Criminal Minds Review: Fraternity Confidential

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Now this is an unsub you can appreciate. 

Except, of course, for the poker sodomizing and the forced acid drinking and the stabbing of people in the neck.

On Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 21, the BAU is called in to investigate when three people are kidnapped in Memphis Tennessee.

Only the unsub wasn't just interested in kidnapping them (no Unsub seems to ever just want ransom): she was interested in getting details about the night when her sister was put into a coma after suffering a heart attack and hypothermia as a result of alcohol poisoning at a frat party.

The narrative of this episode lead us down an interesting path.

In the opening scene, once the two college girls were attacked, we worried that the unsub was perhaps a sexual predator

Then, when we saw the three captives hanging by their wrists in a dark room, while the unsub wore a pig mask, it seemed certain this was a case of pure sadism. This impression seemed to be confirmed after we witnessed the Unsub pull down the pants of one of the male captives and wield a poker.

It was only as the BAU begin digging in earnest that the layers of the sordid onion began to peel and we started to realize that the unsub was herself tormented by her sister's ordeal - and by the cover-up surrounding it all.

You can probably imagine the rage one would feel if a loved one was gang-raped and forced into alcohol poisoning. And then experience the insult to the injury when the ER doctor reported that the sex was consensual.

The narrative was believable because the progression of discovery was perfect. The addition of the irony - the bereft and grieving unsub wearing a pig mask while dealing with people who were out and out pigs themselves - was cruelly apt.

I can't recall an episode where our sympathies swung from one extreme to the other: from worry about the victims to sympathy for the unsub. We've seen variations on that before, but never quite so vividly. 

Mind you, we weren't allowed to feel complete sympathy for her. I mean, the kidnapping of the sister's friend was way over the top. 

This ugly episode was nicely book-ended by the romantic foibles of Morgan, a man who can best Garcia and Reid in track and field (Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode Episode 18), but is out of his league when it comes to figuring out matters of the heart. 

Good thing JJ, a seasoned pro at this stuff, was there to provide the pep talk he needed.

Final notes:

  • I have no idea of the full harmful properties of hydrochloric acid, but it seems unbelievable that someone forced to drink the stuff would remain alive. 
  • Loved the vintage Garcia: Eyebrows! Angel! I love you! What you need?
  • JJ's impression of Morgan was hilarious!
  • The next episode of Criminal Minds Season 9 will play on April 30.

Which of the series couples would you like to see the writers tackle next?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (32 Votes)

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



I won't vote for your poll, because I don't want anything like that to happen. I am not into soap operas.


The problem I have with JJ as a profiler is that they took a good character and changed her into a different character. I miss the old JJ. I don't find it credible that a person changed that much in just one year and that she became a profiler in such a short time while working full time. I wouldn't have a problem with JJ if she had been the like she is now from the start.

@ Hege

REALLY!??!?!?! Things happen in peoples lives that make them change..............I can only imagine real life FBI BAU profilers and what they see on a daily basis and how it effects them.......although it is a fictitious show can you imagine how some of the things the characters have experienced would change you?

@ Terrie

JJ saw plenty before she dissapeared for one year and didn't change much. My problem is that she feels like a different charcter. As a liason she was like the bond between us, the viewes and the BAU. I love the show but for me the new JJ ruins it a little bit. My opinion. And, no, I have no trouble with a woman being tough and kicking ass. I am a woman.


I dont understand why JJ's getting so much hate since s7, she's a total badass as a profiler! She hardly got any screentime/storylines when she was a liaison. Also, I think its time we checked in on Will..we've hardly seen him this season, & it doesnt help that they cut the small La-Montagne family reunion at the end of 200...

@ dibdab

The problem with JJ is that she was turned into the Classic Mary Sue of the show. She is practically everywhere this season. As a result, the screen time and the significance of other characters have been reduced. Most of the time Blake, Hotch, Reid and Rossi are just there, wondering about stuff, and she always has something to say. Douglas said JJ is a pro in matters of the heart. How come? Just because you are married? And because your marriage works, you have the authority to tell a man what to do? Really? Besides, this is a crime drama, not a soap opera, and therefore, anytime any character is wasted on a romantic twist or a family moment, I cringe. If these writers want to write that sort of stuff, they should be writing romantic dramas and soap operas, not a crime show.

@ Maria

I don't understand your anger. Criminal Minds has always featured a back story on one or more of their characters, littered through through the series every season. Nothing's changed, and it hasn't become a soap opera. As for JJ having authority on matters of the heart - she is first and foremost Morgan's friend. Friends have the authority to speak on what they know to their friends, even if it might not be initially accepted. I think their inter-reaction here was as real as it gets. JJ's not advising "a man" as you put it - she's talking with Morgan, her friend. Fair weather friends might not tell you the truth, but real friends will. I get the sense you just don't like JJ, period.


I get so tired of reading the put downs of JJ and her becoming a profiler!!!!!!!!!! Did she not nail Morgan last night??? Why shouldn't she be a profiler? Because women can't be kick-ass like men?? I CALL BS ON THAT!!!!!!!!!!

@ Terrie

What I resent is the fact that for a woman to be considered valuable, what it takes is to be like a man. I find that notion insulting. We, women, are different, and our way to shine is not related to how hard we can kick, or how good we can shoot. I don't like that tv writers always try to make female characters like men, so then they are better.


I miss season 8 it was so much better; JJ was awesome last night


Good episode. Best moment: When Morgan said to JJ "I liked you better when you where the communications liason". Amen to that... I've watched old episodes and JJ is so much better then. She was also our liason in a way. I miss that. The old JJ was also though but now she comes across as a wannabe badass. Other than that I lived this episode. Season 9 has been rally good

@ Hege

I am with you here. Right now JJ comes out just like a condescending 'know-it-all'. Not even Garcia and Abby Sciuto combined can be as annoying as this new JJ 2.0

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Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 21 Quotes

Morgan: You know I think I liked you better when you were the press liaison.
JJ: No you didn't.

Morgan: I will do whatever it takes to be with you. I am in love with you.
Savannah: I love you too.