Criminal Minds -- The Silencer
I kind of judged Paget Brewster very harshly for leaving the show last season. I was like, she just came back, so why is she leaving again? It wasn't til the day Criminal Minds' season premiere was set to air that the truth finally came out, and I really get why she left. She never really came back on her own. After the show gave her the boot and then suffered severe viewer backlash for doing it, they decided to hold Brewster to the contract she signed which still had a year left on it, so she had to finish working it off before finally leaving the show.
That was really such a skunk bag thing to do. They fire you then realize they made a big boo-boo and then hold you to the contract you signed, which should have been considered null and void when they basically fired her. No wonder the whole thing soured her on the show. This is akin to when NBC cancelled Remington Steele and Pierce Brosnan was all set to sign on for James Bond, then NBC decided to bring Steele back for some more episodes and forced Brosnan to honor his contract messing up his deal to be James Bond. Granted, it ultimately worked out for Brosnan, but when NBC cancelled the show Brosnan's contract should have been considered null and void, as Brewster's should have been considered after CBS canned her. But look at how Brewster's replacement got treated. They tossed her out like a piece of trash when they decided to unfire Brewster. I guess treating people with respect and decency isn't part of the business.
Anyway, on to the episode. For me the episode seemed a bit off, probably due to trying to get used to new team member Alex Blake. She seems like an older female version of Reid. We already have Reid, we don't need a female version of him, so I'm kind of stymied why they needed to add her to the cast. Speaking of Reid, he's got his bad hair back.
Garcia starts off on the wrong foot with her when she's not speaking about her in glowing terms and Alex is standing right behind her. It also seems there's bad blood between Alex and FBI Director Strauss. Seems it's taken 10 years to get her career back on track after Strauss left her hanging in the wind when she accused the wrong person of a crime.
The Criminal Of The Week is a serial killer called The Silencer. He's been incarcerated in prison for the last 8 years as a John Doe and no one figured out who he was. When he's being transported in an ambulance to the hospital for a severe allergic reaction, the ambulance driver swerves to miss hitting a deer on the road and the ambulance crashes. The only survivors are The Silencer and the guard. When the police find the guard his lips have been sewn together, which he did to the man while he was alive.
That's the signature of The Silencer. In the past several women had been his victim and they'd been found with their lips sewn together. When the coroner cut the thread used to sew the guard's lips together they find a plastic bag with words stuffed in his mouth. They're the words The Silencer remembered hearing a fellow inmate in solitaire named Danny Tucker say as he described this beautiful peaceful place.
The Silencer kills another man when he starts yelling at him and looks about to attack him when he won't answer him. From a flashback of his childhood, the man may have reminded him of his mother who was abusive to him, yelling at him and hitting him on his ear because he wanted to use sign language instead of speaking to her. The Silencer had been deaf until he was 14 when his mother got him an experimental cochlear implant that helped him to hear. The scar he possesses on the side of his face was his attempt to remove it. While she may have thought she was giving her son the gift of sound, he preferred the silence he had. One of the women he killed and sewed their mouth shut was his mother.
The Silencer kills another man, but doesn't harm the baby he had with him, before the team figures out the Danny Tucker connection. When The Silencer arrives at this beautiful peaceful place Tucker described he finds it being bulldozed, which sends him after Tucker to punish him for lying to him. The team bursts in as The Silencer is about to sew Danny's lips together in front of his wife and daughter. Alex communicates with him in sign language and gets him to let Danny go. Unfortunately, when she tells him truthfully there's no other option for him but to go back to prison, The Silencer shoots himself because he can't face going back there.
The Silencer didn't seem as enthralling as a villain as most of the unsubs are. They generally fall into two categories: absolute monsters or unsubs you end up feeling sorry for. The Silencer kind of left me cold as most of the episode did. Again, I think having the new character Alex on was throwing off the usual balance of the show. If I were rating this episode, I'd have to give it a C.
Anyway, in the end Garcia asks Alex if they can start over and gives her a coffee mug she bought in England when she was visiting Emily. Meanwhile in a darkroom in some undisclosed location someone is developing pictures of all the team. Will we be treated to a season long villain out to get the team?
I hope once the show gets used to Alex character and meshes her better with the team the show won't seem so off. Even the regular characters didn't seem like themselves. For instance, Rossi. He's usually so passionate about the case, but he just didn't seem to be that into it. It may have been letting Alex be front and center and solving the case while everyone else kind of had to take a backseat to her. Never a good way to integrate a new character into the cast.
Unfortunately, I'm really not sure she'll ever really fit in with the team. To be frank, the show could have continued on just fine without the addition of a new character that's throwing the whole feel of the show off.