Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 1, “The Crimson King,” leaves off where the flames of the previous burned.
13 released serial killers have escaped from prison in the massive prison breaks, 13 killers that the FBI has to track down again.
And presumably, they have. Many thanks to newest team member, Luke Alvez, who helped the BAU catch eight of their targets. With five, now four, more to go, will Mr. Scratch prove to be the most challenging?
Mr. Scratch’s history with Hotch is a major point; his bonding with Luke, who has a past with the real Crimson King that they took out, was a prevalent part of Luke’s joining the BAU.
But as we all know, Thomas Gibson was recently fired from Criminal Minds, meaning Hotch will be no more, so it’ll be interesting to see the twists the writers throw to overlap that history between Hotch and the unsub that would’ve been a future catalyst.
Personally, it seems Hotch’s exit might be a well needed refresher for this series, which only became livelier with the additions of Aisha Tyler’s Tara Lewis and Adam Rodriguez’s Luke Alvez. Obviously, new characters aren’t always the case to freshen up a long-lasting series, but after a team has become established and come to know each other and everyone’s flaws so perfectly, there’s not much room for growth.
It happened with Elle’s abrupt exit in Season 2, with Gideon’s exit, hell, even when Prentiss had to fake her death as CBS forced Paget Brewster and AJ Cook to step down in Season 6.
Not great decisions by the network, but the story grew from it in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
With Paget Brewster returning as a series regular, announced after Gibson’s firing, even Emily Prentiss is returning to us as a character we aren’t completely familiar with. She was a part of the BAU for years, but now she’s taken time away and grown, she can have new secrets and other troubling events in her past that we aren’t familiar with, it’s a revamped Prentiss with a familiar face. She’s expected to return in Episode 3 and onward.
Back to the Crimson King, perhaps most stunning of this episode was the focus on Tara.
She let her guard down, she made a mistake, and she had to fix it, but it showed a deeper understanding of her character as to how she reacted to the unsub’s behavior, how he fooled her, everything to make her a better profiler.
She’s not going to be the next Dr. Reid, who is virtually emotionless in these cases due to his outstanding knowledge, which is how she came off in Season 11. Tara is relatively as new to the viewers as Luke is, and there’s a chance to explore her past, especially with a serial killer tracking their every move and even having their social security numbers.
It’s going to be a possible season-long hunt for Peter Lewis, AKA Mr. Scratch, but this overwhelming threat on each BAU team member and their families could push them to a breaking point that hasn’t been shown in 11 years.
- Using the first victim and twisting him into the unsub that, because of his personality disorder, believes he is the Crimson King, was brilliant and twisted. A skill that these writers thrive on.
- Seeing the newbies get so much action on the very first case of the season was promising to their development. When a show is so well established, pushing a new character’s backstory into the latter half of the season doesn’t work like in Seasons 1 and 2. We need to know who these characters are, what makes them tick, and where they come from as soon as we see them, so we can get an accurate read on their integration into the BAU.
- Four more serial killers to go, including Mr. Scratch. Who will they catch first? Also, why did they skip the capture of the other killers which could’ve made for several other interesting episodes of television?
- Did the real Crimson King actually lose his memory due to Mr. Scratch’s methods, or is he faking to save himself from going back into Supermax?
What did you think of the Season 12 premiere of Criminal Minds? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Criminal Minds continues Wednesday at 9/8c on CBS. Tune in for Season 12 Episode 2, Thomas Gibson’s final episode!