Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Photo: Adam Taylor/ABC Studios ©2008 ABC Studios Television. All Rights Reserved.

Criminal Minds spoiler thread for "Normal" written by Andrew Wilder. Criminal Minds rocks!

"Normal" - The team investigates a serial killer dubbed "The Road Warrior," a suspect who kills luxury car owners while they are driving on freeways in Southern California.

*** Quote and song info will be posted after the episode airs. ****

*** Spoilers will be in the comments! Beware!


Laura_G said...

I am counting the hours until this episode airs here! I love AW eps and love Mitch Pileggi and Faith Ford. I just know this is going to be a great episode. Andrew never disappoints!

Deirdre said...

I am too counting the hours till this episode. But for some reason this ep came around very fast. maybe it was because after having to wait two weeks for the last ep, one week doesn't seem so bad!! Anyway, I can't wait!!!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to tonite's episode, nice break from the hustle-bustle of C'mas prep. I think it's interesting that last week's epi had Joe Regalbuto and this week's features Faith Ford-both former characters from Candace Bergen's old sitcom, "Murphy Brown." We're getting great guest stars this season-have you noticed-seems more than usual and maybe because they get a chance to do seomething very different than other parts they usually play. Anyway, I can't wait!

Unknown said...

I'm new to the blog (but not to the show!) and I have to say I'm really looking forward to tonight's episode. I always enjoy Andrew Wilder's eps--I wonder if he can top the greatness that was Minimal Loss? *g* I have no doubts that it'll be a phenomanal episode!

How many hours til it's on? :)

Anonymous said...

Yippee! Can't wait! For the first time in three weeks, I can see it when it's on, and be here for the chat! I've missed the chats. :(

Anonymous said...

The camera work in the opening scene with the car flying through the air and crashing was some of the best camera work I have ever seen.

The wife is a witch. Only seen the first scene so far but this isn't Murphy Brown!

Laura_G said...

Andrew always, ALWAYS has the best opening scenes. Very high-impact. Gets you hooked in the first few minutes. Why did he have the gun with him??? Prolly to blow away his wife, but we will see!

Anonymous said...

i have 3 hours to waite

Anonymous said...

Hotch was so sympathetic taliking with the first victim and her son. AW writes the best Hotch.

The wife is a b-tch. I think she could stress anyone but she stressed this guy into killing wife look a likes.

I want to know if his walking up to his daughters' doors has any more meaning other than to show that he was a normal looking family man who snapped.

Anonymous said...


He is planning on killing his family. They just came back with that after the commercial.

Awesome so far.

First scene was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Remind me never to ask anyone anything while driving. Great way to get your butt blown away.

Hearing the profile on the news really sent demented Norman over the edge. The way he is hearing the put downs in his head is spooky.

This dude is totally void of self esteem.

Anonymous said...

Jordan feels guilty about the freeway shooting that took place after her first press conference.

They are really giving a terrific profile. Her appeal to Norman to give himself up was pretty good. I just might end up liking her. She just needs some experience.

I can't believe he told his wife and she didn't believe him. Called herself the Zodiac killer.

Daughter died six months ago. Is that what broke him?

Freakin wonderful episode. LOVE AW!

Anonymous said...

He killed them! I thought they were in the car and not just in his head. Holy crap. Great episode. OMG! Great episode. I actually feel sorry for him.

Bb88 said...

What an incrediable episode. That whole chase scene, only to find out that he killed them even before they showed up was so powerful. He's been delusional for so long. Bravo to Mitch Pleggii he was awsome tonight. One of the best episodes ever I think of CM. And JJ little visit was so moving. Glad they could all smile in the room where so much death is seen.

Anonymous said...

Loved Morgan holding Henry and them all saying he was smiling because of gas. That was cute. I guess that was supposed to be a cookie or something.

The episode was just perfect. I was shocked when they went into his house and found the bodies. Just totally shocked!!

Todd telling Rossi that she didn't know if she could do the job was a great scene. WoW! He was so gentle and sweet with her. Look at Rossi being a team player.

Anonymous said...

WOW! awesome episode! I LOVED the ending! OMG.....Hotch smiled! Of course Reid was the one to notice JJ! God, I still have a soft spot for the two of them together! I really felt sorry for Norman(?), it is never the same when anyone in a family dies, especially when it is tragic. Death does funny things to people. I can't wait until next year for new episodes!

Anonymous said...

Awesome episode!!!! Andrew Wilder did it again!! Yahooooo!

I too felt sorry for Norman. Poor guy :(

kelltrek said...

This episode showed just how thin the line between normal and not normal is!

