They're going to be a distracted BAU for the next few weeks.
It was more about who wasn't there than who was on Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 15.
The BAU is having to learn to function without its big-brained Boy Wonder.
And Reid is having to learn to survive in a place where logic won't serve him well.
Fortunately, the team had a particularly gruesome case to solve this week, with an acid-spraying misogynist attacking the pretty people of Philadelphia.
The poor BAU, having to make sense of an unsub that attacked with no seemingly unifying pattern.
But it was simple really, in a twisted way (what other way is there on Criminal Minds?). The unsub hated all those who were getting laid when he and other "uncels" (unvoluntarily celibate) such as himself weren't.
Good thing most people in that situation just fester inside and drink, rather than take destructive action.
This was to a large extent a Garcia spotlight, since much of its solution required mining the Web.
Unfortunately, we got to learn about the "manosphere," another of those dark corners of the Internet where hate flourishes.
And poor Garcia had to hold her nose and go there.
Walker: Garcia, see if you can pull it up.
Garcia: See if I ... you doubt me, sir? Watch me bulldoze through 137 pages of manifesto muck without cracking my lip gloss.
It was another of those "degrees of separation" solutions. Find the victim that doesn't fit the profiled description, ,locate her boyfriend, then identify his antisocial friend that works at a chemical company.
I suppose that's quicker than checking chemical-company employees.
Anyhoo, Walker,finally made his presence felt by nullifying Alan. chatting him up and telling him what he wanted to hear while blocking him from attacking the singles-night crowd.
I'm betting Alan's manifesto never got widely distributed as promised, however.
So scratch another pathetic, self-pitying unsub who kept the BAU preoccupied for a little while, at least.
And kept them from dwelling on Reid, even though Prentiss was shown staring forlornly about every 10 minutes.
At least she addressed the elephant in the room.
I know it's going to be hard not to think about Reid in prison. We'll get through this, and more importantly, Reid will too.Prentiss
It's to be expected that Reid would have adjustment issues.
I don't expect encyclopedic knowledge is a superpower much valued in prison.
Fortunately, he found a guide in Calvin, a former lawman who had learned to survive in prison.
It's a counter-intuitive place, so Reid is going to need all the advice he can get.
This is our ocean. One day it's calm, the next day there are waves the size of mountains. It will be hard at first, but trust me, you shouldn't fight it. You just gotta learn how to survive.Shaw [to Reid]
And why is that guard, Wilkins, being such a dick to Reid? You would think there would be a bond among law-enforcement types, but he's pissed off at Reid for some reason, one that hopefully will be addressed in the next episode in two weeks.
Could Garcia have come up with a less appropriate poster for communication with Reid? Flowers and rainbows? At least there were no unicorns that I could see.
Alvez: Why do you get to visit [Reid] first?
Garcia: Because I made the chart. And if anyone has a problem with that, tough nougees.
Is Garcia ever going to ease up on Alves? It ceased being cute really early in the season.
Now how long is this Reid-in-prison storyline going to strung out? There's seven episodes left in the season, and frankly it would be nice to get him home to his sick mother sooner rather than later. I mean, they're going to run out of prison cliches fairly soon.
Having an extended storyline for Reid should do away with any talk about Matthew Grey Gubler leaving the show. They wouldn't have invested this much time into the character this season just to get rid of him. They'd just throw him into Witsec (too soon?).
Also, why isn't clearing Reid more of a priority?
I understand politically it's a delicate situation -- an agent being charged with murder. But the BAU has rarely let interference from above keep them from pursuing cases. Also Section Chief Cruz has been mentioned parenthetically at best this season, so out of sight, out of mind.
Add to that the prime suspect in the framing of Reid is thought to be Mr. Scratch, a fugitive, so they've got all the reason in the world to track him down.
To follow Reid's hard year, watch Criminal Minds online.
Did you like the case of the week, or did it just burn? Isn't it beneficial for Reid to have a veteran TV prisoner as a mentor? Are you ready for him to be out already? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.