This episode was "only okay". By only okay, I mean it was the same boring casework as I generally see on CSI. I'm used to my brain being stimulated by CM - even the poor episodes I enjoy poking at the plotholes. In this there were few plotholes - it was simply bland.
When I saw the final kidnapping of Aidan the boy, I noticed there were another fifteen minutes to go on the episode. I wondered what on earth they could use to pad this time - typically they identify the unsub within seven to five minutes before the end of the episode. As I expected, there was a very boring, long winded scene of explanation of the unsub's evil plot a la James Bond - I even got the feeling that the director had instructed the actors to speak extra slowly so as to pad out the episode. This was incredibly frustrating. There was virtually no team dynamic, save for the short conversation between Reid and Blake about Reid's cancelled date at the beginning, and then the short Morgan and Garcia scene at the end. The slowness of the episode could have simply been fixed by adding more team dynamic.
The profiling was bordering on painful. I cried out, "Well, duh!" when the team realised the unsub was targeting substitutes for the victims of the previous killer. I fail to understand why it took half an hour of screen time for the team to figure this out. There were many profiling points that were completely off the wall and impossible for the characters to figure out without reading the script. There was much repetition - the unsub would explain something about his character, and next scene the BAU would just repeat this to the viewer. I found myself very bored - which I rarely am while watching CM - and a little sleepy. This may be why I cannot remember specifics on this repitition, but something JJ said towards the end comes to mind.
I won't rewatch the episode for the purpose of remembering more specifics for this review. I should not have to work this hard to enjoy an episode.
I'm very sick of seeing the unsub before the team reveals him. What the writers did early seasons was much more effective. I return to the comparison between the BAU and the Knights of the Round Table: they vanquish the dragons, the monsters under the bed. When the unsub is revealed before the team finds him, he is not a monster; he is a man. A simple person, no more, no less, and therefore not so frightening to the audience.
I fail to understand why the writers continue to do this - I know they're talented. They seem to believe they can churn out whatever simple topic they want and they will get paid regardless. This might be true, but they risk doing a "House" and running a great show into the ground so badly that people cannot even enjoy the early seasons, with their memories of how poorly the show turned still poisoning their mind.
I give this episode a 5, for bland, boring, not good and not bad - a complete "meh".