Criminal Minds Review: "Into the Woods"

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Criminal Minds is never for the faint of heart, but the combination of the bleak outdoor settings, the intensity of the child actors and, of course, the murderer remaining at large made "Into the Woods" one of the strongest episodes of the season, if not beyond that.

A child killer loose on the Appalachian Trail, which is 2,175 miles long for those keeping score, had the BAU springing into action to nab the UnSub before he kills his next victim(s).

He abducts kids and keeps them in some crudely-fashioned dungeon for months before killing them, wrapping them in a plastic bag, and leaving them in the woods to decompose.

Hope you weren't planning on eating breakfast.

Rossi and Hotch

Criminal Minds: Appalachian Trail edition.

Joseph Lanham, the father of Daniel, the last boy whose body was found, is an early suspect until Garcia helps uncover a pattern of other abductions up and down the trail.

They started long before the Lanhams even lived in the area, although recently, the radius of the kidnappings has actually decreased to a 30-40 mile area of Pennsylvania.

Armed with that piece of knowledge, the BAU discerns that the abductor is staying much closer to home than he once did, quite possibly after suffering some form of injury.

Thirty miles out of 2,175 does help narrow it down.

The focal points of the episode were Ana and Robert Brooks, ages 9 and 10, who are taken from a campsite in the UnSub’s territory. At some point, maybe there should have been an alert to keep kids off the trail once they realized who they were dealing with?

In any case, it's an abandoned coal mine in the hills of the Keystone State where they're being held, and where Robert hatches a plan in which he tells Ana to run "the next time he comes" for him. This was one of the darkest Criminal Minds scenes in some time.

Perhaps because there was no violence actually shown, and accentuated by the fact that it involved a 10-year-old about to be abused in the worst way, this was powerful imagery left to one's imagination. What a brave, brave thing for an older brother to do.

The BAU tracks the UnSub, Shane Wyatt, to the house of drug dealer and pedophile Brandon Hayes, to whom he has "traded" Robert for a supply of painkillers.

In a surprising twist, Robert is rescued at the end, but Shane eludes capture and escapes, presumably back to the trail. Anybody up for a hike this weekend?

You have to think he'll turn up again, right? The interesting thing was that the children really owned the scenes involving the killer, who remains somewhat of a blank canvas in terms of personality. Somehow, we can't imagine we've seen the last of him.

What did you think of last night's Criminal Minds? Discuss below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (59 Votes)

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


That poor brave little boy :( to think about how he's going to go through life with that is just so sad.
Even knowing that it's just a show and it isn't real.. It happens and that is what's so horrifying.
Children are meant to be happy and live freely. I pray for these little souls who have had to deal with such hardship.


That little boy was very brave!!! He protected his little sister even after what happened to him!!! He was only 10 years old and that man raped that boy!!! That episode was one of the strongest ones I have ever seen! He is remembered...


OK yall need to chill i dont understand how the sexual scene bothers you there was nothing that like really showed sex it just showed him taking the boy and bringing him back the boy had a horrified look on his face. And that scene wasnt unecessary because further into the show it talked about sexual harrasment so please if u dont have anything good to say about this show then stfu


To all those people who think that Criminal Minds is dark, I've seen all the episodes. Criminal Minds has been dark since Season 1 Episode 1. It's meant to be a dark show. So, yeah, I thought this was a good episode and I didn't feel disgusted. Geez, you people, get over it. It's acting. It's not real. Although, it does happen in the real world.


This episode was alright. I don't understand why people are getting so offended over this episode though. Is the rape scene you are all implying, happened before robert returned to the cage to his sister? How did you continue watching this series after seeing countless mutilated bodies, but this 'implied rape scene' caused you to turn off your TV's? This show is very entertaining and lets you know what some sick minded people are up to in the world.


After watching Criminal Minds "Into The Woods" it was shocking to see Robert in pain. I mean sexual abuser are assholes. Even though I'm not an actor but I would love to play Robert's sister so I can kick that mother-fucker's ass. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE ROBERT BROOKS!!!




this is criminal minds it gets dark it cant be like 24 were its just a thriller both are good shows btw but minds of criminals are not nice and the truth is dark so must be the show.


People, it's called "Criminal Minds" for a reason... Yes, it gets progressively dark, but so do the minds of criminals. That's exactly what makes it so good in my oppinion. It doesn't sugar-coat how the darkest and worst of those among us, (men and women alike) can be and are. and I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but I kind of like the twist at the end with Shane eluding capture. That was great because it happens. We can't win everytime. Will he be back in a future episode? I don't know. Personally, I'd like to see him in another episode just so we can get an in-depth look at why he does what he does, as that's what the show is all about.


I honestly thought this was a really good episode! I don't think the series is getting "too dark." Yes, it was VERY horrifying and sick to see the poor little boy's face after he was raped. But I honestly feel that's the whole point. To give you nightmares and to feel the boy's fear and pain. Only fantastic actors and an amazing writer can give you those feelings. Like I said, I felt really bad for both kids and I really hate that guy for what he did. Not to mention how the boy was willing to give up his life for his little sister. But keep in mind that in the end, both kids lived, and the fact that the boy fought for himself is proof that his character can overcome anything, which I believe was the hidden message in this episode.

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