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Criminal Minds - Assistance is Futile - Review: “Broken”

Another episode, another week in which Reid remains behind bars.

Based on my online observations, this storyline seems to be splitting the fanbase somewhat the more it develops. There are some out there, like myself, who are enjoying it despite how scary and uncertain it is, either because we: a) like Reid and storylines centered on him; b) enjoy longer story arcs in general; or c) like watching the team go through something huge and dramatic, and seeing how they deal with the events as they unfold.

On the flip side, however, there are also those out there who aren’t as invested in this storyline. Some of that can be attributed to some of them liking other characters better, which, fine, to each their own and all that good stuff. But most of the reasoning I’m seeing thus far is from Reid fans who are frustrated at seeing him in yet another dangerous situation, and continually being beaten down. They prefer seeing Reid working alongside the team and solving cases, not being a case the team has to help solve.

With an episode like this, I can see where the second group is coming from. Even those of us who are invested in this storyline had a few issues with it this go-round, because It gave voice to some of those complaints. There was barely any mention of this situation with Reid, as well as other things the team has been dealing with throughout the season thus far, from the team members themselves, and we had to watch Reid finding himself in serious peril again in the span of a week...and as part of a cliffhanger ending at that! It just felt like the momentum that had been building up quite nicely the past few episodes fizzled somewhat, and worse yet, there was little good news or reassuring moments to try and balance things out, the way there was in previous episodes. Reid’s behavior this episode has also led to a bit of debate among the fans in regards to how true to character it is for him, which added to the frustration.

Even with those issues, however, the episode wasn’t a complete write-off. The few good moments we did get were truly lovely and enjoyable, and the case, while still just as slight and brief as recent cases have been, was one of the more interesting, albeit disturbing, ones of late.

At least this storyline and these episodes are giving us a lot to talk about, be it good and bad, right? Let’s do this.

The Case:

As has been the pattern the last few episodes, we go right into a team member introducing the team to this week’s case. But it’s not Garcia doing the case explanation this time. Rather, JJ’s the one who fills us in, during a prison visit to see Reid. The basics are as follows: Seems three women in their twenties have been found dead in alleys in the New York City area within the past six weeks. The unsub is clearly wasting little time with their murder spree. There doesn’t seem to be any specific preference in terms of victims, though. The unsub’s just grabbing whatever vulnerable women he can find.

At the medical examiner’s office, Emily and Stephen also learns that the latest victim, a young woman by the name of Gigi, had gone missing a week prior, but she’d only been dead for about twenty-four hours. This is a change from the unsub’s prior pattern of abducting and killing women within two days’ time. There’s a particular reason for the change, however, something that takes this case into the grotesque. Turns out the unsub has a...fondness, shall we say...for breaking their victim’s bones, meaning we get the oh-so-pleasant opportunity to see a bunch of mangled fingers and bruises and discomforting descriptions of other bone injuries.

As a result, the media has nicknamed this unsub “The Bone Crusher”. Clever. The first two victims’ bones had been broken as well, but it seems that the more the unsub did this, the more he delighted in the torture involved. So poor Gigi had to spend a week suffering at the hands of this madman before her death.

Back at the station, Rossi and Luke discuss the fact that all three women also had alcohol and drugs in their systems. The alcohol isn’t so unusual, as these women liked go out and have a few drinks after work, but the drugs are the unsub’s doing. All of the women are well-educated and employed, indicating they’re not exactly the sort to risk going off with just any ol’ guy for the hell of it, nor do any of them have a history of drug use. Therefore, the unsub must be meeting the women at bars and spiking their drinks in order to make it easier to abduct them. The toxicology reports indicate the specific type of drug used as well – MDMA, a common date rape drug.

Halfway through their discussion about the unsub’s methods, Rossi and Luke are interrupted by an officer who informs them that a woman has come in with some information that might prove helpful in finding this guy. Her name is Miranda White, and she’s got a son named Danny. And apparently her son has been giving her the heebie jeebies lately with his behavior, to the point where she thinks he might be the infamous “Bone Crusher”.

