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Criminal Minds - Annihilator - Review: “Division”

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We’re three episodes into the Barnes storyline now, and the drama sure has ramped up in quite a short period of time. What started off as a seemingly typical investigation by one of the higher ups has spiraled into something huge and earth-shaking for the team, and further fuels my suspicions that there’s something deeper going on here beyond a simple “higher up wants to mess with the team” premise.

I really hope that’s the case, too, because the tension, as well as the surprising ending, could really be fertile ground for a change of pace in how the show typically does things. I tend to like it when they shake things up a bit, and I want to see how they deal with the fallout from all of this. And I really hope I’m right in my assumptions that there’s more to Barnes than meets the eye, not just because, again, it’d be an interesting angle on a well worn storyline, but also because all this drama, as well as Barnes’ super intense demeanor, would feel rather pointless otherwise.

The case tied well into the tense atmosphere this week, too, providing some interesting conflict on both ends, despite having an ending that didn’t seem to quite fit with Barnes’ response at the end of the episode. So let’s get into the nitty gritty of this episode, and discuss all that happened, as well as what it might mean going forward.

The Case:

As tends to be the case with this show, things start off pretty innocently. A group of four friends are all hanging out together in their living room, typing stuff on their laptops, chatting about this and that, music’s playing, all that good stuff. One of the friends then arrives with a pizza, and after a bit of discussion about the pepperoni (one person in the group, Charlie, isn’t a fan), they start chowing down. And I’m sitting here all hungry for a pizza of my own as a result.

The guy who brought in the pizza, whose name is Ray, goes to grab a few things from the kitchen, but when he returns, the good times are clearly far from over. We don’t see what’s actually happening to the others, but the look on Ray’s face and the scared voices of his friends makes it clear that something very bad is happening here. The unsub speaks then, suggesting they all get tied up, and after that, the next thing we see is the guy falling back on the floor, a knife sticking out of his chest.

So what’s the story here? According to Garcia, all these friends were roommates, and all four of them were murdered. The whole thing looks to have been a robbery/homicide, but nothing traceable was taken. It’s at this point that we learn this case did not come to the team through the normal channels. Rather, Assistant Director Barnes called to offer the team’s services, and she tells the team that by barging in halfway through Garcia’s presentation and joining the others at the table. She explains she picked this case because it will be an example of the sorts of cases the BAU will be taking from here on out. Why? Well, because it’s “good optics” - the victims are the sort that “the public can emotionally invest in” (Garcia’s reaction to this comment is mine), and the case looks like the sort that can be solved quickly, without any messy asides getting in the way.

“Emily Prentiss is not a poor leader, she defined what a unit chief should be.”

Barnes then announces she’ll be accompanying the team on this case, and the team doesn’t even bother hiding the fact that they’re NOT happy about this news. Rossi reminds Barnes that she’s not a profiler, and Reid? He decides he isn’t going to stick around and watch her actively dismantle the team, so after a passionate defense of Emily, he states flat out that he’s not going out on this case. Well, then. After he leaves, Barnes challenges the others to dare pull a similar stunt, but they reluctantly head out, Barnes in tow.

Oh, yeah. This should be a blast.

But we’ll get further into Barnes’ interactions with the team in a bit. Back to the case. The team discusses the facts a little further on the plane ride out to St. Louis, and this is what they know so far: The home the roommates lived in was rented. None of the roommates seemed to live any sort of high-risk lifestyle (obviously, given Barnes’ desire for “sympathetic victims”). They all worked steady jobs, were finishing up college, no criminal history of any sort...basically, everything in their lives looked fine.

Their home was also known as a popular party and game night spot among friends. Perhaps somebody who attended one of those parties could’ve attacked them? During the briefing, the team had wondered if there was more than one unsub involved, so they’re going to look into that possibility, too.

It’s at this point that Garcia shares some more interesting information with the team. Seems there were actually seven people who lived at that house, but three of them were away from home the night of the massacre. There’s Rachel, who was visiting her sister, Corrine, who was all the way over in Zurich, working as a flight attendant, and a guy named Larry, a psychologist whose whereabouts that night have yet to be accounted for. Barnes immediately pounces on Larry as their likely suspect, and gives the team their assignments for when they arrive in St. Louis. So much for JJ being in charge, eh?

