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Criminal Minds - Mirror Image - Review: “Imposter”



If you’re a “Criminal Minds” fan, you’ve gotten well used to the constant revolving door of new team members over the years. The spot on the team that Elle Greenaway originated back at the start of the series has been filled by no less than four women throughout the series’ run (Emily Prentiss, Alex Blake, Kate Callahan, and now Tara Lewis), and JJ’s spot was taken over by two other women (Jordan Todd and Ashley Seaver). Then there was David Rossi stepping in to fill the spot vacated by Jason Gideon, and now Luke Alvez following in Derek Morgan’s footsteps.

One of the biggest issues fans have had with all these people coming and going over the years has been the struggle for the show to ease a new team member into the story and introduce them as a character in their own right without detracting from the attention given towards the characters who’ve been there longer. Yet when the show does hold off on sharing too much about the newbie, fans also complain that it’s hard to get invested in the new character because they don’t know them all that well. It’s a tough balancing act for the show to manage sometimes, and some team changes have worked out more smoothly than others. I’m sure any fan can point to any one (or more) the above list of people who’ve come and gone and debate which transitions ran more smoothly than others.

I would argue that Tara Lewis is a positive example of how to handle an introduction of a new character. For one thing, there’s been a few episodes both last season and this one where she hasn’t appeared at all, thus allowing the show many opportunities to keep their focus on the long-running characters. For another, and this may be partially because of her personality, she seemed to kinda know when to get involved in the main story and when to hang back and watch and learn how things work in the BAU. She’s been eager and dedicated to the job without taking away from any of the others’ skills, and comes off as a likeable, supportive team member.

Her backstory has also been revealed in bits and pieces, instead of just thrown out there right from the get-go. Last season, she made brief mention of her dad last season, we saw a fiance she (briefly) had in an episode, and she shared a story about a part of her past (which I’ll get to later), but other than that, she still remained something of a mystery. And yet, despite knowing only bits and pieces of her life, I was still intrigued to learn more.

Which brings us to this episode. This is basically our proper introduction to Tara, and the show decided to introduce her through one of the more twisty and unsettling cases the show’s had in a while. Thankfully, however, they managed to balance the strange nature of the case and Tara’s backstory, and as a result, this was, like “Elliott’s Pond” and “Sick Day”, one of the stronger episodes thus far.

The Case:

This episode wasted absolutely no time jumping right into the action. We first see Tara, Luke, and Emily entering a room, and all of this is being viewed from the perspective of what appears to be a victim being held captive.. Luke and Emily move to deal with something or someone just out of view; Tara, meanwhile, stays with this victim. She calls him Gabriel, and she’s trying desperately to keep him calm, telling him to keep his eyes on her and to not move under any circumstances. She’s a good mix of firm and soothing, and at first her efforts seem to be working.

Understandably, though, Gabriel can’t help but panic, and all of a sudden we see Tara throwing herself at them and shouting, “No!”

Before we can figure out just what the heck’s happened, the next scene starts, and it’s set twenty-four hours prior to the craziness that happened above. So it looks like we’ve got another “fill in the puzzle pieces” episode on our hands.

For a day that looks to have ended on the deeply dramatic note shared above, it starts off rather uneventful. Emily’s slowly setting into her role as unit chief, and Tara brings her some flowers to help brighten up her office. This lovely gesture adds to Emily’s good mood – she’s learned there’s enough money in the unit’s budget to add another team member (whom we’ll meet next episode), and there’s no new cases the team needs to take on today. Yay! Looks like a pretty quiet, ordinary day at the office is in store.

Garcia pops in for a visit, too, and thanks to her, we learn that Emily does NOT want to be referred to as “ma’am”, thank you very much. The three women have a bit of light chat before Tara heads out. Since there’s no major work the team needs to be doing that day, she’s decided to take the day off. Her brother’s in town, and she wants to meet up with him.