To further prove her point, she brings a journal that her son kept, and shows it to Rossi and Luke. Indeed, the writings look pretty disturbing, with talk of “pulverizing” people and “crushing” them and a general sadistic glee at the thought of hurting people. Miranda is positively emotional over the thought of her son being a murderer, and is understandably scared about her own safety as well. Luke seems to connect with her right away, figuring out how to keep her focused and getting her to open up, and in the process, he learns that she lives not too far away from where he used to live. Perhaps visiting the Whites’ home might give the team a few more clues about Danny.

Luckily, Miranda agrees to let the team investigate her house, and it’s in the basement when the team finds the mother load. There is a HUGE mess of pictures and disturbed scrawlings and creepy drawlings all over one of the walls. Apparently Miranda had discovered the scary wall decorations when cleaning out his room recently, after she’d kicked him out of the house. And why had she done that? Because he’d come home with blood on him. And that incident had happened six weeks ago...right around the time the murders began. Danny’s looking more and more guilty by the moment. And Emily and Stephen’s examination of more of his journals just add to their concerns, with him seeming to write, in graphic detail, about what he’s done to the women he’s held captive.

After they finish their examination of Danny’s room, Luke and Rossi continue their conversation with Miranda, asking them to share more about her son. She says the same thing we hear practically every other parent say about their children in these situations, claiming that Danny was a “sweet kid” who never caused any trouble...that is, not until the age of eleven, when his dad left the family and ran off with a neighbor, never to return. Danny was understandably angry about this, and struggled to deal with the abandonment, acting out in school as a result. Not a good reaction, no, but it’s not unusual for children whose parents abruptly up and leave the family to lash out and go through a rough period as a result. Anyone would feel for a child having to deal with that sort of nasty upheaval.

Problem is, with Danny, his anger wasn’t just a phase. Rather, it seemed to deepen, and his behavior became downright creepy by the time he turned thirteen. According to Miranda, one day, during a period of repainting the apartment, she’d decided to try painting Danny’s room. She was up on a ladder, and something happened that caused her to slip and fall, breaking her arm in the process. Miranda noticed Danny standing in the doorway after her fall, and called to him for help. Danny didn’t listen to her plea, though. Instead, he just stood there, staring at her, and actually started to laugh at the image of his mom lying on the floor, injured and in serious pain. Eesh. Rossi asks Miranda if Danny had pushed her off the ladder, and her emotional reaction says it all. That moment was the first sign for Miranda that something was very, very wrong with her son, which, no duh. So now it’s time to figure out Danny’s most recent whereabouts and try and bring him in before more people get hurt.

Luke calls Garcia to see if she can track Danny down, and after a brief moment where they actually engage in a bit of cute, lighthearted banter and fun potential new nicknames (my favorite being “Punky Newbster”), Garcia gives Luke what he’s looking for. They learn that the apartment building Danny lived in is now abandoned, and he works as a demolition contractor. Not only does his job explain his intense strength that allows him to overpower his victims and break their bones, but his job also happens to give him plenty of access to a lot of condemned and abandoned buildings in general. Hmm. Stephen, Luke, and Emily immediately head out to Danny’s old apartment to investigate, and upon arriving, they hear a woman screaming for help. It’s Danny’s latest victim, a woman named Serena, and the team thankfully manages to rescue her. She’d been abducted the day prior, and like the other women, she had the MDMA drug in her system.

Danny, however, is nowhere to be found, so Luke tries talking to Miranda again to see if there’s any other information she can share about him. She continues to talk more about the struggles she had with her ex-husband, calling him an alcoholic, thus indicating Danny’s home life had been tumultuous prior to his dad leaving. Things start to get a little weird, however, when Luke asks Miranda if Danny ever did drugs or was an alcoholic. Miranda seems to hesitate, looking like she’s holding something back. Her behavior’s been a bit odd here and there throughout the episode, but some of it could’ve been chalked up to her struggle to accept the fact that her son might be a serial killer. Now, however, it looks like she might be trying to cover for him somehow, to the point where I started to find myself wondering if she knew more about Danny’s murder spree than she let on, or might’ve even been actively involved in some way.

