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Criminal Minds - Spencer - Review: “Revelations”



So this was quite a wild week in the CM world, huh, guys? To say the very least.

We all knew this episode was coming. We’d spent the last few months wondering and debating and guessing as to what it could possibly be about, and the possibilities weren’t exactly happy ones, for a couple notable reasons. One, the episode was written by Erica Messer and Kirsten Vangsness. You’ll recall that the last two episodes they wrote together involved Gideon dying (“Nelson’s Sparrow”) and Morgan leaving the team for good (“Beautiful Disaster”). Given that this season’s been focusing so heavily on Reid’s struggle to help his ill mom, most of us initially assumed this episode would focus heavily on that storyline as a result, with a potentially tragic ending to said storyline to boot.

Two, anytime an episode is named after a team member, something bad happens to them. Garcia got shot in “Penelope”, JJ was forced out of the BAU in “JJ”, Emily “died” in “Lauren”, and Morgan was held captive and tortured in “Derek”. Naturally, it’s easy for people to start getting nervous over an episode named “Spencer” as a result.

But then news came that Diana would be appearing in multiple episodes the remainder of this season, thus indicating she’d be alive for a while (if she wasn’t in flashback form, that is), and then photos of Reid in a prison getup, of all things, started popping up everywhere. Bwuh? So at that point, it became a question of him possibly doing an undercover op of some sort, and having it somehow tie to whatever was going on with his mom

Then came the synopsis for the episode about “a team member getting in trouble in Mexico”. Mexico. For real. Well, It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who the team member in trouble would be in an episode named “Spencer”, but that led to all sorts of unsettling questions about the storyline with his mom, especially given recent episodes had Reid acting kinda shifty and shady with some vials he was using to help her.

In many ways, a lot of fans’ assumptions about this episode were right, but even then, I think it’s safe to say none of us expected much of the other craziness that wound up happening throughout as well. Settle in, guys, ‘cause this one’s gonna take a while to sift through and process.

The Case:

The episode wastes absolutely no time jumping right into the action with a high speed chase playing out in the rural land of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico (and I do mean rural – aside from the occasional home, this is basically open desert land). We see a truck at the front of the chase, followed by a black car, and that’s followed by two police cars who’ve got their sirens blaring.

A bit of a shootout soon ensues, with the police car blowing out the tires on the black car and bringing it to a screeching halt. The truck, meanwhile, is in the wind, leaving the police to focus on the person in the now-stalled out car. They’ve got their guns out, trained on their suspect, and they take a moment to inspect the trunk of the car. And boy, do they find quite the mother load! There’s drug paraphernalia EVERYWHERE, along with quite a bit of cash. Far more than enough for them to take this driver in.

We get fleeting glimpses of the driver throughout this opening scene, but only from the back, and we see the scene play out through their eyes. This person seems to be quite woozy, and there’s also a big ol’ cut on their right hand, which is troubling. But it’s the least of their problems at the moment, frankly, as they’re ordered out of the car and on the ground. Fortunately, this person’s completely cooperative as the police slap the cuffs on them and set them in the back of their squad car.

At that point, we finally get an actual look at just who this suspect is….and it’s Reid. Cue opening credits and every viewer sitting here thinking, “WTF?”

After we get a nod to season two’s memorable “Revelations” with the opening quote, we get right back into watching Reid’s arrest play out. He gets his mug shot taken, which is right up there among the most surreal moments of the episode (and the series as a whole) for me, and the police escort him to a jail cell, where he’ll be sitting with another man. Reid tries to ask, in Spanish, where they are. The guy’s humorous response? “Disneyland.” Hardy har har. The guy turns rather creepy quickly, though, looking like he’s going to get all threatening with Reid, but luckily, an officer gets him to back off.

So this entire situation is bad enough, obviously. What’s making it even more unsettling is Reid’s odd behavior throughout, because he is clearly out of it. He’s staring off into space, and the officers have to call at him and snap their fingers to get his attention. He’s speaking in short, clipped sentences, and he looks like he hasn’t slept or bathed in days. His hair’s even messier than usual, his eyes are bloodshot, and he’s in jeans and a denim shirt, of all things. He’s even got a bit of a five o’clock shadow going on. This is NOT the Spencer Reid we all know and love. Just what in the world happened to him?

