Criminal Minds Season 9 Review “Final Shot”

I don’t often care, or even pay attention to, any of the advertising going into the TV episodes I review. I don’t think it’s fair to hold the show’s cast and creators accountable for the marketing claims that their network is in control of, but this week I just had to mention it. Tonight’s Unsub was hyped up as being “Unlike any other” that the BAU has ever faced. With a promise like that, I was expecting tonight’s Criminal Minds episode “Final Shot” to be a little different from the rest.

What we ended up getting was basically more of the same, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! It was a very exciting episode that really started off with a bang (pun intended!). We open on downtown Dallas, Texas. How do you know we’re in Texas? Because one of the very first people we see is wearing a huge cowboy hat! Anyway, I was thinking that the cute blond girl would get to actually say a couple words to her crush before all hell breaks loose, but that didn’t happen. I can’t remember the last time that I jumped so much while watching this show, and then everything just went from bad to worse.

I suppose the reason for CBS to market this episode as such a big departure from the normal episode is because the nature of the killings. Usually the Unsub knows their victims and is trying to be as quiet as possible about their murders, but the idea of a rogue sniper hits a little close to home since we’ve had real life instances of that happening.

Eva LaRue made the jump from a recently cancelled CBS drama CSI: Miami tonight, when she joined the BAU as Agent Mays. She really wasn’t given much to do, other than to stand in for the audience and ask the BAU questions when necessary. Even though she may not have had too much to do, it sure was nice to see Natalia again!

I really liked the scenes this week with JJ and Morgan. I feel like this is a couple that we don’t see too often, when JJ is usually with Reid and Morgan is always on the phone with Penelope, but I really liked this pairing. I especially liked their scene with that racist General guy, and they also got to do the episode’s big chase scene as well!

I thought the twist about the sniper at the end was pretty interesting, but it was undercut by the very strange turns that the story took. When the episode opened on a sniper spraying bullets on a crowd in downtown Dallas, I did not think it would end with a battered women’s shelter getting mixed up with a paramilitary group. It certainly took a turn for the weird there, and it seems like the sniper storyline and the women’s shelter/paramilitary storyline could have been split up into two separate episodes. Instead they were thrown together here where they really didn’t make a lot of sense.

Despite not quite living up to its billing, and having somewhat of a goofy premise, I really enjoyed “Final Shot”. I’m hoping we get some episodes soon that really do deliver on the promise of showing us something we’ve never seen before. We’re in the 9th season, you guys! Let’s go crazy!

Random Thoughts:

– Was anybody else surprised by the mention of the Boston Marathon bombing? I can’t think of another time when Criminal Minds has referenced such a recent tragedy. I’m sure they’ll get some flack for even mentioning it. Were any of you offended by it?

– I always get a kick out of fake brand names on props, so I got a chuckle out of the “Fiber Good” cereal box where the guns were hiding.

– Do shady paramilitary companies have big fancy offices with attractive receptionists? I didn’t think that you could just walk up to their front desk and chat.