23 October 2016 | TheLittleSongbird
Intriguing episode but doesn't quite hit the mark
"Corazon" seems very much a love it or hate it episode (perhaps the most polarising episode of Season 6), and no wonder. 'Criminal Minds' is nowhere near at its best here, but is it bad enough to be a show low-point? No.
As far as Season 6 episodes go, in a very hit-and-miss, "Corazon" is somewhere in the middle. The season started off promisingly with "The Longest Night", a season premiere that improved on the previous season's finale as part of a two-parter, but also saw show low-points such as "The Thirteenth Step", one of the first and biggest cases of a 'Criminal Minds' episode that didn't feel like 'Criminal Minds'. "Corazon" at least does not suffer from this dubious distinction.
It has been criticised for being insultingly stereotypical, its portrayal of religion (criticised for being inaccurate and distorted) and for being too graphic. Can understand about the graphic complaint, but nothing stood out to me as being so stereotypical to be offended by it and it was made crystal clear in the episode that the unsub was hiding their own psychosis within the religion and twisted it by adding horrors and pretending they're part of it. Not a deliberately false representation at all, it's all part of a disturbing delusion.
Getting that out of the way, "Corazon" did to me have problems. Seaver is useless here, is too much of a rookie, shares little interaction with the team and has the personality of a broom-stick. By all means she is dumber and more annoying in other episodes, a prime example being "Coda" (which otherwise was not a bad episode at all besides her), but she still has some terrible lines in "Corazon" (while few, fortunately, god don't they stick out like a sore thumb or what?) that makes the viewer shake their heads and say out loud "are you for real?".
Was also a little underwhelmed somewhat by the unsub. By all means, "Corazon" does do a great job with the graphic and tense atmosphere and in the early parts one really does believe it is someone part of a cult or something. Once suspects are narrowed down in viewers' minds, which is about a little over a quarter of the way through, the unsub's identity does become more obvious (once the initial shock of realising who it could have been without the episode telling you wears off it dawns quickly how predictable it is). Also after such a wonderfully twisted and disturbing methodology, it was disappointing to find that the unsub was a character that is developed barely and whose screen time is reasonably short.
While "Corazon" does do a great job mostly with its atmosphere, some (not all) of the graphic-ness and gore did feel overkill and for seemingly the sake of being graphic and gory. Loved the subplot with Reid, which does make one feel genuinely concerned for a fan favourite but it did feature a little too heavily and contributed to the climax not being as harrowing as it potentially should have been. Because it just felt overwrought and over-the-top, and brought down any creepiness or such the unsub could have properly exuded with it as he became more desperate and silly than the sick individual that his MO gave the sense he was.
However, "Corazon" is still very well made as always as an episode. It is grittier than a lot of 'Criminal Minds' episodes before it, and it worked very well with the concept, and it didn't try too hard. The music is haunting and melancholic, adding a lot to scenes while not always enhancing but never distracting or inappropriate. The writing is tight and thought-provoking, with the profiling (of which thankfully there is a good deal) being very intelligently done and intriguing. Only Seaver's and Garcia's tastelessly flippant dialogues grate.
The story is never dull, and is always intriguing and disturbing with enough turns to keep one glued. Even if the gore is a bit excessive and things peter out towards the end after such promising build-up. The lead characters, apart from Seaver, are well-defined and interesting, centring around Reid but not by all means neglecting the others. The group dynamic is loyal and adorable, with the team seeming to share the viewer's genuine concern about Reid. The acting, apart from bland Rachel Nichols, is very good, Matthew Gray Gubler's quite brilliant performance being the best thing about the episode.
In summary, intriguing episode but could have been better. 6/10 Bethany Cox