Kirsten said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Andrew! Hotch kidding around AND smiling... made my night! But also loved the twists and turns of the storyline and the seeming 'normal-ness' of Norman. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful episode this was. Such great scenes with the shootings and car chasing...full of action but at the same time great profiling from all of them. Hotch was so sweet with the first victim and her kid. I also really believed that the family was with him and it was a total surprise for me that they had been killed days ago.
Finally the last scene with JJ coming to visit with her son, Morgan holding him and Hotch smiling and telling JJ that they missed her...just GREAT, I could watch that one over and over (I am sure I will). JJ and Hotch understand each other so well.
My applause to Andrew Wilder. Thanks a lot!

Ztivokreb said...

Holy #%@$! I totally didn't see it coming. Mitch played an awesome deranged wackjob, and the team was on the ball!

I can't wait for the next AW ep, they always throw me for a loop.


Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This ep had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Such a shocker to find out he'd already killed his family!

Loved that JJ came by with her baby and that Hotch smiled at the end. Was good to end on a upbeat note after such a tense ep.

Ann said...

Wonderful episode!!! Great stunts, the twist @ the end TOTALLY got me, & I loved the touching team moment w/ JJ! It left me smiling, & wasn't gas.

Anonymous said...

Totally awesome eppy! I think it was one of the best Andrew eppys to date! I loved how well it was done. I was glued to the TV and unable to move for the last half of the eppy.

That scene between Rossi and Jordan was so sweet.

Loved the end when Morgan was holding little Henry and said he was smiling at him! lol

Anonymous said...

I think Mitch Pileggi deserves an Emmy award for his portrayal of Norman. He was fantastic. The editing and stunt work was also beautifully done, keeping the audience confused about whether the family in the car was real or not. Until the vehicle flipped over I had no idea that the family wasn't in there with him. Shocking and totally the reason I adore this show.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Wilder does not disappoint!

Andrew, thank you for joining us tonight, as usual, you were wonderful!

Boy did he fool me! We learned in the chat that Norman killed his family that first night, after the party to celebrate his wife's promotion.! Didn't see that one coming!

This was a very interesting episode, and different because I felt empathy for the unsub and that doesn't happen very often. The poor man was competely emascualted by his wife and daughters. The loss of his youngest daughter set him off as a failure as a father and a man. He only felt good or powerful when while on his way to his wife's party, he killed a woman in her fancy car. That started his spree.

Jordan had a couple of meltdowns, one with Hotch where they had words after her press conference caused the unsub to kill 2 guys who had the misfortune of asking him if he was okay, and one after it was all over and Rossi comforted her and she said she didn't know if she could do the job. Is this foreshadowing to a complete breakdown for her, or for her willingly leaving the BAU when it is time for JJ to return? Hmmmm.

I am going to have to watch this one again--hopefully the DVR got everything because I had moments of sound and no picture and picture and no sound!

Now we have nearly a month without new episodes! How will we survive!!

Anonymous said...

Great episode, twist and chat. Thanks Andrew.

What is normal and what happens when you are pushed too far...

Nice little team ending and again, good pacing with the episodes.

Happy holidays!

Phoenix said...

Thanks so much to Andrew for a great episode as well as coming to the chat this evening. He's always a delight to have.

I enjoyed the story and thought the casting of Mitch and Faith was perfect. Mitch did an Emmy quality job, IMO. I love the twists AW always manages to include.

I know the boys always love to blow up cars, and budgets only allow for one take, but I really think the pyrotech guys got a little over enthusiastic when they calculated the charge and the flight of the first victim's car. That car had more height and "air time" Michael Jordan got in a whole season. If the doors had opened, it would have had wings and needed to declare a flight plan! :) It didn't really affect the quality of the show, but I thought it was a bit of overkill.

Thanks again for another great job by the CM team!


Anonymous said...

Big time reunion show. Shemar Moore & Mitch Pileggi worked together previously on 'Birds of Prey'& Joe Mantegna & Elaine Hendrix worked together previously on 'Joan of Arcadia'.

I really loved this episode. What's not to love about any Andrew Wilder episode!

I'm thinking Norman killed them when they got home from the party. I think when we saw him walk to each daughters' door that we were not seeing what really was happening but what his mind was seeing. Great twists and turns.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be wise for us to add not flipping off other motorists to our list of things Andrew suggests we don't do/don't do. I'll put it right up there with not eating at roadside joints and making sure to raise my garage door before getting into my car.

Great casting, writing, stunts, editing and especially camera work in this episode and they sure did blow the budget up with the cars!

One month without a new episode. Maybe we can ask Ed to come into the chat room and tell us stories. We are going to be mighty grumpy in a month.

Laura_G said...


Thank you so very much for coming to chat with us tonight. I know you are busy getting ready for your next ep and we appreciate you taking time out of your hectic schedule to chat with us.

Excellent ep and can't wait for the next one!!!

jackie said...

