24 August 2016 | TheLittleSongbird
Poignant and scary- one of the best episodes of Season 4 and sees a different side to David Rossi
Generally, Season 4 has been one of the stronger seasons of 'Criminal Minds', making one sad that the show became hit and miss after Season 6 with Season 11 being a particularly poor season.
It is really refreshing to, after reviewing a handful of bad or mediocre episodes recently, to review a good one for a change, or in the case of "Zoe's Reprise" a fantastic one. "Zoe's Reprise" for me is one of Season 4's best episodes along with "The Big Wheel" and "Conflicted. It is one of the show's most poignant and interesting, and is also scary in places.
"Zoe's Reprise" is notable for showing a different side to David Rossi. There had been previous attempts to develop him, like in "Damaged" and "Masterpiece" (both controversial episodes, and while flawed they were ones that to me were good), but it was "Zoe's Reprise" up to this point that developed him the strongest. When he was first introduced in "About Face", one missed Gideon's more intuitive approach to case solving and it did take time to get used to Rossi's more old school and more egotistical side.
Apart from being very casual and quite cold at the beginning, "Zoe's Reprise" sees a more sympathetic edge that is really quite poignant to see to Rossi in one of his more personal cases and it was great to see, this was the proper start to seeing him properly as a more interesting to easier to like character who has now settled in very well (much more so than later team members, it took a season to warm to Blake to me and Callaghan and Lewis never did fit in).
The episode also has one of the show's most sympathetic and affecting victims, was really sorry that Zoe was dispatched so quickly and the episode did a fantastic job making her rootable and Rossi's determination to solving the case more palpable. As well as having one of the season's most well developed and frightening unsubs, which makes his early reveal far more forgivable than other episodes with early reveals with far less interesting unsubs, the chilling references to past crimes being very chilling.
On top of being a personal case, the story is very intriguing and suspenseful with a lot of emotional impact and tension. The beginning is really wonderful, and the interviews with the unsub effectively bring chills down the spine. The script is tight and beautifully balanced, while the episode is very high in production value as always and the music is haunting and melancholic.
Although "Zoe's Reprise" centres mostly on Rossi (which is a nice change from a lot of episodes previously being focused on Reid, who is still one of the show's most interesting and best developed regulars and has stopped the later seasons actually from being unwatchable), the rest of the team are still used very well. Loved JJ being the voice of reason which makes one sad also that the show made her out of character in Season 7-9 which was some kind of apology for firing AJ Cook and trying to make her a more intriguing character which didn't work.
The acting is very good, with Joe Mantegna being on fine form, while in support Bess Armstrong is incredibly moving, Johnny Lewis is suitably sinister and Amy Davidson is very appealing even in her very short screen time.
In summary, a really fantastic episode and a strong example of 'Criminal Minds' being in its prime. 10/10 Bethany Cox