This bodes well for Garcia, because she’s been wanting to talk to Emily about Tara about the reason for her day off. She gets on with Tara just fine, but it’s struck her a bit odd that she’s never really gotten to know her all that deeply in the entire time they’ve worked together. Garcia proceeds to take Emily into the conference room, where she’s put together a presentation about what she has managed to dig up on Tara’s life. These are the things she knows about her thus far:

-She’s an army brat.
-Her mom died of breast cancer when she was in college.
-Her dad was honorably discharged from the military, and now currently runs an auto shop.
-Her brother is super smart, to the point where he was got a scholarship to Yale. But sadly, he bailed on college, choosing instead to lead a life of getting involved in scams and get-rich-quick schemes over the years. This has led to an awkward relationship between brother and sister, with their father trying desperately to patch things up over the years.

Oh, and her brother’s name is Gabriel. Same name as the victim we saw in the opening scene of the episode. Coincidence? I think not.

Anywho, given that Tara’s meeting up with someone who’s known to be involved in shady deals, naturally, Garcia’s a little worried for Tara’s sake. As she finishes up her explanation, the rest of the team enters the room, and much to Garcia’s surprise and frustration, it’s revealed in short order that the others were already well familiar with these various details of Tara’s life for some time now. Even Luke knows her backstory! And apparently they’d all made bets on how long Garcia could keep a private conversation with Tara private, and Emily won with eleven hours.
That bit of humor aside, it turns out Garcia was right to be concerned for Tara’s safety. Not long after arriving, her brother comes in and sits down across from her, all eager to catch up with his sister.

Tara’s reaction is not a happy one. Not because she’s reuniting with her scammer of a brother...but because the picture of Tara’s brother we saw in Garcia’s presentation does not match that of the man sitting across from her. Uh-oh. She’s deeply unnerved by the thought of some strange man claiming to be her brother, and immediately orders him to leave the diner. He tries to protest at first, insisting he’s telling the truth, but she’s not having it. He then tries to call her “T”, and this also makes her flinch, as there’s only one person she allows to call her that nickname. She double checks his phone, and the message he sent her matches the message she received, but she’s still not going with this charade, and decides to bring him in for questioning.

So much for a quiet day with no cases.

While the imposter’s being held in interrogation, the team tries to do a little more research on him, to no avail at first. His prints don’t show up in the system, and what’s worse, if they can’t find any more evidence on him within the next twenty-four hours (the longest a suspect can be held without evidence), he’ll be allowed to walk free.

“If someone’s messing with you, they’re messing with all of us.”

They do have one clue in their favor thus far, though, and that’s “Gabriel’s” phone, which actually belongs to the real Gabriel. Reid offers to try and get a hold of Tara’s dad and see if he can come in to help out, while Rossi and Emily talk to Tara privately about their game plan for interviewing “Gabriel”. Given Mr. Scratch’s attempts to personally target each team member thus far, Rossi and Emily are pretty certain this situation with her brother is tied to him as well. “Gabriel” wants to talk to Tara, and Tara is ready and raring to interrogate him in turn, but Emily advises against that. She thinks it’s better if they don’t give him what he wants, thus allowing him to potentially trip himself up, and suggests they send someone else in to talk with him instead.

And that’s where JJ comes in. She goes right into asking this man questions about things only Tara’s brother would know, and shows him photos of Gabriel at three different ages (fifteen, eleven, and thirty-two, to be specific), and Tara watches from behind a window, waiting to see how well he knows her brother. Unfortunately for her, this guy is smooth. He answers every question correctly, doesn’t trip up or pause to recall any information. Bad enough he’s stolen her brother’s identity – the fact that he knows this much of Gabriel's personal information makes this situation even more unnerving.

Then JJ hits “Gabriel” with the big question: why is Tara’s brother the only one who gets to call her “T”.