There is one bit of the old Reid that manages to pop out, however, and it comes in his plaintive request to call his mom. Aw. Unfortunately, the local officer isn’t willing to let him do the “one phone call” thing so easily. They’ve got different procedures in Mexico than they do here in the U.S., and he’s not exactly in the mood to cooperate with somebody he believes to be a drug dealer. He tries to ask for any identification, but Reid can’t offer anything up at the moment. He doesn’t know what happened to his passport, he can’t explain the cut on his hand. The officer relents a little by telling Reid he’ll help him notify somebody if he agrees to help him with this drug investigation. A good deal, but given Reid’s current hazy state of mind, that’s going to be easier said than done.

As fuzzy as his memory clearly seems to be, Reid does try and recall a few things. He was meeting someone here in Mexico. He insists he doesn’t use drugs, but it’s clear he’s definitely high, which is deeply concerning. He came to Mexico to try and help his mom somehow, and mentions a lady by the name of Rosa, whom he claims is a doctor. Luckily, at that point, somebody comes up to the officer with something that will very much help Reid. The officers found his FBI credentials when they were processing his things.

This is enough for the Mexican police to contact FBI headquarters (Section Chief Cruz gets the immediate notification – ‘bout time he got a shoutout!), and FINALLY, Reid’s teammates get the news of what happened to him. And to say they’re stunned would be a massive understatement. Hearing he’s in jail, and a Mexican jail at that, is shocking enough, but the details just seem to get worse with the news that Reid’s being charged with drug possession with intent to distribute. Whoa. He’s being tested to see what drugs are in his system as well. The team immediately goes into full on “Okay, this is complete and total BS, he is 100% innocent and clearly being framed by somebody” mode without missing a beat. Even Luke and Stephen, who don’t know Reid nearly as long as the others, are fully on board in believing his innocence. It’s a truly touching show of solidarity, both as a team and for their friend. So the obvious question now, since Reid clearly isn’t a criminal, who out there wants to make him look like one?

The team’s first potential suspect to look at is, of course, Mr. Scratch. Emily had talked recently about how he’d been lying low since targeting Tara’s family, and that was a number of months ago. That meant he would’ve had plenty of time to plot out this scheme against Reid. In fact, the team wonders if Mr. Scratch hadn’t been hanging out in Mexico this whole time, keeping tabs on Reid and waiting for the right moment to strike. Creepy, if true. They also consider the possibility of random drug cartels, but this seems too specific a setup for that to be a possibility.

Before they get too far ahead of themselves with their suspect list, however, their first order of business is talking to Reid and getting him the hell out of that prison and back in the States. Rossi, Emily, and Luke go to Mexico, while JJ, Stephen, Tara, and Garcia stay back at the office and focus on other aspects of the investigation. As the jet makes its way to Mexico, the team members aboard, along with the ones back at Quantico, further discuss his reasons for traveling down there. Emily mentions his recent plans to go to Houston, which is only five hours away from the Mexican border. But they’re utterly mystified about everything else, especially the narcotics and his secrecy. They figure it has to all tie in to his attempts to help his mom...but how?

At this point, Cruz passes on the arresting report, with mention of the high speed chase, and the team’s reactions to the very idea of Reid being a speeding hellion are kind of hilarious (“He hardly ever drives!”, Emily notes). Things quickly get serious again, though, when they learn just what kind of drugs were found in Reid’s possession: cocaine and three bricks of heroin. Yeah. The big stuff.

It’s at this point Luke, Tara, and Stephen are briefly told about Reid’s ordeal with Hankel, which happened ten years prior. No way that’s a mere coincidence. Therefore, whoever drugged Reid clearly must have some knowledge of his drug history, and since Mr. Scratch knows how to get into people’s personal histories, and nobody else outside of the team knows about Reid’s drug past, well… There is also the possibility that Mr. Scratch passed whatever he learned about Reid on to somebody else, and roped them into helping to frame him. He does like to have other people dirty their hands for his megalomanical ideas, after all.

