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



At first I was so happy that we finally get to see Reed's home, at the end, I was no happy at all.
That was sad, so sad.
I hope, I little part of me have the hope that this is not the end, that they trick us. I'll keep my hope until the next episode :'(


Loved the episode. Knew who the stalker was just because they used a well known actress. I also knew Mauve would diie because I read about next weeks episode where it said Spencer would be dealing with a personal loss. Besides that the episode was amazing. This season has been really good. I am looking forward to see who the photographer and the unsub copying the murders the team has solved. Is it the same person? Is it that creepy photographer from season 6? Or someone we haven't met?


This episode was super intense, but I've got to say I think there has to be a way to obtain character vulnerability without killing their spouses. We have the unforgettable Hotch incident where he lost his wife, Rossi loss his first wife (albeit to cancer, but still emotionally fraught), J.J. nearly loss her spouse, and now Reid has to lose his hubby. Come ON.... Somebody deserves a happy and long relationship.
I think someone already said this but Michelle Trachtenberg is a big actress which automatically made me suspect her larger involvement in the plot. Nevertheless, I found her truly mesmerizing in the role. I find episodes where the team pulls together to help each other the best. I wasn't surprised that Reid chose Blake; she was the first person he told about Maeve. He's talked the most about Maeve to Blake.
The only thing I did have trouble discerning was whether Trachtenberg was just Maeve stalker or if she was larger seasonal stalker who was trying to get at Spencer through Maeve. I guess I had my timeline wrong :( My biggest question is how will this event affect the team and its dynamic?


while i like seeing ried as human....this story just fell flat for me....he didn't want to see what the woman looked like, before he went there....yet, he would have seen her at the dinner. alisa


Michelle Trachtenberg did an amazing/fantastic job on this episode although I think It would've been much more better if she reprised her cancelled NBC show "Mercy" as Nurse Chloe Payne and not as a stalker. Because that's how I felt like and knew before watching this episode. Also That way it would've been much more funner and interesting to see this other option/new take the the show.


Didn't like the ending, poor Dr. Reid. It was a good show. Not as gorry.


While I think this episode was an astonishing display of great acting by Reid and great writing by the staff, I think that they lost us at the end. We've watched Reid evolve and he's become the most intriguing character on the show. It would have been nice to see this relationship evolve a little and with Maeve's cir!$#!#stances of being captured, losing her (ex) fiancee, and meeting Reid, this would have made for some interesting sub-stories in the upcoming episodes. I'm greatly hoping for a twist of fate, but also wondering if perhaps Matthew Gray Gubler is leaving the show and they are trying to antagonize his character. Regardless, I think it was a fail for loyal viewers who are SO interested in Spencer's progression.


I am so heartbroken for Reid, but this was definitely one of the best episodes of the season. I've gotten so used to Criminal Minds have mainly happy endings for the final victim that it was definitely both shocking and refreshing to have this one end in sadness, especially since it revolved around Reid. At first I thought Maeve survived when I saw Diane's body, but the ultimate murder-suicide (with the bullet going through both Diane AND Maeve's heads) took that fleeting hope away from me. I like the show doing personal episodes, because it gives the characters humanity and shows a life outside of their jobs. Overall, I really liked the ending, however unhappy it may be, because no good show always ends happily. Nice balance, I just wish it wasn't at the expense of Reid. Poor guy.


reEdIT- Scary stalker on the end of a few episodes


I'm curious to know if whether he's trying to kill our main characters of the show or must be something.

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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.