Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 8 Review: Awake

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This tale of torture and sadness provided a roller-coaster of emotions, culminating with what might become a secondary season arc.

This time, the BAU was called to Phoenix to investigate the abductions of two men, one of whom was murdered, on Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 8.

While JJ dealt with exhaustion over her newborn's colic problem, the team scrambled to investigate the unsub, hoping to catch him before he murdered his second victim, Lance Coleman.

Alas, they failed, and the unsub grabbed yet a third man, David Whitfield. At the end of the day, he was saved, but the price was the loss of the unsub's sad, sad life.

The horror at the beginning, as we learned of the various forms of torture the unsub (William Taylor) was administering, meant we only wanted to see him caught or killed.

We know that if Reid was there, he would have provided an encylopedic compendium of horrific details as to why all of those actions provided unbelievable pain to Taylor's victims. So...small mercies, right?

The clincher had to be Taylor stapling his victim's eyes open.

Though we wanted Taylor caught quickly, just so that his victim could have some mercy, it was hard not to feel for him when we saw his memories of his daughter. Their relationship was so sweet and warm; it's no wonder he went completely off the deep end once they found her body a week before. The man completely snapped from reality.

Maybe it's a mercy to him that JJ and Lewis killed him at the end. Obviously his mind was gone, and he refused to face the reality of his daughter's death. Add to that the strong possibility his daughter was abused before she died, and you can well imagine his inability to process that, as well.

One small point: we don't know whether she was abused before she died. Hotch figured she died from wandering in the desert, but then didn't know if the man Taylor thought he saw – the guy with the skull tattoo on his hand – was real or just in his imagination. You'd think with the girl being dead for a week the medical examiner would have checked for evidence showing cause of death and abuse and that Hotch would be privy to that.

Or not. In the real world, autopsies take more time than what TV shows tend to portray. Anyway, there's no doubt that, given the fact that tattooed man actually does exist and is on the prowl, we'll know the facts surrounding Tatiana's abduction and death.

Poor JJ. Those who've had children who suffer from colic as her baby does will understand the sleep deprivation that comes with caring for them.

And not having access to coffee while she's nursing? Insult to injury, that one.

How interesting to see the BAU musical chair game being performed in these episodes! First JJ isn't with the team, so Tara Lewis shows up. JJ comes back and Lewis is gone. Now Reid is gone (to look after his mother) and Lewis is back. Wonder if this will continue throughout the year, or if we'll ever see a few episodes with all of them at the table including Lewis.

We noted on the review for Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 7 that the team just wasn't the same without JJ. That statement needs revision: this is a very balanced team of personalities, each of whom are integral to the unit. They each bring a unique viewpoint and camaraderie to the mix which would be lost from the team if they left. I can't imagine the BAU without Reid. And in thinking further, the same goes for Rossi, Morgan, Hotch and Garcia, as well.

At this point, we don't yet know enough about Tara Lewis to say the same of her. She is starting to gel with the team, but it's too early to be invested in her just yet.

Final thoughts:

  • It's rare to see Morgan without his usual cool. And it was hilarious to watch him stumble over a few "new mother" realities tonight. I laughed out loud at his stumbling over the coffee issue. You get the sense JJ enjoyed that, as well.
  • Garcia is going to go stark-raving nuts over her protective incarceration at the BAU over the next little while. Let's hope they catch these guys soon.
  • Speaking of which: you can let your imagination go a little wild considering the various ways they may try to get to her. For starters: who does she love outside of the team? I can see them capturing someone and threatening to kill them unless she meets them somewhere. Alone. They would send the message to her in a unique way, using the dark net, thereby bypassing anything the BAU would be able to monitor.
  • You can watch this exciting episode again when you watch Criminal Minds online.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Are there any other ways the four man hit team can get to Garcia? Let us know in the comments below!

Awake Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (47 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter


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Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 8 Quotes

Morgan: Hey, did you want a cup?
JJ: Mm.
Morgan: Oh right, right. The whole...uh...yeah.
JJ: Yeah. I'm still nursing. Ah it's okay. Only 45 days, 3 hours and 6 minutes left. But who's counting?

Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death - Coco Chanel