Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mrs. Amanda Recaps CRIMINAL MINDS (Episode 5x16 - Mosley Lane)

The "Mosley Lane" episode has been long-awaited by CM fans because it was directed by cast member Matthew Gray Gubler. My family has been interested in the arrival of "Mosley" for quite a while, too - because my sister (one of the Casting Associates on the show, for those of you who are new) has been telling us stories about it for months. Why? Matthew was super-pumped to be directing (I think this was his directorial debut), and started talking to casting about the show about 6 weeks before they ever saw a draft of the script. As is probably common with most casting people, Erica feels a lot of love for the actors that come through her show, and because he was amped up, she was amped up, too.

Some notes from Erica about "Mosley Lane:"

The script had really well-drawn, very specific characters, so it made our jobs very easy. Bud Cort (Harold and Maude, anyone?), Beth Grant (the woman who gets run over by the bus in Speed), Ann Cusack (need I say more?), Brooke Smith (who, in my opinion, is one of the best and most-underrated actresses in town), and Toby Huss (who I think people are more familiar with his voice than his face since he does King of the Hill) were our big guest stars.

But as excited as Gub was over those 5 amazing actors, he was going wild for the kids. We had 4 kids we had to cast for this episode, and I don't think he was truly prepared for how great some of these kids were going to be. He literally applauded when they finished auditioning. It seemed like it pained him to have to pick only one for each role. And boy, did those kids LOVE him! Whenever we saw them on set, the kids would tell us how much fun they were having with Matthew (which is good because they had to be locked in a dark cellar for most of the shoot!). I have pictures of a few of them with Matthew, with their dirty faces and tattered wardrobes... and yet, they look like the happiest actors ever! Really cute.

Here is one of said pictures. She's right. It's cute.

This dirty child is Cameron Protzman, who plays Aimee.

But enough dillying - here's the recap:

"Mosley Lane" was brought to you by the year 1950 and the word "SUPERDUPERCREEPY."  The acting, the music, the topic...yeesh.  They needed all the lights on at the FBI to solve this case.

A mom (Barbara), dad (Frank), daughter (Aimee), and unnamed-and-never-again-seen-even-though-the-parents-are-constantly-berating-each-other-for-leaving-Aimee-alone son are at a winter festival.  Frank and the son go off for ice cream or some such nonsense, leaving Barbara and Aimee alone in a crowd of festivalers.  Suddenly, a mom runs by screaming for her daughter.  Barbara looks up toward the noise, and when she looks down, Aimee is gone.  The FBI is on the case.
 The moral of the story?  Don't ever do anything fun with your kids.

As we learned from the movie Ransom, when a child is kidnapped, their chance of survival is highest in the first 24 hours.  Sarah, a drunk whose son Charlie was taken 7 years ago, pops in to tell the BAU that the person who took Aimee also took Charlie (because they were both 8 years old when 'napped).  They brush her off in order to beat the ticking clock.  It's not that they distrust alcoholics, but Sarah likes to make this claim whenever a child is taken.
Ann has been in 9 million things, and yet I always think of her as Shirley Baker.

Meanwhile, Aimee is groggily carried down a dark, basement-y hall. Aimee finally comes to, alone, and sees a bit of light coming through a hole in the wallpaper. On the other side is a boy (Stephen - played by Austin Mincks) who tries to comfort her. But suddenly, a woman (Anita) bursts into the room and starts beating the boy, all-the-while shouting, "No no no!" You see other children in the room while this is going down.
 In horror movies, this is never a good idea.

Remember that ticking clock?  The bells chime.  But no body has surfaced.  The only clue they have is that both Barbara and Sarah commented on seeing a woman yelling for her child before their own kid was taken.  Everyone thinks it's a coincidence...everyone but JJ, that is.  She talks the group into connecting the two cases and goes to tell Sarah that they believe her this time and they want her help in finding Aimee/possibly Charlie.
 "Sarah, we need you to do us a favor.  Lower the crazy level.  Stop drinking."

Cut back to Anita, who is packing the beaten boy up into a box/coffin, all the while singing, "Hush Little Baby."  She keeps on singing as she pushes the coffin into a creamatorium, and turns it on.  I'll spare myself having to type the word "Creepy" 10,000 times in this recap.  Basically, every time you see the word 'Anita' or 'Roger,' insert  C.R.E.E.P.Y.
See?  Creepy.

