Criminal Minds

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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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Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (187 Votes)

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


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i thought it was a murder suicide :/ the same bullet killed both women


Lest not forget..... "There's also some news out about an unsub who isn't just going to go away after one episode.Season 8 is going to "feature a season-long unsub," and he's a creepy one. According to Messer, "The unsub in the premiere sews mouths shut, but by the end of the premiere, he's no more. And a couple of episodes later, the team finds out that back in Texas, where we solved that other case, a victim just showed up with her mouth sewn shut. So then you find out that this guy is replicating crimes we've solved. We're calling him The Replicator, unofficially. We'll probably see him five or six times [throughout the season]." Any fan of the show remembers how creepy the recurring The Reaper was; will The Replicator be worse? C. Thomas Howell portrayed The Reaper/Foyet perfectly. Will they get someone just as good to play The Replicator? For a character like that, they need to."
( I've heard this on I heard they said this is going to be on the season finale of this season.I'm wondering if they'll do that.Because this season on some episodes, they show a scary stalker and scary music that's trying to reveal and I think lead up to the season finale. I'm curious as to know if that Recurring Unsub Is trying to kill and/or go after all our main characters.


Was that Beth Riefgraf from Leverage playing Maeve? I almost didn't recognize her with the dark hair, but her face gave her away in the close-ups. I was hoping she'd get some more roles now that Leverage is off the air. I agree the ending was a bummer, and now poor Reid will be even more messed up than he was before.


Marissa, well I must have fallen asleep, which I doubt, because seems like only I thought the unsub had shot herself. I didn't think she had killed Reid's girlfriend. Was I wrong?


The writer said "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." I so disagree. I totally understand why Reid said no, and I would have done the same. He had a beautiful phone relationship with this girl yet never saw her. He didn't want the first glimpse of her to be a photograph. He wanted her to be present when they saw each other for the first time. Plus, he wasn't much on the case anyway. Hotch had commanded him to stay off.

Beverly brooks

I no longer watch this show. It has become so dark to me. I need more light and happiness.


I don't understand why the writer is saying it was a horrible ending and that he's sorry for Reid and he was hoping for a love interest for Reid. I thought the unsub killed herself, and that the girlfriend is still alive. At least that's what I got at the end of the episode. Did I surmise it incorrectly?


I really liked the episode and while I was not sold on Maeve, I'm upset about the ending. I love Reid and just wanted him happy. I can't believe they did this to him. This show needs SOME SORT of Happy - even if only once in a while...


Sorry but Michelle Trachtenberg was obvious as the prime suspect in the stalking from the moment she appeared on the screen. She was telegraphing creepiness from the start.


Delores, regarding how the bullet hit Maeve, my impression was that the girl shot Maeve and one of the agents shot the girl. Anyway, I really loved the acting tonight. It certainly showed softer sides of almost all of the characters. The ending was terribly tragic and I wasn't prepared to lose Maeve. I hoped she might become a regular in Reid's life if not in person.

Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 12 Quotes

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


Garcia: Every time we have a stalking case I think of Rosanna Arquette.
JJ: The whole Arquette family to choose from and you go with Rosanna.
Garcia: Of course I go with Rosanna because Rosanna Arquette was the inspiration for two seminal songs of my childhood. "Rosanna" by Toto...
JJ: Obviously.
Garcia: ....and "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. Which gives one pause to think of the myriad of ways a man can be obsessed by a woman. And what is she doing in bed to inspire that kind of obsession? And can she teach us - because I want to know...