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Criminal Minds Review: Father and Child Reunion

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Hotch is down for the count. Haley and the Reaper make an appearance. And a father catches his daughter's would-be rapist and fulfills every father's sincere wish, right before attempting to whisk her away from Wichita.  

What more could you want from such a brilliant episode of Criminal Minds?

Visions of the Past

"Route 66" gave us the story of a father who, after spending a number of years in prison, finally got re-acquainted with his daughter, mostly via text message. Fortunately for her, he showed up in person right as her date for the evening decided that the word "no" was unacceptable. After beating the man to within an inch of his life, he and his daughter decided to skip town and head for Mexico. 

Cue the Amber Alert system. 

Only this wasn't a case where the daughter went unwillingly: they had been talking about doing something like this for a while. At first you kind of wonder why a missing child case would come up on the BAU's radar... until learning that the father had killed a few people along the way during a robbery. 

It's hard to recall an episode where it was possible to feel any kind of empathy or sympathy for the Unsub. Granted, the man wasn't a saint, but what's a few dead people in the grand scheme of things when he has a daughter to care about, a girl he hasn't seen for so many years because of his stint in the Big House? Despite her initial bratty attitude, you could tell she had him wrapped around her little finger. Although not entirely:

Eddie: We had a deal. You wanted out of Wichita. Here we are. But you have to lose the 'tude or we're never going to make it. Angel, I swear you are going to love it down there. Ocean, breezes, sunny every day. Nowhere near Wichita. | permalink

I like how the writers gave us both sides of a coin with the similar histories between the Unsub and JJ: time spent with his father's dead body after he committed suicide clearly unhinged the Unsub to the point where he chose a life of crime. Yet JJ - in the same circumstance, having seen her sister's dead body in the bathtub after she slashed her wrists, instead turned to a life of crime-fighting. The takeaway? You can allow your circumstances to shape you, or you can use your circumstances to create your own path. 

As Haley put it: happiness is a choice. So choose.

Meanwhile, Hotch developed some internal bleeding because of an old injury suffered during an attack years ago. You may recall that back then, The Reaper stabbed him multiple times, all in non-lethal locations on his body, before dropping him off at a hospital.

This time Hotch is again taken to the hospital - with Garcia by his side - where doctors operate on him feverishly to repair the damage. During the operation Hotch dreams of being in a movie theater with Haley where they watch a silent movie about Jack, Beth and Hotch spending time together. Later, The Reaper (George Foyet) joins them. 

This foray into Hotch's psyche was trippy. At times it was easy to forget that the words of advice from Haley (you should talk about me more. You should talk more, period) came from his own subconscious. As did that marvelous car that took him to the imaginary movie theatre. If you recall, it's the same car Rossi was showing Reid at the start of the episode. In fact, in Hotch's mind, Rossi was the chauffeur.

I think the entire multi-episode story concerning The Reaper formed some of the most interesting Criminal Minds arcs, so it was a bit of a surreal pleasure to see him back again:

Foyet: I hope I didn't miss anything.
Hotch: What's he doing here?
Haley: It's okay. I invited him.
Foyet: Wowza. She is hot.
Haley: Isn't she?
Foyet: I would tear that up. Hey, I'll bet she's a real tiger in the sack, huh? Popcorn?
Hotch: No!
Foyet: Would you like some?
Haley: Ooh. Yes. Thank you. | permalink

What did you think of the episode? Do you think that, despite the continual pain of Haley's loss, even years later, that Hotch is now ready to carry on?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (141 Votes)

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

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@Pen The writers could have tried to make Hotch and Haley relationship work, as seen on SUV, Eliot character didn’t become this part-time dad juggling work, kids as well as weekly dating various women and his character worked much better than Hotch. If the writers want the audience to relate to characters then there need to keep some realism to it. Also why is it not important to show the impact of violence on TV rather then just glamorize it? Haley death would have had a huge impact on Jack and Hotch, not just emotionally,but writers could have showed the importance of the wife and mother role, especially one that supports her husband career. Managing a home and career is not something you can dip in and out off, like Hotch character. All this episode did was grovelling to the audience asking if Hotch was allowed to have a girlfriend. After the hissy fit people had when the writer introduced Beth, this seems like a ploy to bring her character back, claiming Haley character had approved the relationship, therefore let bring her back. There was no sincerity in the episode and Hotch has never once express any remorse over Haley death even though he caused it.

