The BAU heads to St. Louis, Missouri where ten year old Andrew Taffert has gone missing. The reason it is a BAU case is that the Tafferts - father Malcolm Taffert and mother Lida Taffert - h... Read allThe BAU heads to St. Louis, Missouri where ten year old Andrew Taffert has gone missing. The reason it is a BAU case is that the Tafferts - father Malcolm Taffert and mother Lida Taffert - had been receiving prank calls from someone with a childlike voice stating "I'm gonna get y... Read allThe BAU heads to St. Louis, Missouri where ten year old Andrew Taffert has gone missing. The reason it is a BAU case is that the Tafferts - father Malcolm Taffert and mother Lida Taffert - had been receiving prank calls from someone with a childlike voice stating "I'm gonna get you", and that blood was splattered on their front door after Andy had gone missing. Reid n... Read all
"200" and "The Black Queen" are two of 'Criminal Minds' worst ever episodes, and then there are outstanding episodes like "Gabby" and this episode that are among the best of the latter seasons, along with "Nelson's Sparrow", "Mr Scratch" and "Entropy" (the best episode of a largely underwhelming season 11). "The Caller" is like "Gabby" in that everything that's great about it is executed brilliantly, with very little to fault.
Child abduction is not a new subject with 'Criminal Minds' or any show and both "Gabby" and "The Caller" could very easily have been standard episodes covering child abduction but both ended up as two of the show's best episodes on that theme. Particularly great about "The Caller" are the atmosphere, showing how child abduction affects the characters and how one really connects with the story and feel really strongly about what's happening. It is a horrible subject to begin with, but made even more harrowing and poignant by the way "The Caller" executes its story.
Atmospherically, it is one of the show's creepiest in recent years and maybe ever, with the phone calls so unnerving that it sends chills down the spine and also an unsub that really gives the creeps. The climax also bites the nails. However, "The Caller" is also very emotional, losing a child is one of the most heart-breaking things that can happen to anybody regardless of age or cause and it's handled very sensitively and poignantly here.
Judging it as a 'Criminal Minds' episode, "The Caller" is one of the episodes of the season and even in latter seasons to feel closer to what was so good about the earlier seasons (Seasons 1-5, Season 6 was when it became inconsistent). There is hard-core profiling, instead of it being underused or completely neglected, in favour of focusing too much on a character, there is more than enough to ensure that the team is taking the case for a reason and it's also clear that they're affected by the case. The team dynamic and how the characters come across as characters and their personalities are very well done too.
Love the more heroic than usual Reid, Rossi's sass, JJ's compassionate side that is slightly closer than the old JJ rather than the condescending action-like JJ that she became on return and Garcia's ingeniously clever exclamation that when taking the first syllables of each word spell out a rude phrase but cleverly disguised. Also did not have a problem with Blake, a character that took time to warm to but at least she started to feel less disconnected and cold and more in place, unlike Kate and Tara. The script is tight and intelligently thought-provoking and the acting is extremely good, with Matthew Gray Gubler standing out of the leads and a moving Doug Savant especially note-worthy of the uniformly good supporting cast.
My only complaints really for "The Caller" were Hotch being a cipher with barely anything to do and the unsub's basic motivation not expanded upon enough.
Overall, one of the best episodes of Season 9 and of the latter seasons. 9/10 Bethany Cox
- Oct 30, 2016