Criminal Minds – A Place at the Table/Mr. Scratch – Double Review: “Hotch-centric Goodness”

I decided to only briefly review these past two episodes. There wasn’t much content in them that I feel would benefit from a full length recap that I normally do. Both episodes were centred around Hotch, which was nice to see. Lots of interrogations, which actually helped both episodes become even better. Excellent intros, crazy endings. But enough rambling, let’s quickly review!

A Place at the Table:

Honestly when I was preparing for another week of reviewing this show, I wasn’t really all that excited. Aside from some really great episodes recently, Criminal Minds hasn’t been exciting me all that much this season. When I heard about this episode though, I was intrigued and was looking forward to it. Mainly, Ed Asner was set to play Hotch’s father-in-law. I love the Brooks family – a lot. Haley was one of my favourite characters on this show until her unfortunate and untimely death. Her sister, Jessica, has always been someone I enjoyed seeing on screen. The fact that we got to see her not once, but TWICE this season is already an incredible thing. It was very interesting to see her break down at the beginning of the episode; it’s something we haven’t seen from her. The intro of this episode was intense too! And it looks like this could be a possible hate crime? That’s really sad. As well, the unsub was trying to recreate a Christmas dinner? Ugh.

Regardless of all this, it was an interesting episode. The profiling, as per usual, could’ve been better. The interrogation scenes early on were good to watch. Jack has really grown up, so fast. It’s really unbelievable. Jessica has become such a more developed and layered character. Hotch’s father-in-law made me very upset with the attacks at Hotch about Haley’s death, but I could understand where he’s coming from. Hotch is partially to blame for what happened. This doesn’t make it any easier to digest, though. I almost broke down myself over some of their talks. Some great comments by Rossi and Garcia throughout the episode too, as per usual. They’ve been saving this season for me with their sass and humour. If I had to rate the episode, I’d give it a B-. It wasn’t completely unwatchable, the interrogation scenes were logical. But that’s about it from the case/unsub side of the episode. And I hope to see way more from Jessica later on!

Mr. Scratch:

An episode filled with clichés. Dark thunder, lightning, and rain to symbolize ominous storytelling, the “it was all a dream” ending, and more. Not that the clichés weren’t enjoyable to watch, but you know. Anyway, the intro was pretty interesting in this episode too! It starts off in the interrogation room with Hotch and a suspect. That growling sound the guy hears from Mr. Scratch? Yeah, that’s not a sound I would put as my ringtone. “Agent Hotchner, I’m not a murderer!” “Yes you are, and I’m going to find out who turned you into one.” Spine-chilling stuff right here. The fact that we got two Hotch-centered episodes in a row in something to be commended. Proxy-killers have always intrigued me. Cognitive interviews are cool to see as well, like the one conducted in Nanny Dearest (8×21). I’ve always loved how this show can get into the psyche of the unsubs they face, as well as the victims. Both of these episodes spent a great deal of time in interrogation rooms. A cute Hotch/Garcia scene was nice to see.

The first person views of the victims as well as the BAU was also a cool feature. The scene where the team discussed their biggest fears was unnerving. I don’t know about you, but my biggest fear is bees. Ooh, and nice drawings done by Matthew! They remind me of the monster from the movie The Babadook. And that creepy growl we hear throughout never gets easier to hear. The profiling in this episode was actually prominent. The lights flickering on and off, and Garcia’s computers being hacked once again were really scary. The use of candles was romantic. And Hotch’s scenes – that dream sequence – were crazily intense! Now, I haven’t fully enjoyed an episode directed by Matthew Gray Gubler since Heathridge Manor (7×19). But this one was more unique and intense than most. If I had to grade this episode, I’d give it a B+. It was a unique concept that Breen and Matthew came up with, and the ambiguous ending as well as a possibility about talking about Hotch’s father/abuse? That’s too good to pass up.

What did YOU think of both A Place at the Table and Mr. Scratch? Did you enjoy Thomas Gibson’s performances in both? Did that ending of Mr. Scratch freak you out? Please be sure to leave a comment down below! I’ve left a lot out of these reviews so to have a big discussion!