Review of Valhalla

Criminal Minds: Valhalla (2011)
Season 6, Episode 17
8/10
The Art of Redemption
29 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I have to praise this episode. Over the past seasons, I've been very *critical* of Criminal Minds because of its un-evenness. There are gems, but there are also turkeys. This applies to almost every series ever made (The Wire being *one* notable exception). However, continuity and believability seem to be of a lesser and lesser concern for the show-runners of Criminal Minds as time goes by. But this latest mini-arc that centers on Prentiss goes a long way to redeem Criminal Minds' credibility and has already almost made me forget the mess that was The Reaper arc. Almost.

Though we are not yet at the climax, this episode stands out because it is a Format Breaker. Yes, there is a killer of the week, but it's not an isolated case and the way it connects to the big picture is handled really well. Criminal Minds has rarely been this captivating, their opponent so compelling. We get new information and twists at a steady feed, plus genuine shocks, the biggest of which is pretty hard to see coming. From script to the final product, all is great. There is even a firefight that is reminiscent of Michael Mann's classic Heat, and, unlike in most other cases that recall Heat, this firefight does not come across as a botched homage or imitation.

So why not more than an 8/10? Well, the story hasn't climaxed yet and there really is nothing *exceptional* here, "only" solid craftsmanship. Also, the whole "the Secret Past of Emily Prentiss" idea is still Retconning, no matter how well done. And master storytellers do not resort to Retconning - they plan everything *in advance*. Yes, in American TV this sadly often leads to potential left unrealized as shows planned to run 3 to 5 years are canceled after Season 1 (see Invasion, FlashForward, The Event, etc.)... but *the fact* remains. That being said, one cannot wait for the climax episode.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

Recently Viewed