Criminal Minds Review: Jerk Walk and the Bite Brigade

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What a wildly entertaining hour of television.

On Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 18 the BAU was called in to investigate when Milwaukee police recovered the partially buried (and bitten) bodies of three single people. They had all died of rabies, as the team later found out.

This bizarre case became even more surreal when medical examiners confirmed that the victims had bitten each other, thereby infecting them with the disease.

It feels like we're back to the traditional Criminal Minds fare, where the Unsub is an unrelatable psychopath with uniquely twisted needs and desires. I feel certain his motive and trigger would not have been predictable without the investigation and explanation provided by the BAU.

This is not a bad thing - these types of macabre and horrific stories have been to a large extent missing in recent episodes. 

Once we found out what the Unsub (Cunningham) was doing, I wondered if they would show one victim infecting another. And, sure enough, we witnessed the Unsub securing his latest victim (Russell Holmes) and then releasing an infected victim at him.

Like any truly compelling thriller, they didn't need to actually show Foley biting Holmes. The writers thankfully allowed us the horror of our own imaginations. 

I have no idea whether rabies victim actually go that mad and say things like:

I'll eat you. I'll eat your face off. I'll eat you alive.

Liz Foley

Sometimes it's fun to fact-check some of the plot material around such behaviors. I didn't this time because it didn't matter. The rabid stay-at-home mom was morbid and vicious and that was all we needed to know.

I mean, can you imagine being tied up and having that scuttling towards you in the dark?

The biggest - and welcome - surprise was realizing that between Holmes getting bitten and Morgan and Reid rescuing him, 24 hours had not yet passed. This means he received the rabies vaccine in time, as evidenced by his assurance that the doctors said he would be okay.

The other more personal story about Reid and Garcia was just about as entertaining too. It was fun to watch Morgan put the two unsuspecting friends through their PT paces before letting the cat out of the bag.

Final thoughts:

  • There were a few more flirtatious comments between Garcia and Morgan this time, but no play-by-play stuff. It was mostly off-the-cuff. That seems in keeping with their characters without going slightly overboard as they used to do. I like that.
  • Reid gave us quite an extensive education about rabies. Check out our Criminal Mind quotes for the one where he explains all you'll ever need to know about the disease.
  • We learned something new about Rossi too. Being bitten by a rabid fox, and having to shoot it three times before it let go, must have been quite an ordeal for him.
  • Best two words or the episode (or maybe one, if it's hyphenated):  jerk walk.

What, if anything, did you like most about this episode?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (34 Votes)

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



I liked the case and I also liked the unsub and his victims. It was also a good thing that one of them died, since I was fed up if this team saving every single guest star. I still think there is a strong imbalance in the parts payed by different characters. Very little Hotch and Blake again, and once again Morgan and Garcia get the side story, but this time Reid was dragged into it too. It was doubly stupid: to make Reid unfit, when he is obviously not (or else, he should be removed from the field because he would endanger his team mates), and because of his lack of knowledge about regulations he has to know, since he not only works for the FBI, but also he is been around for over a decade, and attended previous fitness tests. So, all those unrealistic facts to get Morgan playing another juvenile prank to a man that just saved his ass in the field merely hours ago? Really? Morgan is just a bully then.
And I liked the fact that JJ was not everywhere as usually, but she still ruined a lot of Morgan/Reid scenes just putting herself right in the middle. Sigh...


I loved this episode, and how it went back to the CM roots of strange, psycho behavior!!
I need more Hotch!!
Also I found the constand (loud) dog barking in the earlier scenes to be Very distracting - a couple times I muted my TV just to stop the barking!!
Love CM!!!

@ Leesa

I never thought to mention that, but yeah, I didn't enjoy the dog barking at all either. It wasn't even needed, really. I suppose they had the dog there to provide a dark ambience for the setting. At the end of the day, they didn't need it.


I want them to get back to an arc of some sort.......something that carries over..........This "unsub of the week" type story is fine but every week it gets boring...............

@ Terrie

Yes and that what bothers me about NCIS too

@ Michael

Same thing is happening with NCIS right now as well..........I suspect both shows will start an arc to carry us to their respective season finales..........I know NCIS is going to have something to do with the death of Ralph Waite-The man who played Gibbs father.........


That was a pretty messed up story and I loved it. I love the really messed up and twisted episodes and then finding out why the unsub is doing it and in this cases his brother died from rabbies and he took pictures and recorded it and it turned him into a psychopath which was intersting. At the beginning I thought the last victim would be the unsub because of the way he followed the girl but was glad he wasn't because the actually unsub was much more dark and twisted. I loved Garcia and Reid then Morgan making them do a bunch of workout stuff and then telling them they never had to do any of it and them getting their strength back just enough to chase him down it was funny and I love when those moments are put in an episode. Can't wait till the next episode.

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Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 18 Quotes

Friendship multiplies the good of life, and divides its evils - Baltasar Gracian


Morgan: All right, all right, all right. Enough is enough. I guess I got to let the cat out of the bag. I kind of already had your fit test waived.
Reid: What?
Morgan: Baby girl, think about it. You're not even in the field. And pretty Ricky, you already got enough case hours to qualify. This was just a good time for me.
Garcia: I'm gonna kill him.
Reid: If I can manage to lift my arms, I'll hold him down.