Criminal Minds “Closing Time” Review

In this week’s episode of Criminal Minds, a killer is brutally (is there any other way?) murdering people who cheat on their spouses. From genital mutilation to crushing with a car, the unsub comes up with dozens of rather interesting killing techniques to rid the earth of adulterers.

A lot of my issues with the show can be summed up in the final five minutes or so of the episode. Morgan, Reid and JJ go into the shop where they know the unsub is holding the kid he raised at gunpoint. Morgan even holds open the door as JJ goes into the basement to confront the unsub. Okay so far? Everything making pretty good sense? Okay. So why doesn’t Morgan and Reid follow JJ, a relative rookie, into the basement where the extremely violent (gun toting, car crushing, genital mutilator) is holding a kid hostage? Why is she down there for a good two minutes solo, trying to talk the unsub out of killing the kid (and her, if he doesn’t mind) while Morgan and Reid…what? What are they doing that’s so important they can’t back up their comrade?

You know what they’re doing? Nothing. This is the part where the writers think it would be cool to have JJ fight someone, which is all fine and good – who doesn’t love a good fight scene? But the contrived, stupid way they get JJ into a room with the killer shows that this show is clearly just running on auto, where the creators and the writers and directors are just picking up their pay checks, putting any dumb thing on the screen to fill out the time block allotted to them. The lack of pride put into this show is startling. Look, the fight scene itself was lame thanks to some wonky Paul Greengrass-styled editing (which is a problem for anyone who is not Paul Greengrass, as the recent run of action flicks have shown), but that wouldn’t matter. The car crushing scene was lamely directed but it worked really well.

The stuff the episode did with Hotchner and his new girlfriend. That stuff works really well because it’s building on a huge character arc which Hotchner has undergone with his wife and her death. It’s also nice to see him getting some encouragement from Rossi.

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

  • Kim

    I agree with you. I didn’t like this episode much, it was pretty boring, and the JJ fight scene was exceptionally lame, like you said. I kept waiting for Morgan and/or Reid to come in some time soon, but of course it didn’t happen until after the fight scene.

    I keep hoping this season will be better, but it’s only getting worse. This is coming from a huge fan of CM. I really hate what Erica Messer is doing to the show; she’s messing it up. I never wanted to see JJ as a badass profiler, and no one I know wanted to either.

  • Ran-da-mouse

    Thanks for pointing what bothered me in that last scene; including JJ going at the guy in hand to hand.  That was a first they ever did that in any episode and it seemed a little weak why she did.  The unsub didn’t seem to show that he was going to shoot the kid; therefore there was no need for such a risk.  (and if there way, why not just shoot him, as JJ is established to be a crack shooter … )

    Overall, it as a good episode except for that last conflict … 

    By far not as good as their good episodes … but a strong entry for this season (which in the end, doesn’t say much for it 🙁 )

  • Paula

    I was thinking the same thing at the end. Where is everyone ? I am not sure what has changed with Criminal Minds I have noticed something is off but not sure what it is.

  • juls

    I think the episode’s story was quite intense. When I saw the promo, I couldn’t think anything else but “Oh, another ‘angel of mercy’ unsub, they’re going with that AGAIN?”, but it turned out to be pretty well done. It wasn’t like previous episodes of the kind, and the way the criminal escalation of the unsub was shown was really good indeed. And of course, I also liked Hotch and Beth’s story line, it was about time Hotch got a new love interest. 
    I also like the fact that the writers are getting the tendency to play with the viewers. First it was in the 150th episode where we didn’t know if the guy was the unsub or not, and now when the bad guy went to see Hunter at the beginning, and everything pointed to the fact that they were a gay couple, at least I thought so at that moment. Those are just little things that make the show more enjoyable.  
    Regarding JJ’s fight, well I agree with everyone here; it was really forced, and it was just irrational for JJ to attack the guy that way, when he didn’t show any signs of shooting his son. It’s ok that the writers want to make her become another profiler (although I liked her previous position), but that was way too forced. And seriously, I can’t recall having seen Prentiss on this episode. Now that she’s going to leave for good, she should start appearing more in the next ones. 

  • Lexduden1

     Obviously you do not have any knowledge of psychology, if Reid or especially Morgan had come in that might have tipped the unsub over the edge. As for the fight, I agree, where the heck were the others?

    • Lexduden1

       And also JJ isn’t that new to the field, she is often been on raids with them.