I did have some more substantial issues with the filming/directing/acting. Maybe its just me, but I felt that the line delivery from the students was very bad most of the time. Some of the questions they asked also just seemed like plot devices rather than something that would naturally be spoken. I can try to ignore some of it because I can assume that perhaps the students had some questions they planned to ask ahead of time and that is why some of the delivery sounded so rehearsed and "put on". I found it funny that I think the writer was poking fun at Bruce Zimmerman by having one of the students share a surname.
One minor nitpick was that the first sign I recall of disgust/horror was when Reid mentioned the serial killer that ate a victim's uterus. I get that cannibalism is gross and all, but how is that so much more horrifying than the details about the women's reproductive organs being ripped out and then showing pictures of the victims? (plus the girl's line delivery was bad so it was distracting-- Reid's facial expression in reaction was funny though). Its only a minor thing though so it didn't ruin the episode for me or anything.
I will say that I really enjoyed the story in this one and I am not looking for excuses to gripe, but the camera technique at some points in the episode seriously aggravated me. I swear it almost ruined the episode for me because the camera movement and filming just drove me absolutely bonkers. I don't mind a moving camera from time to time and this one was moving slowly, but I remember suddenly seeing a bright red splotch in the lower corner that looked almost as if there was some sort of sunspot and it was obscuring the view of Rossi talking and was very distracting. Then the camera kept moving and another dark splotch got in the way and I realized the red was someone's hair and the obstructions were the tops of people's heads. I know they really wanted to go for the "in the audience" feel but it was completely distracting and every time it messed up the focus of the shot and made me want to clobber whoever was doing it. Seriously, what the fuck was with that technique? Did they not have any shots where there weren't obstructions or something? I also question the angle they chose from which to film Rossi when he was first introducing the team members. They could have centered the camera and panned to give equal distance to each character, but they didn't and it just struck me as odd. Garcia was just way far away (maybe to better hide her clown makeup?) I also didn't like how they panned the camera away as Morgan was introduced-- it seemed too quick to me for some reason, then we see Rossi blocking the shot and blurry Reid, camera keeps panning, and then Garcia and a brief pause.
Also, was it just my TV or were a lot of the flashback sequences really grainy and somewhat splotchy? The background seemed especially strange and I couldn't figure out if my TV wasn't getting the HD stuff properly or if it was intentional to show that it was a flashback.
I need to watch this again to see the hair on all of the characters at different times. I was surprised they didn't try to do anything to Hotch's hair when he was introduced in a flashback. He used to have longer hair and IIRC, they didn't even attempt to give him any extensions or try to make his hair resemble the younger days. Either they didn't have time or they couldn't pull it off properly to look right under the scrutiny of the RED camera or they just didn't bother. I noticed that in some scenes the wig/hairpiece on Prentiss was obviously fake. The color was just a bit off.
Other than those things (most of which are minor-- except the major grievance with the sunspot like blockage from someone's hair that made me feel like there was something wrong with my eyes), I really did enjoy this. The story was compelling. I loved that it focused on the importance of victimology. I love that we got some minor backstory that Hotch was just an agent and in Seattle in '97 and that he already showed good profiling skills. I really liked that we got some good insight into what the unsub must have gone through as a child and that they mentioned how not all abused children become killers, not all killers were abused, and not all psychopaths become killers, etc. I also loved that we didn't even know whether or not they caught the killer until close to the end. I did figure out it was Rossi's birthday at the end. Did they give any sort of date reference for this episode to indicate at least what month it was?
Also, did anyone else see a Ford commercial during this? I was trying to keep track of who the sponsors were during commercial breaks. Sadly I know I forgot a lot of them. There was T-Mobile, Ford, Frontline flea meds, KFC, UPS, and Subway that I can remember.
Edit bc I typed this before Jessie's comment appeared: I was wondering about the one name a year thing too. I can't figure out if he said there were 101 total and that there were already 40 names given and he was just giving the others. That still left about 61 names. I don't think Rossi or the unsub will last that long. Rossi should have negotiated for 2 names per year.
Edited by zanneej, May 9, 2012 @ 10:34 PM.