First of all, i loved this
episode, and i just want to
thank Andrew Wilder for coming
to our chat and talking to us
about his awesome and amazing
episode. The episode was so
good, it kept you on the edge
of your seat, and guessing as
to what was going through the
mind of a man who had snapped
mentally due to the stress and
tragedy of losing a loved one.
In this case, it was the unsub's
daughter who was tragically
killed by a car, while he was
fixing his car on the side of
the road. Well done Andrew
letting us think that the wife
and daughters were still alive,
only to find out in the end that he had already killed them days
before. Showing us that in
his mind, they were alive
but in actuality they were
dead. Shows us just how fragile
the human mind really is.
Loved the part about Hotch
talking to the kid in the
hospital about his mom. Hotch
has a special way with dealing with children and mothers.
The part where Rossi was
talking to Jordan at the house and telling her it was ok if she
couldn't do the job was very
sweet. And at the end, when
JJ was at the BAU waiting for
the team to come back, and
Morgan was holding the baby,
i loved it when Hotch smiled
and told JJ that he missed her. I couldn't help but wonder though, if he was thinking about the
time when he brought his
son Jack to the office for
the first time after he
was born. But Hotch and JJ
do have a special friendship and working relationship. Thanks
Andrew for writing such an
amazing episode, and i can't
waite for your next episode
in March which should make
all of us Hotch fans very
happy! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Reid giving directions and looking all nervous in the backseat was fun and Morgan telling him that he needs more warning before he turns was a nice touch. I really liked Prentiss being the one to realize that he was driving his own car in the first kill. Our team vs. The Road Warrior. Felt sorry for him some. Losing a child has to be gut wrenching and mind blowing. I can totally see how you could snap. Faith Ford was really good.

Anonymous said...

Criminal Minds was insanely good tonight! It was a total head trip! Blew me away that they were already dead.

Anonymous said...

Was Henry played by AJ's real son?

Anonymous said...

it was so good kept me on the edge of my seat. i saw a smile from hotch

LoraLee said...

First of all, thank you, Andrew, for writing us such a wonderful episode. You had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. And thank you very much for coming to chat with us; we love talking with you.

Great opening on this one; poor guys just trying to get ready to go to his wife’s party and it’s just one putdown after another. It’s so casual you can feel that’s his whole life, try to please, get kicked in the teeth. What a B**ch - I almost wanted to off her myself.

Right away I got the vibe that cars are important to this guy - what a collection of models. It takes a lot of time and effort to assemble that many models. (My brother used to make them - I got to hand him the little bottles of paint.)

The moment I saw the gift box I said, “Hmm, Norman, what’s in the box?” But at the same time, he’s going to a party so a gift isn’t out of the ordinary is it? I was debating with myself right up to the moment the box opened up and the shotgun came out.

Now, talk about an excellent crash. That first one was magnificent, I love the way the car skidded on the hood, just such an exciting visual. And it’s all the better knowing that a scene like that you only get one chance (I mean, they don’t exactly say “here’s fifty cars” crash them until you get it right.”) A shot like that takes planning, and skill. Kudos to the stunts department for one of the best crashes I’ve ever seen.

And of course, that was followed up by one of the most disturbing scenes ever - Norman drives away from the scene with that “I’m perfectly happy” smile on his face, not overplayed, just perfect to give me chills. And he’s so happy at the party after, happy enough that his wife notices his unusually good mood.

This next part seemed a little slow on the action, but now I know when I rewatch (which I always do) that I’ll be thinking about what I know now that I didn’t know the first time around. Once you know that what’s really happening is so much different than what he’s imagining at that moment ... chills again.

It was a nice change of pace to start with the team already in the plane, offhand I can’t think of another time we’ve done that - we probably have, I just can’t think of it right now. And the opening quote: "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." (H.L. Mencken) for some reason hit me harder than usual - we all want to go a little nuts in a bad way sometimes don’t we?

Jordan seemed to be having a hard time emotionally with this case from the beginning; it just shows how tough JJ’s job really is. I really like Jordan, but JJ keeps the team running smoothly.

What does it say about me that I’m one happy camper watching Reid read a map? I guess it says I’m a Gubette. Although when Hotch said they were going to have to stake out the highway with their own people, the thought of Morgan/Shemar in a hard hat, worn jeans and a shirt with the arms ripped off had me excited - too bad that didn’t happen.

There doesn’t happen to be deleted scene like that for the season four DVD does there???? I imagine not, since they didn’t do any stake out after all. Too bad.

I liked the exposition of the profile in this episode too, the first piece while Reid’s looking at the map, then a little more when he brings the map in to show the team, more while they’re talking to the construction guy on the freeway, and then tying it all together in the press briefing. It flowed just as well as the ‘standard’ briefing and kept the pacing moving along nicely.

And the unsub seeing his own profile being presented? Nothing like making the nut a little nuts. I like the way he/we shifted back and forth between reality and delusion. Almost over the edge, then calm back down - this guy could have easily been pushed into workplace killer the way he was imagining his coworkers taunting him.

