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Criminal-minds

Criminal Minds Review: "With Friends Like These"

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It almost felt like it was too soon.

Too soon to just go back to the same old routine, too soon to be moving on from Emily's departure. The void left by Prentiss (and JJ) continues to hang over the show.

The last episode had the feel of a season finale to it, with so much to discuss and so many unanswered questions. But life goes on, as the BAU has new cases to solve.

Not that Emily wasn't acknowledged. Morgan finds Garcia staring at Prentiss' picture at the onset, and Hotch tells Rossi he's already looking for an experienced profiler.

Morgan on CM

"With Friends Like These," who needs enemies? The old adage certainly applied to last night's Criminal Minds, which featured a schizophrenic unsub being manipulated.

Or did it? We zeroed in on a group of unsubs, but it's Ben who does the killing after Matt, Yolanda, and Tony convince him. Immediately, the BAU knows it's a group job.

The unsubs appear disorganized, but then Morgan finds an interesting clue - there was only one person other than the victim at the store, and he was talking to himself.

Could it be that unsub Ben is being egged on by voices in his head?

Cut to our suspect trying to convince the "others" not to go after someone else, but eventually giving in. No one else is inside the van he exits to go commit the crime.

Portraying "voices" as actual characters (a la A Beautiful Mind) was a convincing way of showing just how afflicted and helpless a paranoid schizophrenic person can be.

The voices are telling him to kill, but these aren't typical voices.

This case hit particularly close to home for Reid, who was in his own world (in a manner of speaking) as the team profiled Ben and the hallucinations that compel him.

Reid's own history has him worried about developing schizophrenia and the potentially terrible side effects. Morgan realizes he's worried he'll develop schizophrenia.

Reid tells him about the headaches, but Morgan tries to help him shake it off for now. You get the feeling this is not something he'll be able to do that with for long.

The latest clue, courtesy of Garcia, is that the unsub wants to exorcise the demons, which is spot on. At least he wanted to, before a priest basically sent him away.

The priest tells Morgan and Reid about Ben and that he had a stutter. Meanwhile, Ben kills a woman he met on the bus, pretending she's his mother (the catalyst).

Then he wakes up next to her. Thoroughly creepy and sad.

This victim represents his mother and the stresses from childhood that helped make him the way he is. He tries to fight the demons, but it's a losing battle for him.

All he wants to do is sleep, but can't. He's an insomniac, which Reid realizes. After the BAU closes in on the suspect, Reid almost breaks through and disarms him.

Sadly, the voices are just too strong. As he goes after Reid, Hotch is shoots him, disarming Ben at last. Is he a schizophrenic? Was he always? We may never know.

It was an interesting ending to a sad saga. When dealing with such a depraved individual, are you supposed to feel bad? Are they, in fact, a victim in this as well?

As much as we love Emily and J.J., the team as presently constructed can still be a lot of fun to watch, and episodes like this are still grisly and captivating as ever.

That said, there's a human element missing and Seaver, deliberately or not, has yet to fill the shoes of these women. There's still time for her to grow, however.

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

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (53 Votes)

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

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    18 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    Can't really say the same for Ziva replacing Kate. They were two wonderful people, with two different personalities. In a way Ziva didn't really replace, she just made her own way onto the team. She was different from Kate in almost everyway except for their drive for justice.
    You can compare Seaver to Prentiss and AJ the exact same way. Not really replacing, just making room for themselves.

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    Really so can you say the same for Ziva who replace Kate

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    The new cast member is a JJ look-alike but has no personality.

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    seaver stinks as AJ you even have her dress like her. And prentiss was excellant. They were the best team on TVI have ever watch.You need to bring AJ and Prentiss back or you will lose alot of viewers they were a family you broke up. Want to heck something up start with the criminal minds that bcomes on after that I can't get through 15 mins of that one. Shame on you

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    I am a huge aj cook fan. I started watching her years ago when she was on higher ground. If u are a fan of her u should look the show up on youtube,she is amazing in it. So maybe i am biased but i think this show was better with her on it

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    The plot was okay in this episode, but the absence of Prentice was like a huge hole in the team. The episode just seemed flat.

    Absolutely, Seaver needs to go. The only reason to keep her on is to kill her off and then bring in a new strong female personality. And it BETTER be female!

    I am so disgusted with the producers of this show for axing JJ and Prentice that it's spoiling my enjoyment of the show. It just isn't nearly as strong without them. Good plots only get you so far. Strong characters are the other half of the equation of a really good show.

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    I cannot understand why they got rid of JJ who was the HEART of the show!! I will probably not watch the show, which is a shame because it has been my favorite. How can you kick someone off and replace them with another. If it was Al's decision that would be different. I am not a fan of a show that can dump their cast so easily. I am just glad AJ will be on another show. That is where I will go!

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    Seaver's gotta go.

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    because unlike Prentiss Seaver became a BAU agent she took class and got the traning and did everything to become a BAU agent.

    Prentiss got it because of she was a Liaison Officer

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    I kind of wish the writers would stop trying to shove Seaver at us, no matter how gently they try to ease her in, the subtle messages are there. I only watched the first five minutes or so and already this stood out to me:

    Morgan telling Garcia that "Prentiss would have wanted us to embrace Seaver."
    And Rossi saying that Seaver is not a replacement for Prentiss.

    Bullsh**. Reverse psychology much? Of course she is intended to be a replacement.

    For someone who has been watching Criminal Minds from the start, I can recall Hotch's words when Prentiss wanted to join the BAU. He told her "We don’t just let anyone who wants to give it a whirl..."

    So, how is Seaver, a "just anyone" immediately given access to the BAU?




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