Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 11 Review: Surface Tension

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Reid's back, facing a whole new challenge.

One that his big brain isn't going to be enough for.

His mother came to stay with him on Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 11.

Reid's Mother Comes Home - Criminal Minds

Diana Reid, battling with schizophrenia and Alzheimer's, seemed like she's going to be too much for the BAU's most cerebral agent.

An experienced profiler such as Reid is used to getting into an unsub's mind.

That's a whole lot harder to do when it's someone you love.

What an un-Reid-like thing to do: Pulling his mother out of a clinical trial in Houston and bringing her back to live with him in D.C., without any real semblance of a plan.

All he seemed to have done was to pack up her meds and flee east.

But he's back to being the little boy, obeying his mother's voice.

We can only trust each other, nobody else. Just you and me.

Diana [to Reid]

With this tour-de-force performance as Diana, Jane Lynch once again proved that she's more than a gifted comedic talent.

She's paranoid one moment, raging the next, then reminiscing, then forgetting who Spencer wass. She really showcased the ravages of the conditions on Diana's mind.

It was especially heartbreaking during her coherent moments, when she and Reid flipped through her scrapbook, and she shared her intimate memories of him.

A New Home - Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 11

Poor Reid just took it, his sadness and confusion showing on his face.

And somewhere in the back of his mind, he's got to know that both of his mother's conditions are hereditary, and he may lose his prized intellect down the road.

All his teammates were pulling for him. But they had nagging voices in their heads, as well.

Ironic, isn't it? Eventually we became parents to our parents.

Rossi [to JJ]

It looks like Reid will at least be getting some professional help, in the form of caseworker Cassie Campbell.

That's good, because he's definitely in over his head, as most people would be in such a situation.

It's commendable that Criminal Minds is going to such an effort to tackle a truly difficult subject.

Week after week, and season after season of showing the results of a deviant mind, they're exploring what happens when a healthy mind breaks down through the introduction of disease. 

But it will be interesting to see how it unspools, as Lynch is scheduled to appear on Criminal Minds Season 12 Episodes 13 and 20 as well.

With JJ already mentioning her "bad feeling," I can't imagine there's a happy ending for Reid and his mother. 

There's no way to neatly tie up with a bow the ravages of schizophrenia compounded by Alzheimer's.

I just hope this doesn't lead to Reid's departure, as well. There's been little enough of him in recent seasons.

It was a bizarre case of the week, even by Criminal Minds standards.

There was an unsub who liked to burn himself causing virtuous people to kill themselves so he could dump their bodies near sinkholes, which was all some kind of tribute to thank Hell for claiming his abusive parents.

Where, pray tell, does he think he's going to end up?

Couldn't he have just gotten a tanning bed and saved a lot of people a lot of aggravation?

Anyway, the case led Alvez to play a geological hunch and Rossi to, well, spitball.

Rossi: Maybe he was in some kind of accident.
Walker: What kind of accident?
Rossi: No idea. What? Alvez doesn't have a monopoly on grasping at straws.

At least Reid was remotely back with the BAU long enough to solve the case.

Of course, it's sinkholes as a metaphor for a portal to hell and a star cluster. How'd I miss that?

At least it was him figuring it out this time rather than having Garcia's computer spit out the answer. It was a welcome change of pace.

Bizarre Marking - Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 11

Since at least half of the episode was dedicated to Reid and Diana, the rest of the characters were fairly back-burnered except for Rossi, who always has words of wisdom for those around him.

Must be the liquor.

To catch Reid's handful of appearances this season, watch Criminal Minds online.

How did you like Reid's return? How will they handle Diana's situation? How much did you notice this week's case? Comment below.

Surface Tension Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (47 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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