Luke remains ever patient and calm with Miranda, however, bringing her some coffee to try and settle her nerves. She then explains that being abandoned by his dad wasn’t the only thing Danny struggled with. He also apparently had a very difficult time interacting with women. He never had a girlfriend, and wasn’t exactly a smooth operator when he merely tried to talk to them. Miranda tells Luke that Danny would often be inappropriate in the things he said to women. He also didn’t have any friends in general to hang out with. This bit of information leaves the team stumped – if Danny was as bad with women as his mom claims, then how did he even manage to get close enough to them to where he could meet them in bars, let alone drug their drinks. What changed?

Well, we get some answers to those questions when we finally do get our first glimpse of Danny himself. He’s at another bar, and he’s eyeing up some pretty woman in red playing pool nearby. He pops a pill then, and seems to be waiting for it to settle in his system. All of a sudden, however, Danny sees his face on the TV above the bar, in a news report about the recent murders. Obviously, this spooks him, and he proceeds to disguise himself and scurry out of the bar before anyone can notice him. Looks like the girl playing pool dodged quite the bullet, right?

Eh, not so fast. Danny gets into his car, but he doesn’t drive away. Instead, he turns on the radio and sits there, staring at the door to the bar every so often. The news report ruined his original plan, so now he’s gotta improvise, and that means waiting for the woman inside to come out. While he waits, Danny starts acting kinda woozy. Apparently whatever pill he took earlier is kicking in, and he’s feeling the effects big time. So much for that whole “Danny doesn’t take drugs” thing his mom insisted upon. If I wasn’t suspicious of her before, I sure am now.

Anywho, eventually the woman he’s waiting for leaves the bar. She’s not alone, either, as a friend’s walking with her. This doesn’t seem to faze Danny, however, as we see him driving down the street, following the women. At some point, he stops, grabs a hammer sitting in the passenger seat, gets out, and sneaks up on the women, startling them. He abducts the woman he’d had his eye on (her name is revealed to be Lisa), but her friend, Sadie, while also attacked, manages to escape. She tells the team what she witnessed, and confirms his presence at the bar.

While all this is going on, JJ and Garcia are back at the office looking up any other reports of women who might’ve suffered similar attacks in recent years, as it’s clear that these latest victims can’t be Danny’s first. He’d had to have had some practice. And wouldn’t ya know, they soon find a report that looks promising. About a year prior, there was a woman named Nancy Santiago who’d been drugged and raped at a rave in the area. She’d been found in an alleyway, and witnesses had seen a man with her. Initially, they thought this was a couple sneaking off for some alone time, but when the man ran off, spooked by the witnesses, and the observers saw the woman just lying on the ground, not moving, further inspection showed she was actually dead. Her attack had happened on the rooftop of the building where the rave took place, and then she’d been tossed onto the ground below. She’d been drugged with, you guessed it, MDMA, and her bones were broken in a manner very similar to that of the recent women.

Luke immediately goes to ask Miranda if she has any knowledge of this attack...but further adding to her shifty behavior, he can’t find her anywhere in the station. She’s apparently up and left. Luke’s not going to just let her run, however. He tracks her down, eventually finding her in the backyard of her home. The realization that her son is indeed the killer the team’s looking for has finally sunk in, and she’s having a hard time dealing with the guilt and remorse for not doing more to stop her son sooner.

Luke tries to reassure her that she’s not to blame for this, however, and asks her about the case involving Nancy. The description of the events seems to bring back yet another painful memory for Miranda, and she confirms that she remembered Danny coming home that night with blood on him, too, just like she did after the incident that led to him being kicked out of the house. Luke asks Miranda once again about Danny being involved in any drug use, and it’s then she finally confesses the truth. He does do drugs. And the kicker? His drug addiction is all thanks to her.

