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Criminal Minds Review: Eyebrows and the Black Queen

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It's always refreshing when Criminal Minds abandons its traditional storytelling for a week, isn't it? 

The start of Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 12 was amazing. 

Garcia's Past

Seeing the always-lovely Garcia handcuffed to the BAU interrogation room table in all of her dark gothic glory and badass attitude was startling. I didn't know at first if the scene was real or a dream.

Turns out it was a flashback to the start of her BAU career. 

Garcia: I'm a psychopath.
Hotch: No you're not.

You could almost imagine the smirk on Hotch's face when he said that, after which he outlined all the behavior that pegged her as the opposite of a psychopath.If anything, she was guilty of having too much empathy. So much that she broke the law in order to help people, in her own way.

Although the case itself was enjoyable (minus the prostitutes getting killed), the peripheral stuff was more engaging.  Luckily, the case intertwined with all of it, which made for a fascinating episode. 

It's hard to imagine a situation where a killer goes to death row, but doesn't snitch on his partner in order to save himself from execution. Especially as the clock ticked down to his final hours. That seemed a bit odd. Of course, he did have his partner's token set of prayer beads with the macabre lock of a victim's hair. 

This was supposed to show that his partner was still working to get him off. Uh huh. 

No one has ever accused criminals in jail of being too smart. Maybe that was the case with him.

On the other side of the intelligence spectrum was the chief of the nerds, Garcia's former lover/partner Shane Wyeth (played by Paulo Costanzo, of Royal Pains fame). I think many might know of narcissistic people like him who live to argue. The writer nailed his toxic character with precision. Garcia was right to escape from him, rather than continue to fight, hoping to convince him to change.

Hardly ever do we get a chance to laugh out loud, so that horrific sexual harassment seminar at the BAU provided a brilliant opportunity. It was fun watching Garcia getting more and more embarrassed as so many of her and Morgan's flirtatious talk showed up in the presentation.

When the presenter uttered the forbidden phrase "more cushion for the pushin'" and Derek Morgan put his head down, I howled. 

You can see why Wyeth mistook them for lovers. For much of Criminal Minds Season 8, I wondered about that too: not everyone who knows these two will understand that this is the flavor of their friendship at work. Wyeth seemed inordinately jealous, however:

You chose this guy? You chose a brainless, metrosexual action figure?


Final notes:

  • The scheme to protect prostitutes from legal charges was rather elaborate and, most of all, viable. The "Bitcoin" currency is real, and can be used (and is used) to fund items and services that are not legal. (It's also used for legitimate purposes as well, however). And the idea of having data deleted if someone doesn't log into a system within a certain timeframe is also doable. The writer thought this through.
  • It's been a while since we've seen Morgan with a head of hair, wearing a full suit. That too was a surprise.
  • Morgan wasn't the first to call Garcia "baby girl." Okay then. So who was? Do we know the guy? If not, will he be introduced?
  • Garcia's promise to have Morgan and herself put a shoe on their head if they lose to Wyeth has its roots in geekdom: it's a way of humbling yourself on the net.

What did you think of this episode? Do you want to see more of Garcia's past? What are your thoughts on the Black Queen?

Should Morgan and Garcia cool it with the flirting?



Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (42 Votes)

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


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    9 Comments New Comment Subscribe


    So I wonder how the baby die?


    Everyone is so nit picky about EVERY detail!!!!!!

    As the opening statement in this review alludes to, it was nice for them to deter from their normal story telling for an episode. It's nice to get some back story on the characters......


    The episode was great. A lot of insights on Garcia's hacker backstory and her previous gothic self, I loved that. Lots of playing with social stereotypes (nerds, jocks, female beauty) which were very well-done. The crime plot was quite interesting and the solving of it with Garcia in the field was great. And I'll always love Garcia and Morgan. Friends or else (because the inuendos for the "else" are always written in), they are just great together.
    Now let's have a look at that initial scene again: Hotch offers Garcia a job instead of jail time, and says she's got to write something to apply for it; when she manages to get her purse back, she takes some pink stationary out of it (season 6, ep 4). Then she's half flirty half ironic to Morgan. I might not have paid attention so correct me if I'm wrong but they were not formerly introduced at any point in the scene nor her name is mentioned in Morgan's presence. Morgan assisted Hotch at the arrest and might have searched Garcia's purse but that doesn't make him obliged to remember every detail of the case. Remember that in 2004 Gideon was the top profiler together with Hotch and Elle and Morgan were more field agents than anything else. So later on, when Garcia appears with new clothes and hair color, Morgan simply doesn't remember her name and asks Reid about it. Reid mistakes her name too and that's how Morgan first refers to her as babygirl. Of course the Tabula Rasa scene is more of a first meeting of the Garcia and Morgan as we came to know them, but Morgan knowing that was the tech girl that just joined the team indicates he had seen her before, just couldn't remember her name. So I don't think the initial scene of "The Black Queen" is inconsistent with the scene in "Tabula Rasa". We can regard the scene as the very first meeting that didn't count due to Garcia's condition as a criminal. And the scene in Tabula Rasa as the time they actually took notice as each other. My humble opinion :)


    Good episode. I loved that we found out more about Garcia's past even though some of the things that happened didn't seem to line up with stuff that was said in earlier seasons. The beginning with the sexual harassment seminar and the lady using Derek and Garcia's conversation's as examples was funny. They shouldn't stop talking to each other like that because it's one of my favorite reasons for watching the show and their friendship would never be the same. Can't wait till the next episode.


    We saw in an earlier episode Garcia meeting Morgan for the first time. He asked Reid her name and he said Gomez. When Morgan called out Gomez she didn't answer and that's when he said Baby girl. The episode was Tabula Rusa in season two. It was a flaskback from five years earlier. Also Hotch tells Garcia in season 6 or 7 that he knew she was spesial when she applied for the job on a pink stationary. If I disregard this, the episode was good. Nice to se Garcia in the field. The examples of sexual harrasment was funny! All things we heard Morgan and Garcia call one another. All in all a good episode but I didn't like the changes in the backstory of Garcia.

    @ Hege

    This is my favorite show. I hate when it disappointments me. Hege is exactly right about the flashback with Morgan. MORE importantly this whole show was based on a back story that was incorrect, Remember in the episode "Penelope". when she gets shot. NONE of them knew about how she became an FBI agent. The opening scene would have been fine without Morgan and Hotchner. At this point we all know about her back story it totally ruined the episode. I have never posted anything before. This show seems to be going downhill. They don't seem to use Reid's intelligence as much anymore. Are there new writers?

    @ Hege

    Hi, Hege. I think they covered the applying for the job since
    Hotch said she had to write something and Garcia said if she could have her purse, she would go with the FBI rather than go to prison. What she pulled out of her purse appeared to be pink stationery she made herself.
    Also, Morgan could have forgotten about arresting Garcia earlier because of the Goth stuff and different color of hair. He was looking at her back and may have only known that a new tech was hired. I try to be forgiving as long as the show is entertaining, and it hasn't lost steam.


    Um you forgot something Gracie had a child

    @ Mike

    Do you mean Garcia?

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