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?


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



@ Jade Complications from scar tissue can happen at any time. I read about a boy who had his appendix out and then died three years later because scar tissue formed over his bowel and caused it to burst. He was fine during those three years and then one day he had stomach cramps and the next day he collapsed. It's rare, but it happens.


Hotch only stepped down whilst he was looking for the reaper. When Morgan was the team leader Hotch was always running off after the unsubs and Morgan called him up on it a number of times. Everyone's body different but that just means recovery times vary, not one week fighting for your life in hospital and the next week back at work acting like nothing happened . The writers on this show never show the psychical and emotional trauma of violence. The whole stupid story was about bring old characters back. There was no substance to the story , so no surprise that Hotch will make fully recovery next week as he did previously when the reaper attacked him. The writers have never indicate that Hotch has health problem and they properly make out he fully recovers until the next time they want to write silly storyline


i really love this one. The case was really well written, and thank you writers for finally mentioning more about JJ's sister.


@Jadge they did that Hotch step down as leader of the BAU and Ice and DOD took over looking for the reaper as for it not being realstic the body is different for everyone have you ever talk to a soliders a lot of them hide their injuires very well other don't


Everyone keeps saying that injuries can reoccur, but where the evidence to support that on the show. A few weeks after hotch was stabbed he was back working cases and then working nights to find the reaper. Once the reaper was dead he was back on the field. People can't have it both ways, if you want to bring his injuries back in make it realistic. You can't have one week Hotch is fine the next he not. If you want to play the realistic card Hotch would have been transferred to a desk job after the reaper attacked him. Also the FBI unit would have been assigned to look for the reaper after he escaped. A high profile case and the reaper just walks out of the prison. the police would have been made a laughing stock by the media.


I forgotton how nice Haly was they made her so evil in her finale season that they had no choice but to kill her


Thomas Gibson doesn't look old at all. smh................. It is ridiculous to think that as many times as Hotch was stabbed that something couldn't happen on down the road. I think now Hotch will embrace moving on with Beth. He's been very cautious so far. And no, he didn't just jump right to her after Haley's death...... Paget Brewster(Emily) left the show again, BUT the door is open for her return. Whether it happens or not, we'll have to see.


Absolutely GREAT episode! At last we see some aftermath for Hotch - four years after a very traumatic episode is not too long at all for repurcussions, either physically or psychologically, especially for a very introverted type of person as Hotch his. Thomas Gibson is a great actor and communicates complexity on all levels. The rest of the episode was also good. Season 9 is great so far, much better than 7 and 8.


It was great seeing Haley Hotcher again, and it was a really stupid storyline killing her off in season 5, especially as she play a pivotal role in Hotch life, not to mention that Jack needs his mom. I hope this story was not a ploy by the writers to start making Hotch character into a Casanova again. First they kill off his love interested Haley, only then to bring in Beth. The whole writers shake up was stupid and sexist as they just target the female actresses. That question at the end of Douglas Wolfe article is annoying “even years, later, is Hotch now ready to carry on? What was Beth? Wasn’t that story about Hotch moving on? If the writers hadn’t been stupid in the first place, we would have to keep seeing Hotch with different women each season. If the writers on CM were intelligent they could have written loads of stories centered on Haley, Hotch and Jack. You never saw Eliot from SUV with different love interests.


Agree with the old injury and the random storyline, this story could have been given to any of the characters, Garcia when she got shot, Reid when he was beaten up and even JJ was attacked. So far every single characters been attacked. The only reason why Hotch would get the story is because he starting to look really old, and he the only one not fit enough and would start to get health problems due to old age. At first I thought he look haggard in the pictures released of Route 66, but he looks really old in most of criminal minds season 9. If you look at the first shots of Thomas and Meredith Monroe in the pilot they look good together and now he looks like her dad. Even the photo used above isn't a great shot of him.

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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.