While the team’s continuing to throw out theories and discuss plans, Reid is being examined and tended to by prison staff. The officer says he can’t find this Dr. Rosa, and keeps trying to figure out what happened. According to Reid, he was heading towards the border, but not to cross over to the U.S. Rather, he seems to believe he was chasing somebody. But of course, he can’t quite remember who this person is, and since the guy took off, the officers couldn’t get a glimpse of him or the tags of his car, either. He’s certain he’s being framed somehow, though.

And it’s here that the show pulls out the big guns with all these throwbacks to “Revelations”, because while Reid’s being tended to, we see actual flashbacks from that episode itself! They show the scene with Hankel binding Reid and prepping him to inject the Dilaudid while he pleads for him to stop. There’s a break as one of the officers gets Reid something to drink as he’s very dehydrated, but then then, when he’s sitting alone in his cell later, we see the scene with his dad leaving when Reid was ten, and him telling his mom, “I’m not weak”...only to show Reid murmuring that same phrase again here. Because apparently the show decided it needed to trample on our hearts just that much further.

"I can't remember... I can't remember anything."

A short time later, Emily, Rossi, and Luke finally arrive at the prison. While Rossi and Emily are busy dealing with the officers, Luke comes to check on Reid. It takes a moment for Reid to recognize him (he’s struggling to remember any of his teammates right now, which is heartbreaking), but once he does, he looks utterly relieved to see a familiar face. Reid mentions this Rosa lady again – and it’s at this point that we see her name is written on his arm – but he can’t remember where he met her. Luke takes a photo of the scribbled name, and Reid says that if he saw Rosa he’d remember her.

Back at Quantico, Stephen and Garcia are trying to do a search on both Mr. Scratch and Reid’s travel route the past few days. Garcia’s not having much luck hunting down Mr. Scratch’s whereabouts, but she does have a little better luck with Reid. He did indeed fly to Houston, just as he told Emily he would at the end of the last episode, and stayed in a motel there. After that, however, the trail ends, as there’s no sign of him getting a car to cross over into Mexico. Stephen theorizes that maybe there’s a contact who let him use their car, or maybe he took a bus.

JJ joins them shortly after, carrying a bunch of medical journals she’d found stored away in Reid’s desk. They all dealt with experimental medicines, the very sort of thing Reid had been researching lately in order to help his mom. His internet research indicates similar searches. The question is, what does that mean for the drugs he was using for his mom? It can take a while sometimes for the FDA to approve certain types of drugs. Did Reid use something that wasn’t completely on the up and up?

Once Luke tells the others about Rosa, Garcia manages to narrow down a list of holistic doctors in the Houston area that Reid would’ve likely had contact with. None of them are named Rosa, but there could be an interesting and unsettling reason for that, as Tara notes. Apparently in 2015 there was a random rash of doctors dying mysteriously. Some deaths appeared natural, some were violent murders or suicides, but there’s a group of conspiracy theorists out there who think the pharmaceutical companies covertly killed those doctors because they were pushing experimental drugs instead of going by the usual methods. Chilling. Could their unsub be part of that conspiracy?

Because of that conspiracy, Stephen theorizes that Rosa isn’t this woman’s real name. He looks at her name like an anagram, and deduces that her real name is actually Nadie Ramos. Further investigation reveals she specializes in drugs that reverse brain degeneration. Bingo. Luke shows Reid a photo of Nadie, and he confirms that’s “Rosa”. The team’s able to narrow down that Nadie’s staying in a motel nearby, and they head out there with the local police officers. Nadie is indeed there.