See, apparently, Miranda was very concerned about Danny’s issues with women, as well as his overall severe social awkwardness. As a result, for some bizarre reason, she decided drugs would be a good way to get him to loosen up. Seriously. She tells Luke that she’d read an article about Ecstasy helping people who struggle with social skills, and decided to give him both that and MDMA in an attempt to bring him out of his shell. O-kay, then.

As weird a plan as it was, however, the drugs did apparently do their job. Danny became much more confident and social, and even opened up to his mom more. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), they also seemed to awaken some psychopathic aspects of Danny’s personality in the process as well. He became addicted to the drugs, and as is typical with drug use, the more you take them, the longer it takes for the effects to kick in, if they kick in at all. To make matters worse, the MDMA Danny took, while initially enhancing his sexual abilities, eventually caused him to become impotent due to overuse, thus inhibiting any further opportunities for sexual encounters with the women he targeted. Needless to say, this further fueled his anger and frustration, and that, combined with his violent tendencies that had been festering for years, was the recipe that created quite the nasty unsub, and forced him to turn to torture to “get off”, so to speak.

So now the team knows all they need to know about Danny, except for the obvious: where he’s hiding Lisa. The team thinks that the unsub might want to return to the scene of his first crime, and they manage to find the building where Nancy was killed. Rossi, Luke, and Stephen arrive just in time to find Danny on the rooftop, taunting Lisa the way he no doubt did Nancy. He’s also dragging Lisa towards the edge of the roof, indicating she’s going to meet the same tragic fate Nancy did. Rossi, Luke, and Stephen try to talk Danny down, but he ain’t having any of it.

Then Luke mentions Danny’s mom, telling him she wants to see him. This news catches Danny’s attention, but not in the way the team hopes. Danny proceeds to let Lisa go, and backs up to the edge of the rooftop. Uh-oh… He then tells Luke to tell his mom, “I’m sorry”...and before the team can react, he commits suicide by falling off the roof. Lisa, meanwhile, is obviously shaken by her ordeal, but she, like Serena, will be all right. Physically speaking, anyway. Back at the station, Luke delivers the tragic news about Danny to Miranda, and stays to comfort her as she breaks down in tears.

The best thing about this episode’s case was Luke’s interaction with Miranda. I loved the way he connected with her throughout. He was sweet, and gentle, and sympathetic, and even after finding out about Miranda drugging her son, his demeanor towards her didn’t change. He seemed to empathize with the rough situation the family had been through, and saw Miranda’s genuine guilt over seeing the way her son turned out, and therefore probably figured she didn’t need any more piling on. Plus, his calm and thoughtful demeanor allowed her to open up more easily, thus allowing the team to solve the case more quickly and save a couple of Danny’s victims in the process.

And I don’t know if it was intentional on the show’s part to make viewers suspicious of Miranda for a time, but either way, I think that part of the case worked, too. It gave the case a little bit of needed suspense (especially since we didn’t see Danny for a good portion of the episode), and made the reveal about Miranda drugging her son not feel so out of nowhere as well. I also like that because of the nature of the dual storylines right now, the show’s being a little experimental in the way we get introduced to the cases. It gives things a slight bit of unpredictability. They’ve also done well with hiding the unsub for much of the episode, which I know has been an issue some have complained about in the past.

And yet, just like with all the cases of late, they end kind of abruptly. Danny’s suicide in particular seemed to kinda come out of nowhere. Yeah, he didn’t want to go to jail, and that’s the reason he killed himself. But at the same time, he had a rough upbringing, he was lonely and isolated, and that combined with crashing from the effects of the drugs would indicate he probably had issues with depression at some point. Heck, he was even willing to take drugs from his mom without any protest. To me, all of that indicates a clear interest in self-destructive behavior, and suggest that maybe he’d had suicidal tendencies in the past as a result. I could be way off with that assumption, mind, but I feel that’s an aspect of his mindset that could’ve been worth exploring a little further, especially from his end. I feel like the emotion of his “I’m sorry” before killing himself wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been because of the lack of exploration of those issues.

