So the new case actually has quite a lot going on that's fairly narratively interesting. In the first place, this is really more of a three plot story than one. We've got the investigation team first, obviously. Then there's the terrified parents. And lastly, there are the three girls trapped in the cold room. So simple variety alone keeps the story interesting. Alternately, the episode is a procedural mystery, an emotional drama, and then a horror movie.
None of these are done exactly perfectly, in isolation. The investigation team's frustrating lack of clues makes speculation about the case difficult. The acting in the emotional drama could use a little work, considering that we're supposed to seriously believe one of the parents as a possible co-conspirator. And then there's the whole set-up of the icy room. Did the original episode (season two, episode seven for reference) take place in winter, or at least somewhere far north? Because the weather right now is really not of the freeze to death variety.
But these are all just nitpicks, because the pulpy elements are all spot on. There are quite a few more plot twists than I was expecting here, especially considering how predictable previous episodes have been. What really helps with this is that there are quite a few potential suspects. The coach, any of the parents, any of the three girls themselves, are all potential co-conspirators. I really like how the sheer complexity of the crime was not glossed over.
Since we see so little of the main criminal directly, it's easy to assume that this person's actions in the background are generally competent. This has been another nice contrast with previous episodes, where it was much easier to get annoyed at the villain's poorly considered motives or the arbitrary story construction because we were given way too much information. Here, even potential breakthroughs prove to be deceptive.
As for the next case, eh, what can I say, we're only given fragments. But these fragments, at least, are fairly promising. It's more of "Criminal Minds" at its best- a focus on mystery elements and characterization, using the profiling premise as a driver for the story rather than the other way around. "Criminal Minds" has been very hit and miss in general, which is nonetheless better than just missing all the time, since it at least gives me occasional cause for optimism.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 15"
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