Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8 Review: Family Tree

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Changes may be on the horizon at the BAU.

Both Prentiss and J.J. were pondering life-changing positions on Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8.

Let's assess the possibility of the pair actually moving on.

Important Decisions - Criminal Minds

As Deputy Director Barbour pointed out to Emily, Director of the FBI is a political position.

Prentiss has proven she is not a political animal.

Climactic Showdown - Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8

Nor does she suffer politically-minded bureaucrats gladly. Remember her battle with the ambitious Associate Director Barnes in Criminal Minds Season 13?

Undoubtedly, she'd have even less tolerance for self-aggrandizing politicians.

Also, Prentiss has always been an ends-just-the-means kind of supervisor, which is bound to rub skittish politicians the wrong way.

She would have to break off her budding relationship with Mendoza since she would be his ultimate supervisor. There's bound to be rules against such fraternization.

Finally, she's a woman. It would take a brave politician to nominate the first female Director of the FBI, and those are in short supply. It's much easier to resurrect an innocuous, desk-bound male.

Difficult Decision - Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8

Prentiss as a leader is an acquired taste, one some viewers still haven't gotten after four seasons. After all, she's not Hotch, which really isn't her fault.

Still, since the BAU lives in a fictional world, anything is possible, despite all the above reasons.

Which brings us to J.J.'s possibilities.

First, what was J.J. thinking to expect Garcia to keep a secret? She could have tweeted about the job offer and fewer people would have found out.

Life would be much simpler for J.J. and family in the Big Easy. Will would be home and the boys were quite comfortable there as well.

Arrival in Texas - Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8

J.J. would also get to deal with more garden-variety criminals whose motivations would be easier to comprehend. Getting the nutjobs out of her head has to be a plus.

Prentiss had to complicate things by secretly informing J.J. that she would be unit chief of the BAU should Emily move on.

J.J. is the natural choice. Rossi is bound to retire at series' end, once they capture Everett Lynch, Rossi's white whale.

J.J. has been in charge before, albeit under Barnes' thumb. But even then she put her own stamp on the job and even took part in the coup deposing Barnes.

So, should Prentiss get promoted, of course, J.J. will take on the challenge of being unit chief.

Analyzing an Unsub - Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8

Oh, yeah! There was a case of the week in between the job news and the reappearance of "The Chameleon," setting up next week's two-episode finale.

There were a couple of intriguing twists. 

First, the unsub remained an unidentified subject throughout, even after both of his parents were identified. No wonder he was striving so hard to create a family, so he could have an identity of his own.

Second was having the unsub narrate the episode through his microcassette recordings, right down to the quotes at the beginning and end.

This allowed the viewer to go inside the mind of the unsub, just like what the profilers themselves attempt to do.

Geneological Search - Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8

What was particularly jarring was the unsub's Hallmark Channel-style hallucinations, when the women he was attempting to "save" actually bought into the dream that he was selling.

It was possible to sympathize with the unsub, who adored the mother that he had recently lost, ignoring all her many faults. That was why he gave the female surrogates he killed a proper burial.

Just like his addict mother, he had been discarded by genteel society, from which his father had come. No wonder he just threw away the remains of the establishment males that he murdered.

So it was possible to comprehend what had made the unsub feel like he did, after what he had been through in his life.

However, there was simply no understanding that gruesome arts project of body parts that he designed to symbolize his experiences.

Hunting for an Unsub - Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8

Fortunately, the unsub having two distinct sets of victims helped the BAU to establish the profile: a male who had a lower-class mother and an upper-class father who had abandoned them.

Even in a state as big as Texas, it didn't take Garcia long to isolate such an anonymous birth. The trick was to identify the parties involved.

She figured out who the mother was, which led to the unsub's trigger. Then determining the father enabled the team to rescue Becky the bartender before the unsub could complete another pairing of victims.

The case wrapped up way too early so it was evident the other shoe was going to drop.

Lewis's transcribing of the unsub's thoughts on cassette made for an effectively eerie soundtrack for the remainder of the episode.

Lingering Effects - Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8

As Rossi explained to his protege Simmons, his killing on the unsub only served to remind him of the last time he was in a similar situation when Everett Lynch left him unconscious but alive.

Since then, Rossi has been afflicted with PTSD, something that he had previously avoided throughout his long career.

Does anyone doubt Rossi will be retiring in the finale?

Finally, to set up the climactic showdown, Lynch was shown with his latest soon-to-be victim, complimenting her facial structure. And she thought that was just flattery.

Making Sense - Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8

To revisit Lynch before the finale, watch Criminal Minds online.

Do Prentiss and J.J. get new positions?

What did you feel for the unsub?

Are you looking forward to the finale?

Comment below.

Family Tree Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (11 Votes)

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

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Criminal Minds Season 15 Episode 8 Quotes

I forget we invited the fun police. Ignore [Reid].


Deputy Director Barbour: You've got that deer-in-the-headlights look, Agent Prentiss.
Prentiss: It's a lot to consider.