And as for Miranda, while I can understand Luke not wanting to berate her any further because her guilt was so obvious and palpable…at the same time, she gave her own son freaking Ecstasy. We’ve seen the team chew out parents of unsubs for their role in negatively impacting their child’s behavior before, so I’m kind of surprised they let Miranda’s actions slide so easily here. It’s also odd she gave her son drugs given her bitter attitude about her ex-husband’s alcoholism. I’m wondering if she didn’t have her own addictions as well, likely to whatever pills she took while healing from her broken arm, and that affected her judgment when it came to Danny as a result. Again, another part of the story that I think would’ve been worth delving into further, to explain her odd behavior.

Again, though, given the dual storylines going on right now, the case side of things seems to be getting the short shrift in general, so that could explain a lot of the missing pieces regarding this one. I think the biggest issue right now is that usually, whenever there’s an overarching storyline involving the team, the cases usually deal with some of the same issues that the main team storyline is dealing with. We got a bit of that in the previous episode, with the unsub in that case having a warped view of what makes somebody a “real man” being comparable to the alpha male hierarchy Reid’s dealing with in prison. But that connection hasn’t felt quite as strong with the other cases, which makes things kind of disjointed.

Like, for instance, in this episode, Danny had issues with drugs. Surely that would’ve made for a great parallel to the issue of Reid’s drug results coming back negative, or the team making some discovery about Danny’s drug use that could allow them figure out how to help Reid deal with the memories that he’s lost because of his being drugged, or something of that sort. Heck, given the way Miranda dealt with Danny’s drug use, that could’ve made for an illuminating conversation among the team members who were around at the time Reid struggled with his drug addiction after Hankel. How they dealt with it, or didn’t deal with it, and the lessons they learned to help them figure out how to deal with the drug issues Reid’s facing now.

But instead, nothing. So it just winds up feeling like two different stories are going on at once, and if they’re going to keep having the case/story arc balance, they should find a way to connect the two stories better. Or maybe they could have a case that involves one of the escapees from last season’s prison break, because if I understand it right, they’ve still got a couple of those guys lurking out there, and that part of the story seems to have just kinda disappeared. I’m presuming that one of those escapees could wind up being tied to everything that happened with Reid and Nadie’s murder in Mexico, but either way, it’d be nice to hear an acknowledgment from the team that that’s still a thing they’re paying attention to, along with their continued search for Mr. Scratch.

So there’s the case side of things sorted for this week. Time to check in and see how Reid’s continuing to fare in prison.

Quantico Prison Blues:

Last episode, we watched Reid adjust to life behind prison walls, and, not surprisingly, it was a bumpy start. On the one hand, he looked to have made a new friend who shared similar interests and hobbies, and who was willing to protect him. On the other hand, he also narrowly escaped a shanking by a scary group of prisoners. It was a strange, disturbing, harrowing sight, and I’d like to be able to say that things weren’t quite as frightening for Reid this episode. It’d be a welcome change to talk about how he’s managed to settle in since then, the other prisoners have left him alone, and he’s enjoying his new friendship with fellow inmate Calvin Shaw. I really do wish I could tell you all of that.

But I can’t. Because unfortunately, Reid’s life is becoming more and more hellish with each passing week, and as of now, there seems to be no signs of anything good coming for him on the horizon.

Let’s back up a bit first, though. At the start of this week’s episode, it’s morning roll call, as Reid and the other prisoners are ordered up and out of their cells, ready to start their day’s work. Reid happens to look down the line at Luis, and he’s concerned about the guy, and rightly so. Like Reid, Luis has also been the target of Milos’ prison buddies lately, suffering a black eye during a recent scuffle with them. Reid tries to ask about the bruise while the two men are working in the laundry room, but all Luis says in response is, “Welcoming committee”. Reid then asks Luis if he needs any help, and Luis sarcastically asks for the “don’t touch the skinny white guy pixie dust” that he feels protects Reid from the gang (remember, the guys harassing Luis and Reid are proud white supremacists). Yeouch. Before Reid can press any further, their conversation is broken up by the guard, and they resume their work in silence.