Poor Jordan realizing that her pres conference is what pushed the unsub into changing hi M.O. again. And how do you make peace with the fact that every time you do your job it’s a risk? And then add having to deal with an irritated and blunt Hotch - “It’s a risk of the job - can you deal with it?” “Good, because you’re about to give another press conference.” Ouch and double-ouch. But I really liked the appeal to the unsub to turn himself in (although it seemed like she was finished, so was that real or part of his delusion - I’ll decide for myself when I rewatch).

Then, the guy confesses to his wife and she and the kids mock him. Not nice. (Of course ... not yet) And when he orders them into the car I’m thinking to myself, ‘my husband tells me he’s been committing murders on the highway, there is no way in Hell I’m getting in the car with him, and especially not taking my kids with me’ - although under the actual circumstances I understand why they obeyed. And the way they were mocking him the longer they were in the car - bad idea guys.

I absolutely loved Morgan, Prentiss and Reid in the car, with Reid backseat driving, and Morgan telling him “you gotta give me a little more notice.” But at the same time that he’s bitchin’ that Reid’s not giving him enough notice, and the three of them are being thrown around the car, and all the close calls (you can practically see Prentiss praying, and Reid looked ready to wet himself a couple times) neither Morgan or Prentiss show any doubt that Reid’s going to get them there as fast as possible - it’s Morgan’s job to make sure they’re in one piece when they get there, lol.

Meanwhile Hotch, Rossi and Jordan arrive at the unsub’s house, and I’m yelling ‘screw the bell, they’re not answering, kick the damn door in.” Then they stop and the guys admire the model car collection - WTF??? they're nice, but not that nice - I was trapped between laughing at them being such car guys (which I never suspected) and yelling at them to hurry up and search the house and get ready to ambush the unsub if he makes it back to the house.

Then when they’re searching the house I keep thinking it’s my imagination that they look like something smells bad. And with the cutting back and forth, from the speed of the chase and the stealth in the house, I’m on the edge of my seat screaming at Hotch and company to get ready for the unsub to make it back to the house, and yelling at the cops to ram the freakin’ car, and the unsub to just stop (knew that wasn’t happening) and I was totally fooled on the big secret. I mean I was totally shocked when the wife grabbed the wheel and flipped the car. I mean she’s not supposed to be crazy and her kids are in the back seat?

Then we cut back to the house and I suddenly realize - wait a minute, is the unsub alone??? Boy, did they get me.

Then we’re shown the flip side of the tough guys - Morgan is quick and efficient in his takedown of Norman, (fast and hard may look brutal, but it’s the best way to keep an unstable person from hurting themselves or someone else). His true compassion really shows through when he’s talking to Norman and promising to get him help.

Then back at the house, we have the most compassionate Rossi I have seen yet dealing with Jordan. “It wasn’t anything you (or we) did, we never had a chance to save the family.” Which goes back to the slow piece where Norman’s checking on his family after the party - did a lot more than peek into their rooms. I get the feeling Jordan’s not going to fight JJ for her job when JJ’s ready to come back from maternity leave, and she’s probably going to be looking for a different type of assignment altogether. It gets awful hot in that spotlight.

And wonderful Garcia, the heart of our little team, she always knows just what they need - there’s nothing in the world like holding a baby at the end of a day from Hell. “Gas.” Poor Morgan. And Hotch smilage - “Gas.” That’s gonna be my new catchword for a while, whenever I need a sudden smile.

So “gas” everybody, it was an excellent episode, with enough undertones to figure out to keep me happy for at least a week.

Anonymous said...

Very good episode. I wish I had not watched the end before the being. I had come and realize it was Wednesday night and watch the end first. But even after watching it in it's entirely, I still found it to be very good. I loved the Morgan moments. Making everyone stand down when arresting the unsub and with the baby.

Anonymous said...

Mitch Pileggi was so great. I hope he liked playing Norman. It was great seeing him on CM! Great job by everyone.

Deirdre said...

I thought this was a fantastic episode. There was so much to love about it and nothing not to love!! The story was gripping and full of drama and suspense. I think everyone was surprised that the family was already dead. There were clues when you go back and rewatch but they were so subtle it would've been impossible to guess. That made the reveal at the end all the more powerful!! I loved all the profiling and using the press. they don't seem to do that as much as they used. I loved them showing Jordan struggling with the responsibility and Rossi comforting her. The end scene with JJ was brilliant. It was a nice touch to end the episode on. I loved the interaction between her and Hotch. And as someone has already stated, 'Gas' is gonna be my new saying!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Andrew for joining us in the chat last night; great answers as always. And thanks to everyone who asked the great questions. Go fanatics!

Loved this episode, and I will be watching again this weekend. I have just a couple of observations.

