Criminal Minds Review: "Safe Haven"

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When two Midwestern families are killed just miles apart, the BAU is called in to track down the grisly murderer before he strikes again, and their discovery was not what we expected.

The investigation, along with the surprise return of Ellie Spicer, memorable from the season six premiere, made "Safe Haven" a rather Morgan-centered episode of Criminal Minds.

It was a good one, too - made all the creepier by a young Ben Linus sighting!

Remembrance of Things Past Pic

Criminal Minds' Midwestern road trip continues.

Lost is one of those rare shows where every bit character is memorable and may be forever linked to that program. That even goes for someone like young actor Sterling Beaumon.

He wasn't a big name star on Lost, but he played young Ben Linus, and one of the scarier, more fascinating TV characters ever. We can say his Criminal Minds turn did Ben justice.

Playing Jeremy, his troubled teen character enacts revenge on surrogate mothers. Why?

For pretty much his whole life, he's blamed for everything by a mom who despises him.

The case has the BAU team stumped at first, as both sets of parents not only let the killer into their homes, they fed him dinner, and apparently left them alone with their children.

It’s not until a third victim, Minister Louis Hannum, is discovered dead in a truck on the side of the road that the BAU discerns that they're likely dealing with a teenage psychopath.

Abandoned in Omaha by his mother due to a loophole in the state’s safe haven law, a real development which made headlines years ago, Jeremy's on the loose - and out for blood.

In a powerful and devastating scene, we learn that the mother was at first pregnant with twins, but one "consumed" the other. This is why she loathed "rotten" Jeremy for years.

Young Benjamin

We had to.

Note to parents out there ... it's probably not good to hold your child responsible for behavior in utero. You may just turn them into disturbed, Ben Linus-like serial murderers.

Fortunately, Jeremy is arrested, but he somewhat defiantly tells Morgan he'll be out by age 18. Morgan (Shemar Moore was terrific in this episode) vows to not let that happen.

Meanwhile, Ellie Spicer has away from her foster family and came to see Morgan. Interestingly, the BAU calls the foster family to let them know that she had been found safe.

The surprise? No one knew she was even missing. Ellie wants nothing to do with her mom, but Morgan tells her he lost his father too and can understand her plight and pain.

From "The Longest Night" to this week's installment, could the producers be setting up an ongoing, Morgan-Ellie story that continues intermittently throughout the season?

It will be interesting to see if Ellie resurfaces again, but it added a little something extra to the episode, providing a nice B-story to a typically solid Criminal Minds episode.

What did you think of "Safe Haven"? Comment below!


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (35 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


i am guessing ellie doesn't put some bteutr under the skin...hehe...I do..I don't know how much fat and cals it makes...but OMG...the meat comes out so juicy and tasty...I just won't give up making chick and turkey breasts like this! haha Glad to hear you are feeling well...with my first preg I craved all good for you stuff...veggies and such...and I got a kid that is super picky and hates veg...with the boys, I had serious big mac and they eat the more healthy than my daughter! haha


I use to be a true die hard criminal minds fan, but i must say the past couple of shows since jj left - have left me with a bad taste in my mouth. the show is going down hill and fast - it sad but i guess all good things must come to an end.


@Annie:.....Wow are you like a genius or something, cause that was really profound, and I'm not being like sarcastic or anything.


This episode was really good and the Morgan/Ellie reminds me of some story they had with Gideon and one child he saved. I think the show has to make up for losing JJ but I think with time they will defintely make up for it in time and they have time because with the ratings they're getting they're not going anywhere soon.


Another entry into the growing list of worst Criminial Minds episodes. There are so many things going wrong that I don't see this series lasting another season. Rather than list everything, I'll let one reference from last night's show (don't know exact quote) sum up the current state and it's future direction, "..gross..can we save that for the plane...." (Garcia). Great! What was once a dark, compelling, though-provoking drama about serial killers (who kill in gross ways) has become the Garcia-Morgan circus where purple hair and horrible sub-plots are the driving elements. Mark my words, this show is over.


I think Ellie's storyline created an interesting mirror to the unsub's. It showed that similar stories do not necessarily have similar outcomes, and that family figures have a lot of influence on how you deal with hard times. It showed that although Ellie had lost her father, had a troubled relationship with her mother, and was on the run (just like the unsub), she could hardly have become a criminal, because she had built a rather strong background and had people she could count on. In other words, Ellie had Morgan; Jeremy had no one. And while Ellie manages to come to terms with her mother, Jeremy tries to hurt his mother by killing his younger sister. Ellie's mother had left her but never stopped caring; Jeremy's mother kept professing her hate for him. In short, the episode succesfully mingled Ellie's storyline and the unsub's, and brought a proper closure to both characters.
Nevertheless, I think Ellie will keep being a part of Morgan's life forever - the promise he made to her father is not the kind of commitment that goes away. I think we'll keep hearing from her now and then in the show, like when she texts him or something. And, of course, she may show up in later episodes, just to reinforce Morgan's permanent role in her life as a father figure.

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