Criminal Minds Review: The Other Side?

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Talk about wrapping it up quickly. Damn.

No one thought Criminal Minds would drag Rossi's personal drama with his ex-wife out indefinitely, but I could've blinked and missed that story line. At least we know how it all turns out now.

This week on "Epilogue," the buzz centered on the ever popular question, "What happens after we die?" Is it all warmth and light, like Reid says? Or something more ominous, like Prentiss felt? Whether you lean towards the Patrick Swayze Ghost route or think that the tape simply runs out, this episode gave us something to think about, that's for sure.

Joe Mantegna Promo Pic

The idea of an UnSub who prolongs his killing so that he can ask his victims what they saw is at once horrible and also terribly sad. I can't think of anything that would torment you more than wondering if you were going to face an eternity of suffering one day. It's enough to drive someone crazy, or in this case, drive you to pick off unsuspecting victims and bring them to their untimely, watery graves. Harsh, dude, harsh.

It took the BAU team's heavy collaboration with the Medical Examiner to piece together the clues that would point them to their man this week. Not that they haven't ever consulted with a coroner, but it served as a nice vehicle to help drive their thought process forward and suss out the profiling part of the story. Some have complained in the past that there hasn't been enough profiling this season, but I think they leveled it out pretty well here.

Apart from actual killings, the topic was equally weighty. I think we could open up a discussion about what people feel comes "next" (if anything) and get 10,000 different responses from 10,000 different readers. But what I'd really like to know is how everyone thought the writers dealt with the question of after life? Gimmicky and stale? Or thought-provoking and relevant?

Either way, I found it absolutely fascinating that Prentiss' experience was a negative one, while Reid's was akin to classic descriptions of heaven - and that it left his scientific mind confounded. Why do you, the Criminal Minds faithful, think they chose to split it this way? And what of Morgan's complete skepticism? Looks like someone's not buying into the hoopla.

And now for the other huge topic of the night: Rossi's ex-wife's suicide. Whoa.

When he spoke to Prentiss earlier in the episode and confided that he "didn't have much choice" in how he'd handle her request, I knew he wouldn't help her end it. But there was something about the way he said it that made it seem like there was a slight chance he'd end up honoring her wishes in the end. Or maybe that was just me. Then, when he went to see her and she was all, "it won't be long now" I was like, "HUH? Seriously?"

It's one thing to tell us he won't contribute to her demise. It's another to have her end it in under five minutes after a total of 15 minutes (give or take) of total air time since she'd been introduced on the show.

They certainly didn't waste any time tying that one off with a bow and setting it down.

We also learned what many had suspected, that Rossi had fathered a child in the past. A child named James, who had either been still born or else died of complications on the day he was born. How awful for both of them, especially as he reassured Carolyn that she would see their baby again when she passed. I can't say that I know the pain of losing a child, but I do think that perhaps this explains a lot about how Rossi's behavior of moving on and never having a family again was a result of this tragedy. Oh, the things people carry with them that we sometimes never know...

Speaking of knowing things, it looks like we'll find out next week what's been going on with JJ's family life. I hope they inject a little bit of levity (or at least some more banter) next time. This week saw very little chiding and zero Reid witty one-liners, which I rather missed. If it wasn't for Garcia's sense of humor there would have been nothing to break up the action - except for an amazing landscape that made me want to book a ticket to California. Immediately.

But regardless of whether they pepper the profiling with Reid-isms or not, I can't wait to see what lies behind JJ's closed doors at home - other than a husband with a kick ass accent. Until next week, TV Fanatics, keep it right here and remember to keep the comments coming. Get involved.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (97 Votes)

As a born again Christian I already know where I am going when I leave this world [heaven]. The Bible is full of explanations about heaven and who will be there. The episode last night just solidified what I knew about how many people live in the dark about their eternal destination, so sad!


Thought it was a great episode last night. Im not sure, but it seems Reid is still holding a grudge against Prentiss for pretending to be dead. Did anyone catch his comment while they were talking about the afterlife? He was flabbergasted to learn that Prentiss had flatlined. I think he and she need to sit down and rehash this thing once and for all and let him vent about how pissed he is. The ending scene between Rossi and his ex completely caught me by surprise. I was in tears, it was so well done...


I think that if they wanted death to be more thought provoking then they would have given more than a couple of possible endings...maybe we go back to the best year of our life to live over...or maybe we are given a chance to alter the outcome of our future...maybe make a different choice at some crucial point in our lives. I son't think that our bodies can take CPR as many times as it was portrayed on TV, yes I know it is not real...just saying.


I loved the show last night. It was a powerful message, Loved all the actors they had me crying at the end,my heart went out to Rossi!


okay i know the focus was on Rossi but can i just give a shout out to Hotch's new image!!! finally no tie!!
liked the ep but i want things to go the way they were the first two season when we knew next to nothing about the unsub and didn't see his face until the very end, and we had to guess and g through the profiling with the team. other than that, great ep!! but Rossi just doesn't touch me, i don't know, i just don't care about him, never did. and i miss Reid-isms too! on the whole, solid ep


pfft! I say, pfft! Abused children wreaking havoc as adults has now been done to ummm... death on this show. The fact that the unsub was dying was a nice touch, but he would have been an insane revenge killer no matter what else was going on, his rage was too big to contain. The team used to mention, from time to time, how the unsubs have lost their humanity and cannot feel a connection to the pain they cause others. This episode would have been a good time to say it again. The unsub devolved quickly, going from men of equal strength to girls, a mom and kid that was the same age as he was when he was tortured and killed his father. The "it's not your time yet" was lost in there somewhere, certainly I did not get it in regards to his father saying it. Rossi's sad story line was long enough, this show has become overly saccharin when a team member has issues. And speaking of issues, where is Morgan's deep faith from when he got the heebeejeebies in a church and turned his phone off while Garcia was suffering. Huh??? And I agree about Emily becoming the "therapist" (like someone else said) while I applaud the writers for not having anyone say "NO ROSSI it's murder to help you ex" Emily is not my idea of a bosom confidant. Not a bad episode, especially because it did have provoking questions and there was lots of action. I like the coroner too.