Jordan, as tough as she pretended to be, was negatively affected by the case. In her capacity working in antiterrorism she would be used to dealing with a more distant enemy, who is more of an object than a person and is easy to hate. Dealing with both the tragedy of the family’s death and the fact that Norman was so normal and the enemy (unsub) was not so distant was difficult for her. Nice depiction. I also saw the effect that Jordan’s realization that what she said, every word, can and does matter, and she will not likely be as flippant as she was in her first case where she lied to the family. Lesson learned the hard way.

I liked the way Norman’s devolution was shown, where he perceived everyone’s comments as a criticism. It was comical to some degree, until we find out how he responds to his perceived wrongs. The part where Morgan had him in his sights and was talking to him, and he couldn’t hear him, was very effective as well. It was a good way to show some of the dynamics of mental illness, and the police response. It’s hard to deal with someone who cannot hear you, and is in no condition to respond to commands as a healthy person would.

I was surprised by the ending of the case, which is good! Great to have some mystery in a mystery story. I liked the ending, nice to have something cute and positive.

Thanks CM cast and crew!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, what a GREAT episode. Andrew - you did it again! Thank you! And thank you for coming to the chat last night - it was like the whipped cream on a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

First - the mystery was perfect. What a sad, sad story. I was totally surprised and shocked by the ending. How sad that someone could be pushed to that point in their lives by the people around them - a lesson to all of us to be nice. You really made us sympathize for Norman...not my usual response to an unsub!

There were a lot of great moments in the epi - Reid giving directions (just like I do...honey, you should have turned we drive past)...him in the back seat squeeling. And I loved that we got to be in the team's car during an exciting chase. That was a new thing and lots of fun. Felt like I was there. The Rossi and Jordan Todd moment was excellent. I just wanted to reach out and hug, I mean Jordan. ;)
I know we all miss AJ, but Meta's doing a great job, too. JJ has some big shoes to fill and in her portayal of Jordan, Meta is doing that very well without going over the top.

When we learned about the family, I had tears in my eyes, then we got the little jewel at the end and it made me laugh - that was a great emotional save.

The scene at the, what can I say? Women across the country are imagining Shermar Moore holding their baby. LOL Seriously, though, it was exactly what we needed. I loved the glimpse of JJ - how appropriate to have her come to show off her little one to her colleagues and the fact that big, tough Derek Morgan wanted to be hands-on was precious. And Hotch's joke about gas pains!!!! Is that a CM first...a Hotch JOKE???? I know someone out there knows, please tell me.

Andrew, cast, guest stars, crew - all I can say is YOU GUYS TOTALLY ROCK!!!

Thank you for another fantastic episode.

Anonymous said...

thank you for chatting with you andrew!
still haven't seen the ep! can't wait to see it!

Anonymous said...

That one was awesome from beginning to end. Hotch's "gas" line had me laughing so hard that I was crying. It was so subtle, just like his "remind me to have her drug tested" line from a few episodes back.
Mitch Pileggi was unbelievable - a great job, I felt sorry for Norman by the end also. Andrew Wilder rocks!!!

Kate said...

This was definitely an 'edge of your seat' episode! I did not see the murdered family thing coming at all until Hotch, Rossi, and Todd gave such strong reactions to walking in the home, then it clicked. My favorite parts were the opening scene (EXCEPTIONAL stunt work!!) and the chase/backseat driver scene. I love the cohesiveness of Morgan, Prentiss, and Reid. And of course the closing scene was terrific as well. (I miss JJ, too, Hotch.) Overall a powerful episode! Andrew Wilder wrote a great one. And cast, crew, DELIVERED!!!Congrats!

Anonymous said...

I totally didn't catch on to the fact that the family was already dead, and I was horrified that the family was all yelling that it was his fault the other girl died while he was crazy driving with them. I was glad to find out that at least that part wasn't true.

Quite an interesting case. I'm not sure how much the BAU really did in this case. The way he was going, it seemed like he would have gone completely off the deep end really soon anyway, and hearing about himself on tv just made it go faster.

Massive kudos to the stunt department for this episode. Coordinating a bunch of stunt drivers takes precision timing, and the first car crash of the episode was a real winner.

Anonymous said...

Wow, angry driver causing fatalities on crowded freeways, otherwise known as a typical Friday night rush hour traffic on the 405. Excellent and exciting episode with a "normal" unsub who snaps from the pressures of life and being unable to deal with tragedy. Because of the chat, I knew that the unsub was getting all Beautiful Mind on us, but it was interesting to watch the editing that kept us guessing what was delusional and what was real.
Loved the ending with JJ bringing in the baby for a lovely family moment. Hmmmmm, if we can get Hotch to smile more with gas,here,Hotch, have some more broccoli and cucumbers!!!!! :)
A humongous thank you to Andrew for taking the time for the wonderful chat. Nice point about the theme of emasculation!! Yes, next time I will leave the seat up!!!! And it's nice to know they will spare no expense to give us a rip-roaring, action-packed episode but balanced with the right amount of character interaction.
Kudos for an excellent script and the first-rate teamwork that went into the production of such an enthralling story.