There’s just one super massive problem, though: Nadie’s dead. And we’re not talking natural causes here. There’s blood everywhere, and multiple stab wounds (over twenty-five in all) all over her body. You will remember that Reid has a cut on his hand, too – the sort of cut that would come from wielding a knife. There’s also the fact that Reid’s DNA would be all over the motel room since he’d been there, and the vials containing the drugs that Reid had been secretly stashing away a couple episodes prior are there as well, thus adding to the drug charges. There’s no sign of the knife, which Emily finds odd, but if the killer was in a frantic state, they could’ve taken it and dumped it somewhere in the desert during the chase.

So yeah. Reid’s day just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

Back at Quantico, Garcia and Tara are looking further into Reid’s travel log, and they learn that he used his U.S. passport, which is blue, to travel to Mexico, but he didn’t take his government-issued one, which is red. This just further complicates things for Reid, because, as Tara explains, not taking his government one with him means he violated the Bureau’s security protocols. He wasn’t briefed on anything and he wasn’t going to Mexico on official government business, so this trip put him at professional risk as a result. Whoops.

At the prison, Luke and Emily inform Reid of Nadie’s death, and it’s then they also get the toxicology report on the drugs in Reid’s system. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more disturbing, they learn that Reid is doped up on the very drugs found in his car: heroin and cocaine. COCAINE, PEOPLE. The heroin is horrifying, of course, but you will recall that Emily described Dilaudid as “drugstore heroin” in “Revelations”, so sadly, this is not Reid’s first experience with that particular drug. But knowing he has cocaine in his system on top of the heroin is just...damn. There’s just something about that particular fact that makes me ill.

Emily thinks there’s more to the report than just the cocaine and heroin, however, because of how out of it Reid is right now. She goes into full throttle unit chief mode and orders the officers to expand their report. The officer brings in the vials Reid had been using for his mom’s medicine, and that’s when we see another flashback, this time from “Surface Tension”, with Reid giving his mom that drug he’d been hiding away. He’s certain there was nothing but that medicine in those vials, though.

She then asks Reid if he’s at all ready to do a cognitive interview to figure out what in the world happened here. Luckily, he agrees, and the two of them go into an interrogation room. Emily hits the record button on her phone, and Reid starts talking. Basically, this is what he can recall happening thus far:

-He flew to Houston, like he said.
-After that, he took a bus to Brownsville, Texas, and walked across the U.S./Mexico border, which, dang. He really didn’t want anyone to know he was leaving the country.
-Once in Mexico, he met Nadie at the motel. She doesn’t have a proper office, apparently, so this is the next best place for them to meet. Not exactly the most official, legal-sounding setup here.

There’s one thing about that part of the story that puzzles Emily, though. Why would Reid write her name on his arm if he’d met her before? He can’t explain that, but he does tell Emily they’d met a couple times prior at a clinic in Houston, and he’d gotten in contact with her after seeing an article she wrote on helping people with Alzheimer’s.

As for Nadie’s death and the cut on his hand, this is how he claims it played out:

-He went to the motel to meet her, and Naide brought out some of the vials that we saw in Reid’s apartment a couple episodes ago. She explained to him how to use them, and the proper dosage to give his mom.
-She also seemed upset about something, and her agitation seemed to heighten when she noticed somebody outside the window.
-Shortly after that, she was attacked, and Reid was knocked out in the process as well. He managed to come to at one point, and claims he saw somebody stabbing Nadie. He tried to wrestle the knife away from the killer, thus explaining the cut on his hand. He can’t recall anything about the person who stabbed her, though.

At this point, the trauma of the memory is getting to Reid, and Emily figures it’s time to stop the interview and let him refocus and get fixed up. Afterward, she meets up with the others, and that’s when she gets the horrifying news that Reid’s been officially charged with Nadie’s murder. I believe this is what we call hitting rock bottom, folks.

As a result, Mexican officials are planning to transfer Reid to another prison in the area, and judging from the description of this prison, it makes the one Reid’s at now look like a resort club. Since the team obviously doesn’t want him to stay in Mexico, let alone get transferred to another scary prison there, their focus now will be on trying to stop that transfer from happening. Emily’s nervous about sharing the recording of her interview with Reid with the officers, because his own words could incriminate him.

