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Criminal Minds – Recap & Review – A Solitary Man

Criminal Minds
A Solitary Man

Original Air Date: Mar 10, 2010

JD – Associate Staff Writer

Before I start my recap and review of this week’s episode, I was gone from reviewing last week and didn’t get a chance to say what I thought about last week’s episode. I won’t say much, but I have a burning need to say one thing: Matthew Gray Gubler did a fantastic job directing Mosley Lane!

Okay, I’m done with that. Now let’s get to business on the new episode. This week we follow around a lonely trucker who wants nothing more than to get his daughter back and have a real family again. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? But to say I just glossed over some very important details would be an understatement.

Now normally on this show, when a man climbs through a window to stand over a sleeping child, it only means one thing: a little girl is going to be abducted, or worse. But that doesn’t go as expected when the little girl at the beginning of this episode rolls over and is excited to see her daddy! Daddy sits down and starts to tell his daughter the tale of a king looking for his queen. It’s evident he’s told similar stories before, but the little girl still listens avidly.

As dad tells his story about how the king met the latest queen wanna-be, we flashback to a scene where dad is at a bar. He sets his sights on a waitress, then heads outside and waits for her to come out. Okay, so we’re starting to get the impression that dad is actually Psycho Dad. Lucky for him, the queen-to-be’s “carriage” (as he tells his daughter) breaks down, and he offers to take a look under the hood. He gets the car started, but Little Miss Barmaid has met her end. As it turns out, Psycho Dad’s queen-to-be wasn’t queen material after all.

The BAU team gets on the case. They weren’t actually invited on this one, but they have been watching the Highway Serial Killer Database and picked up on it. There are already five girls dead, and Reid has an idea of where Psycho Dad might be headed. The team picks up and leaves, all while the unsub picks up a hitchhiker. AKA the next nominee to the throne.

On the plane we get filled in on some of the details. The women were all found 12-24 hours after they were taken. This guy sure makes a snap judgment on these womens’ queenly virtues! There is also traces of metal under all of the victims’ fingernails. Or in one case, fingernail. Singular. One victim tried to claw her way out of wherever she was being kept and only had one fingernail left. I think after I lost the first three, I would have saved my remaining seven fingernails to try to claw the guy’s face off. But that’s just me.

On the ground, Reid and Rossi go check out the dump site. Reid notices that all the bodies have been posed to look like they were sleeping. I thought it was strange that this thread never went anywhere. Rossi asks if Reid knows why they’re posed, Reid says no, and that’s it until we see the little girl’s drawings at the end. Maybe it was just a plot device to get JJ and Prentiss to recognize what the drawings were at the end. Thoughts?

Back at the police station, JJ points out that all the victims had table sugar on their bodies. The Cop Of The Week points out that’s a trucker trick. It dissolves diesel fuel. Aha. So now they know they’re after a trucker, just as said trucker, Psycho Dad, decides to check on his latest potential queen. It’s pop quiz time, apparently, and the stakes are her life. And guess what? She gets a question wrong, and the BAU have another body coming their way.

I only have one gripe about this episode. It was the bit where Rossi makes Reid go down in the ditch because of his new shoes. Yes, Rossi is rich, and he likes the finer things. And yes he is, as Prentiss once called him, a neat freak. I realize this bit was in there for comic relief, but it went a little too far. Making Reid go down into the ditch is one thing, but then walking away as Reid called for help was another. I just can’t believe he would leave a team mate struggling. It was just fuel for the Rossi haters (and there are still a few, the vile things) to call him a jerk. But then again, I am a card carrying Rossi apologist, so take my words as you will… Oh! Maybe Rossi walked away because he thought it was important for Reid to rebuild strength in that leg. Yes, that must be it… I’m sorry, am I blinding anyone with the gleam off my ‘Rossi is Awesome’ badge?

The episode as a whole was good enough that that one scene didn’t keep me from enjoying it, though. And I loved the way the father in the story wove his murders into a fairytale for his daughter. And the cherry on top is that she drew them all out. That kid is going to need some serious therapy.

This was a strong story with great pacing. A Solitary Man felt like a classic episode of Criminal Minds to me. It was everything an episode should be, and it gave me the feel of the first season of the show. I’m not really sure why, but it felt nostalgic for me. Did anyone else feel that way? It’s not going to go down as outstanding in my book (like Riding the Lightning, The Big Game/Revelations, Lucky, Bloodline, or 100–and trust me, that was my narrowed down list; what are outstanding episodes for you?), but I would definitely watch it again. Maybe even a third time. Oh, who am I kidding? I could watch all the good episodes of Criminal Minds at least a dozen times before I got bored or sick of them. Of course, that would be 12 hours that I don’t have time to devote to TV, but I can dream, can’t I?

So what did you guys think? Give me your two cents!

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