Anonymous said...

I was chilled when he walked up to his daughters rooms. I even remember their names! Sasha, Jenny and Brittany. Normal names, normal family, not a normal episode. It totally engrossed me from start to finish. Great way to end the year. Andrew Wilder never disappoints and the baby cookie at the end was a nice X-mas gift.

I hope that the cast and crew enjoy their holidays and return from their break refreshed and pumped to make us more wonderful episodes like Normal.

Lola said...

Good episode! I especially liked how they used profiling in this one.

Anonymous said...

I was on the edge of my seat (or should I say bed) the whole time and didn't see that twist coming. Andrew has once again succeeded in writing an awesome mind-gamey episode. My cousins are definitely going to see this one while they are here.

I loved the Rossi/Jordan scene at the end. He was really compassionate with her. She definitely had a tough time with this one and has learned her lessons the hard way. Meta has done an excellent job in the role

Anonymous said...

Nobody has mentioned the quotes. I thought they were great. Really fit in well with the tone of the episode.

Mitch hit a home run! Great performance.

The look on Reid's face while Morgan was whipping through the streets during the chase was great.

Totally just fantastic episode. More please!

Anonymous said...

I always have high expectations when it is an episode written by AW and once again he didn't disappoint me!

I thought 'kiddo' shows that Rossi has become emotionally bonded with the team and it was nice to see him comforting Jordan. It is a hard job and not everyone is cut out for it. He was very understanding and gentle.

Jordan's annoying, but I think the writers are using her character to indirectly highlight just how hard JJ's job is and make the team realize just how important her job is to their success.

I think the original plan was to shoot his wife at the party, but he got side tracked by the woman cutting him up in traffic and ended up expressing his violence differently to planned. When the team was discussing the profile the did say that his first kill would have given him a rush that he was trying to repeat but to no avail.

The camera man and the stunts coordinator deserve BIG rounds of applause for this episode. Unreal job. Just wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Great episode. Can't wait to rewatch it when I get home from work.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the episode for making Hotch smile and crack a joke.

Anonymous said...

A really nice piece of work. The episode had a complicated, slippery timeline, but the writing, editing, and direction ensured it never became incoherent.

I'm used to seeing Mitch Pileggi play grumpy authority figures, so seeing him play a schlub was odd but wonderful. As opposed to the rather opaque villain in "52 Pickup", we learn quite a bit about the unsub in this episode, as we follow him from his initial thrill kill to his final armageddon. He evidently had some kind of organic mental illness as well as intense self loathing and repressed rage. The writing was very canny in portraying the constant stream of putdowns he received in his monotonous daily life. A guy that passive and ineffectual is a bully magnet, and he seemed to bring out the patronizing instinct in everyone. His wife and daughters roll their eyes at him, his coworkers are impatient with him, and other drivers are scornful of him. He's even clumsy at that traditionally male exercise of changing a flat tire. His only refuge seems to be the room with the little things that go vroom in it, but even that symbolizes his miniature masculinity. It makes sense in a way that an ego-busting attack on his prowess behind the wheel snaps the last of his restraint.

The profiling was especially effective in this episode. Not only was it dead on, but we got to see Norman's hunted reaction to it. Jordan may as well have pointed her finger out of the TV and said, It's YOU. I also liked the ethical dilemma of putting the profile out to the public, although the episode let them off the hook somewhat by having the family already dead. Without releasing the profile, they were hampered in finding the killer due to the anonymous, random nature of the murders, but they also risked setting him off again. As it happened, two people did pay the price.

Speaking of Jordan...still annoying. Their sinister plan to make us appreciate JJ is working. Jordan's mistakes and doubts are all understandable, but her missteps and the failure of her values to mesh with the team's at critical times all give the sense that she just doesn't quite fit. It's a clever approach to the character that avoids going over the top to make her incompetent. I've seen some idiotic character writing in other shows, and it's nice to get the feeling that they are thinking ahead to a rational exit strategy for Jordan. Rossi's final scene with her was also well executed and showed how far he's come from the arrogant, remote figure he first presented.

Another welcome touch was to humanize the first victim, who at first manifested as a figure we all loathe, the raging nutjob aggressive driver who can't fathom how anyone could dare be driving in front of her. It turns out she was having her own family stress and succumbed to her own dysfunction, albeit a much less lethal one. The crash was overdone, though. SUVs really don't need much help flipping over.

And hey, proof positive how much more fun it is to take Reid on a car chase rather than leaving him at base camp to answer the phone.


