Criminal Minds Review: Words with Fiends

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On Criminal Minds Season 8, the writers seem to be taking a different approach to their stories. 

Rather than rely solely on deeper examples of depravity and horror, there's a focus on truly interesting mindsets and curious behaviors.  

In "Magnificent Light," we are introduced to an UnSub who suffers from synesthesia, a condition in which two or more senses are triggered simultaneously. In this instance, the UnSub sees the words people are speaking, and he sees them in different colors, each of which has meaning. White means good, orange means deception or lies and red means evil.

Alex Heads To Seattle

When the hour began, and all we could see was a flickering flame, I was sure we were hearing the voice of the photographer who's been stalking the BAU:

Flynn: Your life is about to end. You will all die. In your remaining time on earth, how do you want to live? As a bright and shiny star? Or as a lost soul, passing time? Do you want to live in darkness, or reveal your magnificent light? | permalink

Turns out it was just the opening salvo in a motivational speech.  I think the casting people did a great job in hiring Patrick Fabian to play the speaker.  His voice fit the part perfectly, with just the right amount of booming sincerity and charisma. His use of that charisma in a failed attempt to charm his captor made the scene believable and compelling.

Another term that was new to me (Dr. Reid is a font of knowledge about this stuff!) is erotomania, a condition in which someone believes that a famous person has a love relationship with him or her.  Anyway, our UnSub - Carl Fisher, played by Raphael Sbarge (who also stars as Jiminy Cricket in Once Upon a Time) - had it and wanted to drag his love interest around to his kills to prove that his special power was real. Sort of a Superman complex. 

Meanwhile - and, frankly, I think this is what draws viewers back to the show each week - we got to see some more BAU team back story stuff, this time involving Derek Morgan. 

We knew his father died when he was young, but we didn't until now all of the effects of that. His rejection of an invitation to speak at a British Embassy dinner honoring his dad's police department partner made Garcia curious:

Garcia: We love the British, remember?
Morgan: Can we just drop this?
Garcia: I can go with you.
Morgan: Nobody is going.
Garcia: I'll wear my contacts.
Morgan: What did I just say?
Garcia: Who do I wear my contacts for? | permalink

How interesting to see Garcia touch a nerve in Morgan later in the episode when she just wouldn't let it go, which we understood at the point where he stopped using his pet names for her, referring to her merely as "Garcia," right before hanging up on her. Subtle, effective writing.

Garcia of course won out - as we knew she would - and got to attend the dinner with him. Just when all seemed even and cool, along came The Photographer, a person who's been stalking the BAU since the first episode of the season. And we learned that he's been copying some of the gruesome acts of earlier episodes:  the guy who sewed his victims' mouths shut ("The Silencer") and the guy who cut the legs off his victims ("God Complex"). Can't wait to see what happens next.

Be sure to check out our Criminal Minds quotes page for this episode. Note that it includes at least one of the famous flirty exchanges between Morgan and Garcia.

So what did you think? Have they given us any clues at all as to who the mysterious stalker might be?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (64 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter



I love Criminal Mind , watch it all the time old and new episodes. But I don't like the cast change. Its not the same without Emily
So brought so much to the show. He replacement is boring and it take something away from the show


I've been a fan forever, love the show, but am struggling to appreciate these last several years. As for this ep it was weak but the Garcia/Morgan part was good, and I couldn't help but think that Derek and Penelope are looking more and more like a married couple with the honeymoon over.."I could go with you, I could wear my contacts, who do I wear my contacts for?" "What did I say?" So much of the good stuff has left the show, please don't let the Morgan/Garcia relationship get distorted too.


Ana: good sleuthing. I hadn't thought about the stalker's wealth but now realize you're right. I feel certain that it's a guy too. Don't know what to make of Kevin. Was there another reason for bringing him back for just the one episode? It's possible. I just have a hard time seeing him as the conniving type: he practically stumbled over letting Garcia down gently. @Smoker: you're right - he's had ample opportunity to be jealous as a result of Morgan's easy chemistry with Garcia.


I thought this episode was the worst I have ever seen. I am in love with this show since the beginning, but this episode seemed off and weak. It was like they had amateurs producing this episode. They ate/drank every chance they got, their acting was completely off base to who they normally are. It seemed like a very poorly written/produced episode. All the group did it seemed was sit around and chat while drinking coffee, or walking around aimlessly or eating food (popcorn, chinese etc). Was I the only one who noticed this?


I'm getting tired of all these so called "DISH employees" on here touting DISH and their "Hopper DVR" .........DISH sucks, their customer service sucks .......DIRECTTV is better!


It could be one of those Unsub from the season 3 finale


Kevin is an easy option, although I'd love it. He's got 4 years to hate Morgan and his relationship with García. But on other hand she's already have a psyco in her love life and I dont like Kevin but a serial killer... I don't know


Hmmm, Kevin.....interesting......but I thinking "expect the unexpected". Surely they'd realize die hard fans would consider it being Kevin....and would't go that route.....


hopfully the photographer is Kavin, i really dont like him. Garcia is so much better with morgan!! i love criminal minds!!


could it be Ele could she of gone to the dark side?

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Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 9 Quotes

a great deal of talent is lost to the world for the want of a little courage - Sydney Smith


Your life is about to end. You will all die. In your remaining time on earth, how do you want to live? As a bright and shiny star? Or as a lost soul, passing time? Do you want to live in darkness, or reveal your magnificent light?