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



Great review! I felt absolutely horrible for reid, but was I surprised because I found myself not really liking or sympathizing with maeve, but feeling a little bad for the stalker. I think it was partly because maeve seemed a little cold & self-centered. it bothered me that she didnt tell reid about the (ex) fiance. it bothered me more when she said that she basically developed feelings for reid because she had no one else to talk while in hiding. reid's feelings obviously went much deeper than that. i was hoping they would part ways in the least painful way for reid - having it end the way it did was not what I had in mind.


This episode was amazing,but it left me heartbroken for Reid!!! The question that formed in my mind while watching was why is it always Reid..... I was so happy that he found someone he could be happy with and it was all taken away in an instant......but the actors did some really good acting in this episode!!!


It was a good episode but I hated the end I didn't want her to die but we will get good Raid reaction. Next couple of weeks and I will like to see how he griefs and how he deal with.


I thought the episode was amazing. I was so shocked when we found out the stalker was a woman. The whole time the woman had Maeve and her ex fiancé and the way she talked and what she wanted them to tell just kept making me think she was crazy. I had a pretty good idea that Maeve was going to die because on a thing I read about next weeks episode it said Reid would be dealing with a personal lost but I was still hoping she would live because I really wanted her to. When she died I was so sad and felt so bad for Reid I really wanted them to be together and be happy. Next episode should be interesting.


Sound like a other good one


It was interesting Reid picked Blake..........
I was disappointed that Reid didn't get to explore this relationship...... Damn it, I'm still wanting to know about this mysterious photographer...........

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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.