Rossi and Barnes head out to the crime scene to examine how the break-in might’ve happened. Trying to coral four people would be very tough, so they deduce the unsub likely had a gun with them. Thing is, though, none of the victims were shot. They were all stabbed. So why would an unsub bring two weapons? Rossi also notes that the break-in appears to have been staged. At this point, an officer comes over to show Rossi and Barnes something else very curious: the knife that was used to kill the victims had been stolen from a case that Ray had kept under his bed. Further proof the unsub likely knew their victims, as you don’t exactly stumble upon something like that by accident, and it further encourages Barnes’ belief that Larry’s responsible.

Barnes continue to keep herself busy by later shadowing JJ and Tara at the police station. She makes introductions with the officers and asks them where to set up, while JJ seethes quietly beside her. Once they’re squared away in one of the rooms, Garcia chimes in to share what she’s learned about the elusive Larry thus far. And honestly, maybe Barnes is right to be suspicious. Apparently, Larry had a history of alcohol and drug problems. He had a couple DUIs and was charged with possession of drugs at one point. He also has a history of violence, having gotten into a couple bar fights (the charges were eventually dropped on those, however). Surprisingly, however, none of this bad history affected his job, as his company considered him an ideal employee. Go figure.

What’s more, shortly before the murders, Larry and Ray got into a big ol’ fight at the house, and the rest of the roommates apparently voted to kick Larry out. So now the team needs to try and figure out where Larry is, and they interview Rachel to get more information. She’s obviously shaken up about her friends’ murders, and feels immense guilt for not being there that night. Tara and Barnes kind of turn into an unintentional good cop/bad cop duo here, with Tara gently trying to get information and Barnes needling poor Rachel at every turn (much to Tara’s annoyance), actively trying to get her to confess that Larry’s their man.

Rachel defends Larry, though. She insists that he could never do something like this, that he’s been getting help for the recent stress he’s been under, and that the fight between him and Ray was nothing more than a big, unfortunate misunderstanding. She even asked Ray to smooth things over with Larry afterward and bring him back. The real issue had to do with a secret that Rachel and Larry were keeping from the others: they were dating. And dating among the roommates is not allowed. Rachel then tells Tara and Barnes that last she heard, Larry was staying at a co-worker’s place, so now the team makes plans to go talk to him and see what happens.

Shortly afterward, a man gets into a car...and is quickly smothered to death by somebody hiding in the backseat. Anyone want to take a guess as to the name of the murdered man? Yep. Larry. The unsub left a forged suicide note, complete with a confession to the murders, and a needle with Larry, trying to pass his death off as a guilt-ridden suicide. Problem is, they weren’t quite as thorough as they thought, because there’s no evidence of drugs in Larry’s system, and because of that, they ask for a handwriting sample to further prove this death was staged. So that officially shoots down Barnes’ belief that Larry is their guy. Back to the drawing board.

Elsewhere, Rossi and Luke continue to examine some of the roommates’ stuff, and it’s here they notice something rather interesting. Everyone communicated with Ray a lot in particular. They conclude that Ray seemed to be kind of the leader of this little gang, and so perhaps he was the main target of the unsub’s wrath, with the others being collateral damage. The investigation seems to further flesh out this theory, as it’s clear these roommates saw themselves as a family of sorts. As a result, the team decides to try looking at their unsub as though he were a family annihilator as a means of trying to figure out his motive.

Tara and Matt want to talk to Rachel again with this new theory in mind, in the hopes that maybe she can think of somebody else who might’ve had a problem with this little family, but Barnes gives them one command before they do: they must not tell her that Larry is dead. Tara and Matt reassure Rachel that Larry was proven innocent, and that they think the unsub is somebody else they all know. After giving her a description of the man they’re looking for, Rachel recalls a guy named Justin. She doesn’t have much information to really share about him, other than “he’s a nice guy”. As the interview wraps up, Rachel asks to see Larry, and Tara has to tell her that’s not possible, without explaining why. And you can tell from the look on her face that it physically pains her to keep Larry’s death a secret.

