I can only say that THIS is what I've been waiting for! A tight, intricate case, our genius team of geniuses working to their strengths and focusing on the job, an unsub that isn't explained down to the last detail within the first five minutes, AND no graphic in-your-face gore!
Oh, old CM, how I've missed you!
This ep reminds me of 'Distress' way back in season 2 in every good way. An unsub whose motivations are mysterious, a team that works together, and a plot that makes me sit up and pay attention! Felix knows how to keep a tight pace, how to tease and invite the viewer in to play along with the profilers, how to "show" that evil and blood is happening without smearing our faces with it. (That scene with Dolan shooting through the closet doors made me shout - "yes! this is how to do it!")
Although we knew who the killer was right away, we had no idea exactly what he was doing or what was provoking him. The tiny hint of the injury to his forehead went a long way in provoking theories in my house, and was beautifully subtle. The way he examined each of his neighbors was so expertly done to show that something was off about him, but off in a not-obvious way. And the quick, decisive action he took at the office was startling and kinda masterful in a 'holy crap' manner.
Reid's spouting about Dr. Who! I love a good geek reference, and, hey, that did sound like an awesome con experience! In fact, each of our profilers was more him- or herself than I've seen them act in a very, VERY long time! Of course Reid knew about this obscure disease that could rob a person from recognizing his closest loved ones. (And didn't that play out perfectly? Wouldn't a SEAL who had been in nasty, scary places he could never share be one who would lean towards paranoia and violence in this case?)
Rossi takes charge as only a Marine would! Fantastic on the phone and confronting Dolan. Well done! And JJ worked the press conference with Morgan - and yet still has the new, shiny cojones to stand up to the Pentagon guy! Go new JJ! Hotch is fully in Team Lead mode when he takes over the FBI tech center (with Garcia!!! Yeah to the Tech!!) and shoots orders out in that commanding voice of his - great interaction with his team, as well. Yes, I'm gushing, but I missed this, I missed these characters so much!
Two off notes: Morgan is way too controlled, way too soft and gentle with Prentiss for my taste. That convo at the end was too much sweetness and "aw" for my palate. And she's turned the tables in only a week, hasn't she? Morgan is allowed to be hurt and upset, but Reid isn't? Weird dynamic there, but I suppose maybe they're showing that it is still a bit weird between Morgan and Prentiss.
The other off note: Garcia's banter. While I welcomed its return - she is bright and shining in this dark world - it was forced and over the top. The "whistle" line especially wasn't in any way appropriate just then. Garcia can make me smile when she is funnily awkward (like on a speakerphone with others listening) but this was a bit cringe-worthy.
But those two winces could not in any way undo the brilliance that was this episode. High, high kudos to Mr. Alcala especially for his directing. This is how it should be done, kiddies. And to Ms. Watson for knowing who these characters are and wrapping them up in a great case to give back to the loyal fans.