I loved the episode. I cried for Rossi. It was a hard and moral decision for him.What to do???


I thought it was a really good episode. I do think they wrapped the Rossi storyline up quicker than necessary, I get why they want to get personal this season with the characters but it's a bit annoying at how we know more about some then others. Hotch got a long story arch with the Reaper and his wife, it was something that kind of just lasted a bit longer. Emily had a long story arc with Doyle. Rossi is probably one of the most enigmatic characters out of the bunch whom we know little about so I kind of wanted to see a bit more for him. I am glad that he got something though and I suspected he had a child so that confirmation was bittersweet to see. I also liked how they handled "the other side" it did somehow mean more that a Scientist like Reid had such an inexplicable experience, I can imagine that had to be hard for him to wrap his head around, but it somehow made sense too that he had such a warm experience. I found it interesting that Emily's was so cold and dark and kind of negative. I also enjoyed Morgan staying true to character and being a skeptic. He has an ongoing issue with spirtuatlity that they hint at but don't often touch upon. I actually would have found it interesting if Hotch added to it with his own near death experience, or if Garcia touched upon he hearing music like she said in Penelope, just to add a bit more variety to it, but it was still handled well. Despite my not being Prentiss' biggest fan I still feel that this holds more truth than it does me being biased. She's being poorly used. Honestly she was never a great written character and I never understood the fan love for her as a result, but this season instead of just writing well for her, they try to force her in any available scene to I don't know make up for not having her around for a bit or something. It's stupid. I get why Prentiss the Queen of Compartmentalization isn't expressing much from her whole ordeal but I still find it unrealistic. If anything I'm waiting for her to snap like ELle did. Hasn't Hotch learned his lesson about clearing somebody for duty w/o proper therapy after Elle? And the fact that they insert her in to be the counselor of the team is just stupid. She's always been caring or whatever but not to this extreme where everyone is confiding in her. I find it annoying at best. Since when did Prentiss opinion matter so much, her advice or her words were held to a higher pedigree than anyone elses. Again, not a huge fan of that, and I actually started enjoying her character during the Doyle storyline and was a bit bummed when she died but since they brought her back I'm finding her more annoying then ever. They aren't writing well for her character at all.


I was very disappointed in the quick wrap-up of the Rossi/ex-wife storyline. Why bother bringing in a subject that heavy for 15 minutes of airtime? I also dislike how Prentiss has become the team therapist - she is suddenly the nurturing, caring friend-type who the team is confiding their innermost thoughts to.....seems out of character and doesn't sit well with me. I am glad she is back - perhaps we are supposed to forget that she nearly died, faked her death and was truamatized by an Irish we are supposed ot forget Reid has a mentally-ill mom and is having terrible headaches. Or that Morgan had a love interest. Or that Hotch's wife was murdered by a serial killer and left him a single dad. I am glad the ME has somehting to do with the profile changing this week. The episode where Reid, out of no where, figures out the unsub feels no pain made me crazy! I still love the show. I hear we are going to see a love interest for Hotch and a peek into JJ's family life - that is great news. Hopefully, it will be better developed and longer than Rossi's.......!


While I'm not a fan of knowing who the unsub is at the beginning (although it looks like that isn't going away anytime soon), this one was done right in the way we could both feel sorry for the unsub while being completely horrified by what he did. My heart broke for Rossi all throughout this episode: struggling about what to do, having the woman who means so much to him dying in his arms, and sitting by the graves of her and their son at the end. The storyline packed such a wallop and Isabella Hoffman and Joe Mantegna were so affective that I think trying to stretch it out over more scenes/episodes would have been overkill. I think Reid got the warm, white light near-death experience because it wouldn't have given Morgan (or the more skeptical viewer) pause if it had come from anyone else. Reid, a dedicated scientist dying in a dark cabin far away from any hospital, having such an experience holds up better against the two most common arguments against this near-death experience: that you were dreaming this because you're pre-inclined to believe or seeing things going on around you. Prentiss, in contrast, has a religious background (as seen in "Demonology") and was in an ambulance with light and medical personnel; and her not having the same experience as Reid is again a contrast to the aforementioned arguments.

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Criminal Minds Season 7 Episode 6 Quotes

Hotch: If the dump site is doubling as his trophy collection he won't be happy it's been disturbed. He'll want to make another one quickly.
Garcia: Uh, guys, I'm afraid that's just happened. Nick Skirvin's body has just been discovered but it wasn't found in Ridge Canyon, it was found in Lake Banter, which is twenty miles away. Visual aid to follow. And, post script, you don't want to know how many hits you get if you Google this forest plus murder. To say it should be called the "Angeles National UnSub Dump Site" is an understatement.

Agent Morgan: What's really going on?
Agent Rossi: Look, it was a late night with Ringo and not enough coffee. I mean the guy's a world-class drummer, but don't think I didn't wipe the floor with him in "Rock Band."
JJ: Alright, what do you think?
Agent Prentiss: He could be telling the truth, I only played him to the easy level.
Dr. Reid: I can't tell.
Rossi: And you never will.