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



Are you sure she is dead. Maybe the nut case shot herself and knocked Reid's love Mauve down and out. I am rooting for her survival and slowly introducing her intelect to the team.


I loved this episode but the ending was so sad. I wish my baby Reid could just once get a break and have someone to love. Maeve's death will set him back big time.


I need a twist in this ending. I need to see that Maeve didn't really die. She opens up so many fresh episodes. Yet another one just biting the dust loses so much that you can use for Maeve & Reid.
I hope it's more than it showed . . .
a twist--Edgar Allen Poe style.
I hope I'm right. Reid's struggle can be with wondering if she'll make it out of a coma. And finally, sooner or later, she does!!


criminal minds is a very good tv show, so we should just rela and enjoy it. This episode was fantastic, with mistakes or not.


This was by far one of the best episodes I have ever seen on any shows. First of all, Reid did not wanted to see the picture of her because he wanted to see her face to face, this was their term already in the start of this season. But the whole episode was so thrilling and emotional, and we got to see a new side of Reid. Epic!


Does anyone know the quote that Mave wrote in the book for Reid... I believe they said it was by Tim Menter. Just before Diane shot herself and Mave by means of an exit wound.... the round then entered Maves head.... Reid said to Mave that is one thing she cannot take from us. I have been searching for the quote to try and determine if that is a clue to what will happen. Some people do not die from gunshot wounds to the head. I watched a series on NBC about a president shot in the head last week, he made a miraculoous recovery.... This is Hollywood....If you have the quote and the Author please post. Thanks... Siimply


Does anyone know the quote Mave wrote to Reid in the book? wasnt it by Tim Menter? Maybe that quote is a clue, Reid told Diane that was one thing that she could not take from Mave and Reid right before the gun went off... I have been looking for the quote online and cannot locate it thinking it is a clue.... Anyone know the quote?


Reid's an addict. His girlfriend died in front of him. Not good. And i understand why he didn't want to see her. It was supposed to be on THEIR terms. They'd meet in person, FINALLY. Not by a picture he obtained because she was taken by a psycho stalker! P.S.: I was so hoping Parker (i think her name is Beth) from Leverage was gonna be on the show, maybe in a Will-esque or Kevin-esque way; but no such luck


Lamest episode ever ... And there have been plenty of duds ....


The end was a big surprise and heart break but so well done. Matthew Gray Gubler did a phenomenal job. He is one awesome actor. I would have liked the ending to be a happy one though. The writing and acting on this show is amazing. I really love it.

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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.