Criminal Minds “True Genius” Review

Criminal Minds returns this week. The case is a look at the Zodiac killer, or at the very least a copycat Zodiac killer, while Reid begins wondering whether or not he’s wasted his life. It’s a weird episode and this is definately the sort of show that can be categorized under “laundry folding” without the humor and charm of something like Castle or Bones. I was a little disappointed that they offered nothing new on the take of the Zodiac killer: sure, David Fincher sort of claimed the killer in his brilliant film Zodiac, but there’s no reason why Criminal Minds shouldn’t explore the Zodiac Killer in their own rights. Instead, the show glossed over a bunch of details, added in a few of their own, and the effect is fairly lazy.

There was another problem with this episode, and that is dealing with Reid’s intelligence. Now, Garcia’s computer whizz skills have always been a problem for the show: instead of cleverness, the show relies on this deus ex machina device to solve crimes. It keeps the writers from straining their precious creativity. But at least Reid’s inherent deus ex machina intelligence has always, for the most part, been masked by the character. But look at this exchange as Reid investigates the scene of a crime:

Reid: “It’s not the real Zodiac.”
Prentiss: “How can you be so sure?”
Reid: “I just know it…sometimes I can’t really explain it.”

That’s all fine and good if he cannot articulate it, but at the very least the audience has to know how he came to this conclusion. Take the season three premiere of Justified: there, a villain was introduced, a villain who played a game with his victims before he killed them. But he always cheated. Now all Raylan Givens (the protagonist) had to go on was that the victim was shot and he had a stab wound in his hand. Now the killer sits across from him and is ready to play the same game. We know what the villain is going to do. But we don’t know what the protagonist is going to do-until he does it. That’s the difference between cleverness and just plain laziness.

But aside from all that, the episode wasn’t terrible. It’s rarely terrible. It’s just…blah.

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