The rest of the team’s clearly antsy about this news, too, and are discussing the vials. They come to the conclusion that if there’s anything illegal in those vials, it was put there by whomever’s trying to frame Reid with the other drugs. It’s at this point we get yet another “Surface Tension” flashback, with Reid remembering the moment when he and his mom fought and wrestled over the vials. His guilt is clearly apparent here, and you get the sense he’s starting to regret ever getting himself into this mess at all.

Soon after, the team and Reid FINALLY get two pieces of good news. The first is that the vials that contained the drug Reid gave his mom were tested, and there was nothing illegal found in them. The drug was an experimental one, yes, and some of what was in there hadn’t officially been approved by the FDA, but even so, it’s in the clear. Whew. The second comes in the form of two surprise visitors from the “Beyond Borders” team, Clara and Simmons. Their work with the International Response Team has allowed them the chance to help figure out how to stop Reid’s prison transfer from going through. They’re not sure why Nadie didn’t just give Reid the vials in the U.S., though, why she made Reid cross the border so many times.

Then the team makes a much needed eleventh hour discovery about Nadie. Thanks to the reveal of a Social Security number, they realize she has dual citizenship! She lives with her family in Mexico, but works in Houston. And since she’s a U.S. resident, that makes this a U.S. case, and that means Reid gets to come back to Virginia. Yay! He’ll still be stuck in a prison there, mind, but a federal prison in the U.S. is significantly less terrifying at the moment. Luke immediately halts the guards escorting Reid out of jail, informs them of this change, and Reid’s spared a scary trip.

The Mexican authorities are, to be fair, a little upset about this. They felt they had a valid case here, and looking at the evidence on face value, it makes sense they would. Emily thanks them for their help, and reassures them that the team will be happy to cooperate in any way they can to help with this case and get them the answers they need, too, and she’s sincere in her promise.

For the most part, at least. When one of the officers asks for the recording of that cognitive interview, she tells him, without any hesitation whatsoever, that she didn’t record it, using the fact Reid was high and incoherent as her reason for not doing so. She told a big ol’ whopper right to the authorities’ face, all in order to protect Reid.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team is working to share Reid’s work history with the authorities, so that they can make this transition official. His extradition is immediately approved, and finally, all this craziness comes to an end with Reid on the jet with the others as they head back to the U.S. They even get to unshackle him for a brief time, since, as Emily notes, he’s “not a flight risk up here”, and she promises him that they’ll do everything in their power to help him and get this mess sorted out. Cruz has also allowed them to make a stop at the BAU so Reid can see the others for a brief moment. Stephen, meanwhile, is talking to the BAP to figure out a good legal team to help out. And they also find proof that Reid was telling the truth about a third person being in the room with him and Nadie.

After arriving at the BAU and receiving a VERY warm welcome from his friends, Reid is ushered away to his new home. This touching moment is marred, however, when Stephen tells Emily that the BAP won’t represent Reid because of the way he violated security protocols. They’re essentially on their own in trying to find a good lawyer for him.

So! Got all that? Lot to take in here, huh?

As utterly crazy and worrisome as as this episode was, though, I also think it was definitely one of the best episodes of the season thus far. This storyline is kind of an exciting change in pace for Reid. We’re so used to his innocent, gentle demeanor, and even when he takes extreme risks or keeps big secrets, sure, they’ve gotten him in some trouble before, but this is the first time his risks and secrets have led to consequences this serious. So it’s really interesting to see how Reid’s struggling to deal with this kind of punishment, despite the fact that, as always, his intentions were good. His desperation led him to make some not so smart choices, and I like that the show isn’t shying away from that fact, and that Reid himself acknowledged that as well.

That said, however, I am grateful that when it comes to the more horrific things he’s being accused of here – smuggling illegal drugs and freaking murder – the show, as of now, at least, is determined to keep him from going that dark. I have no problem with acknowledging the flaws in his plans and his decision-making, but I think it’s safe to say we all still want Reid to be Reid at the end of the day, innocent and good-hearted and smart. It was an especially huge relief to hear that the drug his mom was giving him, while experimental, wasn’t illegal in any way, simply because I just couldn’t manage to wrap my head around the idea of him putting his mom at risk like that.