There is one bright spot in Reid’s day, however, and it comes in the form of the aforementioned visit from JJ. The two are quite relieved to see each other, to the point where they almost forget where they are and attempt a hug over the partition. Unfortunately, the guard halts that as well, but no matter, they settle in at the table and play catch up. JJ reassures Reid that his mom’s doing okay and actually having a good day, thank goodness, and that she apparently thinks Reid’s taking a vacation at the beach, so that’s where JJ’s allowed her to believe he’s gone for now. It’s a rather flimsy excuse, sure (especially given the fact Reid once mentioned in an episode that he’s not a fan of the beach), but it makes Reid’s mom happy for now, so they’ll roll with it.

She also lets slip that the rest of the team is off working the “Bone Crusher” case, and Reid tries to insist that she go focus on that instead of spend her time at the prison. JJ will not be swayed, however. She made a promise to Reid to support him through this, and she’s sticking to it. Reid is so desperate to talk about anything that isn’t his current nightmare of a situation that he actually asks her to tell him a little bit about the case they’re working, which she does. At one point during their conversation, Reid notices some of the prisoners leering at JJ and making rather suggestive comments towards her, and he immediately gets fiercely (and adorably) protective over her. JJ tells him to chill, though – she’s not wild about being ogled, either, but she’ll risk it in order to see Reid.

“We are gonna get that psychopath, and we are gonna clear your name.”

Sadly, JJ’s visit isn’t solely a pick-me-up for Reid. She also brings some bad news regarding his case. The full toxicology report Emily had ordered back when everyone was in Mexico finally came out...and the results are negative. Sounds like that should be good news, right? Well, in this case, it isn’t, because the team needs evidence that Reid had been drugged in order to further prove his argument that somebody is trying to frame him for Nadie’s murder.

Problem is, he didn’t get a chance to take the blood tests until late into his arrest, and by then, any drugs in his system would’ve had already metabolized, thus meaning they wouldn’t have shown up in the tests. Obviously, Reid is frustrated by this latest blow to his attempt to prove his innocence, despairing at the thought of Mr. Scratch, or whomever is responsible, getting away with their crimes against both him and Nadie, but JJ tries once again to calm him down and encourage him to keep fighting.

Before things get too depressing, however, JJ changes the subject back to a happier, and significantly sweeter, topic. She pulls out a drawing Henry made of himself and Reid during a recent day spent at the park, and he drew it as a gift for Reid. Awwwwww! Reid’s deeply touched by his godson’s present, to the point of tears, and his emotion gets JJ going a bit, too. It’s a much needed happy image, and a powerful reminder of one of the many people Reid needs to stay strong for.

At this point, visiting hours are over, and JJ and Reid reluctantly part for the day. Later, when JJ returns to the office, she goes to visit Garcia to tell her how her visit with Reid went. Garcia instantly picks up on JJ’s obviously troubled reaction, however, and tries to comfort her as JJ tells her, in no uncertain terms, that they need to get Reid out of jail as soon as humanly possible. “He can’t stay in there,” she insists. Oh, JJ, if only you knew just how right you were…

Back at the prison, later in the day, Reid’s reflecting on JJ’s story about Henry’s drawing. His memories are interrupted upon seeing Luis once again, and this time, the poor guy’s being openly harassed by that awful gang. Reid instantly wants to go try and tell the creeps to back off, but Shaw, who’s sitting with him, tells him to stay put and leave the situation be, assuring him they won’t kill Luis, that this is just a test to see if Luis can survive. This explanation doesn’t sit right with Reid, but he heeds Shaw’s advice anyway.

“If you keep this up, keep thinking the normal rules apply in here, then I cannot help you.”

The next day, however, at morning roll call, Reid notices Luis isn’t in line at all. Oh, dear. When lunchtime rolls around, he joins Shaw, and asks him if he knows what happened to Luis. Apparently he got into another scuffle with the prisoners, suffering some broken bones (sensing a theme here this episode), and is currently recuperating in the infirmary. This news REALLY gets Reid all upset, and he brings up the suggestion to tell somebody about what’s going on once again, to Shaw’s irritation.