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I've disliked JJ ever since she came back. She's been rude and condescending to the rest of the team, but especially to Reid. JJ thinks she can do everyone else's job better than they can. I liked her better when she was the media liaison.
as for the episode, I enjoyed watching it. I just wish TPTB wouldn't show the unsub in the first few minutes.

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And the only thing that concerns me is that ring at the end. I HOPE we don't move to another flipping wedding. We had enough of this. (Sorry it was cut off for some reason.)

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First of all @Joy and @Jade time is not real in any series. One week between episodes is not one week between events. If writers wanted to be realistic with Hotch's injuries we should have had Hotch solving cases from a hospital bed for half of a season! As you see a 4 days investigation in 45 minutes the same is with the time between the episodes. Get a grip, guys... Bad episode nevertheless. Dream stories NEVER turn good. The only good part for me was Foyet's black humour...! (I know... creepy! :P) There were some interesting parts but not powerful. And that's why dreams don't go well. While the writers have all the space to push it, they don't and we end up with a fluffy story without meaning and purpose. I was expecting it to be more about Hotch and Haley, his guilt, the fact that he 'overdid' it a bit when he killed Foyet, whatever. But this was more about that Beth (that was introduced in another weird and silly way). And the only thing that concerns me is that ring at the end. I HOPE we don't move to another flipping wedding. We had enough of this...

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I love JJ, why the hate?

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Diandra.
Everyone is entited to love or hate any episode. Personally i hated season 6, 7, and 8. and i wasn't keen on this season cos i dislike JJ. However I'll admit the start of season 9 has been superb in my opinion.
But your comments regarding Mr Gibson could be considered libellous. Hotch in my opinion has been better so far in season 9 than all season 8. I sincerely hope you think before you make such outragous accusations. Any actors personal life should be left out of it.

Lakersfan

I am pretty sure that Thomas Gibson is having legal issues IRl at the moment, or perhaps substance abuse problems. I am sure this is there way of writing him out of the show, or reducing his role for the next few episodes in order for him to sort his life out. IMHO. I didn't like the episode at all though. My initial draw to CM was that we never knew who the unsub was until the last 10-15 minutes despite seeing their behaviour. Episode 3 this season reminded me of an old episode. Can we go back to that?

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@ Stacy
The boy had cramp, and was going to regular check up to his doctor after he first received the injuries. Hotch has never had follow up check ups after the attack. He been on every case since the attack meaning he been away from home a lot. If his injury was a bad as the writers are making out, there would be a chance that him constantly flying around to different states would affect him. Him chasing after unsubs would be psychically too much and he would find the long hours tiring. As he is 4/5 years old since the first attack this would also affect him psychically and his second recovery therefore should not be as quick as his first. As you have said the boy died, therefore we will see how realistic the writers will be next week.

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have killed her off. (not sure why sentence was cut off on last post)

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@Michael That’s the stupidest thing I have heard, that the writers had to kill Haley because they changed her character in season three, to as some CM fans claimed bitchy. A woman that speaks her mind always falls into the bitchy group, so there nothing shocking about that, but that didn’t mean that the show writers had to kill her off. Her character had more importance alive than dead. She played the role of Hotch child mother, the person that would look and support their child whilst Hotch was a way on cases. The person that would have emotionally supported Hotch after his several attacks. The person that spent the last 20 years supporting Hotch career and knew and understood him the best. She was never evil and didn’t do anything to Hotch. Hotch fans disliked her because she wasn’t created and written as a dutiful wife, worshiping her husband 24/7 telling him how wonderful he was. That does mean her character didn’t have any merit and the writers should have just killed her off. I agree with Jade the writers never show the impact of violence or how Haley death would have affected Hotch and Jack lives. In which way was she evil? Putting your child welfare above your husband does not make you evil. All she wanted was for Jack to know his dad as she said in season 2. The writers seem to value that it is important for a child to know their dad but clearly not their mom.

Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 5 Quotes

Hotch: I want to stay with you.
Haley: I know you're the big boss man but can't always have your way you know. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
Hotch: I don't know how.
Haley: Happiness is a choice. So choose.
Hotch: But how do I choose?
Haley: Get out of your head. The heart is the one that knows, so follow it.

Life is a dream. Realize it - Mother Theresa.

Hotch