Reid’s behavior in general made it hard to stay mad at him, too. Was there any image more heartbreaking than the one of him sitting alone in the jail cell? How chilling was it to hear Mr. Eidetic Memory himself admitting that he “can’t remember” what happened? And then there’s the fact that this makes two times now he’s been drugged by an unsub. Reid himself could probably be able to tell us just what the odds are of that happening to somebody, and I’d make a safe bet it’s a pretty rare occurrence. Add in the irony that his attempts to help his mom have only succeeded in forcing him further away from her and unable to be there to help her at all, and it just makes this story all the more painful.

The other aspect of the episode that I really appreciated were the “Revelations” references. For one thing, that’s a favorite episode of mine, so any callbacks to it are always a good thing in my book. For another, it was a great bit of continuity, and the fact they went in depth with the references was a pleasant surprise. I’d wondered if they’d make mention of Hankel at all with this storyline, since this year marks ten years since his ordeal with that particular unsub, but even then I figured we’d just hear his name pop up a time or two. The fact they went so far as to include a quote from the episode and flashbacks and JJ being personally affected on that level (more on that later) really brought some nice context to this episode, and made what Reid struggled with here all the more powerful and poignant.

Of course, this whole situation does lead to a big ol’ mess of questions. Just how long will Reid be stuck in prison? Did Mr. Scratch himself kill Nadie, or did he hire somebody else to help kill her, somebody who, if her reaction to seeing them outside the window was anything to go by, she was already familiar with? Is Reid’s past with Hankel going to come out in a big way at his trial or during any other part of the overall effort to help set him free? What happens if the higher ups, or the judge, or the prosecutor, find out about any of that? How will that hinder his chances at freedom?

And on that note, just what is Nadie’s story? Reid seemed to feel confident that she was trustworthy throughout this episode. Will he be proven right? Will she be revealed to be a “double agent”, so to speak, somebody working with Mr. Scratch or being manipulated by him? If she was genuinely trying to help Reid, is there a personal reason she was so dedicated to this particular medical issue? It’ll be interesting to learn more about her relationship with Reid and her own backstory as time goes on. And if Mr. Scratch is involved, what’s his overall game plan here? Does he plan to play with Reid himself at some point, have a “brilliant mind” face off of sorts? Is he planning on using Reid to help take down the rest of the team?

And what becomes of Reid’s mom herself in general? Is she going to continue to struggle without him there? Will she find a way to be there for him through this situation? After all, she once reminded Reid that “a mother knows” when her child’s in danger, and she helped Reid out on cases that impacted him personally before. Is she going to sense he’s in trouble here, too, and do her part to help him again? Is anyone even going to have the guts to tell her what’s going on with her son? Will Mr. Scratch target her next, now that she’s alone and more vulnerable without Reid there to protect her?

Time will tell how many of these questions get answered, if any, and in what ways they’ll be answered. But I love that this episode has left us with many theories to spin out and think about, and I love that I can’t even begin to properly predict just where this storyline will go. It’ll be nice to have something to keep us guessing for a while, and the fact that it’s expected to last throughout the remainder of the season tells me we’re in for quite a whopper of a setup.

So that’s what Reid’s been up to this episode. How are the others faring during all of this?

Meanwhile, back at Quantico:

One of the best things about all the episodes that have been named after one of the team members over the years has been the way each one highlighted both the strong sense of teamwork between these people, as well as the deep, close familial/platonic bonds that have formed over the years. This episode, I am happy to say, was no exception in that regard. Seriously, if Reid ever once doubted just how deeply his friends love and care about him, I would seriously hope every last one of those doubts would be completely washed away with this episode.

We’ll start with the newer team members first. My absolute favorite thing involving them this episode was how they were immediately on board with believing Reid’s arrest was totally bogus. Tara’s only known Reid for a couple years, Luke just a few months, and Stephen not even a few weeks. Yet not one of them even once questioned or doubted Reid’s innocence. They didn’t even question the team members who’d known him much longer, or wonder if they were letting their personal biases get in the way.