So who is this Justin guy? Well, Garcia’s digging reveals that despite Rachel’s claims of him being a good guy, she’s found a history of him leaving trollish, inflammatory comments online. Obnoxious behavior, but seems like rather thin evidence for him being a killer. But when Matt and Rossi inspect Justin’s home, that’s when things look a little more suspicious. Apparently, Justin likes to dress like Ray. Exactly like Ray. Like, to the point he wears Ray’s clothes. Perhaps he’s jealous? Rossi’s not sure it’s entirely that simple, though, and he thinks the answer lies in the fact that Rachel and Corrine weren’t in the house the night of the murders.

See, Justin knew Corrine wouldn’t be there, because she was in Zurich, but he hadn’t planned on Rachel not being there. Seems Justin’s plan was to kill all the roommates, Rachel included, and frame Larry for the murders. And then he’d emulate Ray, who he falsely believed had been in a relationship with Corrine, and have Corrine, who he apparently had a thing for and built up a fantasy relationship with in his mind, all to himself. Because nothing says “romance” like killing a bunch of people.

Thanks to this discovery, the team decides to have Rachel stay at the station in order to keep her safe, and once they learn Corrine is coming home, and Justin will likely try to meet her when she arrives, they immediately set up a big ol’ stakeout at the airport to get her to safety, too. Rossi, JJ, and Barnes are hidden in a van watching via camera, and Luke and Tara are in the parking garage. JJ calls Reid at one point to inform him of their plan on how to deal with Justin, deciding to try and validate his ego. Reid’s on board with the idea, as is Emily.

Sure enough, Justin arrives, and Luke and Tara corner him, trying to talk him down. He’s not having it, though, and pulls out a gun, threatening to commit suicide. Around this time, Corrine arrives, and JJ, Matt, and Rossi usher her to safety nearby. Barnes isn’t satisfied with how Luke and Tara are handling Justin, though, and she thinks it might be a good idea to bring Corrine out to try and talk sense into him, the way the team had Adele talk Mitch down in the werewolf case from a few episodes back. “That was different,” JJ reminds Barnes, as she makes it abundantly clear to Barnes that sending Corrine out there would be a very bad idea.

Does Barnes listen to her, though? Of course not! She goes behind their back and walks out to the garage, Corrine in tow, encouraging her to tell Justin to stop this. This sudden change in tactics leaves Luke and Tara stunned and distracted, and Justin starts ranting at Corrine directly. Everyone’s yelling and things are getting chaotic, and finally, it all culminates in Justin shooting Corrine, and Luke shooting at Justin. Justin dies, but Corrine thankfully survives – luckily for her, the bullet only grazed her at best. Still, it’s a pretty scary ending to a tough case.

I wonder, however, if the ending might’ve worked better had Justin lived and Corrine died. Not that I want her to die, of course, but in terms of how this case played into all the politics going on with Barnes this episode, I think losing a victim and having a killer survive would’ve had a much bigger impact on and better explained Barnes’ response and behavior at the end of the episode. Especially given she picked this case because of how the public would’ve reacted to the victims. Having her “reasoning” come back to bite her in the end by adding to the very list of victims she would’ve claimed the BAU was trying to get justice for, would’ve packed one hell of a punch, I think.

I also wish Justin’s motive had just been related to his issues at not being allowed into this group. It seems a lot of the unsubs this season have been motivated by being in love with someone and unable to deal with losing them. It would’ve been an interesting change of pace to have Justin’s motive be much more callous in nature. Maybe he had a bad experience with them years ago. Or he’d pretended to get close to them because he wanted to kill them just for the hell of it, or wanted to rob them only for things to go wrong.

Heck, I’d even initially been on board with the team’s suggestion of two unsubs working together. Since we didn’t see the unsub at the beginning of the episode, and the only time he spoke was when he told Ray to tie up the other roommates, I’d briefly wondered if that meant Ray might’ve been in on this somehow. Justin getting all Single White (Fe)male on Ray could’ve made for an intriguing motive in and of itself as well. It’s just that given the way these people were murdered, it feels like the motive should’ve had more menace to it somehow.

I did like that we didn’t see Justin for much of the episode, though. Given there were a few survivors of this massacre, that was enough to give us a couple possible suspects, and I liked the way the show kept us guessing a little as to who the killer was. I do think that’s one reason I would’ve preferred Justin’s motive to be creepier, too, though – when we did see him, he didn’t seem to quite match whatever good buildup and tension the show had created in guessing whodunit.

