The post-Hotch BAU continues to gel as they track down an unlikely predator along the Appalachian Trail.
Rossi announces that Hotch is available for consultation while still on temporary duty. But no one picks up the phone to call since they're busy trying to find an unsub who is chopping up hikers in Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 4.
Command duties are still seemingly split between Rossi and Prentiss, with him in the field in the boons of Virginia and her back at the BAU, leaning over Garcia's shoulder. My money is still on Rossi, whenever producers get around to dealing with Hotch's departure.
Apparently the two sites are fairly close together, as team members are hurling back and forth in no time. Apparently they know shortcuts around the Beltway.
The unsub is an obvious red herring, as the homeless man, Todd Burton, lacks the cunning to pull off the murders.
To abduct, kill and dispose of that many victims takes skill and sophistication. But the man in that video looks like he would have a hard time tying his own shoes.JJ [to Rossi]
Condescending but apt. It makes sense that Todd and his younger brother Cormac were damaged after being abused by their father, and that Todd is serving as his brother's keeper, cleaning up after Cormac's kills. Too bad the actual villain of the piece died years earlier, setting two scarred siblings loose on the world.
The team actually put the pieces together believably this episode, which has been the exception, not the norm. It wasn't just Garcia pulling the solution out of her hard drive.
A nice touch was the parallel storyline with Reid serving as his mother's keeper, striving to find a way for her to beat Alzheimer's. Too bad he seemed to discard Rossi's well-meant advice to take some time to visit with his mother and instead continues searching for a cure that seems a long shot.
Let's get Jane Lynch back on the show. She has free time after Angel From Hell rightfully went down in flames.
Fortunately, there is always time for girl talk to break the gruesomeness.
Garcia: Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be out there in nature all by yourself?
Prentiss: No, I'm a city girl, with taxi rides and martinis.
Alvez was again front and center in his action-hero role; running a cadaver dog, tackling Burton, bring his dog Roxie in to interrogation to spark a reaction from Burton. Producers have done a good job introducing the character replacing a long-time favorite in Morgan.
If only they had put that much effort in the character of Lewis. Two seasons in, and I'm still not sure who she is, other than a distaff version of Rossi. It could be just another female character getting short shrift on this show, but how about a spotlight episode on Lewis?
Anyway, Garcia and Alvez seem to be finally clicking, somewhat. She meets Roxie, who isn't the bimbo she was envisioning. Alvez enjoys her discomfort and admits that he's been playing along with Garcia's vision of him as muscle-bound lunkhead.
Garcia: So you profiled me?
Alvez: Luke Alvez, behaviorial analyst. That's what I do.
The action-prone Alvez and the intellectual Reid remain an odd couple, however.
Reid: According to the Bible, fratricide is the first type of murder ever committed.
Alvez: That is interesting.
So, all in all, good team dynamics during an intriguing case, another positive step forward in this transitional season.
Review the progress yourself as you watch Criminal Minds online.
How's the new-look BAU working for you? Who's the weakest link? Is Hotch fading from memory yet? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.