17 September 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
In the bizarre dark
Season 4, following on from three solid previous seasons, started off so well, with "Semi-Detached" and "Want" being especially brilliant episodes thanks to very interesting killers and seeing a different softer side to Goren. So it was a shame that it went downhill with the uneven "Eosphoros", which had a good idea and interesting title but didn't completely work. So there was the hope that "In the Dark" would be better, as the premise did sound interesting.
"In the Dark's" execution sadly wasn't as interesting and it turned out to be a bit of an inconsistent potential waste. It started off very promisingly, so on that front it was well on its own way on being a big improvement over "Eosphoros". So it did frustrate me that it became increasingly bizarre and implausible, when looking at the premise it had the potential to be really quite chilling. "In the Dark" could easily have been one of the best Season 4 episodes with that premise, but ended up as one of the season's weaker episodes.
By all means it is not all bad and there are actually a number of good things. The slickness and grit is still present, complete with a moodier atmosphere that fits very well with the concept. The music is suitably haunting and doesn't make the mistakes of over-powering or overuse. The script probes enough thought, Goren's perceptions are entertaining and interesting and Eames' snappy one-liners bring a smile to the face.
Did think that "In the Dark" did start off incredibly promisingly, it held my attention, had me invested and there was a creepiness to it. Goren is such a big part of 'Criminal Intent's' appeal and he continues to shine, as does his chemistry with Eames. Although there is no doubt that it is them early on, the perpetrator is fascinating and creepy. The acting is very good, not just from Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe but also a sinister Geoffrey Lewis.
After such a promising start though, the more obvious and conventional the story gets the less suspenseful and such the episode becomes. Other than a surprising and quite bonkers twist concerning the truth about a character's condition things get pretty predictable. By the final act, "In the Dark" had not become too tame but it also had become really strange and confused from trying to cram in too much and not going into enough depth.
Found the perpetrator's motives for the crimes underdeveloped and implausible, and if the episode delved into his mind and explained further his psychological state that would have made more sense and been easier to swallow. The final solution had a lot to cram in and really struggles to do so, the ending felt very rushed and left too many things left in the air.
Bottom line, another disappointing episode. 6/10