She's got to go.
The BAU is facing a villain unlike any they have faced before on Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 15.
No, I'm not talking about that little piss ant they dispatched in an airport parking garage. Again, the case of the week proves secondary to everything else that's going on.
I'm talking about Linda Barnes, and the BAU has never had to deal with such a self-promoting bureaucrat before.
The only reason there was a dead unsub this episode is because of Barnes' obsession with closing a high-profile case as quickly as possible. So rather than allow the team to approach Justin methodically, she rushed the object of his fantasy into the line of fire, getting her shot, then Justin put down.
But before JJ could point this out to the powers that be, Barnes scampered up the ladder and made her one-sided case, and now the BAU is staring into the abyss.
Let's go back to what led up to this moment.
It was bad enough that Prentiss got sidelined for supporting a member of her team. Granted, she may have cut some corners to get Reid released, but, bottom line, he was being framed and should have been free. No harm, no foul.
Now poor JJ has received a field promotion that she didn't want, especially now that she's discovered it comes with an ambitious administrator who's more concerned with optics than justice kibitzing over her shoulder.
While her teammates respected JJ, it's obvious Barnes didn't, as she ran roughshod over her team and the local police alike, making absolutely no friends along the way.
And she wondered why everyone was acting prickly toward her? Really?
Seriously, if you wanted to create a caricature of what a bureaucrat would be like, Barnes fulfills that role perfectly. The writers lose points for providing zero nuance.
So thus handicapped, the BAU had to fly into St. Louis, with the local police thinking, "Who's that officious clown they brought with them?"
Fortunately, the case itself was something of a layup. The unsub was someone outside this tight little social circle, who lusted after someone inside it. So Justin set out to set Corinne adrift by killing off all of her "family" members.
It was simple enough, if twisted, reasoning for the BAU to sort out.
The case was so paint-by-numbers that we didn't even get the obligatory profile scene. It was like, "We got this. We'll scoop up the perp, then get out of your hair, so things can go back to normal for you."
Then came the messy showdown at the airport, and JJ let Barnes have it afterward. Apparently her "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" message didn't get through to Barnes.
Reid, the team member with the least social skills, reached that point a lot earlier than the rest, about the second scene.
So, instead of spending a tense few hours with Barnes, he went to hang with Prentiss, who had thrown in the towel and was busy packing.
Prentiss blamed herself for coloring outside the lines while she worked to get Reid out of prison. She felt she had to leave the BAU as penance, and maybe the rest could be spared.
It turns out she was dead wrong on that, but we'll get back to that.
Reid finds a way to bring her back around, pointing out that the team has never given up on her, even when she was supposedly dead for a time, and that she shouldn't give up on them either. It was a fairly ringing battle cry to come from such a logical guy.
The pair breezily re-entered headquarters, and everyone was set to head out for a celebratory drink when the shit his the fan, as Barnes had gotten permission to gut the BAU.
Let's see if I can remember it: Prentiss and Lewis, reassigned within the FBI; Reid, forced into a full-time professor role; Rossi, forced into retirement; Garcia, sent back to the tech pool; Simmons and Alvez, kept up as BAU muscle; and JJ, chief of the BAU, having to run every little decision past Barnes. It sounds like hell.
For how long? It appears to be several episodes but won't carry over to next season, should there be one.
Does this whole storyline have a been-there, done-that feel to it? That's bound to happen for any series that's been around 13 seasons. It's like you're sure to compare this year's cannibalistic unsub to those from previous years.
On Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 16, what's left of the BAU will sneak around behind Barnes' back to solve a case. I've got no idea if Barnes will be bringing in other agents to audition for the BAU.
To try to figure out where things are going, watch Criminal Minds online.
Does anyone have a good reason for this storyline? Is it just trouble for the sake of trouble? So how does the BAU solve its temporary separation? Comment below.