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



WOW! ...Such HARSH comments....... You people act like someone was REALLY ACTUALLY tortured in the making of this episode! And I'm positive they were not............
I do, however, question a bit the decision to show such an episode at 8pm. While I love Hotch, every episode cannot and should not be about him and him only. I was kind of surprised they went back to Reid and his elusive girlfriend......I was thinking.....Could her "stalker" be the mysterious photographer??????? Or maybe the photographer IS Reid's girlfriend?? Now to Blake, she still as of yet has brought nothing to the team dynamic in my view. I don't know if that's attributed to her lack of scenes or what. Perhaps there's more to come for her...... Was not surprised the rest of the team figured out Reid has a girlfriend but yet respect him enough to give him his privacy and not push him on it...


DC: Ditto about Hotch. He is the compelling leader of this team but they have no use for him because he's too dignified for their depraved indifference to humanity. Gibson and Moore's contracts are up at the end of the season and I wish both of them would follow Brewster out the door.


Douglas, wondering how you can say "MGG did an excellent job playing Reid and directing this episode..." - then gave it barely a 3 rating. @Leesa - you are right - something is indeed "off" with CM. I have been a CM fan since its pilot. I own their first 5 years of DVDs. But, I have been pulling away from this show as it has drifted more and more into seemingly gratuitous violence. Tonight was a good example. (And I love MGG and the entire CM cast). I hope they return to their roots - and soon. PS - The terror maestro (Psycho, Frenzy, Rear Window), Alfred Hitchcock, avoided showing explicit violence, offering instead a PERCEIVED image of violence, and that this perception more effectively built suspense and excitement than overt violence. Overt violence is limited by what is shown on screen. The perceived image of violence is only limited by the viewers' imagination.


All I can say is Welcome back Criminal Mind how I have miss you This season has been perfect so far and this last night was a other one for the books I could not find one thing wrong everyone had the same screen time AND all were given a few good moments Hell even Rossi the most hated character on the show was good. I can not wait to see what we get next.


I, too, thought it was to explicit. We don't want to WATCH torture occurring. The dislocation being shown was over the top. And I, too, miss Hotch. He is my fave character and pushing him to the back makes me not want to watch the show as much.


I'm so glad Morgan and Garcia were hardly in this episode. It seems clear that Moore and Vangsness kept their distance. What an amateurish, misogynist mess this episode was. Another Reid/MGG and JSB clunker.


This episode confirmed why I not only hate the character of Reid but I hate the actor who plays him. What garbaage he chooses to direct. If he doesn't want to be on Criminal Minds then he should leave because this wasn't Criminal Minds. It was his most favorite torture porn. Then there is the writer Janine Sherman Barrois. What a misogynist bitch she is! I hate her too. It's unbelievable how Messer has allowed the show to get to this point. And what about the responsibility of CBS? Why would they allow something so embarrassing and frankly amateurish to air?


It never occurred to me that the short guy was a figment of the UnSubs imagination!?! I was clueless.
Still not sure of Blake?!
I still think something is "off" this Season, can't put my finger on it though - something has changed with the Team. Also seems to me Hotch is being pushed more & more to the background. And being a big Hotch fan, :(


Omg that was the most intense, sick show I have ever seen. I actually had to cover my eyes a few times. Kudos to MGG for his direction and the writers have great imagination :) one of the best episodes yet....


Totally over the top. Would have been better left to the imagination.

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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.