Criminal Minds Review: Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing

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While it was refreshing to watch a story that centered entirely around one of the BAU members, Reid, Criminal Minds featured an entirely heartbreaking ending this week.

This week's episode began with Reid's discovery that his love interest had been kidnapped, by virtue of a single word uttered by her captor: "Zugzwang." The word itself prophesied pretty much how the story would go:

Hotch: And what did he say to you?
Reid: Zugzwang. It's a chess term. Describes a point in the chess game when a player realizes he'll inevitably be checkmated. He has to decide whether to resign, or to play through to the bitter end. | permalink

We eventually learned that the stalker was not a man, but a woman, and that she was a former student whose thesis had been rejected by Dr. Maeve Donovan - Reid's love interest. The stalker, convincingly played by Michelle Trachtenberg, in turn wanted to take away everything of importance to Maeve, including Spencer Reid.

What Is Diana Up To?

We're used to seeing the most appealing innocent captive get rescued by the BAU at the last minute. So it was a bit of a shock to see that it didn't happen this time. The ending - though awful - was very well done. Right after we heard the gunshot, the camera panned across the shocked faces of the team, finally landing on Reid, whose face began to crumple in stark agony.

Matthew Gray Gubler (as Dr. Reid) fairly shone with his complete vulnerability, first when he finally revealed his secret to Hotch, and then to the rest of the BAU:

Reid: He thinks he'll get away with this. And, he might. I have a wealth of knowledge I should be applying to this case: behavioral patterns of violent stalkers, tactical recovery strategies, victim survival odds, but right now I can't focus on anything for more than four seconds at a time. Which makes me the dumbest person in the room. So, please help me. Help me find her. | permalink

Procedurally as well, this show was well written: I had a hard time putting it all together, just as the team did all the way through. Trachtenberg's brilliant portrayal of the unsub was all sweetness at first when she was in the kitchen with her hubby (Maeve's former fiance), and then turned completely dark as she smashed him in the head with a wine bottle. 

The only weak spot that I could see was the scene where Garcia offered to show Reid what Maeve looked like and he declined. Emotionally it makes sense, but when investigating her disappearance, it doesn't. He should at least know what the victim looks like before he goes searching for her.

It was so good to see the team pulling together for Reid and it was interesting to see Reid choose Blake to help him brainstorm through 100.5 days of his communication with Maeve. But it was all offset by the horrible ending: all through Criminal Minds Season 8 I was rooting for Reid, hoping he'd have a continual love interest after they met. So disappointing to see it all end. No doubt Blake and Morgan will try to bolster his spirits, but I'm guessing he'll be a little broken for a while.

And now over to you: did you foresee the unsub being a woman? What are your thoughts?

P.S. Don't forget to check out the other Criminal Minds quotes.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (188 Votes)

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



I've learned more watching criminal minds then fourteen years in law enforcement (narcotics unit). I learned more volunteering for attorneys then I did getting my degree with honors as a Paralegal Investigating Specialist.


i hate the ending too. please bring maive back.


Criminal Minds Views went down "Zugzwang" was the Highest view this season and after that episode the views was going down. Zug-12.64 Million;Mag-11.84 Mill.; Car-10.33 Even the great reviling of The Replicator had low views. But what really gets me is this "Just because Maeve's dead doesn't mean she can't come back..." qouted By Matthew Gray Gubler. What does that even mean!


Hmm definitely waiting for a twist. Reid deserves better, exposing him to such a traumatic event, what for?
And why did he asked Blake for help? Why not Morgan hmm.


I have been watching this show since the beginning. Even sticking though some of the more disturbing plot lines. However, the senseless killing of Reid's girlfriend after all that build up has pushed me over the line. Deleting the season pass to make room for shows I enjoy.


I hate the ending... Why on Earth did she had to die!


Bring back Geidon to help Reid!!!!!!


Why would Maeve taunt the woman holding a gun to her head? "You can't take that away from us." That's just telling her to kill you.


I have decided that the senseless killing of Reid's girlfriend was the last straw for me. It was bad enough what the writers did to Hotchner's exwife (killed by a serial killer). I will never watch the show again. I wonder how many other viewers the show lost with that senseless killing of a love interest, that in no way advanced the plot of the show.


I will never fail to watch Criminal Minds if Reid leave the show. He is only reason to watch this show.
That's all. I HATE the ending. If Meave really dies, there is no twist and bullshit.

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Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 12 Quotes

Hotch: And what did he say to you?
Reid: Zugzwang. It's a chess term. Describes a point in the chess game when a player realizes he'll inevitably be checkmated. He has to decide whether to resign, or to play through to the bitter end.

You see, when men cheat it's below the belt. But when women cheat, it's above the neck.