Reid’s not deterred this time, however. He notices a guard nearby, and comes over, pretending to ask for some water before telling the guy about what happened with Luis. Afterward, he rejoins Shaw, but Shaw is getting fed up with Reid’s seeming desire to put himself at such risk (to which I say, get used to it, Shaw, that’s nothing new with him). He chews Reid out for his behavior and storms off.

At the office later that night, JJ pulls out Henry’s drawing once again, and, in the most touching and bittersweet moment of the episode, places it on Reid’s desk, in an attempt to bring some sort of brightness and innocence to an otherwise bleak situation. She then hears a noise coming from Rossi’s office, and upon entering, sees him hanging a picture frame of a “W” on his wall. Rossi explains to her that it’s part of a flag that’s popular in Chicago after baseball games, and is meant to honor a former Vietnam buddy of his who, like Rossi, was from Chicago and a diehard Cubs fan.

He then goes into a big ol’ story about what it’s like to be a fan of a team like the Cubs, who went years with a horrible losing streak, and how it felt to experience the victory of the team winning the World Series last fall. Somehow, he transitions from this story into talking about the current struggle with Reid, and reminds JJ that, like the Chicago Cubs fans who waited over one hundred years for a win, the team needs to hold on to hope, and to not give up, because victory can come out of nowhere. JJ takes his words to heart as Rossi attempts to comfort her.

Thing is, Rossi’s speech may have been targeted at his teammates, but it’s advice Reid will desperately need to hold on to as well. Because as the episode ends, Reid’s sitting in his cell, getting ready to settle in for the night…

...only for the Creepy Gang to make an unannounced visit. They found out about Reid telling the guard about Luis earlier, and they…are NOT happy about this. Remember how scary it was last week to see Reid nearly getting jumped by these guys?

Yeah, well, guess what? We get to see that happen again this week! Because everyone was clearly asking for a repeat of that scene, I guess. After taunting him about his visit from JJ and implying he doesn’t have any friends to lean on, they the gang grab Reid and proceed to tie him up and gag him once again, before starting in on what looks to be a rather horrific beatdown. Unlike last time, however, nobody seems to be coming to save him. And on that deeply ominous note, the episode ends, because the show’s writers clearly hate us.

So, yeah. Things continue to look ever bleak for Reid, and while I certainly wasn’t expecting his stint in prison to be a party, at the same time, it would be really nice to have some sort of good news to cling to in the midst of so much despair. Maybe there was some new evidence that showed up in the scan of Nadie’s hotel room that can give them a possible identification of the killer. Maybe Reid remembered something new about the events in Mexico that they could use for his defense. Or we could see the team discussing strategy in case they need to be called to testify at the trial. I know Fiona said that it’d take a few months before the trial, but seeing any sign of preparation or work on things that can help Reid’s case would be sorely welcome right about now.

And on that note, it would’ve also been nice to see the team discussing Reid’s prison situation, too. Fiona may not have been in this episode, but it would’ve been good, and necessary, to have Emily saying, “I just talked to Fiona this morning, and she said...”. Or maybe Rossi’s looking into the reason for Reid being transferred to general population, and finding something hinky about it that he thinks the team should investigate. He’s one of the founding fathers of the BAU, after all, surely he can throw his weight around to get his way and get some answers. I get what he was trying to say with his Cubs story at the end of the episode, but it was still a very weird way to drive home the point that the team needs to keep hope alive, because, first off, no duh, and second, the analogy just felt a bit odd. I just think Rossi would show a little more anger and fierce determination in a situation like this.

And if JJ was able to stay back at Quantico this episode, then maybe Emily could’ve stayed back, too, to focus on helping keep Reid safe as well. Yeah, that would’ve meant the team would be down a couple members on the case, but they’ve worked cases with a minimal amount of team members before. Besides that, considering Miranda was very instrumental in helping gather evidence about Danny, having the entire team there didn’t really feel all that necessary this episode.