The guy’s prepared for this, too. He explains that Tara was named after her grandmother, and her family was determined to separate the pronunciation of her name from the way the plantation named Tara in the film Gone with the Wind was pronounced her (as the man notes, “That’s a movie black folks aren’t crazy about.”). When Tara was a kid, a boy at school purposefully mispronounced her name one day as a means of taunting her. “Gabriel” is about to reveal what Tara said in response to that kid’s taunting...but ultimately declines, saying it’s a secret between them. Afterward, he started calling her “T”, to show he was on her side.

The story is sweet and touching. Again, though, the fact that this guy knows such a personal detail of Tara’s life, as well as her bond with her brother, just adds to her concern for Gabriel’s safety.

Fortunately, at this point, Tara’s dad, whose name is Albert, arrives. She’s further shocked to learn that he knew her brother was in town before she did, and he didn’t give her a heads up because he was afraid of how she’d react to the news. According to Albert, Gabriel now lives in the D.C. area, has a roommate named Carl, and is working as a lobbyist. What’s he fighting on behalf of? An amendment that would legalize online gambling throughout the entire country. Just the sort of legislation that would attract a scammer like him. Carl’s helping him with this campaign as well.

Needless to say, Tara’s dismayed by this news, and even more upset at the fact that her father seems to be buying into her brother’s false promises of financial gain. But she doesn’t really have time to get into it with her dad, because Reid comes along to confirm what everyone had already been suspecting and fearing: this is indeed a set up, as the use of the name Carl is a fake. The urgency to figure out who this imposter is in time to save Gabriel increases.

Luke and Tara go to Carl’s place to investigate, and once inside, they see a photo of Gabriel and hear her brother screaming. What’s more, he’s calling out to Luke. What are the odds? They follow the sound, and it leads them to a door. Are they about to finally find Tara’s brother?

Sort of? They do see him...but it’s in video form. They look on in horror at the image of Gabriel bound to a chair, a gas mask covering his face. Then, because that image isn’t nearly creepy enough, Mr. Scratch pops up in the video, taunting them by saying “Luke can’t help you now”. So that’s frightening. Emily immediately gets protective detail put on everyone’s families as a result, an event that I’m sure they’re sadly very well used to by now (Replicator, anyone?).

So who is this imposter anyway? Thanks to some further digging, we finally get our answer.

Those of you who were paying close attention to the end of the season premiere, “The Crimson King”, might recall Mr. Scratch circling a name on a piece of paper, muttering, “There you are”. The name he circled was Desmond Holt. Anyone want to take a guess as to what fake Gabriel’s real name is?

Yep. That Desmond Holt. And just like one of the unsubs from “Crimson King”, Brian Phillips, Desmond also suffers from disassociative identity disorder, which he’d developed after his mother’s death and the abuse his father inflicted on him (which included playing rounds of Russian Roulette with Desmond. Yeesh). Sensing a pattern developing here? Mr. Scratch took advantage of Desmond’s mental illness, just like he did Phillips’, drugging and brainwashing him into believing he really was Tara’s brother Gabriel.

And that Carl that Gabriel was friends with? Turns out that name was an alias Mr. Scratch used in order to get close to him, thus allowing him to learn so much about Gabriel’s personal life, and the Lewis family by extension. Once he’d gained Gabriel’s trust, he kidnapped him, and passed the information Gabriel had shared on to Desmond. Voila! Fake brother ready to go.

Reid’s also puzzled by the arrangement of the photos of Gabriel at various ages. As he explains, most people would put them in chronological order. These photos, however, were put in a specific order: fifteen, eleven, and thirty-two. It’s clearly some sort of message that only Tara and Tara alone can crack.

Tara shows the various photos of Gabriel to Albert, hoping they can jog his memory and give them some information to work with. He remembers when the ones of Gabriel at ages eleven and thirty-two were taken, but not the one that was taken when Gabriel was fifteen, other than the fact that it was around the time Tara’s mom died. He claims that time in his life was a blur otherwise, because of the tragic loss. Tara explains that Gabriel’s been kidnapped, and this news horrifies Albert, who then proceeds to apologize for not being there more for his kids over the years, and not steering Gabriel towards a better life. Tara does her best to comfort him, but his guilt is plain to see.

