Wednesdays 9:00 PM on CBS
Criminal-minds

Criminal Minds Review: Replicate This

by at . Comments

The Criminal Minds two-part finale, "Brothers Hotchner; The Replicator," left me on the edge of my seat, earning a perfect rating and leaving my jaw hanging open in shock.

The writing was provocative and almost a little cruel in its constant shifting focus. As we learned from an interview with the Criminal Minds showrunner this week, there was going to be a death among the characters. What we didn't know was who would walk the last mile.

The Replicator Is Back

This finale came to us in two parts. The first had to do with Hotch and his estranged brother Sean, along with a series of deaths that made Sean a tad nervous. I suppose any of us would be jittery if the girl with whom our boss was making out started bleeding from the eyes, nose and mouth. 

Rattled, he called his brother and after realizing there was more than one such odd death, the BAU began their investigation. It turned out that a baggage handler at an airport was angry over the death of his daughter. So he insinuated himself into a delivery system for wine, which he spiked with a drug called PMMA (paramethoxymethamphetamin). 

This drug was a combination of Ecstasy and meth, the latter of which inhibited the drug's interaction. The delayed reaction prompted several users to increase the dosage so that when it kicked in, it resulted in the internal boiling of their systems.

I did some reading up on this drug and didn't see any symptoms remotely similar to what was presented in the episode. However, artistic license means we get to ignore that tiny detail and carry on. And even if there might not be such bizarre bleeding from the eyes, nose and mouth, it does result in a lot of death.

The baggage handler was rounded up and the team went back to their lives. Sean and Hotchner seemed to have mended their fences with each other, even though Sean was on his way to jail. And it was great to see Jack and Beth back in orbit around Hotch - both of whom seem to bring a smile to his face. Beth in particular seems like such a natural for the father and son, fitting into both of their lives as if she'd always been there.

The second part began with the Replicator slapping on a pair of gloves before invading Strauss' hotel room. Finally, after only seeing shadows and hints of the Replicator, the camera panned over to his face - and I thought "oh look - there's Mark Hamill."

At this point we understood the reason for the first part of the episode: the PMMA poisoner methodology was mimicked by the Replicator when he used the same drug on Strauss... who eventually died in Hotch's arms.

Rossi has been such a quietly supportive friend for a number of people, including Reid. I didn't realize the depth of his commitment to Strauss, nor was I aware that he was pretty much cheering in her corner as she obtained her medallion for one year of sobriety. The writing around the relationship of these two was compelling and real - and so his agony over her death, and especially about how it would affect her kids, was compelling.

After Rossi helped her family process her passing, did you notice the look on his face when he came back into the BAU? Reid held JJ back as she went to go support him, understanding that he wasn't in a place where sympathy would be desired or tolerated. As soon as I saw him, I thought "there goes a man who will cheerfully shoot the Replicator in his face." And as it turns out, I was only wrong about the methodology.

Blake's question found the thread which unraveled the ball of criminal yarn leading to the name of the Replicator: Do you think it's a coincidence he started this when I joined the team?

The answer of course was yes.

I guess I wasn't all that surprised when the Replicator turned out to be a member of the FBI. He had access to all of the relevant crime scenes and knew way too much about the team itself. Reid called him a genius, and he should know - being one himself.  Not only that, the man was an expert in biochemistry, and an absolute wizard in computers and computer networking.

Finally, of course, the man was a narcissist of the highest caliber. Honestly I've never seen so many whiny criminals, all complaining about being misunderstood, misrepresented and so very unappreciated. That consistency does not detract from the enjoyment I had with this episode however. 

The final few scenes put me on the edge of my seat: the helicopter ride that almost proved fatal: the capture of Blake; the rescue of Blake... which turned out to be another example of Zugzwang (where the only safe move is to not move at all). As soon as Blake rose from her chair, she freed the pressure plate to do its thing, which was to seal the team in the room, while the walls (lined with C4 explosives) proved to be their intended death trap. 

In a normal world, the explosion would be immediate. But this is not the normal world - this is the world of make-believe. The requisite bomb countdown began. Conveniently, the timer was set to be wireless - thereby allowing Garcia and Kevin to intercept the signal and hold it back for only so long, since such signals have a magical strength that would force them to let go. 

By the time their hold lessened, the team had escaped and now Rossi was in the room with the Replicator (or Luke 2.0 as I would call him). Here we heard the final whiny speech, all about how he was rejected after giving up his life for Bureau (you can read the quotes including that one in this episode's Criminal Minds quotes). 

Rossi's response, especially after the Replicator tried to trap them both in the same room, was cathartic. I did not want the Replicator to do prison time. Rossi could have saved him, but, after Strauss being killed and Rossi being drugged so that he almost killed Morgan, I kind of think his last nerve had snapped.  And so:

Replicator: We'll go out as heroes.
Rossi: I'm not so sure about that. [Holds up Strauss' medallion] Zugzwang.
| permalink

Rossi escapes, the door closes and the building lights up with an explosion. Luke is gone, foiled ironically by his own term. Zugzwang.

All in all, an exciting and cathartic episode.

