Criminal Minds Review: Passover Fail

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There's a good reason for Bible and catechism classes, people. Too bad our Unsub never availed himself of either.

Missing in St. Louis

Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 10 gave us the tale of a man who bypassed Jewish and Christian dogma in an effort to effect his own brand of Passover.  

And he got it so very wrong. The Passover story involves God telling the Israelites to put lamb's blood on the doorposts of their homes so that when the angel of death got down and dirty by killing the firstborn sons of all of Egypt's households, he'd "pass over" the marked houses and not hurt anyone within.

First off, our Unsub elected to use pig's blood. That was mistake number-one.  

His second was to actually kill the firstborn. Kind of a major ecumenical error there, bub.  

Religion aside, this story - like so many on Criminal Minds Season 9 - was another truly unpredictable mystery that didn't entail any sort of Unsub with truly surreal motivators.  

It's easy to see how such a tragic childhood would warp a boy into becoming a sort of twisted "savior" of sorts: rescuing children by killing them, as his mother tried to do to him.

I think the religion angle was provided in order to put a wrench into the machine works for the viewers. It began with the boy's dad being a religious guy who made sure he and his family went to church every Sunday.  Then there were all of those Eastern Orthodox chanting scenes, along with a flash of the Unsub lighting votive candles. All mysterious and confusing and, ultimately inconsequential to the heart of the story.

It's a story of abuse, not religion, period. 

It's also a comment about how sometimes you can do everything right with your kids and still end up as a victim. This guy doted on his child, and taught him about how to be careful around strangers.  

He monitored his friends and even did background checks on people who came into contact with him. Whoops.... guess he missed out on his teachers and in particular, the boy's computer science teacher.

Ultimately, like so many tragic tales of child kidnappings, the "stranger" wasn't truly a stranger at all. He was a trusted adult. So the question is: how much paranoia is too much?

Final notes:

  • You may have recognized the dad, Malcolm Taffert, as Doug Savant, who played Tom on Desperate Housewives.
  • The guy who played the other father - Richard Clayvin - whose son was killed fifteen years prior was Frank Collison. One of his earlier more colorful roles was that of Wash Hogwallop (what a name!) in the Coen Brothers' movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • The scene with the meat shop owner/pimp was the funniest part of the show. Leon Burns (played by Carl Schwaber) was the quintessential pimp, with his velvet tracksuit, darkened teeth, glassy eyes and sleazy manner.  He made it so easy for Blake and Reid to play off of him.
  • The song at the end was "Even If We Try" by Night Beds.  

What do you think of this episode? Are you missing the traditional gore at all? What about the dad in this story? Was there anything he could have done to proactively protect his son?

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Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (49 Votes)

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


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Gosh, this mom actress is the most annoying character in show history. Her Russian accent is too thick to play on TV! It sounds like she's using a fake accent. Maybe she is. Ughh. Dumb


Good episode. The case was deffinetely strange. For some reason I feel like we didn't get enough of why the unsub was doing what he was doing. I know we found out and they explained it but I feel like with the other cases we always get more of the story this one seemed very straight forward like he does this because this happened to him. Still a good episode and can't wait for the next one.


I didn't like it. It was a sleeper episode................definitely not one of their top 10 episodes...........They should have been off this week instead of next...............


I enjoyed the episode. I'm glad the unsub wasn't shown in the first five second of the show. A first-rate episode from start to finish.


Another great episode! Feel like the show has gotten back to it roots and I like it!

Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 10 Quotes

Blake: What about Luisa?
Leon: That bitch? She totally betrayed my buddy.
Blake: Did she walk out on him?
Leon: No. She married his best customer.

We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings - Albert Einstein.