Criminal Minds Review: "Coda"

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On last night's Criminal Minds, an autistic boy named Sammy Sparks was the only witness to the violent abduction of his parents, sending the BAU to Louisiana to help out.

In addition to Reid forging his connection with the boy, "Coda" was notable for an interesting, non-preachy social commentary on autism and the oil spill aftermath.

As the UnSub drags Billy's mom to banks and check cashing places to stockpile whatever money he can, a terrified, trapped Billy can only communicate through a piano.

What is the motivation psychosis - or economic desperation?

Reid Makes the Connection

The team discerns that the UnSub is after a certain amount of money, as if he is about to lose property. Fishermen and child custody case participants emerge as profiles.

Reid is hoping Sammy will help them find his parents, but Lizzie, his legal guardian, may stand in the way. But Reid ultimately has a breakthrough with the young boy.

Reid sits and begins playing with the boy doing the same. With the keys, he's able to answer Yes/No questions. This sparks another lead in his communication patterns.

He communicates through pictures, and the mysterious "L" is actually a clock. Sammy stick to a schedule. So does the delivery man they've now pegged as the perp.

Bill Thomas, a former fisherman with a boat at the marina, was desperate as they predicted and had no intention of going quietly. Sammy and Allison are safe, at least.

This was another strong A-story from a show that rarely disappoints with them, connecting you with guest characters even if you only have 40 minutes to meet them.

Meanwhile, the saga of Emily Prentiss continued to unfold.

Her past and future have been a topic of great debate, and we're starting to learn more about Interpol, Ian Doyle and why she may be in grave danger this spring.

In last week's episode, she was in contact with Tsia about Doyle, who deplaned in the U.S. This week, we learn Doyle was after them because they put him away.

The others are noticing Prentiss is not herself, but she's not opening up to them about it. Whether she feels she shouldn't or can't, she's alone. And quite scared.

No surprise there. Prentiss was considering telling her team about it, but the BAU can’t help them. Doyle is on the move to D.C., and not hiding his actions either.

Greeting her by her old alias Lauren Reynolds, he told her that since she took away the only thing that mattered to him, he’s going to take her life from her as well.

Doyle is certainly a commanding character, with Tsai and Clyde contributing to the plot nicely. You get the impression this story, however well done, will not end well.

How do you see this playing out? How long until the BAU does get involved, despite insistence that they shouldn't be? Will this mark the end of Prentiss on the show?

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


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (49 Votes)

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


At the end of episode, Sammy "SS" Sparks, like JJ, told his mother, Allison Sparks, that he was so sorry. Allison Sparks, like Dr. Spencer Reid, trying to tell her son that it's OK. It's neither JJ nor Sammy "SS" Sparks's fault. This rivalry character is between Reid and Mrs. Sparks.


Iknow about the Seaver problem. We all miss JJ, but the main reason the producers want Seaver for is so that later Reid can have a love interest. Sucks JJ had to leave, but Reid'll get some action and with his age its about time, i just wish it was omeone better.


Guys, when Lizzy was talking with Rossi, we don't know if she was referring to autism, he mentioned fathers being afraid their children wouldn't have as easy a life as they had - that doesn't just refer to autism. I agree about ALL the comments on Seaver - I wasn't really paying attention for the plane scene, but even without full focus I remember thinking "Ugh, someone just dissed Reid, again!". It's only now, looking back, that I realise Seaver did it! How dare she! It's really annoying too, because sometimes from the back I think "JJ!" but then it's not! She's not as pretty, or as useful, and I don't see why the directors got rid of JJ for "financial reasons" if they're just going to bring a new person on anyways.


This was a great episode...with the exception of Seaver's continued presence. Reid and Rossi's compassion with Sammy and Lizzie, respectively, was wonderful, as were the glimpses of the team's personal lives. It's growing increasingly obvious that Seaver doesn't belong on the team. The whole Rossi seeing her as a daughter is not only coming pretty much out of nowhere (until a few months ago he hadn't been in contact with her in YEARS) and clearly a desperate grap on the show-runners' part to endear her to the audience but also it just reinforces the notion that she's inexperienced and in need of protection - not exactly what the FBI needs in a BAU profiler. They also keep eluding to the fact that her father's a serial killer, which only draws attention to the fact that there's nothing else interesting about her. Finally, her being rude to Reid on the plane - besides her behavior being mean and totally uncalled for, if they wanted to pair those two up romantically (something I'm completely opposed to, especially now) wouldn't it make sense to demonstrate that they have something else in common (like, say, geeking out to some sci fi) besides being young and pretty?


I love this episode. I almost cried when the little boy talked to Ried. I also love that Rossi comforted the Aunt. I think its time for him to have a relationship. As for Seaver. I don't like her. Shes too much of a rookie. If they want to bring another girl in she needs to know what shes doing. Plus I don't like how she treated Ried. i could have stood there all day listening to him ramble.


It was mentioned the line about Rossi knowing about autism from experience by the aunt because Mantengea's kid (IDK which one) has autism. It was most epic, and I hope we see Reid play piano again! I'd too love to know the name of the song, though rumor has it it's by Road Hawgs-the song Brother. No one can find the song, though...


Great episode except for Seaver.
Loved all of Emily's espionage style scenes and the Hotch and Jack scenes, and yes they acknowledged Reid's migraines.
Great Reid and Rossi centric episode.
As for Seaver...where do I begin? She just doesnt belong on the team. It is like the writers are trying to make us hate her even more! Who does she think she is telling Reid off in the plane? No right. If it were someone else, then it would be ok, but her? And she was so abrupt and rude about it too. Then she had the idiocy/nerve to aske if the autistic kid is the unsub? Jump to WRONG conclusions much? And she said how they dont teach you a lot at the academy. WOw. This girl is dumb.
ALso, I dont like how Rossi is daddying her. He kind of was a mentor too JJ and Emily, they switched off but... sorry, I am not falling for any of the emotional devices being used to get the audience to like Ashley Seaver. She is as dumb as a lamp post and is only on the team because she's pretty.
Rachel Nichols cant act either. Everytime I see her onscreen its always a pity vote happening.


Does anyone know the tune that the boy (and Reid) was playing on the piano?


I liked this episode how Reid had that conneiction to Sammy. and I agree with CMinds1001 when that Aunt asked him how he knws alot about auistic children he didn`t anwer her quistion so this makes me wonder if he had a brother/sister or maybe he has\had a child with it. its getting more and more clear that there goin to kill off Emily hes watchin the whole team Morgan and Garcia were watching a movie Rossi and that girl playing video games and where Reid was. and evan knew hotch was with his son so I believe she will be killed off the show witch is sad because I liked Emily.


They get involved next week I love all the personal stuff for a while it felt like these show was becoming to Law and Order

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