Criminal Minds – Recap & Review – Devil’s Night

photo: cbs

Criminal Minds
Devil’s Night

Original Air Date: Oct 27, 2010

JD – Staff Writer

I HATE fire episodes. Hate them. That has got to be the worst way to die and it’s one of my biggest fears, just a notch above suffocation. I got to be honest, I had my hands up, ready to cover my eyes, all during the opening sequence. And really, half the time we have fire episodes, I have a hard time focusing on them because of that fear. Each week I usually rewatch the episodes again before I do my review, but I really didn’t want to this time. But truthfully, it was as much because the episode was lacking as it was from fear, though.

In spite of it freaking me out, the case wasn’t all that solid. It didn’t scare me in the “wow, that was a creepy episode/unsub” way, just in an “it would suck to be burned alive” way, which isn’t how it’s supposed to work. There were a lot of holes in the plot too, and a pretty hokey ending. But let’s get to the recap and review.

So in Detroit, there’s a serial killer with an unusual weapon. For the last three years in a row, he’s been using “Devil’s Night” (a rowdy celebration/crime spike around Halloween) as an excuse to kill people. Or not really an excuse. A cover? I don’t know. As we got further into this case, I just didn’t buy that this guy could remain dormant for the whole year in wait of Halloween, considering the level of rage he has. Anyway, he’s burning people alive, and has killed seven people in the last three years. The BAU has to catch him before the Devil’s Night craze ends and the unsub stops killing again for another year.

Back in Virginia, the gang is getting ready for Halloween. Hotch is preparing for it with Jack, making cookies and trying to decide on costumes. Any time we get to see Hotch at home, in casual clothes, being a daddy, it makes me gooey.

At the BAU, Reid is excitedly rattling on facts about Halloween (and mispronouncing Samhain, as I’ve heard), seeming not to notice that no one is all that interested. Nice to see Reid being geeky Reid again.

The excitement dies fast, though, when Hotch and Garcia (whose hair was ridiculously orange last night) present the case, and the gang heads off to catch a killer. Hotchy (that was a typo, but I kinda liked it) and Rossi (and it rhymes!) go to the morgue to check out the latest victim. There is fabric burned to his face, which means the unsub has been covering their faces when he burns them, but why? Meanwhile, Prentiss and Morgan are at the scene. There’s noting exciting or earth-shattering found here. Seemed like a scene to fill time.

Back at headquarters, Hotchy, Rossi, and Reid go over the victims. They decide that the first victim must have been someone the unsub knew, based on how the unsub attempted to hide the body. It’s possible the unsub knew them all, so they decide to talk to the latest victim’s wife. What follows is pretty silly. Rossi asks her to close her eyes and visualize the night. She and her husband were at a Devil’s Night celebration, they separated when they each wanted a different thing to eat. Mrs. Victim says she doesn’t remember anything after that because she was looking at the menu, but Rossi tells her there’s an instinctual tendency for people to look up and make sure their loved ones are okay.

And what do you know! She did look up. And she did remember seeing someone sitting behind her husband! And she remembers that he was burned on one side of his face and was missing an ear… even though he was wearing a hoody, and quite a way away… and she saw him through the crowd and smoke and celebration. Ummmm, what? She’s got crazy good vision? Nope, not buying it. I know that sort of recall can be brought up with visualization, but I just don’t buy that she could have seen that much that well. Not to mention, he was just sitting there. How did she know it was that guy who took her husband? Magical intuition!

Anyway, they have their first real piece of the puzzle. His burns explain why he chooses fire as a weapon, and Devil’s Night means he doesn’t have to hide his scars. In spite of me not buying it, the team does, and they are off to find more pieces of the puzzle.

If you watch this episode without picking it apart, you may have liked it. I can get that. I might not have picked it apart if it wasn’t for the eyeroll-worthy grand denouement of the case. He did this all for a girl? Who left him after he was burned? Yet for some reason, he’s waiting for Halloween every year to get back at her? Huh?

