CRIMINAL MINDS “Painless” Review

CRIMINAL MINDS “Painless” Season 7 Episode 4 – School shootings are a particularly sensitive topic to tackle, yet they’ve become a staple of all crime shows. It’s perhaps ironic that the best television episode of a school shooting was not a crime procedural, but a much maligned soap: One Tree Hill‘s portrayal of a school shooting was surprisingly effective, both in terms of featuring an actual plot and driving the story forward with the death of Keith. This episode of Criminal Minds still does not top One Tree Hill‘s but it continued with last week’s run of mediocrity, which, I suppose, is miles better than downright disgusting.

The best part of the episode was the little character moments: Reid and Morgan’s prank wars provided a few rare chuckles, Hotch bonded with his son and tried to reconcile feelings over his dead wife. My favorite moment was a small scene where Reid outed JJ for being queen of mean in high school while she nailed him for hustling Morgan. It was sweet and endearing and I’m a sucker for banter.

I don’t really want to talk about the negative stuff. I don’t want to drone on about the clichés and the tired twists and stupid “investigating”, the melodramatic shootings which are rendered meaningless without established characters – the flashbacks take away from the horror of the situation, for if we know who survives, and if the victims are offscreen and the only onscreen person we the audience can relate to is the villain, then the show partakes in glorifying the violence, the lack of life and death stakes which makes all of the boiler room actions and suspense insanely dull and the criminal plot becomes terribly forgettable.

I wish Criminal Minds was a brilliant show, getting us deep into the psyches of these people who commit crimes instead of just showing images of screaming young white pretty women in pain. I wish this show would cause discomfort in a psychological sense, challenge its audience by challenging society’s conventions, by challenging human nature, instead of a pedantic visceral sense. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make someone feel emotion: just strangle a kitten onscreen, and you’ll feel for the kitten. But that does not make a good story. Criminal Minds‘ biggest weakness is that it strangles the kitten, and settles for that.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.

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