"Criminal Minds" Minimal Loss (TV Episode 2008) Poster

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No loss of power here
TheLittleSongbird20 December 2016
Season 4 is a very strong contender for the best season of 'Criminal Minds'. A season with so many classics (like "The Big Wheel", "Zoe's Reprise" and "Conflicted" to name a few), some of the best of the whole show, and one where even weaker episodes such as "Demonology" and "Catching Out" are still watchable.

"Minimal Loss" is only Season 4's third episode and already it sets up the season's very high overall standards brilliantly, for me it was even better than the previous two episodes (which were still very solid) of the season. Sure, it is different from the norm in terms of type of story and concept, something that may raise slight alarm bells because 'Criminal Minds' have done numerous attempts at changes of pace and while some fare very strongly others fail quite badly.

That was in no way a hindrance at all, because while it is one of not many non-serial killer episodes and profiling is minimal the episode is such a masterpiece of characterisation and emotional impact that those reservations are easy to forget about. Even not enough JJ and Garcia (Garcia especially is barely in it) didn't come as that much of a concern for me, underuse or side-lining of characters as well as over-prominence can be an issue on 'Criminal Minds'.

Just for the record, in its prime 'Criminal Minds' is one of my favourite and most watched shows. It's nowhere near as good now, with still some outstanding and good episodes but from Season 6 onwards the quality has been wildly inconsistent and when at its worst it is really bad. "Minimal Loss" is up there as one of the top 10 episodes of Season 4.

Production values as always are as always extremely high with lots of style and atmosphere, there is some slow motion (something that in general doesn't do much for me and is abused a lot) in the climax but it actually added to the tension and isn't overused. The music sets the heart racing and some of the most mood-enhancing of any episode from the earlier seasons. The script is tight and thought-provoking, making one really care about what happens to the characters.

In "Minimal Loss" the storytelling is a triumph. Effortlessly absorbing, and filled to the brim with suspense, chills and poignancy, making for one powerful episode complete with a shocking climax. Prentiss' treatment is gut-wrenching and while one feels sorry for her her bravery also shines. Also striking is Rossi's compassion and Hotch's conflict (showing him as much more than a cold character, never personally thought he was but there are people around who do), as well as Hotch's loyalty to the team and Rossi's loyalty to him.

Direction is alert yet expansive, while the acting at its best was exceptional though absolutely nobody was bad (AJ Cook and Kirsten Vangsness fare weakest but in no way due to their acting but to do with screen time). Matthew Gray Gubler and especially Paget Brewster, displaying some of the best acting she ever did on 'Criminal Minds', are the standouts of the leads, which makes sense as they are the central characters to the action. Luke Perry is more than up to their level as well.

Overall, a classic episode with no loss of power. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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Not bad, just not Criminal Minds
rwk220 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Why are Reid and Prentiss involved with this cult? Possible sex scandal, OK, but it's not a serial killer. Tragic yes but not really in their job description.

The whole set-up of the local Colorado ATF agents lying to one of the top departments of the FBI is a little off too. It probably would happen at a lower level, but undercover agents headed right into a planned high-risk attack zone? Is there even a possible good outcome to that scenario?

Watching this episode I just wasn't drawn in. Didn't care about the 90210 leader of a cult of wackos. You know Reid and Prentiss will make it out alive and none of the other characters really matter. Proving it, when the only other agent, a local child services cop, gets killed by a stray bullet no one even remarks on it.

Also, was Prentiss raped, or just slapped around? At the end of the episode when she's talking to Reid it seemed like she was talking about rape but during the show it just showed her get hit. Maybe the scene was cut as too graphic?

And I really need to get this off my chest: why the hell isn't Reid made to take some sort of self defense and weapons training classes? How many times has he been smacked around by a crazy loon on the job? Wouldn't you learn how beat somebody down in that position? He's in the freakin' FBI!
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