Wednesdays 9:00 PM on CBS
Criminal-minds

Criminal Minds Review: Words with Fiends

by at . Comments

On Criminal Minds Season 8, the writers seem to be taking a different approach to their stories. 

Rather than rely solely on deeper examples of depravity and horror, there's a focus on truly interesting mindsets and curious behaviors.  

In "Magnificent Light," we are introduced to an UnSub who suffers from synesthesia, a condition in which two or more senses are triggered simultaneously. In this instance, the UnSub sees the words people are speaking, and he sees them in different colors, each of which has meaning. White means good, orange means deception or lies and red means evil.

Alex Heads To Seattle

When the hour began, and all we could see was a flickering flame, I was sure we were hearing the voice of the photographer who's been stalking the BAU:

Flynn: Your life is about to end. You will all die. In your remaining time on earth, how do you want to live? As a bright and shiny star? Or as a lost soul, passing time? Do you want to live in darkness, or reveal your magnificent light? | permalink

Turns out it was just the opening salvo in a motivational speech.  I think the casting people did a great job in hiring Patrick Fabian to play the speaker.  His voice fit the part perfectly, with just the right amount of booming sincerity and charisma. His use of that charisma in a failed attempt to charm his captor made the scene believable and compelling.

Another term that was new to me (Dr. Reid is a font of knowledge about this stuff!) is erotomania, a condition in which someone believes that a famous person has a love relationship with him or her.  Anyway, our UnSub - Carl Fisher, played by Raphael Sbarge (who also stars as Jiminy Cricket in Once Upon a Time) - had it and wanted to drag his love interest around to his kills to prove that his special power was real. Sort of a Superman complex. 

Meanwhile - and, frankly, I think this is what draws viewers back to the show each week - we got to see some more BAU team back story stuff, this time involving Derek Morgan. 

We knew his father died when he was young, but we didn't until now all of the effects of that. His rejection of an invitation to speak at a British Embassy dinner honoring his dad's police department partner made Garcia curious:

Garcia: We love the British, remember?
Morgan: Can we just drop this?
Garcia: I can go with you.
Morgan: Nobody is going.
Garcia: I'll wear my contacts.
Morgan: What did I just say?
Garcia: Who do I wear my contacts for? | permalink

How interesting to see Garcia touch a nerve in Morgan later in the episode when she just wouldn't let it go, which we understood at the point where he stopped using his pet names for her, referring to her merely as "Garcia," right before hanging up on her. Subtle, effective writing.

Garcia of course won out - as we knew she would - and got to attend the dinner with him. Just when all seemed even and cool, along came The Photographer, a person who's been stalking the BAU since the first episode of the season. And we learned that he's been copying some of the gruesome acts of earlier episodes:  the guy who sewed his victims' mouths shut ("The Silencer") and the guy who cut the legs off his victims ("God Complex"). Can't wait to see what happens next.

Be sure to check out our Criminal Minds quotes page for this episode. Note that it includes at least one of the famous flirty exchanges between Morgan and Garcia.

So what did you think? Have they given us any clues at all as to who the mysterious stalker might be?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (64 Votes)

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

.

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Criminal Minds?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic

Searching-for-eleanor

The Bridge Review: Butterflies

On tonight's The Bridge, the search for Eleanor continues. Will she kill again before she's found?
Telling-john

Extant Review: More Believable Than The Truth

On Extant, Molly reveals her pregnancy to John. However, Sparks' story isn't exactly a plausible explanation.
Paige-is-undercover

Graceland Review: Angels and Demons

On Graceland, Mike, Briggs and the team pull out all the stops to get Paige back. Read our review of "The Unlucky One" to find out if they were successful.
Isolation

Suits Review: Another You Problem

On Suits, Rachel and Jessica's life choices seep their way into the business of the men in their lives, some of which only cause more problems. Read out review of "Litt the Hell Up."

