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Criminal Minds Review: Copycats and Check Mates

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New year, new episodes of Criminal Minds. Finally! Welcome back, BAU lovers, and welcome back to Hotch and the gang.

They say good things come to those who wait, and anyone who watched "True Genius" would likely agree. After five long weeks without any Un-Subs to profile or cases to crack, the folks at CBS delivered what I'd consider to be a pretty entertaining episode to kick off 2012. With copycat killers, an infamous case revisited and numerous chess references, there wasn't a dull moment for the team.

BAU Reaction

First things first: Reid was especially brilliant this week. His constant deciphering of codes was impressive even by Reid standards, and when the Un-Sub directly challenged him, I was positively gleeful in anticipation. Even though the killer was himself a genius, nobody better step to Dr. Spencer Reid unless you plan to come correct - he's just one step ahead of the game. The chess game, that is.

I think it was clever how the writers led us on a bit of a chase to first decide whether the killer could possibly have been the same from 40 years ago, then had him communicating through the newspaper, and finally made us wonder whether it was Harvey or Caleb who was ultimately more evil. The answer: both. The fiancee should be happy she dodged a (literal) bullet on that one.

The idea of incorporating such a well known case like the Zodiac murders, featured in many movies, TV shows and books over the years, was also a fun way to engage the audience because we felt like we already knew some back story. Plus, the killer wasn't revealed until almost half way through the episode, and I appreciated how it wasn't clear right away what Harvey's role had been all along. I also liked how they had to change the profile halfway through when they found out the killer's IQ was above 160, and when Garcia said the Mensa society was "slumming it because it only required an IQ of 130." I couldn't help but laugh.

Some things that I noticed this week, in no particular order:

  • Reid's refusal to shake the detective's hand reminded me that he's been known to have phobias in the past (like elevators), so we can add germs to that list now.
  • When Hotch checked his watch in the park it seemed like a fairly overt product placement for Rolex. Did anybody else notice that? Either that or they want us to believe that FBI agents just rock really expensive watches... which could be true, you never know.
  • Reid flexed his federal agent muscles again when he called that guy out in the press conference for being a fake. Way to lay down the law Reid. The actual law.
  • Rossi kissing Reid on the face for his birthday was priceless. Nice how Rossi is such a father figure for them, he balances out Hotch's quiet demeanor.

And, finally, I think Prentiss and Reid's conversation about what he could've been doing with his life was interesting, considering the timing. One would think that any reflection on whether he'd taken the right path would've come when he thought Prentiss had died, because people often reexamine their lives in the wake of a loss. But I suppose his run in with that youthful CEO was the nudge he needed for introspection. Either way, we just got the team back together this season, so please nobody dip out again, thanks.

Next week's official preview shows more Morgan, which could be fun because he wasn't terribly active this week, and also a deadly soundtrack for the crimes. And, I hope, Garcia wearing cat ears again. She's just too quirky not to love.

What did you think of this week's action? Glad the break is over? Wonder what Reid got for his birthday presents? Wish there had been more intrigue? Weigh in, as always I'm all ears.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (136 Votes)
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Best Episode of the season by far!!!! and one other point DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE PRENTISS'S RACK AT THE END OF THAT EPISODE WOW!!!!!!!!!!


I'm sure Dr. Reid will be very upset when he finds out Penelope misspelled "correlate" ;)


Great all the characters they work great together wouldn't be the same without garcia


Loved the eppy! But what really made the episode was the last bit with the BAU Family throwing Reid a Bday party and Emily/Spencer bonding! And to the Garcia Haters...I don't understand how you can hate her. And she didn't do very much in this eppy,anyway. But Whateverz


Can anybody tell me WHY logging in with Facebook IS NOT WORKING? OT, loved the show and am happy it's back......ready for the rest of the season.....


I though it should of been Morgan who found out they forgot his birthday I still think he and Reid should still be piss about Emily


Fantastic episode loved every minute can't wait for the next one


I loved the episode. I loved the focus on Reid and he was fantastic with it. i love when they choose to incorporate or mention past characters because even past characters shouldn't be forgotten (although I notice they never mention Elle...only once since she departed have they mentioned her). I loved the focus on the Zodiac Killer, was very interesting. I couldn't wrap my head around any of them forgetting Reid's birthday...they've celebrated it before. But loved that family moment of them all throwing him a party. Garcia was awesome...she always is. I think a nice twist could have been if Harvey was the one doing the killings...that would have took the episode to a greater level but it still was good. I did kind of hate that once again Emily is playing "counselor".


I'm so mad I didn't have my dvr set. Thanks for recap.


Great episode!Gotta question how old the person is who wrote that turning 30 had Ried questioning life 'unrealistic &childish' Really?! Turning 30 is a time of pondering for lots of ppl as is 40 & 50...Funny how they thought the witing childish,&I was thinking whomever wrote the episode must b quite smat themselevs.Allowing a trusted college & mentor kiss your cheeks is different thn s strangers hsndshake;true to his character....Only other comment, Gacia's character was *never* a "joke" to wear thin,rather one of the most original,complex characters ...ever