I also liked the moments involving Rachel and Corrine, brief though they clearly were (very brief in Corrine’s case). I felt for Rachel with her survivor’s guilt, and I was genuinely nervous on Corrine’s behalf when Barnes escorted her out into such a dangerous situation. The entire takedown scene in the parking garage was well done as a whole – I honestly wasn’t sure how it’d play out, and I liked that it was a little different from the typical “unsub holds their last victim hostage in their murder lair while team member(s) talk them down” ending.

So the team clearly had a stressful time of it this episode, which was made all the more so by Barnes’ presence. Before we discuss that part of things, though, there’s one big question we need to answer: just what did Reid decide to do with his unexpected free time?

Meanwhile, back at Quantico

“Why are you trying to get rid of me?”

Simple. He went to Emily’s place to tell her about his decision to stay behind, and try and rally her in the wake of her sudden suspension. Emily appreciates the visit and the support, but she’s really not thrilled with him openly defying Barnes like that. She’s acting a bit furtive and anxious as well, and Reid starts asking her what’s going on with her. It’s then he sees a bunch of her things packed up in boxes, and he realizes he may be too late, as she’s planning on actually leaving the team for good.

Obviously, this news does not sit well with him. Emily tries to explain her reasons: if she leaves, then Barnes can ease up on the others, and they won’t have to deal with this mess hanging over their heads. Maybe they’d even leave JJ alone as well, though Reid’s not certain that would be the case. Reid tells her that the best way to deal with Barnes is to fight her head on. “Maybe I don’t want to,” Emily admits.

Now who’s making it easy for Barnes?” Reid shoots back. Seriously, Emily, you should know by now that nobody can win an argument with him.

Emily continues packing her stuff, however, and Reid sticks around, asking what her post-BAU plans would be. Her answer is obvious: she’d probably just go back to London and Interpol. Reid makes another attempt at convincing Emily to stay by reminding her that she didn’t give up on him when he was in prison, and therefore he can’t give up on her. Emily’s hesitant reaction to leaves Reid confused, however, and that’s when Emily finally confesses having deleted their cognitive interview they’d done shortly after he was jailed in Mexico (and we get to see a flashback clip, too, because who didn’t want to see a shot of Reid in prison again, am I right?).

She reminds Reid that he’d admitted to holding the knife in that interview, and that the way he talked made him sound very guilty. So yes, she did what she had to do to protect him then, but she also acknowledges that Barnes was right to call her out for that. She crossed a line, and is guilty, and she deserves to leave. Reid, meanwhile, is innocent, therefore he should be allowed to stay.

Reid reminds her that she was simply doing what she thought was right at that time, comparing her actions to when JJ and Hotch covered up her “death” a number of years back, with them doing what they thought was right at the time. He proceeds to rattle off a list of all the people Emily’s taken great risk in order to save and protect during her years with the BAU, but Emily simply shrugs it off as her just doing what she’s supposed to do.

Fair point. He then lists off all of their teammates, and himself, as seven reasons why she should stay and fight. His final plea ultimately does the trick (as do the huge puppy dog eyes he was giving her, ‘cause let’s face it, Emily didn’t have a prayer against those), and she tearfully agrees to stick around, and there’s hugs and it’s all very aw-worthy. So now that that’s settled, Reid’s ready to turn his focus back to the case. And if Emily just so happens to overhear any of the case discussion among him and the rest of the team, well, he figures that’s just a mere coincidence. Seriously, Reid is not playing around this episode.

After the case has wrapped up, Reid and Emily’s conversation has turned to much more lighthearted stuff. Remember that guy Reid mentioned early in the season who owned only seventy-eight things? Apparently now he’s down to seventy-five. But their chat is interrupted by a call notifying them the team’s returned home, and they’re looking forward to seeing them.

