Criminal Minds “Mr. Scratch” Review (Season 10 Episode 21)

Criminal Minds Mr Scratch Season 10 Episode 21 03

With only two episodes left in their tenth season, Criminal Minds returned tonight with the incredibly creepy “Mr. Scratch”. I can’t remember the last time I was so freaked out by an opening scene, but the noise that the shadow monster made as it wrapped its scary long fingers around that door gave me the chills!

It’s not very often that this show attempts some kind of horror story with an actual monster hunting people down, but that’s certainly what they were going for tonight. Obviously there was no actual monster involved, but I felt like I was watching an episode of Supernatural at times tonight.

This was the eighth episode directed by Reid himself, Matthew Gray Gubler, and they seem to always give the creepy episodes to this guy. It might just be that he has a knack for these more visually diverse episodes, so I’m glad they’re letting Gubler play to his strengths and direct the episodes with more crazy stuff in them. Gubler did direct one of my favorite Criminal Minds scenes of all time, which was the human marionette scene from the season eight episode “The Lesson”. The guy certainly has a knack for the creepy.

There were a lot of highlights tonight. Every scene of Mr. Scratch’s attack on the victims was incredibly disturbing and freaky, but the absolute best was his attack on the BAU itself! The eerie interrogation of Christine McNeil, played wonderfully by guest actress Anessa Ramsey, was incredible. The smoke from the sage drifting slowly in front of her face as she spoke was all done so well, and it all escalated so well into the lights blowing up and the power going out.

The final scenes of these episodes usually end with the team finally catching the Unsub in the nick of time and they have a Mexican standoff until the Unsub either gives up or gets shot. This final showdown was totally different, as we had a crazy fake-out scene that showed almost all of Hotch’s team getting killed or mortally wounded. When Reid got shot I almost yelled out loud from the surprise, and my mind was racing withe possibilities of what this means for the series. But then Rossi got shot, and I just knew this was all a fake-out. It was still well done, but you could totally tell they were going to reneg those shots pretty soon after they happened.

This was without a doubt my favorite episode of the whole season so far, and will probably go down as one of the creepiest and scariest episodes in this show’s history. I’m now even more excited for the Gubler directed episodes, and I’m hoping he can increase his directorial output to maybe three or four episodes a year instead of the usual one or two.

The final scene hinted that Hotch might have suffered some lasting damage from Mr. Scratch, but I hope that gets sorted out pretty quickly. It’s already been spoiled by IMDb and other sites that the finale episode will be centered on the already established creep that’s been stalking Kate’s niece, so Hotch’s ailments probably won’t play too big a part in that storyline. I wonder how much longer they’ll play that out, or if it was meant to end in this installment.

What did you guys think? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– How do all these people know what burnt sage smells like? I couldn’t place that smell in a million years.

– I felt really bad for the victims/killers tonight. Usually the unsubs on this show are psychopathic nutjobs that I have limited sympathy for, but these people were being haunted by a terrifying ghoul and then being forced into killing their loved ones! That’s a lose-lose!

– So did they ever explain why Mr. Scratch surrendered?