What are your thoughts? Were you sorry to see Strauss go? What did you think about Sean and Hotch? Did the episode meet your expectations? 

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (168 Votes)

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

.

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Criminal Minds?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic

Paige-is-undercover

Graceland Review: Angels and Demons

Mike, Briggs and the team pull out all the stops to get Paige back. Read our Graceland review of "The Unlucky One" now to find out if they were successful.
Isolation

Suits Review: Another You Problem

Rachel & Jessica's life choices seep their way into the business of the men in their lives, some of which only cause more problems. Read out Suits review of "Litt the Hell Up" now to see what went down.
Calling-a-summit

Tyrant Review: Turning Point

On Tyrant, Bassam attempts to find a peaceful resolution instead of a revolution. Will he succeed?
Emotional-history

Covert Affairs Review: Honesty

On tonight's Covert Affairs, Annie and Auggie switch jobs and head to Paris. Will Auggie succeed in the field with Annie as his handler?

Avatar

I loved the 2 hour finale. Was so glad it wasn't a cliff hanger that we have to wait till next season to see what happens. I wish Garcia and Kevin would get back together. I like the Hotchner and Beth, hope they stay together. Can't wait till next season. This is the best drama on tv.

Marissa

Continue first but I really like her. When the replicator took Blake I thought he was going to torture her. I'm so glad the replicator died but I didn't see Rossi locking him in that room then getting blown up by his own c-4 coming. I loved the ending where they were all sitting around the table talking about strauss my favorite part was when Garcia brought up the time Strauss called her and she thought it was Morgan so she said talk dirty to me was do funny I remember that part and it was hilarious. I can't wait till next season.

Marissa

I loved this episode. The episode did not disappoint. When I read someone would die my first guess was Strauss and I was glad I was right because I didn't want any of the team to die. I have never liked Strauss but I was sad when she died but I woulnt really miss her. It always bothers me when the bad guy is one of there own or a cop because there supposed to be the good guy then they end up killing people. I never thought about the replicator being one of there own but I wasnt shocked when we found out he was because he knew so much that a normal person wouldn't know and he was very good at what he did he got into Garcia's computer. When he took Blake I was kind of confused because I understood why he killed Strauss but I wasnt sure why he went after Blake because she was a victim to but it made sense when we found out he was jealous because she got back in and he didn't. The whole helicopter thing I knew something was going to happen but it was so scary. I wasnt sure about Blake at first but I really like her. When the replicator took Blake I thought he was going to torture her. I'm so glad the replicator died but I didn't see Rossi locking him in that room then getting blown up by his own c-4 coming. I loved the ending where they were all sitting around the table talking about strauss my favorite part was when Garcia brought up the time Strauss called her and she thought it was Morgan so she said talk dirty to me was do funny I remember that part and it was hilarious. I can't wait till next season.

Avatar

I felt the showdown with the replicator was a bit lacking. I guess I expected more action or something. It was definitely missing something. Overall it was a good episode. But, as I said before, something was missing.

Avatar

The repllicator didn't break into Stauss' apartment, it was her hotel room where the BAU was staying while investigating the PMMA poisonings. (which is why it had all those little alcohol bottles in the mini-bar) It was a pretty good episode but The Replicator was a little too cartoon-ish at the end. But it is interesting to me that they showed how he and Blake had gone through basically the same experience but had reacted to it in such a different manner.

Wolfshades

Thanks for the corrections Kim and Sue Ann. All fixed now.

Avatar

I will not miss Strauss - who died in Hotch's arms - but glad to see that she did not die in vain. Her death provided the final clue to finding The Replicator. I know they had to wrap it all up in this episode but everything seemed rushed to me. Case solved, report written with fake info, report sent to Washington,read by The Replicator, who is in NY, drug manufactured and altered to prolong the agony, drug administered and Strauss dying all in the matter of hours?!

Sue-ann

TWO All in all, it struck me as quite believable for a family relationship, as I have personal experience of such. I thought the writers, and the actors, all did a terrific job, and it was one of the better season finales I saw this year. (Limited number, mostly CBS.)

Sue-ann

Sean was not making out with the girl who started bleeding from her facial features. His boss was. His former girl friend had previously died of the same thing, but there was no mention that she was in his arms. His boss's girl died in his arms because he went into the bathroom to get the override card from his boss, and because his boss is a useless weasel in a crisis, so Sean was trying to help her. If someone is going to die, Strauss is fine by me. I never did see why Rossi was having that affair with her. She has been such a bitch to everyone for years. I was not even remotely sorry to see her go, although I was sorry for her children. If they mentioned WHY Sean separated himself from his brother and his family, I missed it. (Unless it was because of the drugs, alcohol, and incompetence.) Aaron clearly cared about his brother, but he was on the edge all the time of not believing there had been any change. All in all, it struck me as quite believable for a family relationship, as I have personal experience of such. I thought the writers, and the actors, all did a terrific job, and it was one of the better season finales I saw this year. (Limited number, mostly CBS.)

Avatar

I love it!!!!
Excelent episode and Mategna's performed was amazing RIP Strauss See you on the 9th season