And let’s not forget OH MY GOD she had his baby! Aww, what a sweet way to end it! Except it’s not. If it had been me, I would have been even angrier that after she left me, she also didn’t tell me I had a kid, and he grew up not knowing who I was. But this unsub just goes all gooey about it, and the kid reaches out and touches his gross face, after watching him nearly burn his family alive. Um, even if he didn’t understand what exactly was happening, he should have been scared because of how freaked out everyone else was, and the fact that there was an FBI guy with a gun there.

The more I pick it apart, the less I like it. The only parts I really loved were the team moments outside of the case, Reid The Halloween Geek and Hotchy The Dad. What did you guys think? Give me your two cents!

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12 Responses to Criminal Minds – Recap & Review – Devil’s Night

  1. Heather says:

    I agree. I love this show. Seriously, you won’t ever find a bigger fan than I am. However, this week was just very “blah” to me. I LOVED the Hotch/Jack scenes. Especially the end when Jack decided to be Hotch for Halloween. Very sweet and touching. (BTW, I love the Hotchy nickname :)) Geeky Reid was back and that was awesome. I’m glad they didn’t forget that Reid loves Halloween from earlier seasons. However, the case itself was almost boring. And did we ever figure out why he covers their faces before burning them? Anyway… not the best episode, and by far the weakest this year. Hopefully it’ll get better next week!

    • jd says:

      Yeah, the covering of faces is a mystery. Rossi (I believe) called it an execution, but they never explored that.

      How could they have forgotten Reid is a Halloween geek! The Gube is a HUGE Halloween geek; he would have never let them forget!

  2. Cas says:

    Not a bad episode, actually I did like it alot, much better than the season opener.

    What I did like: Lots of Hotch and Jack. Hotch as the Hero. Reid being geeky. Team work.

    What I didn’t like; since this was an Halloween episode why not go all the way and make the unsub a real monster? Why make him a sympatic killer?

    I like when CM is really creepy. Someone should tell that new writer that being creepy does not equal being shocky. I didn’t like seeing those people being burned alive. CM is usually more subtle than that; with suggesting more than showing.

    Unlike you, I don’t mind if everythig is not explain, like why the unsub did covert the face of his first victim, that just didn’t bother me at all.

    Also, you’re asking why he is waiting on every halloween to kill. I think it was explain when it was said that with his horrific burns, the unsub is able to go unoticed only during Devil’s nights because many will wear masks. As for why the unsub was not angrier at her after she told him about his son. He said to Hotch he had nothing to live for, he was angry when he said it. That tells me that he wished he had. So when he learn he had a kid, it had an impact on him. I had no trouble to believe he would surrender. This guy wanted revenge for something, his life, that were taken from him. When he saw he had a kid, he saw a possibility to have something back.

    My only big problem with the episode was Hotch getting in that building, bringing out the guy, being knock out by the explosion and still had not even a scratch? Lucky guy!

    • jd says:

      Really? You liked it better than the season premiere? Huh. I didn’t think the premiere was great compared to others, but I liked it way better than this! 🙂

      Honestly, I didn’t see him as sympathetic. Well, I think that was the point, you’re right. I just couldn’t sympathize with someone who lights people on fire. Maybe that’s my own phobia, though. I have certainly sympathized with other unsubs.

      My only big problem with the episode was Hotch getting in that building, bringing out the guy, being knock out by the explosion and still had not even a scratch? Lucky guy!

      LOL Well, he survived nearly being blown up in the season four premiere! The person he was with died, yet he was barely hurt! The man is invincible! 😉

      • Cas says:

        After a second watch,I still like the episode better than the season premiere. The season premiere had Ellie who bugged me alot. Never bought the idea that Morgan would keep in touch with this girl.Also, maybe the fact that Morgan bug the hell out of me this season is why I didn’t like the season opener that much.

