Wow. This was, by far, the very BEST episode of the season!
It had everything: excitement, tension, chess-like maneuvering, and twists littered throughout the story.
Plus, it brought a truly satisfying end to the "Dirty Dozen" season arc.
The tale centered around a "date with a murderer", and it all took place in a restaurant with Reid sharing a table with a Black Widow hit woman, named Cat.
Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 11 began with Reid entering a restaurant and exchanging awkward greetings with Cat.
At first we were lead to believe this was the first date between her and Reid, based upon an online chat between them.
But we quickly realized this was no ordinary date: Reid was playing the part of a married man, and that the date was actually a negotiation: he was contracting Cat to kill his pregnant wife.
Prior to the "date", the BAU had rounded up two of the four hit men, as well as the IT genius (nicknamed "The Snowman") who they had forced to act as their technology specialist and organizer.
Man I love that they chose Aubrey Plaza to play the villain. She's a delightfully evil choice for Cat: smooth and engaging....even her smug smiles bring the horror of her actions front and center.
What's more, they wrote her character as highly intelligent and organized. And that made her much more dangerous, crafty and unpredictable than most of the criminals the BAU pursues.
The verbal sparring that she and Spencer waged came off as more of an intelligent dance. A clash of wits that went back and forth, each making assumptions of the other that turned out to be faulty at best.
She seemed so confident at the start, didn't she? She clearly knew something none of the BAU (or the viewers) did; something that would allow her to extract herself from the trap the team had set for her. She knew there were members of the BAU sitting around the restaurant, and agents waiting outside the place as well. Yet she wasn't worried.
Honestly, this episode had me sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering in each moment what was going to happen next.
First, Cat has the upper hand. She tells Reid she walked into their "trap" willingly.
Then the BAU has the upper hand: Cat thinks she's flushed out all of the BAU agents, whlie Lewis clinks glasses with Morgan and says guess again, bitch.
There are bombs set up beneath the restaurant – Cat has the upper hand.
Oh wait, they've discovered that The Bomber is a woman, and she's sitting alone with her cell phone at a table. Morgan and Lewis take her out, and now THEY have the upper hand.
Uh oh. Reid's got a gun to his throat. Advantage: Cat.
It was all just so much fun.
So what did we learn from it all? A few things actually:
Reid's mother has early onset dementia, probably Alzheimer's.
Reid doesn't know if he himself will get it. He was congratulating himself (sort of) for not inheriting his mother's schizophrenia. I agree with him by the way: Alzheimer's would be much worse, only in that it can't really be as effectively treated as schizophrenia. When you get it, you're going down a slope from which there is no ascent.
Reid is an amazing liar. Man, his game was spot-on: we saw a bit of his acting abilities at the start, when he pretended to be so awkward when first meeting Cat. And then later on when he was agitated about Morgan supposedly bringing Cat's father to the restaurant. Cat totally bought his angst, and so did we.
I mean, I never saw through it until Cat did, when we saw the open doors of the empty police van.
The icing on the cake was that awesome hug between Morgan and Reid at the end. Morgan was so tuned into Reid's torture about his mother and his potential for getting Alzheimer's. That scene was just simply beautiful.
All in all, this was a very satisfying Reid-centric episode. Would that all Criminal Minds stories were like this!
- I really like drunk-Garcia. The one with so much love in her heart that she realizes she's wearing too much clothing.
- You could feel the weight lift from her shoulders when she finally realized she could now go home.
- Great to see Savannah again too.
- Did you expect any of the four hit men to be women? I didn't.
- The dialogue in this episode was so well written, I went a little overboard trying to catch the really good Criminal Minds quotes.
- When you watch and write about Criminal Minds from week to week, it becomes easy to spot the weak points and errors. I simply couldn't find any in this story. It was so engaging that it became one of the very rare few episodes that earned the full five stars.
- In fact, I enjoyed this episode so much I'm going to see it again. You can too – right here on TV Fanatic – when you watch Criminal Minds online
What did you think of this episode? What are your thoughts on the "Dirty Dozen" hit men/women team? Be sure to chime in and let us know in the comments below!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.