Criminal Minds Review: Time for a Blitz Attack

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"The Pact" featured Mackenzie Phillips as Ellen Russell and Kim Wayans as Darlene Beckett, a pair of mothers whose children were victims of killers. 

Ellen's child was hit by a drunk driver and Kim's little girl was murdered by a sex fiend... actually a group of them.  The mothers were out for blood and agreed to swap vengeance in the manner of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train or the more recent Throw Momma from the Train, directed by Danny Devito.  Only one of them happened to enjoy the process a little too much, while the other could barely keep from blowing chunks after each episode of their vigilante justice.  

Two Killers Connected

This partnership, or pact, formed the theme for the episode, summed up with the BAU's profile of them when it was stated they felt the "justice system has gone wrong and it's up to them to set it right."

Overly lenient court sentences were at the core of this story and served as catalyst for the vigilante moms. At one point, Darlene tearfully shouted "my baby's life is worth more than 10 years!"  It seems many parents have often said the same in real life.  This, of course, set us up:  their outrageous vengeance - which we saw when a few of their targets were taken out for a drag - was at least marginally understandable, though we could never fully sympathize.

As the BAU sat to discuss the case, we again got to see Reid being Reid - although, frankly, I would have enjoyed seeing just a bit more of him. Still, his joyful yet gruesome description of historical acts of vigilantism was a treat to watch.

It's so hard to fathom a guy who gets so caught up in the details of those acts that he forgets entirely about his audience. A while later, you just had to grin at Blake and J.J.'s reaction to him as he quickly computed the distance and time it would take for two of the murders to take place, hundreds of miles away from each other, and finally concluding that yes, it could be done. Genii are like that. ("Genii" by the way is three syllables. Reid would be the first to agree.)

As this is my first published review of Criminal Minds, let me just state one thing at the outset, never to be mentioned again.  I love Garcia but am absolutely aghast at her computer skills.  Tippitty-tap and presto - multiple windows come up with photos and texts pulled from multiple databases and everything.  That stretches credulity to the breaking point.  Nevertheless, in the interest of proper story flow within the hour limit, we have to let it go don't we?  If the time she took was as realistic as it is in real life, most of us would change the channel out of boredom.  So, never mind.

The sweet relationship she has with Derek, who calls her "Baby Girl" all the time is endearing and compelling. I find that I always wait for that phrase in each episode. (We sure heard it last episode, when Derek objected to her abrupt manner on the phone: "Let's try this again. Ring. Ring. Looking for my baby girl.")

Tonight's episode didn't hit any of the two major story arcs introduced to us from the premiere. We didn't find out more about the mysterious photographer who seems to have taken an unhealthy interest in the BAU team. We don't know anything more about the origins of Alex Blake's career, or why it went into a temporary dive as a result of Strauss. We don't know why it took those extra years to build up enough cred to allow her into the BAU and we don't know exactly how Strauss betrayed her.

But that's okay. We have those unanswered questions to anchor us a bit.

A few final notes:

  • Mackenzie Phillips is best known for her role as Julie Cooper Horvath on One Day at a Time (her TV sister Barbara was played by Valerie Bertinelli).   She is also the daughter of John Phillips who was one of the singers in the 1960's group The Mamas and the Papas.
  • Kim Wayans is the sister of Keenan Ivory Wayans and Damon Wayans.
  • Tonight's new term: "blitz attack."

So what did you think of tonight's episode? Will the police or the BAU ever catch up with Darlene? Would there be reason to? Do you think Ellen is a psychopath? And how cool was it that Rossi decided to give up most of his vacation days to BAU staff who have spouses that are in the military?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (89 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter



Was a great episode! Made you root for the un-subs. Would probably do the same thing if something like that happened to my daughter. Cannot wait for rest of the season!


I don't care for the new girl that took Emily's place. Her persona doesn't fit with the rest of the cast.


I did not like this episode. I am tired of the "baby girl stuff" and I don't think that Alex Blake adds anything useful to the show. I hated to see McKenzie Phillips looking so bruised and worn. She was a fine actress and it nice to see her working again.


I just had a stormy brain. Blake said that she arrested the wrong person. They never said if they arrested the right person. I think the photographer is the wrong person she arrested who is trying to get revenge on the BAU. Another hypothesis I have is that since they never said if they got the right person, it could be the right person who's out to keep it a secret by getting rid of the BAU agents who are working with Blake along with Blake


If I remember from the end of the season premier, the basics of what happened between Blake and Strauss is that Blake was on a highly public case and arrested the wrong person. Strauss didn't back her up and let her hang out to dry.


That was McKenzie Phillips? Really? I had no idea until I read this the show.


I liked it. Alex isn't making much of an impression yet but presumably they'll give her some more depth as time progresses. I like the actress. I was confused though-I understood the two women met through the online support group but how were they able to lure the victims into responding to the texts ? I didn't see where they were part of the support group.


How rude people can be! I think you did a great job of reviewing. A minor typo is not a big deal. I enjoyed the episode, although I do always have to close my eyes at the "gruesome" bits. Thanks for reviewing and keep it up.


When Darlene hit that man with the shovel I just rooted her on! He deserved it and I'm glad she got away


Ellen was the boy's aunt not his mom. She committed suicide according to her husband

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