Criminal Minds

Wednesdays 9:00 PM on CBS
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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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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?

Blu

tyluv3 said:
Okay. Im gonna say this one time and one time only. Seaver, in no way, is a replacement to JJ or prentiss. Has it ever occured to either of you that her role was not calling for that type of position. It is obvious to any viewer, while paying attention to her lines, that the purpose of her role is to shOw how difficult it is for a new person to blend with a group so close that theyre family. Add on the fact that she just graduated to the fbi along with the latter. She is just trying to find her place so give her some slack. Also in Rachel Nicoles defense, the writers dnt give her much to work with except a couple of mediocre lines and confusd looks.heres a wild thougHt maybe the writers make u hate her on purpose so in the future she will do something awesome and make u love her. All in all, prentiss and jj are gone, their time on the show is over,they have left thier marks and are sorely missed sorely. so i say this with love and respect, get over it and shut the h**l up.
-I couldn't have said it better. I think it's unfair that Rachel is getting blamed for things that aren't her fault and that as hard as it is for most fans, no one can move past JJ and Prentiss..

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I still love the show always will. But seaver just does not work.

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Nope, sorry, Seaver will never catch on for me. Both Prentiss and JJ had a certain something that Seaver just doesn't have. Hmmm, how about Kathryn Morris (from Cold Case) or one of the ladies from Without a Trace? Hey, how about Summer Glau...that might be fun. I love her, and unfortunately she keeps getting parts in shows that get cancelled way too early, in my opinion.

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Okay. Im gonna say this one time and one time only. Seaver, in no way, is a replacement to JJ or prentiss. Has it ever occured to either of you that her role was not calling for that type of position. It is obvious to any viewer, while paying attention to her lines, that the purpose of her role is to shOw how difficult it is for a new person to blend with a group so close that theyre family. Add on the fact that she just graduated to the fbi along with the latter. She is just trying to find her place so give her some slack. Also in Rachel Nicoles defense, the writers dnt give her much to work with except a couple of mediocre lines and confusd looks.heres a wild thougHt maybe the writers make u hate her on purpose so in the future she will do something awesome and make u love her. All in all, prentiss and jj are gone, their time on the show is over,they have left thier marks and are sorely missed sorely. so i say this with love and respect, get over it and shut the h**l up.

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Pay the money to get JJ and Emily's characters back. Seaver doesn't work. The family is not whole. The show was good but not the same. Why make budget cuts only to hire other people?

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I wonder if Hoych told their boss that she still alive I can't wait to see how that will affect the team with it comes out also was it me or did Seaver really show that great she going to be in these show she is almost like their Ziva.

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its not the same with out Emily and JJ. Maybe this just me the episode was boring. I dont get why they have Sraver anyways she doesnt work good with the rest of the team. I think they should of had more of thee Reid Morgon talk see what going on there.

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I thought the Rossi/Hotch discussion at the beginning was very telling. 1. Like a lot of us, they, too, have a clueless boss. 2. Hotch basically admits Seaver is inadequate, something all of us have known since her introduction. 3. There has developed a such a strong trust bond between Rossi and Hotch that the latter asks the former for suggestions on Emily's replacement. 4. For all of those who want Seaver gone...IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.
One correction to the review...I believe it was Hotch who first noted only one set of footprints at the crime scene, deducing it was one killer, then Morgan confirmed that at the Supermarket.
Those things said, I thought the episode was okay. Like the team, it felt like something was missing, and that would be Emily. I do think Derrick is a little too willing to move on...maybe that is how he deals with grief, I don't know. I am also uncertain about his handling of Reid. It seemed more clinical than caring. Maybe I am wrong. This team seems to have lost its sensitivity with the loss of JJ and Emily, and something needs to be done. Garcia was right when she said she is surrounded by testosterone, because it seems like Seaver feels the need to be "one of the boys" in order to fit in.
I definitely think JJ needs to make some more guest appearances, if for no other reason than to help Reid...after all he is her son's godfather.