Mitch Pileggi!For a second I was almost back to my Xfiles mania...but anymore....
Nice episode, good suspence, good profiling.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that "Normal" is one of the best episodes I've seen. Very well done. :)

Anonymous said...

This was an awesome episode, a real edge-of-your-seat thriller that seemed incredibly fast paced to me. Either the profiling was truly more extraordinary than usual or the plot so complicated or me being very slow to catch on...I prefer to the think the first two and given the previous comments, that's what I'm thinking now...who knew???

Mitch Pileggi was familiar to me but I don't believe I've ever seen him in much and he was amazingly convincing in this role. What a terrific actor! Faith and the other woman-crash victim were both wonderful as well.

Sweet moments as mentioned include 1.)Hotch with the boy and mom early on-he has such a heart for family, you have to love that in him - who is currently without his own;
2.)Rossi reassuring Jordan, nice and fatherly with shades of MP there;
3.)Jordan at the end of the one press conference speaking so directly and personally to the unsub, very effective on her part;
4.)the Reid navigation with Morgan hauling a--and Prentiss hanging on to her seat was great-so characteristic of all of them and I love that Reid didn't have to hang back to mind the coffee pot; 5.) and finally, the end-almost exactly like the end of another case/scene in a recent epi where they got back home and talked about going for a bite..but here, what should Reid notice but JJ inside the BAU. I cried it out as soon as he said "guys, there's someone ..." I squealed "it's JJ!" I think this epi made me really miss her and need to see her and the ensuing scene with all of our team getting to smile and show their soft sides was incredible, esp Morgan asking to hold the baby, and Hotch's "it's gas" line OMG! I loved it, I love them all and I will pine for new shows in the next few weeks of reruns. They are so damn good and this show is just getting better and better - or have we all gone wacko? No, just fanatical...

Anonymous said...

Nice twist!

Though there were many things in this epi I liked very much it won’t make it to my list of favorites. It was a good, entertaining hour of TV, but to be honest, I would have expected more from an AW episode (‘LDSK’ and ‘Elephant’s Memory’ being amongst my all time favorites). We get more spectacular car stunts on German TV series on a weekly basis (but at least you blew up a Mercedes), and the car chase reminded me strongly of American crime TV series from the 70s and 80s - seen this, hundreds of times before.

What I did like - apart from the big surprise - was Hotch with the first victim in the hospital, the profiling parts, Rossi with Todd after finding the dead family and the team scene with JJ and the baby in the end. And finally we got a little Morgan Garcia banter on the phone again! The female lead cop was great as well - liked her line about the submarine. Some pictures reminded me of ‘Plain Sight’ - another great CM episode.

In the beginning I felt sympathy for Norman and I LOVED the opening quote, but the more obvious it became just how deranged he was, the more I felt estranged about him. I guess I would have preferred it if he had shot all those people out of anger and frustration but had still been well aware of what he was doing and in a sick way enjoying it instead of being just the poor delusional guy who’s miles away from reality - but then we wouldn’t have had the nice twist.

Not your best job, Andrew, but a good one nevertheless!

MySentimentExactLee said...

I really can't get on board with the new girl. She is so not my favorite.

I always feel a sort of kinship with these "falling down" characters in movies and tv. People out in the real world are stupid and rude and sometimes you just want to blow up at them. LOL.

This was a great episode, thank you Andrew!

Lee :)

HardKOrr said...

AW first of all, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. It was only because you've written some of my favorite CM episodes that I broke my rule and joined the chat before I had the chance to see the episode.

That being said...this one is going on my CM hit parade too. You could really empathize with Norman as a regular guy who, through various events and people in his life, just snapped. He could be your friend, co-worker, or neighbor. Just an average Joe who feels like the world has just crapped all over him.

Lots of stand out moments with the entire team (and that includes JJ - YEAH!!). The story was excellent, the stunts amazing, the acting (especially the guest stars) superb, and the little cookie at the end with JJ & Henry was wonderful. I love Hotch's little smile and his "Gas" line and Morgan holding the baby was adorable.

Hotch said it best..."we miss you" - yes we do AJ/JJ!!

Happy Holidays and I can't wait until the new episodes start in the New Year!!

Anonymous said...

Loved that it played in OC. However, I've never seen the freeways so empty ... lol. Great episode. Great theme: Road rage, psychotic break, delusions ... all well done. The ending was very sweet and you can't beat the subtle CM humor. Can't wait for the next episode!
So cool that AW joined us for a chat afterwards. Always a pleasure. Thank you so much for your time!!!

LoraLee said...

"Maura Newman said...

I think the original plan was to shoot his wife at the party, but he got side tracked by the woman cutting him up in traffic and ended up expressing his violence differently to planned. When the team was discussing the profile the did say that his first kill would have given him a rush that he was trying to repeat but to no avail.