I could even understand the team’s hands being tied right now in regards to some of the things they’re allowed to do to help Reid. But first off, that hasn’t exactly stopped them in the past when other team members have been in trouble. Second, even if they’re keeping their activities on the up and up, if only to avoid putting Reid at further risk, it’d still be nice to hear them discussing the actions they are taking a little more often. Knowing that they’re getting in touch with lawyers or fellow agents/agencies or whomever to figure out what to do, or give them extra support, would be good, and perhaps help this entire storyline perhaps go down easier for those who are struggling to enjoy it. It’d just be nice to know there’s something happening that can give fans hope this entire situation will end well for Reid.

And speaking of Reid himself, let’s talk about his attempts to help Luis, because that’s caused a bit of debate lately, too. I honestly am not surprised that he would be putting his neck out there to help Luis. It’s what Reid does. He always takes significant risks to help other people, and if he sees a situation is unfair or unjust, he’s going to speak up, consequences be damned. Yes, he’s been in prisons before because of his job, yes, he knows about the kinds of things that happen there, the horrible way prisoners treat each other, so in that respect, no, he shouldn’t be surprised that Luis is being treated like this, or that everyone else is looking the other way.

But even if he knows that’s what happens, that doesn’t mean he will accept it once he properly witnesses it firsthand. I can see him being the sort to think he could change things from within, if only a little bit. His behavior here is no different, really, than his behavior he’s shown during his time in the BAU. He clearly had to know when he joined the team that there would be times he’d have to shoot people, or cases that didn’t end well, or people he couldn’t save, or things of that sort. Yet that hasn’t stopped him from feeling guilty or angry about all of those situations when they happened, has it? It hasn’t stopped him from wanting to try and change things even when he knows the chances of doing so are slim or risky. Same thing applies here, as far as I’m concerned.

Now, having said all of that, I do agree that it would be good to see Reid doing his part to fight back and protect himself from these prisoners attacking him. When he was trapped with Chester Hardwick, when Tobias Hankel played Russian Roulette with him, when he stared down Owen Savage wielding a massive gun, how did he manage to save himself and others? He used his brain. He talked those unsubs down, he played mind games with them, went into elaborate speeches to distract them from whatever horrible acts they had planned. I want to see some of that here. Let’s see him use reverse psychology on these creeps, mess with their heads somehow. Or maybe he tries to sympathize with them, hit on some personal pain they went through in the past. Reid famously said once that he does some of his best work under intense terror, so he should bring some of that to this situation. Even if it doesn’t work, even if he still gets roughed up, at least he'll have tried. At least he would've fought.

Mind, there are some out there who’ve theorized that he’s purposefully putting himself at risk in the hopes of maybe getting transferred out of general population and moved to a safer place. And perhaps in the process, he could also argue that Luis should be moved for his own safety as well. I can definitely see him doing something like that, as that does sound like the sort of clever ruse Reid would think of, and it would be a subtle way to try and save Luis’ life. But if that is his plan, I think they need to do more to show us that, so it doesn’t look like he’s just taking pointless risks for no reason that could get him killed.

On a more positive note, I did very much enjoy the visit from JJ. The mention of Henry was a nice touch (though I would’ve been interested to hear how she’s explaining Reid’s absence to him, unless he’s going with the “at the beach” explanation, too), and everything with the drawing was incredibly sweet and adorable. I’ve commented many times thus far on how much I’m appreciating the way the show’s been exploring JJ’s reaction to this whole situation with Reid, and this was another good example of that, especially since their interaction here was a little lighter for the most part. And it was also nice to hear her stating aloud that they needed to get Reid out of prison as soon as possible, because, well, she’s saying what we’re all thinking.

Now we just need to have her wish, and the team’s hope, become a reality.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Did you enjoy JJ’s visit to see Reid? Do you think Reid made the right choice in trying to alert the guards to Luis being in danger? Do you believe he’s purposefully trying to put himself at risk in order to get moved to a safer place? How long do you think it’ll be before Reid and the team finally get some good news regarding his case? Would you like to see a little more urgency from the team, or do you think their actions thus far make sense? And regarding the case of the week, did you think Miranda might turn out to be the unsub, or at the very least, working with Danny? Share your thoughts in the comments!