Instead, Tara, as always, remained her ever calm, steady self throughout, which came through especially well in her interactions with a significantly more panicked Garcia. She got right down to business and stayed focused. Stephen was a much needed listener for JJ during her own personal freakout, and yet, I think the fact having somebody like him around, who’s still so brand new, was helpful in the sense that he was able to be a little more objective and clear-headed. He balanced his outsider and team statuses nicely.

Luke was definitely the MVP of the newer team members, though. The moment when he met up with Reid for the first time at the jail was truly touching and sweet. He was gentle, called Reid “brother”, helped put him at ease immediately, and was just so kind. I also loved how he he practically ran up to the guards and ordered them to halt the transfer. This isn’t the same kind of friendship as the sort Reid had with Morgan, but it doesn’t need to be, and I appreciate that the show didn’t make it play out that way. It was quieter, subtle, and yet still very genuine.

I also like the way they dealt with the fact that the newer team members don’t know anything about Reid’s past with Hankel. They gave a quick summary and moved on, not wanting to dwell too much on it so as to respect Reid’s privacy, and the three newer members just took the information and accepted it, figuring if it needed to come up again, it would. And since Rossi didn’t ask about Hankel, I presume that means that he learned that whole story ages ago.

As for the team members who’ve known Reid the longest, speaking of Rossi, it was great to see him immediately going into “protective dad” mode. I loved how he didn’t mince words with the local officers about Reid’s innocence. And it was also great to see him using his seniority to help back Emily up when she was trying to fight to get her way with various obstacles related to getting Reid out.

Garcia, of course, was her usual “let me fuss over you” self, but my favorite scene with her involved her ranting about Reid making such risky, dangerous decisions without telling her or the others what was going on. Much as we all sympathize with Reid’s desperation and his reasons for keeping this from the others (mainly to protect them), it’s still hard not to feel a little frustrated that he didn’t let them in all the same, and so I appreciate that the show let Garcia express that frustration on us fans’ behalf. I will say this in Reid’s defense, at least – he’s certainly not the only team member who let secrets build up to frightening conclusions. JJ and Askari/Hastings, anyone? Emily and Doyle? Hotch and Foyet? Mind, that just makes Reid’s secrecy all the more maddening, because you’d think he’d have learned from the tragic aftermath of those big secrets, too, but hindsight, 20/20, yada, yada.

The most powerful moments, however, easily came from Emily and JJ. Thus far, Emily’s been kinda slow to fully embrace the tough, “kick butt and take names” side of her unit chief position. She’s been treading gently, trying to figure out how to walk that fine line between being a friend and being as intimidating and no nonsense as Hotch would’ve been.

Luckily, I think this episode finally allowed her to figure out that balance. There were so many moments where she was gentle with Reid, showing her concern for him the way she has with anything else he’s struggled through (his first go-round with drugs, his headaches, the aftermath of her “death”). I loved her relief at him sounding Reid-like and spouting facts, and I loved how immediately protective she was towards him throughout the episode.

And yet, she also got to throw her weight around as a boss, both towards her team and towards the people working with them, in ways that I very much enjoyed. She was completely professional in her interview with Reid, treating it the way she would any other case. She delegated orders with quick precision and decisiveness. She stood her ground with the Mexican authorities. And her decision to lie about the tape was a pretty bold move, too. A risky one, for sure, one that I fear will come back to haunt her, Reid, and the team as this storyline continues on. And sure, on a legal note, it’s not something she should’ve done.

At the same time, however, it seemed the sort of thing I could’ve also just as easily seen Hotch do. Look at the other things he covered up for the team over the years. Heck, I could’ve even seen Morgan doing something similar during his tenure as unit chief, had this sort of storyline happened then. And yet, I don’t necessarily feel Emily made that decision with the mindset of “what would Hotch do?”. I don’t doubt she asked herself that question a few times throughout this case, but I think her decision to lie was more due to her own personal need to protect Reid. Whereas Hotch’s relationship with Reid felt more like boss/employee, or father/son at its warmest, Emily and Reid have developed a close friendship, and I think that’s what largely inspired many of her actions this episode.

