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"Criminal Minds" The Silencer (2012)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not bad, but for a season opener it was disappointing

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
2 August 2016

'Criminal Minds' at its best was and still is one of my favourites. "The Silencer" is nowhere near one of the best episodes, but there has been far worse (especially from the misfires from Season 11), and this is including from Season 8.

"The Silencer's" biggest issue is the character of Alex Blake. Admittedly she is one of the better Prentiss replacements (at least she's not as dull or out of place as Callaghan or Lewis) and the chemistry between her and Reid is enjoyable as is her tension with Strauss (who is as cold and uninteresting as ever). However she generally doesn't fit with the rest of the team, her personality at this point of her two season stint is not easy to be engaged in and she just seems disconnected with everything around her. Jeanne Tripplehorn does her best with what she has, which is not much.

What's more, that there is too much prominence on her hurts the episode, especially when it means that there is not enough of some of the BAU. For example Garcia is still a ray of sunshine when she appears but she is underused, but worse Rossi who is practically invisible. The case itself also evoked a mixed reaction. There are some tense and suspenseful moments, with a very well staged crash and escape scene that saw everybody doing wonders with a small space, but the unsub's story does feel second fiddle to the introduction of Blake which makes for some draggy stretches and parts that could have been explored a touch more. It is a shame because it is a pretty good and atmospheric case that should have been better balanced out and the unsub is both creepy and one that one feels sorry for.

Production values however are very high, with the usual atmospheric stylishness and audaciousness, while the music is haunting and melancholic. The dialogue is thought-provoking and mostly tight, with a nice dynamic between the BAU team, while the direction is as solid as ever and there are some great moments with the story that one wishes that that quality was contained consistently, as well as some terrific use of profiling and procedural aspects (always a huge part of the appeal of 'Criminal Minds'). There is some very effective fore-shadowing of the season's on-going story arc towards the end, which makes one sad that such potential fizzled out so badly at the end of the season.

Acting is very good from all the regular cast members, and the unsub is chillingly and poignantly played.

In summary, a somewhat disappointing season opener but not a bad episode. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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