Criminal Minds Season 8 Review “Restoration”

Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 18 Restoration

Criminal Minds returned tonight after taking a night off last week with the exciting episode “Restoration”. With only five episodes left in their eighth season, I was really hoping for there to be some forward momentum on The Replicator storyline to lead us into our season finale. Well even though we didn’t get anything new from The Replicator tonight, we did get some great character development from one of my favorite characters: Derek Morgan.

Tonight’s installment was directed by prolific TV director Felix Alcala, who has directed a couple episode of just about every major TV drama from the last ten years, including 13 episodes of Criminal Minds. He’s directed a couple great episodes, including season five’s “Hopeless” and season seven’s “Profiling 101”. He does a great job at directing episodes that are more personally related to the BAU team members, so finding out that tonight’s episode was very personal indeed to Morgan wasn’t a surprise.

The team makes their way to Morgan’s old stomping grounds in Chicago, as he quickly finds out that somebody who traumatized him in his past has developed a new killer that’s been beating men to death. We’ve heard before about how Morgan grew up in a rough neighborhood, but actually learning that he was molested as a child was very tough to hear.

It was even more upsetting when Derek comes face to face with his old attacker, Carl Buford, only to find that he’s just as depraved and disgusting as he always was. At first I thought that Buford had made a legitimate change in his life after finding religion in prison, but then he starts talking about how he likes Morgan’s mouth and asking if he still had the same favorite ice cream flavor. Yeesh. Man, that stuff makes my skin crawl. He then caps the whole thing off by listing off a few dozen boys that he’s molested over the years, and holding his handshake with Morgan for a little too long.

I was a little surprised that the Unsub was identified and cornered so quickly, as we still had about 15 minutes left when they were slapping the cuffs on Jerome. I guess we had to squeeze in the death of Carl Buford, but even that scene was a bit anti-climactic and ambiguous. I’m not saying that every episode needs to end the same, but I definitely felt like this episode went out on a whimper rather than a bang.

Random Thoughts:

– I love how they use the same cops and small characters when they come back in the same cities. It was funny seeing that the cop from the last time they were in Chicago has been promoted to captain.

– The director for tonight’s episode, Felix Alcala, also directed a season two episode of Breaking Bad called “Negro y Azul”. If you don’t remember it by name, it was the episode with the great scene where Walt convinces Jesse that he’s a “blowfish”.

– Maybe somebody can explain this to me, but is there a particular reason why people who committed certain crimes are so frequently killed by other inmates in prison? I mean…they’re all in there for committing crimes, right? Why are some considered worse than others?