I love the character of Penelope Garcia. I love that she's so outside the box of the FBI norm, that she's bright and colorful and endearing. I love that she's unique and quirky and so completely brilliant as a tech analyst and so completely unwilling to look too long at the evil that the team deals with every day. I love her interrelationships with each team member, from her "liege," "lord and master" Hotch, to Rossi who has come to respect her deeply, to fellow-quirk and boy-wonder Reid, to silly-smoldering with Morgan and rock-on-girl-power with Emily. I love her back-story and her boyfriend, Kevin.
Just getting that out there.
Garcia wants to help - that's completely within her character. She wants to fill in the gaps and hold the line just as JJ did; she wants to somehow hold on to that friendship and camaraderie by taking over JJ's responsibilities. And she's willing to compromise to do so. That much is solid and admiration worthy.
Hotch letting her? Oh, no. Nope. Not seeing it. Training aside, quirkiness aside, strengths and skills aside, the leader of this team should be helping each member attain the highest level of skill he or she can, and should be determined to slot them into place where they can do the team the most good. He should be able to overlook emotional issues and make decisions for the good of the team and to enhance their abilities to solve cases and help people. He should not give in to wishes and dreams and impossibilities that are right in his face, no matter how sincere his teammates might be. He needs to be a boss. A leader.
He needs to focus on the CASE, on his job, on profiling and catching the bad guys. And so does the show.
So, while watching Garcia become a mirror image of sleek, straight-haired, power-suited JJ was hilarious and charming, it was way too spoofy to be believable, and added a layer of "huh?" to an otherwise good episode. And the "poof!" transformation of Garcia back into her colorful, quirky super-computer-sleuth after mild mannered JJ-clone disappeared was silly. What, did she bring that outfit along with her? Did she change in a nearby phone booth and emerge with her brain on straight and all the answers at her fingertips? Groan.
I love Guy Norman Bee. I love his directing, his story-telling, and his ability to draw the viewer into the world of the unsub. He's got a strange and horrible vision and he's always delivered. The first scene of the unsub watching the couple have sex in the car? Tres nasty. And a total "gotcha!" moment when the unsub shoots the husband.
The unsub was scary in his intensity. I loved that we really didn't know what the heck was going on with him for most of the ep. I love it when the team scrambles and gets it wrong before it gets it right. And, even though the "aha!" moment was rushed - AGAIN - it was good rising action that brought us to the pregnant wife.
I did not love the scene with Prentiss in the club. The team did not do its research, or listen to its own profile here - they should have known that she was using the wrong terminology, and that he, the alpha-male, was the one who did the choosing - he was not swayed by a pretty face or friendly patter. It was clumsy and awkward and hurried - and maybe that was the point, but it could have been better.
So, weak climax aside, I thought this ep - the case side of it, anyway - may have put our BAU team back on the right footing. Here's the ongoing problem, though: the dramaqueen moments, the emotions, the focus on Ellie Spicer's call and Garcia's transformation and Hotch's inability to lead are taking up too much time. Get back to the case. Get back to the focus on catching the bad guys at the 11th hour. Get back to the pacing and tension of a fantastic story and drop the interpersonal drama. Before it's too late.