Since Desmond is just as much a victim of Mr. Scratch as Gabriel is, this leads Emily to try a new game plan when interviewing him. She now decides to allow Tara to talk directly to him, suggesting she play nice and treat him like he was her actual brother. Initially, this plan gets off to a rocky start, as Desmond gets rather snarky with Tara, acting offended over the thought of his sister holding him captive like this. .Desmond eventually attempts to leave the BAU offices altogether, but Tara manages to draw him back in, however, by touching on the special secret he was about to share with JJ earlier before cutting himself off. The boy “Gabriel” mentioned who’d taunted Tara? She got back at him by calling him a “stupid jerk”. And this is where we need to once more reach back into our minds to recall a previous episode.

In last season’s “Devil’s Backbone”, Tara opened up to that episode’s unsub, Antonia Slade, about a painful chapter in her childhood. She’d revealed that her family had lived in Germany for a time due to her dad’s military work, and talked about how she’d stood out in school due to her being the only black child in her class. As a result, she experienced a lot of bullying and racist remarks, and even had a swastika painted on her locker one day. She complained to the school administrators about it...but her doing that just made the kids who’d targeted her angrier, and they attacked her as a result, putting her in the hospital for a few days.

Antonia hadn’t brought her version of the story, however, specifically the part about being attacked. She felt she was covering up for the person who actually was attacked. Turns out she was right. The swastika was painted on her locker in response to her “stupid jerk” comment to the boy teasing her, but Tara wasn’t the one who’d told the administrators about that offensive message. Gabriel was actually the one who’d ratted them out, and the one who got beat up for doing so as a result. Since that was such a personal and traumatic situation for the two of them, it wasn’t something she wanted to share with Antonia.

Gabriel’s actions were a touching reminder of his desire to protect his sister, though, and she figures tapping into this softer side of Gabriel’s personality might be her way to get through to this man impersonating him. Fortunately, he’s eager to help her...but because of their little agreement, he gets to ask for something in return. His request? To talk to Albert, specifically about that photo of him at fifteen. Tara’s extremely reluctant to bring her father into this whole mess, but she really doesn’t have much choice at this point.

While all this is going on, Reid, JJ, and Emily are putting their focus on trying to track Lewis’ purchases of the items used to hold Gabriel captive. Reid notes that the rope Mr. Scratch used to bind Gabriel is often used in BDSM activities (cue my eyebrow raising), and was brought at the sex shop where Reid’s personal information was used to buy the items in “Crimson King”. This time he used Carl’s name to buy his latest purchases, in an attempt to throw the team off his trail. Things get even more awkward when further investigation of the purchases from that shop lead JJ and Emily to go interview a couple who are very much into that very BDSM lifestyle, and who might’ve sold some of their items to Mr. Scratch. Their daughter seems to be well aware of what her parents like to do for fun, and JJ and Emily’s reactions to her matter-of-fact attitude, and the noises from the couple’s room, are quite comical.

Thankfully, the couple prove to be quite helpful. The husband tells JJ and Emily that he made a vice and a chair with a pressure plate, both of which are meant to give a tight squeeze, and which can also cut off blood flow and oxygen. In a consenting scenario, those items would mean some wild sexy times ahead. In Mr. Scratch’s world, however, this does not spell a good ending for Gabriel, since those things happen to be part of what’s holding him captive.

