Criminal Minds Review: Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing

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While it was refreshing to watch a story that centered entirely around one of the BAU members, Reid, Criminal Minds featured an entirely heartbreaking ending this week.

This week's episode began with Reid's discovery that his love interest had been kidnapped, by virtue of a single word uttered by her captor: "Zugzwang." The word itself prophesied pretty much how the story would go:

Hotch: And what did he say to you?
Reid: Zugzwang. It's a chess term. Describes a point in the chess game when a player realizes he'll inevitably be checkmated. He has to decide whether to resign, or to play through to the bitter end. | permalink

We eventually learned that the stalker was not a man, but a woman, and that she was a former student whose thesis had been rejected by Dr. Maeve Donovan - Reid's love interest. The stalker, convincingly played by Michelle Trachtenberg, in turn wanted to take away everything of importance to Maeve, including Spencer Reid.

What Is Diana Up To?

We're used to seeing the most appealing innocent captive get rescued by the BAU at the last minute. So it was a bit of a shock to see that it didn't happen this time. The ending - though awful - was very well done. Right after we heard the gunshot, the camera panned across the shocked faces of the team, finally landing on Reid, whose face began to crumple in stark agony.

Matthew Gray Gubler (as Dr. Reid) fairly shone with his complete vulnerability, first when he finally revealed his secret to Hotch, and then to the rest of the BAU:

Reid: He thinks he'll get away with this. And, he might. I have a wealth of knowledge I should be applying to this case: behavioral patterns of violent stalkers, tactical recovery strategies, victim survival odds, but right now I can't focus on anything for more than four seconds at a time. Which makes me the dumbest person in the room. So, please help me. Help me find her. | permalink

Procedurally as well, this show was well written: I had a hard time putting it all together, just as the team did all the way through. Trachtenberg's brilliant portrayal of the unsub was all sweetness at first when she was in the kitchen with her hubby (Maeve's former fiance), and then turned completely dark as she smashed him in the head with a wine bottle. 

The only weak spot that I could see was the scene where Garcia offered to show Reid what Maeve looked like and he declined. Emotionally it makes sense, but when investigating her disappearance, it doesn't. He should at least know what the victim looks like before he goes searching for her.

It was so good to see the team pulling together for Reid and it was interesting to see Reid choose Blake to help him brainstorm through 100.5 days of his communication with Maeve. But it was all offset by the horrible ending: all through Criminal Minds Season 8 I was rooting for Reid, hoping he'd have a continual love interest after they met. So disappointing to see it all end. No doubt Blake and Morgan will try to bolster his spirits, but I'm guessing he'll be a little broken for a while.

And now over to you: did you foresee the unsub being a woman? What are your thoughts?

P.S. Don't forget to check out the other Criminal Minds quotes.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (188 Votes)

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



I have enjoyed this show since the beginning. I love the characters expect Blake! Can't stand this woman, and what.....does she have the hots for Reid.
Why can't the other characters come into focus as they did once before, now it seems to be Blake that they have placed the major focus on. There is no team in Criminal Minds, only Blake.
As for Reid in this episode, it was a given that Maeve would die and he would once again be alone.
Bring the rest of the characters out of the dark and back into the spot light and get this show back on track!


"If you have the quote and the Author please post. Thanks... Siimply" It was Thomas Merton. "Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another" It's on Merton's Wikipedia page now (the Criminal Minds reference).


I hated the ending. I don't see where they can go from here. Realistically, Reid would have a complete breakdown. Think about it. He finally got to meet a woman he loved immensely, only to see her die in front of him. Reid in the past has not been exactly rock solid, and that was without this tragedy. So either Reid has a breakdown and it messes up the team, or they choose to not be realistic and have him continue in his role as an integral part of the team. Very cruel for them to bring her onto the show and then kill her off right away.


The writing and acting were super,BUT I needed a happy ending for Reid.There's enough uncontrollable tragedy on the news. What is the use of having writers if they can't cut us a break once in awhile? I was looking forward to watching first love grow with all its tenderness and sweetness. I was disappointed.


I'm a newer fan of Criminal Minds through my DVR, latecomers like me have to catch up year/episode trends since they record all out of order. Made me mad when I realized A)this is the latest and brand new episode and it appears the crack team couldn't shoot the suicidal idiot? PuhLEEZ B)Backed it up over and over to see if possibly next week they would show she survived and it was just a faint? C) Guess not per all online posts. I know the personal romances are tough story lines to keep going, but the agent's personal traumas aren't so much fun to follow either, especially when they are sucker-punched like that. Reid's endearing and fast becoming a fave.
I may stick to the older episodes for a while - not fun watching him go through this. Do they ever do episode DO-OVERs? We used to do roll backs on major website conversions. Might be a TV first!


This eposide can sum up the whole of criminal mind season eight in one word repetative. When the writer killed haley off it was unnecessary and the same with this ending.


The acting was superb but I am very disappointed with the death (wounding?) of Reid's love interest. The character has been through enough already: Mentally ill mother, kidnapped, wounded more than once. I thought it was time that he had something positive in his life, something healing. Her death was completely unnecessary, unless the writers want to torture us with Spencer's eventual devolution into insanity, which would be completely unacceptable. It was difficult enough to watch Hotch go through the stalking and death of his wife, we don't need to see the same thing play out with Reid. I hope that Maeve survives the shooting.


To be that and Morgan still is when they aren't replacing his position with Blake. I just wish that Blake could find her own role on the team that doesn't interfere with anyone else. It would help with the comparisons. I also wish she would have more positive interaction with the other characters instead of limiting herself to Reid. She didn't come off particularly great in the beginning and she still for the most part lacks presence. Or they could not bother and just get rid of her. I'm not invested in her character at all and don't really see where she's necessary at this point honestly.


It was a great episode, but it was emotionally manipulative. Why can't Reid ever be happy? The timing was too much, we Leverage fans are still reeling from an undeserved cancellation and then they killed off "Parker" at least they let her live on NCIS. I didn't understand how the death scene happened. Some of them had the chance to take a shot. Jj has a wicked crack shot. I just found myself unnecessarily unsettled and bitter. Matthew Gray Gubler did a tremendous job in this episode. He was captivating to watch in his vulnerability. I have to say though, it still feels like they're forcing this, friendship "between Reid and Blake. I don't like that and I'm not one of those bitter Emily fans because I never cared for her either. Its like they think if they give her these scenes with the most popular character the audience will receive her better. Plus if she's to be viewed as an addition rather than replacement they shouldn't throw her into the role as Reids confidante when Emily used to be that and Morgan too. It'd be nice if Blake found her own role on the team and didn't limit her pleasant interactions to just Reid.


I had been waiting for this episode for so long and I really enjoyed it - until the end. Maeve's death was pointless and emotionally manipulative for all of the fans that have been hoping that Reid finally gets a mate (or at least a date!). If this had happened in the 1st through 3rd seasons it would have been okay - it would have been rough, sure, but we would have had time to see Reid bounce back. To do this in the 8th season is just cruel. 8 years, and the "kid" (he's not a kid anymore) finally might have a date and they kill her. There is no way that Reid is going to find love like that before the show end. They better have a great series finale (I'm guessing at the end of season 9) and show Reid in the future married and happy (having found the cure for schizophrenia - JK!).

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Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 12 Quotes

Hotch: And what did he say to you?
Reid: Zugzwang. It's a chess term. Describes a point in the chess game when a player realizes he'll inevitably be checkmated. He has to decide whether to resign, or to play through to the bitter end.

You see, when men cheat it's below the belt. But when women cheat, it's above the neck.