Criminal Minds Review: "The Stranger"

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In light of reports that A.J. Cook may return to Criminal Minds next season, the role played by Strauss in her evaluations of the BAU certainly took on a new meaning. 

They're definitely missing a little something, don't you think?

The episode began with Hotch defending his team to Strauss, who wants to evaluate them in the field. Fans have been doing their own reevaluations all season long.

Seaver did prove herself to Rossi and Hotch last night in "The Stranger," but you have to wonder about the producers' plans for Seaver, who hasn't been well-received.

Dallas Clark on Criminal Minds

In the hunt for the Unsub, who targets and stalks college-aged babysitters as a means of avenging childhood trauma, the team hones in on the next potential victim(s).

Reid and Morgan observe that there were plenty of places the UnSub could've struck before waiting until his prey gets home, but he does not. He waits. A telling sign.

Meanwhile, Seaver is interviewing the latest victim's roommate and is trying to step things up from the get-go, which foreshadows her key role in the case later on.

It's a case getting deadlier by the minute, due to the UnSub's growing confidence.

Babysitting playing a central part in this guy's M.O. made for a particularly twisted and creepy experience, even by
Criminal Minds standards. Very disturbing stuff.

As a flashback reveals him mirroring similar actions as a kid, Seaver notes that he made the effort to protect the child, and Hotch makes another breakthrough:

By cross-referencing boys who lost their mothers that with those who have recently been released from correctional facilities, now they've got their man. Greg.

Having threatened his stepmother with a knife, the stepmother had already filed complaints against Greg. Eerily, as he waits for her, he organizes things just so.

As he's cutting Kate's arms, fully intending for her to suffer, Greg blames Kate for getting him locked up, but she says his actions are to blame. Then the FBI arrives.

Greg tells Hotch that he has no demands, just revenge. Not a good negotiating position for the BAU, but Hotch manages to talk his way inside, with Seaver in tow.

As Rossi climbs in the window, Seaver tells Greg she understands what he's going through, and that he felt betrayed. This buys them enough time to save Kate.

In the aftermath, Seaver explains to Kate that gaining Greg's trust was why she said what she did. Hotch and Rossi give Seaver much-deserved kudos on her work.

Earlier, Strauss told Hotch that his team's grief assessments were incomplete because his wasn't in there. Despite his job responsibilities, he needs to fill this one.

Will he continue to hold up? The end posed a number of questions.

Strauss tells Hotch his team is functioning surprisingly well, but that the Director has some concerns. Without elaborating, Strauss says she may need Hotch's help.

While she's away for a few months, he may need to cover for her somehow. With what, and for what reason, we don't know, but we welcome your theories below!

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


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (38 Votes)

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


This has been my favorite series since its inception. They have ruined the chemistry of the BAU without JJ & Emily. Even the storyline with Emily being an undercover terrorist was so bizarre considering her introduction into the team.
I hope the rumors of a JJ return are true because I thoroughly enjoy the reruns of past seasons far better than this year!


Strauss is in trouble or got in trouble and I though it would be cool if she was Seaver Mother since they look so much alike


There is nothing wrong with Seaver... I just don't want her there, because I want the old ones... it has nothing to do with the character.


Emily Prentiss is not Seaver's mother, at the end of Lauren shes in paris and JJ gives her a new identity, cuz prentiss is going to try to kill Doyle on her own cuz she dont want to put the life of her friends ( the BAU team ) in danger!!


What was the deal in the beginning? There were several comments made about Penelope and Derek that made it sound like they were actually ' together' Anyone else get that feeling?


I like Michael's assessment what if she is sick or Seaver's mom.
That said I did like last nights show. I think Seaver is just not the type for this team. I say send her to the other CM team. Maybe they can toughen her up. I know that Hotch knows Emily is still alive and I think the rest of the team will be very upset when they find out he did not tell them. But they will come around because they will know it is best for Emily. Hope she and JJ come back.


Two things bothered me in this episode. First, I felt as if the new blonde is being shoved at us as a substitute for JJ and Emily, and I'm feeling very resentful of that. She just does not fit in to this role as a credible member of the team. She doesn't have a strong enough personality to function as a BAU operative. Her interaction with the unsub was not believable. For lack of a better word, she seems to soft and gentle for her roll and way too inexperienced as a new agent. Secondly, the ending scene with Crause left me feeling WTF?! She has been on Hotch's case for years. Why now suddenly out of nowhere trust him to step into her shoes? I think she has a medical issue. So, Criminal Minds producers here are my demands; Get rid of Fluffy and bring back JJ and Emily!


It has been Know for weeks now that Hotch and JJ plan Emily death so she could get away and the reason he did the interviews with the team was so he could see if he needed to bring them in on it if he thought they were going to go after Dolay. I wonder if Strauss will be replace by JJ


I think that Hotch knows Emily isn't dead. If I remember correctly, JJ talks to him privately at the hospital, and we don't actually hear what is said. Is it possible that he knows the truth? If so, it would go a long way to explain the lack of grief assessment-- he's not in grief. But given his naturally intense privacy in such matters, he's really good at hiding this fact.


What if she has cancer or better yet she Seaver mother

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