Thursday, December 18, 2008"

Actually at the chat Andrew first said that he was going to kill his wife, then he said, no, actually he was going to kill himself at the party, (I'm guessing that means both ideas wre tossed around)but the backstory part there got cut, so the cast and crew knew, but it didn't make it to air.

Anonymous said...

Interesting episode with a great casting and lots of action and a ending that I didn't see coming.

I so love the begining on the highway, the car going in the air flipping. Great scene, very well done and exciting.

There was no mystery as to who the unsub was but the interesting part was why he did what he did. Loding his little girl, having a wife and daughters who had no respect for him, him having a dead end job. Excellent job by Mitch Peleggi who played the killer. Very different than the type of characters he usually play.

Faith Ford, who I knew only from Murphy Brown fame was very good to as the nagging and uncaring wife.

The writing by Andrew Wilder was as usual excellent. The case was good even if we knew who did it, the team had less to do than usual but I didn't mind much since Norman was an interesting character. I liked that we went into the killer's mind through his perception. We say his reality as he saw it. How he thought his family, co-worker and the world he general saw him. That was a very disturbing world and sad worl Norman lived in.

One thing that i love from the writers is the killers have more than one shade of color, not just evil but evil with a sympathetic shade. So yes Norman did horrible, horrible things but seeing him crying that his family was in the SUV and than after Morgan told him to look in the SUV and him after realising they were not with him, that in fact HE did kill them. When I saw him broke down and cry I felt sorry for him.

So, thanks Andrew for giving us another great episode, can't wait for you next one! And thanks for chatting with us afterwards!


Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I were talking about the episode and I decided to delurk and post a comment.

We've heard people say that losing a child is the ultimate loss. We don't have any children but it isn't hard to imagine somebody losing their mind if they thought their child died because of their own actions. If Norman's memory of how his daughter died is correct then it seems plausible that he might blame himself. We think he must have either been fragile mentally prior to her death or lacked a loving support person to help him deal with it afterwards. Or both. The wife seemed cold and shrewish to me but my boyfriend pointed out that we don't know much about her since she was a reality in only one scene. The rest of "her" was in Norman's delusions.

This was a very good episode. It has us talking and me delurking!

Loved it but I am going back underground now. Catch you all again soon!

Kirsten said...

Andrew, just a slightly delayed (sorry!) thank you for chatting with us Fanatics the other night. As a huge hotch fan, i'm soooooo happy that there is a big epi for both thomas and us hotch lovers to look forward to; thank you!!! Hope that you enjoyed yourself too; thank you for your time. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Great episode! And that isn't 'gas'! *g*

Anonymous said...

I loved the character development with Jordan. She opened up and showed that the pressure was getting to her, and it made her seem more human to me. She started out so overconfident, calling Morgan out at the coffee shop, and I didn't like her. Now, though, she is growing on me.

Anonymous said...

Gina Torres!!!!
I love her and no one mentioned her!!!

First time I have ever rooted for the unsub, poor Norman.

Going to duck and cover, but I found Rossi a bit passive aggressive with Todd. Instead of encouraging her, telling her that it gets easier with practice, she is new at the job etc, he says
"Yeah, maybe you should quit" (albiet in a nicer way)

Anonymous said...

As if I needed another reason to think JM is yummy! That scene with sweet!
P.S. I love the pix with TG. JM is SO HANDSOME! SO HANDSOME!

Anonymous said...

I didn't get the impression that is what Rossi was saying.... but even if he was, I am ok with it.... I am ready for Jordan to go too (nothing personal Meta... you are doing fab!)

Anonymous said...

"Actually at the chat Andrew first said that he was going to kill his wife, then he said, no, actually he was going to kill himself at the party ... "

this makes sense - he was planning to retake control of his life by killing himself, and (whatever the feminine version of 'emasculate'?) his wife at the same time.

in my imaginings of the back episode (and i love they left enough unsaid to allow us to insert our own ideas and experiences), his littlest girl was his last chance for a loving and respectful relationship with a female in his family - the fact she was alone in the car with him at the time of the episode suggests they had a particularly close bond. losing his only 'ally' and feeling responsible for it was a double blow ...

having two littlies myself i've spent the evening trying NOT to think about how i would feel, because i know it would be massive and irreversible.

AND i loved the car chase ... Reid's adrenalin rush as he was hurled around the back seat was a blast.

AND AND big thank you to Mitch Pileggi for a flawless walk along that line between normalcy and insanity.

finally, about Jordan. i don't reckon we are supposed to 'like' Jordan [cue howls of disloyalty if they had tried to replace JJ in our hearts]. Jordan is a catalyst for exploring ideas we take for granted - how members of the team cope with failure and alienation.

it was sad all the 'team' ran to see JJ, but Jordan was excluded. so much for behavioural experts ... i would expect to see this issue raised in an episode: Jordan struggling with expectations, coupled with the team's unintentional lack of support.


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