Back at the BAU offices, Tara and Albert come in to talk with Desmond. The plan seems to be going off without a hitch at first. They talk about that photo of Gabriel at fifteen, and Tara reflects on the memories surrounding it. She was eighteen at that time, attending Dartmouth and in the wake of their mom’s recent death, they spent a weekend hanging out. There were only two rules: She couldn’t get Tara drunk, and she had to take Gabriel to church. Albert wanted them to pray for their mom’s soul, and this led Tara and Gabriel to have a discussion about the Bible, with Tara sharing her favorite Bible verse. It’s during this conversation that she takes the photo of her brother.

“Gabriel” then starts talking about how that time period was the last time he felt normal, and mentions the “soft bigotry of low expectations”. Tara discusses the theory that the reason Gabriel didn’t go to Yale was because he didn’t think he could hack it there, but Desmond shoots that down pretty quickly. Turns out there was a deeper, darker reason for him not to go...and it involved Tara’s father.

He then reveals that after the death of their mom, their father had taken to drinking in an attempt to mask his grief. He also had guns in the house, and loved to wave them around. The reason Gabriel didn’t go to Yale was because he was more concerned about looking after his father and keeping him from killing himself. His dad didn’t want him to tell Tara about any of what was happening either, because he was afraid of “disrupting Tara’s dream”. As a result, any dreams for his own future that Gabriel had faded away, thus the “soft bigotry of low expectations” and Gabriel turning to a life of shady deals, leading to the strained relationship with his sister and father.

Since Desmond and Gabriel both have a deep hatred of their fathers, and both lost mothers at young ages, Tara feels this is the perfect overlap to work with. Luke’s still puzzled by one thing, however: When he introduced himself to “Gabriel”, the guy didn’t know who he was, which is odd, since the real Gabriel called out Luke’s name. Emily asks Tara if there’s any other people named Luke who are significant to her or Gabriel, and it’s then she a stunning revelation. She looks at all the photos again, and realizes all the ages correspond to the numbers in a verse from the Gospel of Luke. When Luke and Tara heard Gabriel calling out “Luke” in that video, he wasn’t referring to the team member with that name. He was referencing that particular Bible passage: Chapter fifteen, verses eleven and thirty-two.

That passage contains a parable about a prodigal son, and she, not Gabriel, is the “prodigal son” in this story. Tara remains empathetic, taking a chance and calling him by his real name. Desmond starts having a fit, but luckily, her plan works, and he snaps out of his deluded state. He immediately begins sobbing and apologizing to Tara for all he’s put her through, but she’s more interested in her brother’s whereabouts. Desmond admits to seeing Gabriel, and, much to Tara’s relief, also reveals that he’s still alive. He gives her the address where Gabriel’s being held, and reveals the way Mr. Scratch plans to kill Gabriel: with Albert’s gun. Desmond then gives Tara specific instructions related to getting inside and finding him, and with that, she and the rest of the team, sans Rossi (he’s coordinating everything from the office), are off!

“I am getting tired of losing to this rat-faced son of a bitch. He’s not going to take anyone else away from us. Not on my watch.”

And so we come back to the ominous scene we saw at the very start of this episode. Reid and JJ take off to another part of the abandoned building, where they discover a power source that runs the device that’s set to go off. Now they have to try and figure out which wire to cut, because of course that’s how these scenes always go.

Tara, meanwhile, is trying desperately to get her brother to focus on her and not the terrifying contraption next to him that’s wound freakishly tight. There’s a bit of back and forth between Emily, Reid, and JJ as they frantically try and stop the trap from going off, while Luke tries to figure out how to cut the heavy ropes holding him down. Just as the device starts to engage, Tara throws herself on Gabriel in an attempt to shield him. To the team’s relief, though, nothing happens: turns out that trap was a decoy.

That relief is short-lived, however, as a piece of paper then falls from a wall nearby, with “Exodus 8:24” on it. Emily asks Reid what that means, and he explains it’s a reference to one of the plagues of Moses, specifically flies. Emily then looks up and sees the real trap is above them. And so begins another incredibly tense moment with Reid and JJ trying to delay the device while Tara, Luke, and Emily frantically work to get Gabriel out of his restraints.

