After last week's fun puzzle, this episode of Criminal Minds sort of fizzled, at least when it came to the crime of the week. It's possible the writers needed more than an hour to do this episode more justice. But at least we got to meet the new Section Chief.
"To Bear Witness" featured an Unsub who felt rejected by his family because he aspired only to be a veterinarian, while his sister studied to be a doctor. So naturally his siblings and father had to pay for his lack of self-esteem. And what better way to do that than by lobotomizing them (to symbolize his emotional abandonment), implanting an ocular-nano camera into their eyes and then beaming the resulting video out to the world?
For all of its gruesomeness, it was pretty much a straightforward though difficult to believe premise, featuring an Unsub profile which was quickly explained by Reid. Except for the torture scenes with the Unsub and his sister, it was tough to care very much about the case itself. We've seen a lot of weird stories in this series, but this was one that I found particularly hard to credit: the idea of a man feeling so rejected and angry that he would lobotomize his siblings and implant a camera in their eyes just sort of flew off of the map of believability.
For what it's worth, the technology was interesting - nanotechnology has apparently come a long way. Apparently ocular implants is a thing: if you're not careful you can become an inadvertent spy. Spy candidates are given an implant in both eyes so as to ensure maximum coverage. If you're given an implant involuntarily (like the poor souls in this episode) there's a website out there that outlines what you need to do to disable it. It's all so very bizarre and surreal.
The more important plot to this episode belonged to JJ and the new Section Chief Mateo Cruz. It's going to be fascinating to see how their relationship plays out and how quickly their secret gets revealed to the team. Clearly, their relationship revolves around something that's work related:
JJ: I know why we can't tell them. I get that, but we can't have too many of these conversations either.
Cruz: That case could stay open for a couple of years.
JJ: It's already been almost three. | permalink
Yet they seem awfully close, don't they? Except that when he offered to meet her for a jog the next morning, she declined, stating that she was going to "make breakfast for my boys." So they have a close working relationship and there's a case they can't talk about.
JJ's concern about the secret becoming eventually revealed came through:
JJ: Every time your name was mentioned today and every time I didn't say "hey yeah, I know him" I'm lying.
Cruz: I know it's not easy. I don't like it either.
JJ: We're surrounded by profilers, Mat. One side glance and they're going to figure it all out. | permalink
And then, like the fulfillment of prophecy, along came Rossi. The man walked right up to the elevator, paid special note to the fact that the button had yet to be be pressed by either of the two of them who were just standing there, pressed it... and then turned to ask them both if they were leaving for the day. They should have both said yes but instead Cruz said he had other work to do. Yeah, that's the way to keep a secret from Rossi. He'll have them figured out by the time he arrives home. He won't know the details but he already knows something's up.
I think we're in for a fun ride.
- You may have recognized David Anders who played the role of Anton Harris - the Unsub. He's had a number of roles in such series as Heroes, 24, The Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time and Necessary Roughness.
- In case there was any doubt between the brain power of Reid versus Blake, their crossword puzzle sort of cleared it up: it takes Blake seven minutes to do what Reid can do in two. Not that anyone's counting. Rossi's Happy Wednesday, my nerds sort of sums it all up.
- Unlike Strauss, it appears Cruz has a true appreciation for the BAU team and its dynamics, which put Morgan's fears to rest. Kind of cool to see him shake hands and welcome him near the end.
- For more clues on the relationship between JJ and Cruz, take a look back at our interview with A.J. Cook.
- Don't forget to check out this week's Criminal Minds quotes.
So, what did you think? Will Cruz be a good addition to the team? Any thoughts on the secret that he shares with JJ? What are you thoughts on the case of the week?
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.