Criminal Minds Review: Scrapbook Hero

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This week's Unsub probably had the worst case of self-esteem issues ever.  

For what reason? It's possible that having your ex-wife say you're weak, you've always been weak doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.  

To bolster his pride and his belief in his ability to protect their unborn child, he had to show he was strong - which he did by murdering anyone he saw as a threat to the tenants of the building in which he lived and worked.

In Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 7 we caught up to Rossi and Reid having some drinks at Rossi's favorite dive... only to discover that the bar was closing for good. 

Rossi'sLast Call

Fortunately, they didn't have too much time to grieve the news, as they were quickly called to investigate a series of murders committed by a man who had lost his child to an accidental strangulation.

Some time after the boy's death, his wife had kicked him to the curb, and it was at that point that he flipped his wig and decided to transfer his paternal instincts to "protecting" his building's residents.  

As if that wasn't gruesome enough, he kept mementos from his victims to be mounted in his Addams Family scrapbook of horrors. He needed proof, you see, something to show to his unimpressed ex-wife that he was the alpha male she was looking for. He needed to build up this impressive trophy collection in time for the birth of their child or else she'd never take him back.

What is it with the Unsubs in these episodes? They're all so neck-deep into their own fantasies and worlds, which makes sense only to them. Deluded and confused, the whole lot of them. Someone should write a song.  

Just for once, it'd be nice to see an Unsub who's just in it for the money. Something which makes sense to most of the known world.  "Oh yeah - I know the guy. Always looking for an angle. Gambled all of his money away. You say he started shooting people for their cash? Yeah - I can see him doing that."  

I suppose that'd be boring, though. And maybe we wouldn't need the BAU to work their profiling magic.  

The momentary glimpses of genius which Reid occasionally displays acts as a counterbalance to the predictably bizarre and unrealistic psyches of the Unsubs:

Reid: His area of control, while relatively small includes a number of residential and commercial buildings. Factor in a three mile radius in a city with a population of 636,479 over 48.28 miles, we're looking at approximately 39,549.23 living in his comfort zone.
Morgan: How many of them male?
Reid: 18,944.08

His dazzling intellect steals every scene.  

The other scene which made this episode fun was the final one, where the gang hangs out for one last party at Rossi's bar.  While the opening scene karaoke song abused all musical sensibilities (for which we have to give the guy credit - it's hard to deliberately go off-key like that), the final scene was just a pure joy.  

Man, when Hotch smiles, the entire room lights up, doesn't it?

Another interesting note about this episode was that it was directed by Matthew Gray Gubler, who did a great job.

One in particular stands out: the one where the Unsub is peeking at several of the apartments across from his window. It was reminiscent of the great Hitchcock film "Rear Window."

Another scene - involving the girl looking for information on the boy she had dated - brought back to mind... oh just about every horror film ever made. So classic: 

The girl ascends to a dusty storage room, isolated and alone. We pretty much knew it was curtains for her just as soon as she found the Unsub's trophy book. And in case any of us weren't sure, we heard his ominous words: I really wish you hadn't seen that.  

Their struggle and then her three-story dive was almost anticlimactic after that.

We have to note Reid's quick wit at the capture of the Unsub. That play he made when delivering the baby was brilliant. Pretending the baby was in trouble and that he needed a pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cord that was wrapped around his neck was perfectly executed and believable.  

And it played directly into the Unsub's psyche. You could almost hear his thought process: "Oh no. Another one of my children is about to die through strangulation!  Quick - take these scissors."

All in all, this was a fairly decent episode. But what did you think? Was "Piano Man" a good choice for Rossi and the gang to sing? Would you like to see more BAU parties like that? What are your thoughts on Tanner (the Unsub)?  

As usual, don't forget to check out the Criminal Minds quotes for this episode.

Gatekeeper Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter


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Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 7 Quotes

Rossi: Tanner thinks his book proves he can take care of the baby.
Hotch: And if she rejects that, he could unravel even more.
Garcia: And what happens then?
JJ: No one will be safe, not even the child.

The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them - Frank Clark