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Criminal-minds

Criminal Minds Review: Tragic Parenting 101

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This week's compelling Criminal Minds episode dealt with an unsub who had severe sexual identity issues. It took some time for the BAU to puzzle out his motives and when they discovered what was driving him, their focus enlarged to include a "conversion camp."

The unsub first murdered a man he had sex with because he was so ashamed at doing what he'd been conditioned to think was "wrong." Then, when he attempted to have intercourse with women - only to suffer shame at not being able to obtain an erection - he murdered them. 

In each case, he left a watch on his victims, set to 6:22 p.m. - which in military time is 18:22. This signaled his conditioning and self-loathing, which was built on the Bible verse Leviticus 18:22, a verse that condemns homosexuality. As the story progressed, we learned about the abuse his parents gave him: they forced him to have sex with a prostitute and then later on sent him to a conversion camp to try and make him straight. His love interest was also sent to the same camp. 

The Stalker Gets Closer

The writing for this episode was deep, managing to tackle the sensitive topic of sexual identity and abuse with a certain amount of finesse and candor. 

Seems so ironic that the name of the repressive and even torturous conversion camp would be named "Camp Willing." After Blake and JJ paid a visit to interview the camp director, JJ's disgust became quickly apparent. Especially when the camp director refused to come clean on how "problem residents" were being handled. Blake wanted to know what was behind the padlocked door and based upon other conversion camps that had been recently shut down, their imaginations completed the picture:

JJ: We need to go back with a warrant.
Hotch: We're going to need probable cause.
JJ: Well let's find some. Because there is more going on at that camp than they're letting on. | permalink

In their anger at the idea of anyone trying to force someone to try to change their sexuality, Rossi was quick to point out that religions - whether they condemn homosexuality or not - tend not to cross the line into abusing gays. Reid then offered up a theory about the unsub:

Reid: Maybe the Unsub suffered abuse at the hands of someone citing God's will that he should change.
Rossi: It wouldn't be the first time took the Good Book and twisted it for their own agenda. | permalink

I thought this was handled so well. Just as much effort went into what the story was trying to say, as much as it was trying not to say.

Although it's a stretch to think that anyone coming from such a repressive and abused childhood would ever be triggered into murdering anyone, the dynamics involved sure seem to ring true: parents and friends who ostracize and abuse those considered different should not be surprised when they grow up to appear "Broken," as the title of this episode indicates.

One of the particularly compelling scenes was Hotch visiting the female child abuser in prison, trying to find out more information about the unsub with whom she was paid to have sex. Hotch's takedown of her was brilliant. Sometimes you forget that these characters have been trained to profile people on the spot. We've seen other episodes where they've displayed this unique skill, much to the consternation of those who doubt them initially.

When Reid and Morgan were puzzling out the dynamics about the watches, Reid's hyper-focus on the watch settings - to the exclusion of the bigger picture about the messages the watch times were meant to indicate - was reminiscent of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory:

Reid: So stupid. It was literally staring me in the face the who time. I don't know how I missed it.
Morgan: Come on Reid, stop. You're the only person who can realize all of this. So what does 6:22 mean?
Reid: I have no idea.
Morgan: Reid.
Reid: All I know is what it says. I don't know what it means. | permalink

Morgan's logical talk-down of the suicidal unsub was just as important as the final scene's raid of Camp Willing: the abuse and torture needed to stop, and they needed the unsub's help to make sure that happened.

What an amazing song they chose when the camp was raided: "Madness" by Muse.

The final scene increased the tension again, as we learned that the BAU's stalker was still out there, this time having sat in on one of Dr. Blake's linguistic lectures, and filming her.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (89 Votes)

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

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    9 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    This was finally more like the former great shows that worked to the best of each character; Hotch's absolutely great profiling skills interviewing the prostitute in prison, Reid's phenomenal mental skills in deciphering the time message, Blake's expertise in linquistic's showing up in her professorial role, Garcia's brightness and natural humor; Reid "Garcia could be right" Garcia; "It happens", Morgan's and Rossi's ability to add level mindedness. Let's hope this can be maintained to the rest of the season - frankly I'm fearing this might be it's last. They have just let it move too far off base for me to be hopeful.

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    Disgusting. You will all burn in hell. Good luck to you.

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    Loved this ep! Im loving the new badass JJ this season, so when she kicked down that door, it looked like she's defo giving morgan a run for his money. The end song was brilliant, and I loved every second of this ep! Next weeks looks amazing!

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    This show is soooooooo long in the tooth .....got my shoes on....a kick to the curb is week to week .....

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    This episode was tailor-made for study in Sociology 101 class.

    That's exactly how it SHOULD be used. It's THAT DAMNED GOOD!!

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    Awesome episode. And, based on some comments from users on the IMDb board camps like these really do exist. How scary! :(

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    Great episode and good review. Reid, as always, picks up the smallest details that lead to a larger conclusion. But have to admit, everyone's dedication to solving this was hiked up a notch higher and brought back the Criminal Minds of old....not that I haven't enjoyed the all this season. Nice job, guys!

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    Now this is the Crimina Minds I come to love how great was everyone tonight from Hotch to JJ to Blake what a great show tonight was and the ending gave me goosebub.

    I am a little worry about next week episode they have strass and Anderson as gust starring and from the promo it sound like someone from the FBI get killed I hope not Anderson I like him and think he should be use more.

    I could see Strass or Kevin being killed off

    Marissa

    Great episode. The killer being a victim and being a killer because of what his parents and the camp did to him was great. At the end with the teams stalker showing that he was in Blake's class video taping it was kind of scary because if showed how close he can get to them and have no one be worried about him. Can't wait till the next episode.




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