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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 17

2017/09/20 | Permalink

The storyline starts out promisingly enough. The main points everyone initially emphasizes are just logistical ones, like how the serial killer has been sneaking into unoccupied rental properties in the first place. Where everything turns dumb is when we run into a survivor of his crimes. Cruel though it may be to write this, my first main impression of the woman was that...she was just really, really dumb. Who agrees to online sexual encounters in empty places in the middle of nowhere?

The weird part is, I had thought the ending of the previous episode had already explained how the killer was corralling his victims pretty well. The guy was pretending to be a big shot, possibly even a real estate agent, which would explain why he had access to and would want to use unoccupied rental properties for trysts instead of just going to a hotel. If the goal is to impress a woman into a false sense of security, that's a pretty good plan.

Maintaining this level of plausibility is especially important considering the adaptational nature of "Criminal Minds". Online hook-ups in the United States may seem normal, but women who engage in that kind of behavior in South Korea tend to be more cautious, if only for the more conservative social norms. Also, the original version (season two episode seventeen) aired ten years ago. So even in the United States, a lot has changed since then with good safety practices when meeting strangers from the Internet.

But more timeless story elements are just as bad with no cultural difference or timestamp excuse. The serial killer, far from the basic suave seductor we saw at the end of the last episode, comes off as a total creep in all his scenes here. It's hard to imagine any woman willingly going inside an empty building with him for any reason. Which again, just gives the impression that the woman is dumb, not that the serial killer is competent.

Consider how the guy's not even a very good murderer, and has to resort to magic powers at one point in order to dispose of a witness. I mean for pity's sake, the guy was standing right next to the door. How does he not at least hear it being opened? And to add insult to injury, there's barely even any criminal profiling going on here, so the twist ending comes off as wholly perfunctory. Not the finest hour for "Criminal Minds".

Review by William Schwartz

"Criminal Minds" is directed by Lee Jeong-hyo and Yang Yoon-ho, written by Hong Seung-hyeon and features Son Hyun-joo, Lee Joon-gi, Moon Chae-won, Lee Sun-bin, Yoo Sun and Go Yoon.

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