Avatar

I'm wondering if Kevin is the photographer. For some reason he has always seemed off to me

Avatar

Oh well, the stalker... I think we can now establish it's a man (he approached Penelope's table dressed as a waiter). A man with means because he is replicating different criminal modus operandi and following the team everywhere. So far the only team member he seems to have approached personally is Penelope (he took her glass from the table and secured the fingerprints). Not sure how relevant that is at this point, but EP Erica Messer has hinted the stalker may be connected to one or more team members, so considering last night's bit that could mean either Penelope or Derek (or both) may have crossed paths with him before. Why else would the stalker risk blending in such a secured place as an Embassy to take things from one of them? That is pretty bold to be just random obssession/hate. Looks more like payback. But that is just a thought, too little has been shown to be sure of anything, I think.

Avatar

I found it a very good episode. The case was really interesting (The power of words and how they play into one's mind, the issue of knowing what to say or having the guts to say it and live by it, etc.). I liked the unsub, and his interaction with the motivational speaker. Team work was well-played and balanced with the personal bit involving Derek and Penelope.
Great Derek/Penelope dynamic by the way, with some paralels with the case's unsub/inspirer one. Good use of the two sides of motivation-versus-attitude: when it goes right and when it goes wrong. Of course there was no way Derek wouldn't do exactly what Penelope wanted. Plus he did open up a bit more to her (and to us, by extent) about his past and later on his speech. A very touching speech, really well-written. Kudos to Sharon Lee Watson, who wrote the episode. Oh well, the stalker... I think we can now establish it's a man (he approached Penelope's table dressed as a waiter). A man with means because he is replicating different criminal modus operandi and following the team everywhere. So far the only team member he seems to have approached personally is Penelope (he took her glass from the table and secured the fingerprints). Not sure how relevant that is at this point, but EP Erica Messer has hinted the stalker may be connected to one or more team members, so considering last night's bit that could mean either Penelope or Derek (or both) may have crossed paths with him before. Why else would the stalker risk blending in such a secured place as an Embassy to take things from one of them? That is pretty bold to be just random obssession/hate. Looks more like payback. But that is just a thought, too little has been shown to be sure of anything, I think.

Avatar

Maybe they finally found a use for Agent Anderson.

Wolfshades

Thank you CM! You mentioned that snazzy car. I'll confess: I've never been much of a car buff and, being a red-blooded male, wanted to mention it in the review but just didn't know what make or model it was. Hopefully someone who knows cars can solve that mystery. Terrie: I really don't have a clue who the photographer is. He's a nasty piece of business though. The executive producer (Erica Messer) is fairly excited about that storyline so it's safe to say it's going to be interesting.

Avatar

next week's ep directed by Matthew GG looks insanely creepy! That last minute, or so, at the end with the stalker photographer/copycat season long UnSub was brilliant. i was defo not expecting that. cant wait to see what happens with his storyline!

Avatar

I have to be honest, during last season, I quit reading the Criminal Minds review, in large part due to the writing. The writer's voice seemed better suited to The Jersey Shore than Criminal Minds. I mean no offense to viewers of the former. Mr Wolfe, I am glad to say that I am back to reading this show's reviews. Your writing is clear and concise and written in a mature voice. You also appear to proofread and understand how to write a grammatically correct sentence. Very well done. Whether I agree with your reviews each week is not relevant, but I will continue to read them. You are doing a good job.
By the way, I did find this episode lacking a bit, considering the last few weeks, but it held my attention. One thing I did appreciate, was Derek and Penelope. Their friendship is steadfast and can withstand a little nosing around. Oh, yeah, I loved the car at the end!

Terrie

I felt this was a boring episode this week.....a filler one perhaps. Too bad we got to wait another 7 episodes before finding out who this photographer is........this and the woman Reid talked to on the phone for help with a case (will she be back?) is what I'm finding intriguing this season.... Anybody got any thoughts on who the photographer is?