Criminal Minds “The Bittersweet Science” Review

(Editor’s Note: Your usual Criminal Minds reviewer is out this week, so I will be reviewing it in their stead.)

Go Hotch! After seeing a quick scene of our could-be killer calling his boxing coach and finding blood on his hands, we get the scene that the team can’t stop talking about for the rest of the episode: Hotch got a cute girl’s number! That’s right, this week’s installment of Criminal Minds, “The Bittersweet Science”, started out by showing us Hotch actually flirting with a cute girl that he met while jogging. While this was all that the team seemed to talk about in their spare time, it was still a little weird for me to see Hotchner with another woman. It was always a little weird to even see him with Jack and his wife back in earlier seasons, as his character is so emotionless, but I think it’ll be nice to see a different side of him. Plus, those are pretty sweet short shorts he was rockin’.

Anyway, after this short scene we get right into the case of the week. Our guest stars this episode were actually pretty solid: Shawn Hatosy, most recently seen as Boyd Fowler on last season of Dexter, played a boxer who develops a mean case of blood lust and starts to brutally kill people to satiate this desire. Charles S. Dutton plays opposite him as a boxing coach who’s trying to help him professionally and personally as his protege deals with a sick son.

Now you can sort every single Criminal Minds episode into two categories: Episodes where you know who the killer is the whole time, and episodes where you don’t. If we know who the killer is the whole time, the episode needs to properly develop the unsub well enough so that we care about them and understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. There’s been lots of great Criminal Minds episodes in the past where we know who the killer is the whole time, and they sometimes feature great guest stars playing against type like James Van Der Beek and Frankie Muniz. While this episode didn’t really live up to some past installments, it was still pretty solid.

They definitely did a good job of explaining to us why Jimmy would start getting violent. Not only does he find out that his coach and long-time friend has been betting against him, but also that his son is dying! That’s definitely a bad time for a good case of blood lust to crop up. After finding out that his son is beyond help, Jimmy really starts going off the deep end and beats his coach to death and signs up for an MMA fight.

The apprehension of the unsub was quite a little anticlimactic by Criminal Minds standards. Usually they find out that the unsub is about to kill another victim and they apprehend them right before they could strike again. Here, though, he’s just fighting in an MMA fight. There was no danger, no last minute heroics, Hotch and Reed just kind of show up. I guess you can’t end every episode with an edge-of-your-seat thrilling conclusion, and it seems that they decidedly went with a much more emotional finale. Jimmy’s final scene with Ryan was pretty incredible, and not only did Jimmy’s real-life fights against other people parallel well with Ryan’s fight against leukemia, but it served as a great reminder to Hotch about how important his relationship is with his own son. Definitely one of the most moving and powerful endings we’ve seen on this show to date, and really proves that not every ending needs to be a adrenaline filled shootout.

It was very sweet to have the episode end like it began, with Hotch flirting with the cute girl in the park again. After this case put into perspective the important things in his life, he realizes in his office while talking to Rossi that he needs to accept more things into his life that he can treasure. And what better way to treasure the good things than having a nice ride in the park with a cute girl…while wearing short shorts.

Random Thoughts:

– Shawn Hatosy looks a little bit like the love child of Mark Wahlberg and Danny McBride I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

– What happened to Hotch’s iPhone? He used to have an iPhone 4, just like the rest of the crew, but now he’s got an Android! What’s going on?!

– Did anybody else get any creepy undertones from the girl with Hotch? Their first scene together made it seem like she was following him for some reason. Or am I just being too paranoid?