Criminal Minds Review: Dislocation Boogie

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Tonight's Criminal Minds loped right past disturbing and dove straight into the dark pond of torture porn. To say that it's difficult to ignore the image of the girl getting her arm sockets deliberately dislocated by the sadistic UnSub - while processing the rest of the episode - is an understatement.

We're used to seeing the writers of Criminal Minds allude to cruel treatment of victims without overtly displaying much of it. We would see the axe begin to fall before the scene abruptly changed, and that would be enough. The writers left it up to our imagination to fill in the blanks. This scene was a departure from the norm, and was tough to watch.

That aside, the idea of the human marionette dance - a performance obliqued referred to as "a lullaby dance" by Matthew Gray Gubler in our recent interview with him - was haunting and bizarre. The music would have been almost enjoyable, had it not been for the knowledge of all of those limbs that had to be dislocated in order to pull it off (no pun intended).

Hunting a Ritualistic Killer

The story of "The Lesson" itself was an interesting one: man comes back from a coma and wants to change the history of his father's death by re-enacting it with marionettes who jump in to save him. From the beginning it seemed obvious that his companion was a construct of his imagination - as was his audience. I always find these scenes fascinating in that these phantom companions give us some good clues into the psyche of the murderer, much like we see in Dexter when he converses with his dear departed dad.

It was good to see the story of Reid and his mystery love interest get ramped up a bit, even if it only teased us.  If it wasn't for Reid's understandable paranoia about her stalker, they would have met up in the restaurant. At least we know that they truly seem to be playing in the same romantic ballpark, with their mutual love of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books, and their coincidental gifts to each other of the same title "The Narrative of John Smith." Reid's concern about the possibility of his appearance was sweet, and it gave us a chance to see more of Blake's kindness and concern - even to the point of the encouraging text message she sent to him just before the date. 

(Check out this week's Criminal Minds quotes for some touching dialogue surrounding Reid's romantic activities.)

I think Gubler did an excellent job playing Reid and directing this episode at the same time.  Kudos too to Brad Dourif, who did some intense work in playing this week's disturbing UnSub.  You may also have recognized Sean Whalen who played the store owner who left his shop to warn the UnSub about the FBI investigation. 

What did you think of the episode overall? Do you think Reid's paranoia about the stalker fed conveniently into his anxiety about meeting his love interest or was that just a happy coincidence for him? Are you warming to Blake, or are you withholding judgement for now? Let us know in the comments!


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (133 Votes)

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



I have to say I'm surprised of the comments here. A lot of hate for the show. I loved season 8 so far.. They profile a lot more than they have the last few seasons and great stories. The only thing I have a bit of a problem with is JJ as a profiler. I liked her much better before. It just seems strage when she profiles. Brad Diorf, the unsub, did a great job. I loved him on Deadwood. I think CM is a great show and I look forward to many more seasons!


Sorry, too much torture to watch, they could've presented sounds or shadows but the actual dislocation was not my cup of tea. Although I enjoy being a voyeur of the show I often think, I hope nobody is inspired to do any of this stuff, some people are just a hairs breath away from acting on their feelings. We need more team related writing. I love the "we're going to Rossi's house stuff" it makes them all seem more like a family. We'll see how this goes.


So the team goes into the store and the guy leaves and they don't run to their car and try to catch up with him? At the end of the episode they all just leave without talking to the people that are hurt? I didn't like the episode. And when Reid discovered the stalker wasn't at the restaurant why didn't he call the girl and say everything is fine. Nothing made sense.


Loved tonights ep....verrrryyy Criminal Minds. It was creepy, and a great UnSub, but the scene that i will remember for a long time is the dislocation(with those sickening cracks). MGG did an amazing job with both acting and directing ,and this is the episode i officially say that i really like Blake. That scene with Reid and blake was too sweet. The other scene i loved was when JJ and Morgan went to the vintage store and ended up talking about Reid. Criminal Minds is the best!!


I loved last night episode,it took me back to why Im started watching it in the first place. Not understanding some of the others comment,but everyone has a right to say what they wish.I love the show and have since it started. I wish every one of them stay and continue the great work.


I like the episode but I didn't like the torture and I didn't know that little guy was the unsub imagination. I think Reid's girlfriend stalker is the same person who been taking photographs of the team I could be wrong but I wonder if the team stalker is also her stalker.


@Douglas Wolfe - perfectly put and I totally agree.
I give you a 5 for your candor.


@Suncatcher I did not know CM left their root they been doing this for years its not like their NCIS


As a HUGE CM fan, as I watched last night's episode, I kept rewinding it because I couldn't believe my eyes! I watch the show because I enjoy the envelope pushing story lines and boy did they deliver last night. I've had a mad geek crush on Reid since day one and by proxy MGG and after last night I think he's a genius. That episode was sick and twisted - just the way I like it and my BAU team!


@Suncatcher: I felt I was generous even with the rating I gave. That torture scene made the show almost unwatchable. It was brutal and unnecessary and I had a hard time thinking about anything else for the rest of the episode.

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Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 10 Quotes

Thomas Merton once wrote "Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone. We find it with another."


JJ: Well I think after this long hard week we just had we should all head over to Rossi's and pop open some old expensive wine.
Rossi: That's a plan.
Garcia: Could we maybe play some games too?
Morgan: What kind of games?
Garcia: You tell me, sweet cheeks.