Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 2 Review: To a Better Place

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Reid's back in the BAU.

But who is Reid now?

That's the main question being asked on Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 2. It promises to be a good part of the conversation for much of this season.

Getting Back on Track - Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 2

It started innocently enough, with Reid shooting up the practice range. There was obviously some rage there, but it's as good a place as any to vent it.

Then he got the word that he had been reinstated, with one big condition.

For every three months of work, he has to take a month off. But that will be productive time, as Prentiss has arranged for him to give seminars on...whatever he wants.

It's an elegant solution, allowing Reid to channel that big brain in a constructive way rather than him dwelling on what's happened to him in the recent past.

Does that mean Reid is cured? No, of course not. But he handled himself in a dangerous situation, using his words to talk William down instead of taking the easy way out and shooting him. There are still going to be hiccups along the way.

The writers make the none-too-subtle connection between Reid and William, the unsub. Both had their mothers leave them, and it turns out, both mothers didn't do so voluntarily.

William's mother was killed by his grandmother, which scarred him more than anyone knew, and Reid's mother started to lose her mind thanks to Alzheimer's.

So was Reid working from a place of empathy when he talked down William? I'd like to think so. But then, he's going to try to reach any unsub however he can.

Three Similar Crimes - Criminal Minds

The episode also celebrated the BAU's newbie, Matt Simmons, who had yet had a chance to show what he could do. Based on the anemic ratings for the enjoyable Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, he may be unfamiliar to Criminal Minds viewers.

So what does Matt bring to the BAU, beyond the ability to move large stacks of boxes? Well, based on the small sampling, it's a little early to tell. 

Like JJ, he has a family and a life outside the BAU, placing him among the minority for that unit. He seems to speak the jargon well enough, but I don't expect him to be leading discussions anytime soon. He's feeling his way now as he rightly should be.

A Case About a Case - Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 2

He seems to have a good deal of overlap with Alves, as the intelligent, ethnic hunks. That Derek Morgan casts a big shadow. Why, Derek even seemed to appear in commercials during the broadcast.

Is he an upgrade on Stephen Walker, who he is replacing? That's hard to say because Walker wasn't around long enough for viewers to get to know him well. Matt already has had more screen than Walker, when you consider the last two seasons.

The case of the week wasn't horribly inventive, other than using old suitcases to send the women packing. A psycho listening to a dead, female authority figure's voice goes back to Norman Bates. After all, we all go a little mad sometimes.

The twist was the victim's desire to help the sensitive, damaged unsub heal. I guess that just didn't work out for them.

And frankly, what was Helen thinking? The guy wants to take her home to meet his grandmother even before their first date. He's an unemployed barista. Run, Helen, run!

After 45 minutes of group deductive reasoning, as usual, Garcia pulled the solution out of her computer, giving Reid the opportunity for a confidence-boosting save.

Frankly, after the Mr. Scratch denouement, it all felt a little meh. A damaged young man and a figment of his imagination didn't really project the necessary degree of menace.

Heavy is the Head - Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 2

But maybe it was just the case they needed to shake off the rust after their mandatory vacation. Prentiss really emptied her mind, binge-watching The Amazing Race. You've got to love corporate synchronicity.

Prentiss seemed better off for the break. She was almost giddy when talking with Lewis at the beginning.

I would have liked to have heard more, as Lewis suggested, of what they did on their summer vacation. But gruesome reality intruded.


So the gang is back together. The new guy won't slow them down, and Reid seems to be a less OCD version of Reid. Now it's time to ratchet things up.

Don't necessarily expect that on Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 3, when the team investigates a killer drone. Savor that for a week.

To catch up on BAU 13.0, watch Criminal Minds online.

Is Reid closer to normal? Is Matt a good addition? Did the case of the week resonate with you? Comment below.

To a Better Place Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (71 Votes)

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

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Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 2 Quotes

I believe the only way to reform people is to kill them. -- Serial killer Carl Panzram

Reid: DId I do OK?
Range supervisor: Like the second coming of Wyatt Earp ... or Al Capone.