While tracking a family annihilator, the BAU must seek advice from "The Fox," one of the most horrific killers from the team's past who has an ominous message for Agent Hotchner.While tracking a family annihilator, the BAU must seek advice from "The Fox," one of the most horrific killers from the team's past who has an ominous message for Agent Hotchner.While tracking a family annihilator, the BAU must seek advice from "The Fox," one of the most horrific killers from the team's past who has an ominous message for Agent Hotchner.
It's the interactions with Hotch, Prentiss and Arnold that make this episode work particularly well. Arnold's dialogue is just as chilling as in "The Fox", even though he is not committing murders here and is incarcerated he still has that sadistic edge. Neal Jones again, even if looking a little different, does exceptionally, not just in the delivery of these chilling lines, and of the relishing of the inappropriateness towards Prentiss (reminding one of Jacob Dawes in Season 1's "Riding the Lightning") but also his delight at Hotch's fright and despair at the end of the episode is spine-tingling.
Prentiss and Arnold's interactions also have genuine tension, tells so much about both of them and the case and has surprising nuance. It is agreed that Paget Brewster's acting here is truly phenomenal, Prentiss was always one of the high-points of 'Criminal Minds' but Brewster delivers some of her best acting here with a multi-layered and moving performance that does bring tears to the eyes. Also love the chemistry between Prentiss and Hotch, reminding one of how strong the BAU team are and how well they get on together and are supportive of one another. Thomas Gibson brings his usual stoic seriousness to Hotch, and between Hotch and Arnold, the acting of both Gibson and Jones at the end being one of the more subtle acting highlights.
The rest of the team don't shine quite as well, which is a shame, but they are not side-lined either and they are still interesting and true to character, no dumbing down or out of character moments. The mystery is diverting, with an unsub that one hates but feels sort of bad for, very good tension and suspense if not quite as much as "The Fox", interesting profiling and a twist reveal that nobody sees coming in a million years (it is left to the imagination as to how the "admirer" knew that the team would go to Arnold, as it's not clear in the episode, but in no way does it bring the episode down). The very end is a bit abrupt and could have been rounded off a little more.
Writing is tight, tense, harrowing and has some emotional impact, and it's all solidly paced and directed. Although Jones, Gibson and especially Brewster give the best performances, absolutely nobody is bad. As always "Outfoxed" has a real sense of slickness, atmosphere and high production values and the music is well-suited to the drama without enhancing or distracting from it.
On the whole, a gem from Season 5 if not quite one of the masterful ones. 9/10 Bethany Cox
- Jul 10, 2016