Criminal Minds Review: Ignorance Isn't Bliss

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Break out the white hoods, Criminal Minds watchers, this week's theme of intolerance left me thoroughly unsettled. Of course having an episode that basically doubles as a PSA can come off as cheap if done poorly, but in this instance I think they pulled off the message well: racism and bigotry are dangerous... on multiple levels.

When "The Thin Line" began, I thought it was going to zig, and it ended up zagging. What seemed like a clear cut case of home invasions being used as a tool to cover up a different motive for murder revealed something larger: fear. And ignorance. And hate. But mostly fear.

Criminal Cause for Concern

The browning of America? I'm with you, Morgan, I scrunch my nose up and say that phrase with as much disdain as you did (even if they did come dangerously close to making you the cliched "chip on your shoulder" character this week).

I have to say, I secretly wanted Morgan to reach across the table and punch Clark Preston in the face, but I'm glad that he didn't... and that Preston got his in the end anyway. When he told Morgan that he realized that she "probably had to work extra hard to get into the Bureau" and that he "wished there were more like him" I nearly snorted out loud. I guess that was his attempt at a compliment, but I can't really tell because I don't speak Jackass fluently.

The fact that the writers used home invasion as the vehicle to uncover such a shameful motive (to "take back" our community) seemed ironic on two levels. First, because it's one of the most violating crimes you can endure; and second because someone revealing their unabashed ignorance also leaves us feeling horrified (though I'd imagine on a smaller scale).

The idea that a politician was using - brainwashing, whatever - an Aryan supporter into inciting fear and hatred for his own gain while simultaneously framing undocumented workers and gang members for crimes they didn't commit is just too many stereotypes to digest at one time. But it shows how far we haven't come, I suppose. There were lots of not-so-subtle moments in this week's episode, and also lots of this-is-too-blatant-to-be-plausible moments, too. As far as this season goes, this week's action wasn't exactly top three.

As for the early reveal of who the UnSub is, they did it again. Even with their attempt at creating intrigue as to how he knew about pain killer dosages and the real backstory into his own family's home invasion, it still felt a little forced. It wasn't terrible, don't get me wrong, but when we think back to past UnSubs like the Reaper, sometimes these little filler bad guys just seem to fall short.

On an unrelated note, did you get a load of Prentiss speaking Spanish? It wasn't the most flawless accent I've ever heard but she did a pretty damn good job! I'm sure there will be a bevy of opinions on this comment, but coming from someone who lives in NYC and has to listen to Mayor Bloomberg's pathetic assault on such a lovely language, I was just happy that she didn't massacre it in a similar fashion. In fact, I think she was pretty impressive.

And then she got shot.

I think her moment with Morgan at the end when she acknowledged that it comes with the job was a heartfelt scene, if a wee bit campy. I'll be sad to see her go (again), but if it inadvertently gives Morgan more of a storyline, I guess that's one up side to it. As it stands they've both been woefully underused, and even Reid has been sparse lately.

JJ was pretty much a ghost this week - no matter, after her JJ-centric episode last Wednesday. But we've also seen more about Rossi, Hotch, Garcia and even Strauss this season. We still need more than just some funny Reid one-liners to even things out.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (104 Votes)

"I guess that was his attempt at a compliment, but I can't really tell because I don't speak Jackass fluently." Lmao!! I couldn't put it better myself. :) It was pretty good, but pardon me if I find it a little difficult to believe a politician would have the brains to put together a plan like the one Preston did. In the end though, I don't think racism was the motive behind him manipulating that kid like that, it was greed. I like Morgan, but I'm a much bigger fan of Reid. I would LOVE to see more of Reid, his inadvertent humor is one of my favorite things about the show. I don't remember who said it earlier, but what is the deal with his headaches? I had totally forgotten about them since the writers never went anywhere with it. Is it some kind of withdrawal from his addiction x-many seasons back?


OK, this is going to be a total girly - romantic at heart comment (warning!) but I want Hotchner & JJ to get together!!! They are SO cute when they do scenes together!!! And he's so freakin' cute being all dark, dashing, sexy & bossy!! (OK, I'm done!)
And seriously, why does Reid keep having these issues (migraines, questioning his job, etc) and then nothing - we never get any of his issues resolved!?!?!?


