Criminal Minds Season 9 Review “Gatekeeper”

When tonight’s Criminal Minds episode opened on a young man in bed with a beautiful woman, I was hoping, just hoping, that the charming and attractive guy was the Unsub. Wouldn’t that be a nice break from the norm? To have the Unsub be a normal dude who has innocent one night stands with attractive blondes? But no, it turns out the Unsub was the creepy guy waiting in the bushes, waiting to complete the creepiest scrapbook ever.

“Gatekeeper” was the fifth episode directed by Spencer Reid himself, Matthew Gray Gubler. He’s directed some great episodes in the past, with last year’s “The Lesson” being my favorite, but he usually picks episodes that are somewhat unique. This was probably the most “standard” Criminal Minds episode that he’s ever tackled, but that didn’t necessarily mean it was bad.

The idea of the Unsub was a good one, as character actor Jack Plotnick portrayed Tanner Johnson, a doorman working in an apartment building. It’s an effective and relatable concept to think that the guy weird guy in your apartment complex might be a serial killer. Everybody has that one dude who you see walking around your apartment that freaks you out, and you try to stay away from them or avert your gaze, so it was definitely a cool idea.

The one scene that really bugged me was when Tanner killed Ashley, though. So he chased her down the hall, had a noisy struggle, and then threw her screaming down four flights of stairs, and nobody heard it or saw it?! He was somehow able to go down the stairs, transport a dead body in broad daylight, and clean up the pool of blood? Was this apartment complex completely abandoned or something.

Anyway, the day is eventually saved as you might expect, but the final standoff was in a rather unusual place. We knew that a pregnant woman was playing into the endgame somehow, since her picture was in Tanner’s scrapbook, but I didn’t expect her to be pregnant again. This whole scene hit pretty close to home for me, since my wife is currently pregnant with our first child, so I have to say I was pretty uncomfortable watching this whole scene. I realize that I’m just personally extra sensitive to this kind of thing right now, but I don’t think anybody likes seeing pregnant women being mistreated or knocked around. You can kill men, women, and teenagers all you want, but pregnant women is where I draw the line!

The final scene was a great little touch, as most of the team gets on stage to sing one last terrible karaoke song at Rossi’s favorite bar. I was pretty bummed that Blake and Hotch didn’t join in as well, but I suppose it was true to their characters to abstain. Still, it would have been awesome seeing Hotchner bust out some mad vocals!

Random Thoughts:

– Those teenagers outside the Unsub’s window weren’t really up on the times. Why would you still be using a PSP? I’m really poor, but even I’ve upgraded to the PlayStation Vita!

– I don’t usually complain about these kinds of things, but the guy they got to play the other doorman was a distractingly bad actor.

– The whole “transporting a body in broad daylight” reminded me strongly of the last episode of Dexter. Not going to spoil the body or anything, but drawing any similarities to that terrible episode is not a good thing.