A great episode with great guest stars, humour, depth, action and plenty of Joe Mantegna. Can't go wrong with that. For me, this is the season opener. Criminal Minds came back again. Hey, go Shawn! The first time ever I've applauded a gun-smuggling killer
There is so much to comment on, which is my first point really. The writers and director kept all these balls in the air: the story from the past, the personal consequences of old decisions for Rossi, the current investigation, the touching relationship between Ray and Shawn, the Garcia and Reid humour, a professional Morgan, even Hotchner's stuff was there in balance with the rest. No one story bullied the others. And all was done with pace and assurance. Loved the guest stars. That's one thing that CM is doing better and better these days. Terrific to see Vincent Guastaferro [sp?], a genuinely talented and unshowy actor. He got the detective's slightly bemused eager character perfectly and you could see how the detective was privately enjoying the experience of dealing with the FBI. Cynthia W - the difference between that harsh voice on the phone, and her soft-voiced 'Ben?' when she became frightened - she created so much tension in that opening sequence. Rossi's my favourite character on the show, so it was great to learn more of his past and what makes him work. Interesting that this is the first time we've seen him explain himself to anyone - when he told Hotch the truth of his relationship with Emma. I guess he didn't want the lie to survive. Mantegna is so bloody good. He does bad ass and soft-heart right side by side and you believe in it all. Rossi's interrogation scenes are always intriguing and so it was good to have another. And it's a sign of how things have improved between him and Morgan that Morgan didn't fall out of trust with R in that scene. A few snippets. Hey, they replayed tape from the interview to fill in what had occurred. When does that ever happen on CM? Usually it's as if life could be directed as well as a programme and everything just segues together. In the same vein: Garcia and Reid interrupting each other. At LAST! The profile gets presented each week with one voice after another, and no one interrupts or gets talked down. So this was a pleasure to see. Especially Garcia getting the crossword clue. Ah - and doesn't this sum up the amount of stuff the episode took on? You have the humour of that exchange just moment's before the guy is killed. Shawn and Ray - their relationship was touching. I liked as well that Rossi simply said 'He was my friend' to the judge who called him a criminal. Rossi's honest about the personal things. But when Ray said, 'I'm not helping the FBI; I'm helping an old friend', Shawn understood that rightly to be himself - not Rossi. Honesty is one thing; loyalty is another. These and the judge were the loyal guys who had stuck by each other. I've given it 10, which is ridiculous. Nothing deserves 10. But I guess I'm relieved to have the show back that I can respect and love.
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