me been exaggerated. "Proof" is definitely creepy, the creepiest Season 7 ever got and the scariest episode of 'Criminal Minds' since perhaps "The Longest Night", but there are also more frightening episodes ("Mr Scratch", anyone, that terrified me but in a good way).

"Proof" as ever is very well made visually and hauntingly and melancholically scored, as well as directed with solidity and atmosphere. The script is tight and thought-provoking, with Reid's dialogue being both heartfelt and rays of sunshine. The repercussions of Prentiss' return and the deception generally is developed more and more believable, with the only fault being Morgan being too implausibly forgiving too quickly, considering his tough guy attitude and considering the events in "Lauren" it would have been perfectly natural that he was the one most angry and most affected.

Reid's hurt and anger here is absolutely understandable and justified, especially when one considers how big the lie was that is not at all easy to forgive in a hurry. Can not be a fan of the team unwinding/"happy families" endings, but it was very sweet and not too sappily overdone and said a lot about the team dynamic. The case/story itself is incredibly high on the creepy and suspense factor, which more than made up for the occasional predictability and lack of surprises.

With a killer that's interesting, deceptively disarming and harmless but actually frighteningly dangerous, one's scared of him but considering his condition and why he killed there is a pang of sympathy. The unsub is developed well, and the story develops and evolves very well if rather too quickly too soon. The last scene with the watching of the video was not necessary though, we were told it was going to happen earlier we didn't need to be shown it too, especially one that jarred with what happened before.

Acting is strong, Matthew Gray Gubler is particularly brilliant of the typically great work from all the regulars. Andy Milder excels with a character incredibly difficult to pull off, portraying somebody with a developmental disorder/condition is one of the hardest tasks to get pitch perfect in acting (on the same level as portraying a blind person), Milder does so valiantly and although the speech awkwardness is occasionally forced he very nearly nails what the role demanded.

Overall, good and hugely atmospheric episode. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Criminal Minds at its finest

Author: herman-kilk
14 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First - I am strongly disagreeing with another review here, which calls the episode horrible and disgusting and states that mentally challenged people are stigmatized as being violent and dangerous so it is a disgrace for the show to do so. In my opinion, when it comes to movies and TV shows, this is quite far from truth. Most of movies and TV shows out there (Criminal Minds usually included) almost always depict "slow" people in a very stereotypically Disneyesque positive manner: that despite their troubles they are very warm, kind, totally innocent and purespirited. And even if they happen do something bad they are always shown in a way, that should make us feel nothing else than sorry for them.

I feel sorry for them and I have known some wonderful people who are mentally challenged. But there are also others. And I admire that the show had guts to show that sometimes also these characters can be downright nasty creeps. By the way it did so by not robbing the character out of explanation. Hes condition was explained, there was also shown that he was laughed at in young age. But they did not present it as a way to totally vindicate the character.

And this episode was supreme. It was probably the scariest episode they had in two or three seasons. The affair was interesting and dark, but not unrealistically elaborate, the villain was human, he was explained,he was believable yet he was totally creepy and demonic (as the criminally insane are). And the episode had the sense of tension and unease that many horror feature films fail to have. I totally recommend.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Prentiss is back

Author: LoveIsAStateOfMind from United Kingdom
29 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The case was creepy and twisted but interesting. The Sulphuric acid though .....and when they showed the bodies with their eyes all burnt out. Eeek. And just the way a part of you still kind of feels sympathetic to the perp because of his disability and then you get to the end and you realise just how sick and twisted he is, disability or not.

I loved the Reid/JJ fallout. They have a very rare relationship that I don't think is mirrored on other shows <3. I love how they brought up Reid's drug addiction and how Prentiss' death almost caused him to relapse. How interesting would it have been if Reid had started using again - what would JJ have done? She'd be balancing Prentiss' safety in one hand and Reid's in the other. Interesting scenario - glad the drugs didn't make a reappearance though. I loved how Hotch tells Reid to be mad at him and Reid says "I can't. I didn't come to your house crying for 10 weeks." Can we rewind to those ten weeks and have a look at some of those Reid/JJ scenes please? See, I really really wanted Morgan/Prentiss fallout, especially after all they went through together! I know we got his mega shocked face last episode but is that really enough? That scene where she asks if he's annoyed at her too was pretty sweet, especially just the way he said "c'mon now, how can I be? You're here." But I think the wish for angsty Morgan/Prentiss outweighs the sweetness of that scene. I guess the writers didn't want to have two sets of characters not talking to each other at once? Morgan is taking it all remarkably well though and I don't really think that's in-character.

Also just generally the fact that the team now hangs out and goes to each other's houses - WOAH. It's like "hey, Emily's back from the dead. Sure Reid is a bit annoyed but oooh happy families time! Let's go to Rossi's mansion and have Hotch smile and have Rossi refer to the team as a family all in one episode because we are so grateful to the fans we'll forget that the team don't necessarily have that bff relationship that the cast does!" Whatever, I'm not complaining if it gives us scenes like that last one <3.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A View from a Hole

Author: ttapola from Finland
26 March 2012

This is great! Faith on Criminal Minds was at an all-time low after the disastrous season opener, but this seems more like something from the far superior The Closer, the absolute ruler of the Crime Procedural Drama. The Closer contains no nudity, profanity or violence unacceptable on national TV - it plays by the same rules as Criminal Minds, yet almost always comes out on top in comparison.

This time, the world of Criminal Minds seems more like the world of The Closer: a complex mixture of endless shades of gray, multiple viewpoints and not just black and white, right and wrong. Also, the repercussions of Prentiss' return are now allowed to play out - something that was crucially lacking from the "All Is Well" spirited season opener.

Normally, it would be necessary to give spoilers in order to point out the flaws, but not here: The plot and unsub-of-the-week are both layered, complex and surprising. More importantly, everything holds up in the end. Most importantly, the disturbing atmosphere established in the opening refuses to dissipate over the course of the episode and for once, not everything ends up neatly tied up in a pretty package. The unsub's methodology has a progression similar to John Doe's in SE7EN, yet is different. The unsub is more human than ever before and harder to simply brand as "a psycho" or a sociopath. You might even feel sympathy for them. *This* will linger in the memory for a long time.

Without the damage to the overall credibility to Criminal Minds that the Reaper arc and the Doyle arc did to the series, this would be a 9/10. Now it's "just" an 8/10 - but that is still great!

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3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Horrible, disgusting episode.

Author: Michaela Spangenburg
1 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

People who are "slow" have been stigmatized as being dangerous and violent for years, to the point that these members of our society are often targets of violence themselves. Actually, people who are different in this way are no more violent than anyone else. To have such a stereotypical depiction done (and so poorly) was a discredit to this show, which really has been going steadily downhill for quite a while. I get why the couldn't get an actor with autism, down syndrome or retardation to take on this roll (as its so awful) but this just made it worse. The actor's depiction was a sad, unfunny caricature.

And JJ becoming a profiler? How canned. Along with the increasingly forced social interactions of the team, the mess with Prentiss, etc, I'm starting to think this show may have jumped the shark.

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