The BAU are called to Idaho when young women are found assaulted and murdered in cornfields. The women are exotic dancers, the men who killed them college students out for a bit of fun. The team have to overcome an abrasive sheriff and a twist: instead of the usual double team, there’s a trio of villains to catch.
The twist was unsurprising to the viewers as the writers behind Criminal Minds have continuously decided to safely show the villains before the BAU team suss them out, that way the ‘jump the shark’ incredulity is reduced. It is a cheap was out of the situations, masquerading as a way to get into the psychology of the unsub. The major problem with this is that they don’t analyse the psychology of the characters-it’s even worse. They want us to empathise with the characters, with the despicable frat boys who call rape sex and call literally chaining a woman to a pole a bit of fun, who begin to rethink their plan only when the FBI arrives in town and not a moment before. The empathy is crucial: at the final standoff scene we’re supposed to care what happens to the young man-don’t blame him, his father is mean and he’s naive and easily manipulated by the cool guy, which is why he’s tortured and raped, why he beat his friend’s (also a douchebag) head in with a baseball bat. Oh, wait sorry, where’s my empathy?
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