“You two are close.
“He’s my best friend.”


As for JJ, if I had to sum up her reaction to all this episode’s events in one word, “haunted” would be that word. If Garcia’s reaction symbolized the fans’ frustrations at Reid’s secretiveness, and Emily’s actions echoed the fans’ desire to protect him, JJ’s behavior pretty much summed up the sheer horror we felt at the mere thought of Reid going through this mess in the first place. She seemed to be practically reeling at the thought of Reid being drugged with cocaine and heroin, she walked around in almost a daze of sorts, she was scared and struggled to focus.

And I especially appreciate the episode allowing JJ to have those reactions, because she’s the closest link to everything regarding Reid and Hankel. She’s the one who went with him to Hankel’s home the night he got kidnapped, and all of her reactions to everything Reid had been put through afterward on that case stemmed from her guilt over them splitting up that night. I could practically see her mind going right back to that night all over again throughout this episode.

Heck, her feelings went so far as to lead her to bring her kids over to Reid’s apartment to visit with Diana for a short while, which struck me as a rather interesting detail. How well does Diana even know Henry and Michael, outside of whatever Reid’s told her about them in letters and visits and photos? Further proof of the close bond Reid and JJ share, though, evidently. And I loved that the entire team did their part to check on Diana while all this stuff with Reid was going down. Luckily, she’s doing all right, which is probably about the best news one could get at this point and time.

And the end reunion was a lovely touch, too. Hugs all around, Garcia confessing that the mug shot freaked her out (you are not alone, hon), and Reid apologizing to them for not letting them help him out with this whole situation. It’s a bittersweet moment, knowing Reid’s going off to a new jail, but it was a sorely needed one, too.

So yeah. Bottom line, as scary as this entire situation is, the one thing that’s helping me deal with it all and feel better is the knowledge that Reid’s got such a great group of people in his corner, and I look very forward to seeing what lengths they’ll go to to help him. I also liked that, despite Emily’s not so little lie about the interview and the brief moments of tension, the team still managed to cooperate pretty well with the Mexican authorities, and vice versa. The officers were just trying to do their job, too, the same way the BAU was, and I appreciate that the episode allowed them to be calm and rational and willing to help and hear the team out. As noted above, it’s not like their accusations and charges came out of nowhere.

The only thing I’m wondering about now in regards to Reid’s friends is whether or not we’ll get a surprise appearance from Morgan at some point. We know how protective he is of Reid. We’ve seen the way he flips out whenever his “Pretty Boy” is in trouble. He was just as affected by what Reid went through with Hankel. Surely he’d be equally horrified to hear about this, right? Add in the fact that he named his freaking son after Reid, and they’ve got a seriously deep brotherly bond, and it’s hard to believe that he’d just let this craziness pass him by without doing whatever he could to help out.

Plus, given the way Garcia’s flipping out over this, she could certainly use some reassurance and comfort of her own from Morgan, no? So I am keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll see that familiar and beloved face popping up down the line, and get to enjoy seeing Morgan do his part to help Reid out of this jam.

In the meantime, Reid and the team have a trial to prepare for, so we’ve got that to look forward to/be nervous about. And apparently the team will still be working regular cases as well, because trying to get your friend out of jail isn’t a good enough excuse to not do your usual job. So things are going to be pretty tense for the foreseeable future. Despite that, I’m looking very forward to watching this all play out.

What did you think of this episode? Was it startling to see Reid in this situation? Do you think it’ll be easy for the team to prove his innocence, or do you think they’ve got a hard road ahead? Did you enjoy all the nods to Hankel throughout? Was there a particular moment with a team member that jumped out at you, or did you enjoy all the team reactions? How do you think Reid will handle life in prison going forward? Who do you think is involved in framing him? What are your theories about Rosa and this big plot going forward? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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