Criminal Minds is back from hiatus, with a new episode, “True Genius”. From the opening scenes with the young couple parked in a creepy location, there was an immediate sense of foreboding. What was up with this couple? Hadn’t they watched the same horror flicks that we had? Rule #1: NEVER park in a secluded wooded area and make out with your partner. We all knew what was coming…too bad that they were clueless as to the consequences.
The show featured a development of the Reid storyline, highlighting the dilemma of young prodigies that do not fulfill expectations from those around them once they age. The plot presented a case in which a prodigy, Caleb Rossmore,(Jeff Newburg) didn’t achieve his potential as a grown-up, unlike his best friend, Harvey Monroe,(Finn Wittrock) who was successful professionally and personally, while juxtaposing Reid’s doubt about his own personal success.
This episode shows the viewers that Reid is at a crossroads, in terms of both his career and in his life. He is pondering where the promise of his early years has gone. He is no longer a child prodigy, he is a man who is experiencing self-doubt. We see his struggle to come to terms with the reality of his situation and watch him mature before our eyes. This transformation begins when he takes control of a media situation with growing confidence.
The use of the original Zodiac killer helped showcase the genius mind at work, and was effective in showing how the original Zodiac killer was intelligent and methodical. As for the UnSub, the Zodiac killer was an inspiration, a guru of sorts that the UnSub desperately tried to emulate.
Speaking of the UnSub, he was introduced in a rather mysterious manner, with his face hidden and in darkness. The episode would have been improved if they had left the audience in the dark about the identity of the killer – Caleb or his engaged friend. This dampened the enjoyment of the episode a bit. The final scene in which Caleb and his friend are in the room with Harvey’s fiancee, Marisa, (Marissa Armijo) would have been much more exciting if the audience did not know the true identity of the imitation Zodiac killer until the final moments of the scene.
The guest stars were good, as always. Enjoyed the Patricia Cornwell cameo, the inclusion of Ms. Cornwell was consistent with the tone and subject matter of Criminal Minds.
The Reid/Prentiss scenes where Reid shares his doubts and fears with her were extremely well done and showed the connection between these two characters. Prentiss is able to tell when something is bothering Reid even when other team members are oblivious to his dilemma. As Reid confides in her, Prentiss gently and deftly helps him to get back on track with humor and insight. She does not allow him to wallow in self-pity, but gets him to use his incisive mind to discover clues to catch the killer.
As the team closes in on the killer, we see Reid truly come into his own, shedding the title of boy genius, and donning the mantle of full-fledged adult member of the team. Matthew Gray Gubler portrayed the changes that Reid experiences expertly, showing us not only the self-doubting, insecure Reid, but also the mature, confident Reid that was evident in the final showdown between himself and the former boy geniuses. The other members of the team were merely back up, the final showdown was Reid’s moment entirely. He was in full command of the situation and it showed. Kudos to Matthew Gray Gubler for his multi-layered portrayal,his acting was dead on.
So, readers, what did you think of “True Genius”? Inquiring minds want to know!
Criminal Minds airs Wednesday’s at 9pm on CBS.
Written by D. Ndiaye and A. Monteiro