        They tried to make the guy sympathetic, him turning his life around, being hit by a car driven by of all people someone from his old gang, being dumped by his girlfriend when he needed her the most, her hidding from him his son. Still didn’t work for me either because like you said my phobia too is dying in a fire. I have zero sympathie for someone setting people on fire. This is why I think they should have just make him a monster who kill because he enjoy it.

        Nah Hotch is not invisible, Foyet proved that but Hotch was lucky to have been standing on the side of the SUV, if he had been next to Joyner….

    • jd says:

      It surprises me how many people hate Ellie. I think she’s written a little inconsistently, but as a character, I think she’s fine. And Morgan has kept in touch with other survivors before. Remember that lady last season who he met for coffee and told about his sorta-promotion? And Rossi has kept contact with survivors before too; he never forgot to kids that he went back to Indianapolis for. Hell, he bought their parents house and had it kept up so that they could have it and sell it when they were grown up! So it’s not really unheard of.

      • Cas says:

        True on all those exemples but Morgan involvement always comes under scrutiny because his motives are too personal. With Tamara, Garcia did question his motives, asked him if he was involved with her. For Garcia to confront him, the viewer knew something was not right there.

        With Ellie, Prentiss question him again not once but twice. Prentiss was told by Hotch that her adopting the girl from ‘Children of the Dark’ was her(Prentiss) losing sight of what the job is. For me it was the same with Morgan. Ellie needed profesional help and that was not Morgan. For me, Morgan lost sight of what the job was.

        You are right, Rossi keep in touch with the kids from his 20 years ago case but he did it as an agent trying to catch the killer of their parents, except for keeping the parents house, which the kids didn’t know about, he never did intervene in their day to day lives. Rossi paid for that house just like he did with the funeral of the girl in Zoe’s Reprise because he felt guilty. Morgan was more involved in Ellie’s life, I felt that Morgan was trying to be either a parent figure or big brother to Ellie, they texted each other every day, he knew what was going on in her life. She felt close enough to him that she did ran away and made her way to quantico. That tell me their relationship was more than just Morgan taking interest in a girl he felt guilty about what happen to her and her family.

        I don’t know, maybe it is the inconsistency of CM, it was unprofesional of Prentiss to care but it wasn’t for Rossi and Morgan that make this debate even possible.

    • jd says:

      Yes, it is losing sight, just like with Tamara, and like Prentiss did with the other girl. But legally adopting a girl is quite different than trying to make sure she’s okay, and Morgan has more of a connection to Ellie than Prentiss did with the other girl (the name escapes me). In that way, I see absolutely nothing similar in those two cases.

      I think Morgan’s commitment to Ellie is very similar to Rossi keeping touch with the Galin kids. He didn’t interfere with their daily lives, but he did send cards, which was far from professional. And a big difference here is that the Galen kids didn’t want to hear from Dave. If they had wanted to keep in touch, I bet you anything he would have, and would have tried to be a sort of father figure like Morgan is with Ellie. I really think Morgan and Rossi are very much alike as people. 🙂

  3. Gwen. says:

    Yeah, my favourite parts were the scenes of Reid geeking out over Halloween and the ones between Hotch and Jack too. I was so happy to see Geeky!Reid back again, I’ve been missing him. The rest was okay enough, I guess. I did enjoy it but it’s never going to be on my list of favourites.

    • jd says:

      Yeah, I didn’t really enjoy it, but I don’t dislike it much either. Just a little. It was just silly. lol

      • Cas says:

        maybe I am just a better public when it is a Hotch episode 😉 I mean I missed him alot. We didn’t have any Hotch episode since Slave of Duty. I was more than happy to have one focussing on him! And all those cute scenes with Jack, just win me!

  4. BarbaraLindsey says:

    It sounds like JD doesnt like this show,but is made 2 report about it☹
    It doesnt take much for any one 2go off the rails over stupid things
    Which this burn person is doing!☹
    I miss Hotch,
    He is the real Criminal Mind!

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