Little gore despite a lot of violence; multiple misdirections as to who the unsub really is, thus quite an amount of tension that glues the viewer to her seat; neat and brief character interactions, just enough to break the rigidity of the case; but most importantly, the team and the profiling, inarguably right at the centre.
Despite the fact that especially in the first half there was an overload of information which made it slightly difficult to follow what was going on, the complexity and solidness of the case is the main story that carries the show, as it should be. As opposed to the scattered, out-of-character and distracting character scenes we've seen in some past episodes, the interactions in this one are tidy and purposeful in providing much needed comedic relief, as well as giving us those much-missed glimpses into the characters' lives.
One thing that's slightly worrying is that the writers should keep better track of what has already been established as the characters' backgrounds. I'm certain that Reid was a CalTech graduate, not MIT; and I'm a little tired of Rossi having a seemingly endless pool of old cases that he somehow always manages to remember details from on spot. As it's been noted already, he should've been retired 'ten years ago', so he can't have been working on the high-school shooter/bomber case.
These are tiny details, but they are important to the integrity, and to the quality of the show.
On the other hand, so long as we get such solid, well-written, case-and-profiling centered episodes, it's not too difficult to look past these minor things. Hopefully the writers will keep at minimizing the gore while giving us just enough to imagine the damage, and keep at the mystery, because the not knowing about the unsub is seventy per-cent what keeps the show going.
I'm hopeful that the season will carry on in this fashion. And so long as that happens, I'll be happy that Criminal Minds is, despite last year, still Criminal Minds.