Back in the basement, Aimee wakes up to a teenage boy (Charlie - played by Evan Peters) standing by her bed.  He tells her that "they" want to call her Allison, and he takes a polaroid of her.  She tells him her real name, and that she wants to go home.
Can you still buy Polaroid cameras?  If yes, why? 

The team tries to figure out the unsub's shtick.  Garcia taps into her magical database to pull up 8-year old kidnapped children taken from their parents in public places who have not been recovered.  Tappity tap tap - list good to go.
Good = Garcia actually gets to work in the same physical location as her colleagues.
Bad = Not enough Rossi in this ep.

Charlie goes to tell Aimee that "they" are home, and to do what they say because it will make it easier.  This is where Frank appears, and shoves him out of the room so they can do whatever it is they do to these poor children.  This is Aimee's POV from under the bed when she first sees her captors up close:
"Looks like someone has been sleeping in Goldilock's bed."  
Blech.  Jeez, Bud.  There are kids in this episode.

Emily and Hotch recreate the crime scene (btw, I love this technique - where they place Emily in the scene as it unfolds).  They decide that there has to be multiple unsubs - a woman to distract, a man to grab, and a driver to get away at the scene.
We're supposed to believe that kid picked out that hat?  Now that's acting.

Ol' Frank is cleaning up the creamatorium, and walks outside with an urn.  An old lady comments on how beautiful the roses are.  Frank thanks her, and says that the roses are the souls of the this boy he's carrying around in this urn.  He unceremoniously dumps it onto the roses (just like The Big Lebowski without the coffee can and Vietnam speech).
Oh, and every time Frank or Anita is on-screen, this piano-cum-music-box music is playing in the background.  Creepstick.

The BAU meets with Sarah, who tells them that she saw Charlie three years ago on a streetcorner.  She yelled his name, but he was gone before she could get to him.  They decide to bring in all of the parents whose circumstances fit Sarah and Barbara's for another interview (and to unnecessarily get their hopes up).  Barbara is looking miserably worse-for-the-wear, and she tells Garcia that her husband blames her for letting go of Aimee's hand.
 How long ago was Silence of the Lambs?  Why doesn't she look any older?  Mail me your skin cream, Brooke.

Another young-ish girl (Mae - played by Katlin Mastandrea) is cleaning up Aimee's wounds.  She is very sweet, and you are to understand that all of the children take care of one another.  Mae throws herself in front of Aimee when Frank and Anita come in to separate them.
If you ever remake Annie, Criminal Minds has found your girl.
("Awww, gee, Mister.  It's only a dog!")

Back at the FBI, they put together a profile and sketch up Sarah's last view of Charlie.  Barbara and Frank recognize the Charlie sketch, and realize that he was standing in line with them at the festival.  Turns out, Charlie is the one who actually kidnaps the kids.  This round-about-ly points them to Social Services calls in the area, which populates a list of 23 houses full of terrible grownups.

The BAU goes door-to-door, checking out what seems to be the unsavoriest neighborhood in America.
Those block parties must be a hoot.

Morgan and Emily get to knock on the door of el Creepo and la Creepa's house. While Frank entertains them upstairs, Anita is shushing Aimee downstairs with threats that if she makes a sound, she'll kill her mommy.  Apparently, she doesn't think the threats cut it, because she sticks her with the world's largest syringe before sneaking out the back with all three children.  Shemar and Emily aren't having Frank's literal oiliness, and they call in the team. 
Nice shout-out to Psycho.

While the FBI goes through the house, Anita is burning up a bag of toys and other items in the creamatorium while the children watch.  How do we know it's a creamatorium?  Because Garcia discovers that Anita's family owns a funeral home.  You don't say.

Aimee starts to wake up, and Anita tells Charlie to put her in one of the boxes.  He does, and then goes for the purse that he's been eyeing since they left.  Guess what's in the purse?  A gun.  Guess what he does with it?
Best death line by a killer: "You gotta be kidding me."
Good writing, writers.

So, Frank hangs himself and the kids get returned to their parents.  End of show?  If only.  I was a little misty when Sarah reunites with Charlie - and then stupid rescued Charlie walks over to Stephen's parents (remember the kid who was killed in the beginning), and tells them that their son helped save Aimee.  The dad (played by David Youse) sobs, "Stephen was alive yesterday?"  After this, there was some wrap-up dialogue and the usual end-quote, but I couldn't hear them over my own boohooing.  I can't believe I cried over a CM episode.  What's next?  Crying over The Office?
Turn off the TV when you see this guy come on screen. 

Good work, Matthew.  It really was an amazing episode.  And I didn't sleep a wink last night.  Thanks a lot.

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