Thankfully, they rescues him just in time, as shortly afterward, nails start flying down from the ceiling and ramming into the floorboards. While everyone’s clearly shaken over having nearly been impaled, they rejoice in being able to save Gabriel’s life. Shortly thereafter, Tara and Gabriel return to the BAU, and Gabriel shares an emotional reunion with his dad while Tara looks on.

As noted at the start, this was a well-crafted episode. I’ve always enjoyed getting to know the team’s families over the years, and this episode was no exception. Despite his iffy lifestyle, Gabriel proved to be a sympathetic character, lost and struggling, but still protective and caring towards his family.

My sympathy for him was made all the more impressive considering we spent more of the episode with the man impersonating him than we did with Gabriel himself. We had to rely solely on the stories we heard about him as our main means of getting to know him! But I loved hearing about the way he looked out for Tara, and his sense of duty to his father after their mom’s death was heartbreaking. Those stories also proved that despite their difficult relationship, Gabriel and Tara were more alike than they sometimes realized (or wanted to admit), and it’s easy to see where Tara’s more empathetic and protective traits came from as a result.

It was also nice to finally see Tara’s dad in person. She’d made reference to him in a couple episodes last season, and I liked getting to know the man behind those references. Like Gabriel, he struggled with his own demons, and he may not have been the most stable parent for his children. But his regret for his past mistakes came off genuine, and we got to see the positive efforts of his attempts to rebuild his relationship with his kids over the years. Tara’s love for her dad came through loud and clear, and I liked seeing them bond in their efforts to find Gabriel. I also enjoyed the flashback to Tara and Gabriel’s teen years. It was a sweet reminder of the close relationship they once shared, and the actors playing the young versions of them were spot on. Particularly the girl playing Tara as a teen. She was adorable.

The case itself was perfectly crafted, too. Even though we knew early on that this was Mr. Scratch’s doing, and even though we were pretty sure they’d save Gabriel in time, there were still so many questions and mysteries left for us to solve. Would Desmond turn out to be good or bad? How far was Mr. Scratch’s plotting going to go? What methods would the team use to get their information. This was one o those cases that didn’t lean too heavily on Garcia’s ability to search for any and everything under the sun, and it was fun to watch the team putting their heads together and finding other means of solving the case.

The actor playing Desmond was fantastic. He really drew me into his delusion, giving any mentions of Gabriel’s past the right shades and variety of emotions when necessary, and he had a strong rapport with Tara. I loved how Tara immediately called him out at the diner – it wouldn’t have been believable if she’d brought into his insistence that he was her brother. And yet, she also knew how to be gentle with him when needed. She’s clearly learned a lot from her time on the team, and she and Desmond made their interrogation scenes crackle.

Tara’s also been known for keeping her cool in even the most frantic and terrifying of situations, and that was apparent once again here. Even in the moments when she was trying to keep Gabriel still while the team worked to rescue him, she still generally managed to stay steady and calm. We’ve all seen how other team members have reacted to a family member being put in danger, and some of them have kept their emotions in check better than others.

Tara’s ability to stay calm and steady under pressure, however, allowed everyone to focus more easily, both on the case itself and in their attempt to rescue Gabriel. The teamwork during Gabriel’s rescue was excellent and played to everyone’s strengths. Emily was completely take-charge, Reid’s eidetic memory came into play in a fantastic way (seriously, it was so nice to see that side of him come out again), and JJ and Luke played the more action-oriented roles well. And again, even though we knew Gabriel would likely be saved, the tension was played just right to where I was holding my breath to see how they’d get away from the traps in time.

I also liked the way they employed the “twenty-four hours earlier” setup. A similar device was used in “Sick Day”, with JJ going back and retelling the story of a case whose outcome we saw at the start, and the show’s managed to use this effect well in general over the years (“100” employed an excellent variation of this setup, with Strauss’ interrogation of the team being interspersed with their recollections of what happened leading up to said interrogation). It’s an interesting type of storytelling when done right, and just like “Sick Day”, this episode managed to keep us in suspense and invested in the case, despite the opening scene giving us some idea of the outcome.