"The browning of America." I think I literally shouted at the screen..."Umm, hello...technically America was brown first..." But if ignorance ever made sense it wouldn't be so ignorant now would it? I loved and loathed how cool and calm Morgan was facing Preston. Loved it because he was so professionally, loathed it because I secretly wanted to punch the guy in the face myself. I thought it was a solid episode. I even liked the ending scene with Morgan and Prentiss even though it was campy and I'm not a big fan of hers. I did miss Reid though.


In the beginning, it seemed just like the suburban housing episode from a couple of seasons ago with the new student profiler and the serial killer in the housing development. However, this episode while being blatant and obvious as to the unsub from the start was kind of exciting because the racism was so hyped up and uncomfortable. It's just what happened to forensics in this episode, the unsub had his hands and DNA all over the guys he used as racist bait? The Prentiss/Morgan moments I found forced and a little creepy too. Not a great episode, but there were good moments in it.


The big surprise for me was the young perp's name. Turns out he had the same name as my 11-year-old nephew. I hope his mother didn't see this episode; it probably would have freaked her out.


That was the of the most suspense filled opening scenes I have ever seen on any show. And so sad. But I thought it was great showing how low politicians are and how far they will go to get what they want... power. Watching Derek listen to Preston without killing him was enjoyable. I wanted to rip the guy's face off myself. Please, let's see more of Spencer Reid in the show. He had more going on in the first season than he does now. How about more with his mother, played by Jane Lynch. That was a great episode. Now the writers are putting him in the background, only using him humourously to start explaining things (especially when he's nervous) and that's about all. More of Hotch's personal life would be good too. All in all, it's an episode I'll watch again and at its worst, Criminal Minds is far better than most TV shows.


Great show, but the location was not appropriate. It should have been located in Maricopa County or Mesa County Arizona, with a Sheriff Arapio or Russell Pearce look alike! That would have been appropriate!


I agreed with Prentiss in the beginning that Morgan was being had on the trainee but when it came to the real situation, Prentiss got shot and if you rewatch Morgan shooting the unsub, he was cool and efficient. There are real race relations but I feel like they are uncomfortably addressed onscreen generally on Tv . It feels like it is hard for the writers to put them on screen and also how they will be interpreted by the viewers.


I knew the minute they showed that kid that he was the one doing the invasions. The reviewer is right, it was pretty quick and this definitely wasn't one of the better episodes. I think it really does show we really haven't come that far when it comes to the racial divide in this country. Maybe that's what the message was......... With Prentiss getting shot, it makes me wonder if they will actually kill her off this time for good, or if she'll ride off into the sunset......... I'm still looking for the return of just know she'll show up before the end of the season........... I did like the ending with Prentiss and Morgan.....did seem heart felt.....I wonder if Morgan's hard ankle attitude at the beginning of the episode with the trainee's is going to come into play in the next episodes......


I was actually really scared in the first couple of minutes- knowing what was going to happen and hoping it wouldn't. But it's true, the episode did decrease in suspense. I think they should go back to hiding the UnSub, it makes it more intriguing. I thought the idea of a politician orchestrating the murder of multiple families to win a race a little crazy, but I really liked the prentiss/morgan interactions. I like that they're friends- damn you paget brewster! I want to see more of Reid, seriously, what's going on with his migraines?

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Criminal Minds Season 7 Episode 15 Quotes

Dr. Reid: This wasn't a burglary at all, there's a higher purpose. They're staging the crime scene so that they can send some kind of message.
Agent Morgan: This guy's trying to make it look like black guys from the 'hood are killing white families in white neighborhoods.
Agent Prentiss: Pretty powerful message.

Agent Morgan: Nothing about that house says rob me. Beat up eight-year old minivan in the driveway, there's nothing fancy inside to get.
Agent Rossi: Violent hardcore burglars don't pick random targets, so why these homes? These people, they're terrified. Half of them are moving, the other half are joining neighborhood watch.
Morgan: Well can you blame them?
Rossi: This whole community's going to be on edge until we catch these guys.