I absolutely loved this part of the episode. I’ve always enjoyed the close friendship Reid and Emily share, and it seems fitting he’d be the one to ultimately convince her to stay. He tends to struggle the most when his friends up and leave, so I don’t blame him for finally being all, “Yeah, we’re not doing this again.” Especially not under these circumstances. At least when Emily left the last time, it was her decision, not one forced upon her by somebody else. I think the only other people who could’ve been equally as convincing in this situation would’ve been JJ and perhaps Garcia. JJ and Emily also get each other in their own way and know how to talk each other through tough situations, and Emily would have a very hard time saying no to Garcia, too.

And as glad as I obviously am about Emily choosing to stay, I do like that her reasons here were valid and understandable. She, perhaps more than any other team member save for Hotch, has been under some form of scrutiny since practically the very first day she arrived at the BAU. First Hotch was suspicious of her (and Gideon made her nervous), then Strauss tried to use her for her own gain, then she was interrogated on everything with Doyle, now Barnes… I truly don’t blame her for finally thinking, ‘You know what, I’m done.” And it is indeed very much in her nature to leave if it means protecting others. She’s done that before, too. Granted, her past efforts didn’t really work, so I don’t know why she’d think it’d be different this time, but emotions aren’t rational, right? Ultimately, this whole scene felt very true to her character and her history, and I appreciated that.

Reid alluding to moments from her past really added to the connection as well. I especially liked him acknowledging, to Emily’s face, that he understood why she faked her death after Doyle, and why Hotch and JJ covered that up. Given the way he reacted to that whole situation back when he first learned about the coverup, his words here were a really nice sign of maturity and acceptance. And given Emily’s emotional state, his sympathy and understanding was just what she needed to hear.

The one lone quibble in this whole lovely scene: let’s look at that list of people Reid mentioned Emily having saved over the years. Michael Lee Peterson, Chad Higgins, Kathy and Jessica Evanson, Gloria Barker, and Declan Doyle. Two of them were not saved, actually. Peterson was the unsub from “Tribute”. You know, the one who Emily was obsessed with finding, and who she shot and killed, And Jessica died in the compound explosion in “Minimal Loss”.

So, um, yeah. Might want to tweak that list just a little. That oversight is even more amusing when you consider it’s Reid, Mr. Eidetic Memory himself, making this list. But even with that mistake, I’ll take this part of the episode, ‘cause it was a welcome respite from the teeth-clenching irritation that was Barnes. We know how she behaved during the case itself. How about the rest of the time?

Barnes vs. BAU:

“I don’t want to be unit chief. Not like this.”

At the start of the episode, JJ’s standing in Emily’s office, feeling overwhelmed by her new position and eager to tell Barnes to just shove off once and for all. Rossi stops by to check in on her, and is sympathetic to her feelings of fear. He does his best to try and rally her, reminding her not to make waves. All she has to do is her job, and all should be fine. “Can’t get any worse,” he says. Uh, Rossi, you’ve worked here for how long now? You should know by now that anytime anyone says or believes that, they’re instantly proven wrong. Way to jinx everything.

“When it’s time for me to retire, I’ll let you know.”

As noted, Reid refused to fly out to St. Louis with the others, and he got off lucky as a result, ‘cause Barnes does not waste any time trying to mess with the team’s heads. She attempts to make small talk with Rossi about their children and grandchildren, only for Rossi to instantly shut her down. He knows she’s trying to see if he’s looking to retire, and he doesn’t want to play her game, so he tells her point blank to just stop altogether. What was that about not making waves again, Rossi?

She then moves on to Luke, praising how he handled Scratch during the final takedown, and noted that his experience in the Fugitive Task Force clearly helped him in terms of setting in quickly and learning the ropes. Luke tells her that the two teams are different in a lot of ways, and he still had a lot to learn here. Barnes then asks him if he would consider going back to his old team, but Luke tells her he belongs here.

“Don’t you ever order me to do something like that again.”

Tara, meanwhile, is livid at Barnes for making her withhold the news of Larry’s death from Rachel. Garcia celebrates being able to stay in her office and not have to deal with Barnes lurking around. Matt calls out Barnes for putting everyone on edge, reminding her that this is how his old team got dismantled, and he’s going to try and stop her from doing something similar here.

And Emily? She gets insulted in absentia. “See how efficiently things work without Agent Prentiss?” Barnes smugly says at one point. Ooooh, yeah. Feel free to insert your curse word of choice here in response – not gonna lie, I wanted to slap her at that very moment. Suffice to say, the tension between the team and Barnes is coiled as tight as a snake throughout the episode.