The callbacks to “The Crimson King” and “Devil’s Backbone” were also very well handled. The clues dropped in those episodes were subtle ones that many viewers may not have even paid much attention to, but those who did were rewarded for doing so, with the episode bringing those tidbits of information into the episode in a seamless manner. The nods to those episodes were also a nice bit of continuity, especially given one of those episodes was from last season. For a series that sometimes struggles with continuity issues, this was a good reminder that they are still able to do that well from time to time.

And in the midst of so much tension, JJ and Emily’s interview with the kinky couple was a fun bit of levity. I must admit I’m not entirely sure why Mr. Scratch is going to a sex shop, of all places, to get his supplies, or why he used Reid’s information specifically to do that early on in the season. These are odd choices, and it all make me wonder if we’ll get any more explanation behind those particular details down the line. Perhaps Mr. Scratch gets some twisted thrill out of using the most innocent-looking team member’s information to get such unusual and disturbing (at least in the way he uses them) items?

While we’re on the subject of Reid, the fact that Mr. Scratch has now picked two people suffering the same mental illness to do his bidding has me pretty certain that he’s going to play a role of some sort in Diana Reid’s return to the show, and the storyline involving her and Reid that’s coming up. He started off with Brian Phillips, who wasn’t related to anyone on the team, and then moved on to Desmond Holt, making him believe he was related to a member of the team. It’s only logical that he’d take the next step and actually target a real family member of somebody in the BAU, and the only team member who’s got a mentally ill family member is Reid.

And considering what he did to Brian Phillips and Desmond Holt, this only adds to my concerns about Diana’s welfare down the line. I can already imagine how Reid will react if and when he realizes Mr. Scratch has somehow manipulated his mom. Or maybe it’ll be the reverse, and Reid himself will be under Mr. Scratch’s spell. Either way, I feel like we’re in for quite a ride with that part of the story as the season goes on.

If Mr. Scratch does target Reid’s family, that will make it three families in the BAU that he’s gone after, the other two being Tara’s and Hotch’s. This of course begs the question of whether or not he plans to work his way through every team member’s families as the season goes on, and if so, who will he target after Reid? Or will the team get to him before he gets that far? So many questions this episode set up regarding Mr. Scratch’s future, and it’ll be very interesting to see if and how they get answered as the season goes on.

As for personal side stories, there really weren’t any this week, outside of the aforementioned issue of Emily adjusting to being unit chief. She continued to prove herself an excellent leader this week. She may not have the stern, commanding presence that Hotch did, but she’s still got a clear defiant streak in her (I loved her speech in the elevator about taking Mr. Scratch down), and yet she’s got a softer style of leadership that I think works perfectly for the team at this time. Part of it is because of the fact she’s still getting used to her job, and therefore we’d expect a little nervousness from her about coming off too strict, something which becomes even more tough when she’s In charge of her friends.

But I also think part of her decision to be a more gentle leader is because a) she doesn’t want to be an imitation of Hotch, which makes sense; b) a softer approach might help make this transition easier for everyone; and c) she doesn’t need to be Ms. Tough Woman. She doesn’t need to work to earn her teammates’ respect, because she’s already got it. She just needs to be herself, a plan which seems to be working just fine for her thus far.

As noted at the start of this review, there’s going to be more team shifting next episode as another new member joins the group. I’m curious, and admittedly, a little wary, of how the show will manage to juggle eight people on a team, but here’s hoping the show will manage to make their introduction as smooth as possible.

What did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy getting to meet Tara’s family, and learning more about her as a character? Did the case do a good job of leaving you guessing? What do you think Mr. Scratch’s endgame will be with this team? How are you enjoying Emily as unit chief? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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