Regardless of what or may not have happened in Season 6, this remains one of my favorite television shows. I confess to have been waiting many weeks for the Season 7 premiere, particularly in view of the fact that A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster were returning to the series and Thomas Gibson finally had his contractual problems sorted out.
The opening credits, I will admit, made me smile. It was good to see everyone back were they belong. At that point, I wasn't really concerning myself with the episode itself, I was just in a happy place, seeing the cast reunited - as I'm sure they were too!
The first problem I had, was the similarity to '100', where the team were interrogated by Erin Strauss, following the death of George Foyet. This time it was a Senate Committee who seemed determined to get to the bottom of the whole Ian Doyle/Emily Prentiss business. Once again, we had flashbacks from last season to show what we may or may not have missed had we not watched the last few episodes and then back to the Senate Committee as they questioned each team member individually about how it was that they found and captured an international terrorist - seemingly, without any assistance. I actually wouldn't mind that question answered myself. If several international governments and police organizations had been unable to find and capture Doyle, just how was it that Morgan and Garcia, virtually working alone, did the impossible?
Looking like Nancy Drew and one of the Hardy boys, Morgan and Garcia somehow managed - not only to find Doyle but also to capture him and locate his missing son Declan at the same time. Ordinarily, I would not find this unusual, if they whole team had been on board and proper profiling and logistics had been used. But it seemed as though every post was a winner, as these two intrepid detectives came up with ideas which just happened to hit the mark each time. They wouldn't tell J.J. what they were doing and they certainly didn't involve anyone else. But they obviously made it work. There was no profiling at all either, but I'm hoping the writers will remember that and add some next week...
Emily's reappearance was, to say the least, underwhelming. She looked terrified when she walked into the room, as though they would not want her there or not accept her. She needn't have worried however, because apart from Garcia - who was her usual warm and loving self - nobody seemed all that bothered by her return. It looked as though she had just stepped out for a bite of lunch and come back again. It was almost as though the team felt she was guilty of something, when in fact, it was Hotch and J.J. who deliberately misled the team into believing she was dead. Certainly not her fault as she was in a critical condition at the time.
I was stunned to say the least, that Morgan showed almost no reaction. The Derek Morgan I've been watching for 6 years would have screamed and ranted and raved and demanded to know why he had been lied to, to know why he had not been trusted with the truth and allowed to believe that he may have contributed to her death, due to his own belief that his response time was too slow. Reid acted like a sulky child while everybody else just looked around almost bored . J.J.'s explanation that they were 'in shock', doesn't cover it in the slightest. These people always refer to themselves as a family and if a member of your family, whom you have believed dead for several months suddenly turns up alive, whole and healthy, you would hardly be so devoid of reaction.
I can only assume that - hopefully - we have seen and heard the last of the Doyle storyline. I realise they had to wrap it up and they did so quite well, in spite of the fact there were several insignificant, completely useless and totally boring characters rushing in and out throughout the entire 40 minutes. It was not necessary to introduce Declan's mother, she served no purpose, the child almost was enough to carry that part of the storyline. And I think the young man in question did an excellent job of his role. As for that Chairman of the Senate Committee, if someone had pulled out a gun and shot him, I think they would have been awarded a medal. If I wanted to watch a repeat of the events following '100', I would have just watched that episode, I don't need to see it again to kick off the new season.
To me, A.J. Cook looked uncomfortable. I'm not talking about the character, I'm talking about the actress. It must have been very difficult for her being fired and then rehired again, just as I'm sure it was for Paget Brewster. However, you may call me selfish as I am truly delighted that they are all back together. Bring Mandy Patinkin back to join the team and I will be one happy camper. I hope that soon the writers get back to what we know (and love) best: profiling, hunting and apprehending criminals. Because that's what made this show so superb. I have decided to pretend that Season 6 did not exist so that I can hopefully enjoy Season 7 and beyond, without having to pick holes. Because I still believe that Criminal Minds has the potential and the cast to go back to being the best show on television.
Just one final little nit-picking issue, Emily, the next time a man who has tortured and tried to kill you, dies; please do not look sad about the entire event, you don't have to hide from him anymore. Thank goodness for Kirsten Vangsness, who seems to be able to find Garcia whenever we need her and heavens knows where we'd all be if she hadn't had the screw driver in her desk.
Believe me when I say, folks, I would LOVE to be able to give this episode a '10' because I am excited that it is once again on our screens and really looking forward to what may happen during Season 7. But I find that a 7 is as high as I can mark it because the writers have still not gotten it right. Let's hope with the team once more reformed, that will change.
Go Criminal Minds!!