The latest episode of Criminal Minds “Snake Eyes” opens with Curtis Banks (Dean Cain) looking disheveled and desperate as he fights with an unknown man for an unknown reason. I must say that I was startled by the seedy appearance of the character, Curtis. I was used to a more scrubbed up version of Dean Cain, but felt that the look suited the character as it emphasized that he was a man on the edge, driven by his compulsive gambling to kill to maintain his “winning” edge.
Dean Cain’s portrayal of Curtis hit all the right notes, his eyes even looked bloodshot, in keeping with a man who has not slept in days. Curtis is a perennial loser, literally living from moment to moment in search of the ever elusive “big one”.
I have been quite enjoying the light moments of the show, particularly the team moments, where the interactions between the profilers are juxtaposed with the intense scenes of the stress of profiling and capturing the UnSub. The recent episode did this quite well, especially when the team was convincing Rossi to put up his own money to stake Reid for the poker game that the Curtis has entered. You cold see and feel the affection and appreciate the undeniable love that has been forged throughout the years. I look forward to seeing more of that in the future.
I have to admit that I hadn’t thought of Mr. Cain as being able to pull off such a difficult role, but he did it for me. One scene in particular that struck me was the casino scene where the Tahitian Girl (Chasty Ballesteros) builds his confidence by telling Curtis that he had to continue killing to reach his goal. Curtis does not speak, but Mr. Cain began the scene looking dejected, but as his hallucination continued, he began to look re-energized, a man with a purpose and the ability to do what needs to be done. Mr. Cain did this without words, using his body language to convey the emotions the scene needed. Bravo, Dean Cain.
Props are also due to the actress who portrayed Teri, (Vanessa Branch) Curtis’ beleagured wife. Teri illuminated the frustration and despair of the loved ones of compulsive gamblers. During the scene in which she tells Curtis that she wants a divorce, you can see in her eyes the realization that her husband, the man she had pledged to spend her life with, had become a stranger. Well done, Ms. Branch. I felt that although she still loved her husband, she knew that their time together had to end, he was too destructive.
As the team closes in on Curtis, I was riveted by the confrontation between Rossi (Joe Mantegna)and Curtis. Rossi provided a semblance of calm and order as he tried to talk Curtis into letting Teri go.
Although I felt that the hostage scene was inevitable, Joe Mantegna took command of the scene, providing a reasonable, measured tone as the team maneuvered into place to free Curtis’ wife. I was especially taken by the background that was given as to the genesis of Curtis’ destructive behavior, which was Curtis’ father’s role in nourishing his son’s addiction at an early age, setting him onto the path of destruction. Rossi was large and in charge.
This episode was a riveting look at the consequences of compulsive gambling, not only to the gamblers themselves, but also to their loved ones, whose lives are also shattered by gamblers’ behavior.
So readers, what did you think of “Snake Eyes”? Inquiring minds want to know!
Tune into CBS on Wednesday nights at 8/9c for all-new episodes of Criminal Minds.