“I think you just earned your stripes, Chief.”

And it all explodes on the plane ride home, as Barnes’ little side tactic with Corrine was the final straw. JJ blows up big time on Barnes, chewing her out for making such a boneheaded, risky call and refusing to listen to the others’ warnings. She then lays into her for her treatment of the team lately, and lets her know in no uncertain terms that they are not going to be intimidated or pushed around by her any more. Barnes shows a rare moment of not being in control here, sputtering at JJ’s words and being all ticked off about her plan with Corrine not working out, and having her failure recorded besides. It’s a pretty satisfying moment, I won’t lie.

When the team returns to the office, they all agree that this has been the sort of day that requires a lot of drinks, and make plans to go out to a local bar, crowing over how they dealt with Barnes. Things get even better when Reid and Emily show up to join them. Just how was Emily able to get into the building? Simple. Reid had her come in as his “visitor”. Look at you, Reid, being all sneaky and crafty.

“This can’t be the end. Can it?”

That’s where the happy times end, however, as Barnes storms back into the bullpen to make an announcement. She claims that she and the Director reviewed the tape of the takedown with Justin and Corrine, and agree that Barnes was in the right and the team was in the wrong. Sorry, say what now?

You heard right. Barnes actually blames the team for how the takedown played out. O-kay, then, if you say so, lady. She then reiterates that she has no interest in dismantling the BAU as an organization. Rather, she just simply wants people who are actually capable to be working within it. Barnes then announces that Emily’s suspension has been lifted...only to tell her that she’ll be reassigned elsewhere within the Bureau, as will Garcia and Tara. Reid will no longer be with the BAU, either; rather, he will be a full-time professor. JJ is now conditional unit chief of the BAU – a new position for her, where she will have to run all future decisions by Barnes. Luke and Matt are staying in the BAU, and Rossi? Well, Barnes has officially signed his retirement papers, so to speak, on his behalf.

Again I say, feel free to insert your curse words of choice here.

Okay. So. Barnes. Let’s just say right off the bat that she makes Strauss look like a total creampuff. Seriously, even in Strauss’ worst moments, she was never this intense and over the top with her methods. And I mean “over the top” in the most literal sense, too – I saw many people online talking about how they half expected Barnes to be twirling a mustache and cackling, and honestly, they’re not wrong with that description. Her “take no prisoners” attitude in and of itself is an interesting idea, but I think we all kind of got the point fairly early on that she was going to be a thorn in the team’s side. They could’ve taken things down a notch or two after that. Maybe we could’ve seen some more covert, subtle scenes of her cooking up whatever scheme she has going instead.

There’s also the fact that she’s doing things that she doesn’t even actively have the authority to do. She told Rossi at the start of the episode that she doesn’t have the power to force him into retirement, yet she’s doing just that at the end of the episode? And she’s putting out feelers for cases when the usual protocol is that the cases come to the team? How does that work? And how on earth could anyone with two working eyes look at the video footage of Luke and Tara trying to take down Justin and still believe Barnes was in the right? Either the director is really stupid, and the general rules and protocols have been thrown out the window…

...or Barnes is lying and acting like she’s gained more authority than she has. Which, considering her scheming nature, would be a valid possibility. I could totally believe that she’d never spoken to the director at all, let alone shown him the video footage. Maybe she lied about how she got the case. Maybe her reassignments at the end are her carrying out orders from somebody else with whom she’s working. Who knows. I’m inclined to believe that this is the route the show’s going with Barnes’ actions here, though, as it fits well into the idea that there’s a lot more to this investigation into the BAU than meets the eye.

I’m also torn between whether or not I want Barnes to ultimately be good or bad. As over the top as she was this episode, I do really like the idea of her being in this for her own personal gain. It would differentiate her from Strauss, who did have valid, sympathetic reasons for some of her actions. And it’d be fun to see the team go up against somebody who’s not an unsub, but still just plain nasty in their own right.

At the same time, I also think it might be a bit interesting if she’s aware of some real threat to the team, and is trying to protect them from it. She did seem a little sincere when telling the team that she would be helpful if they’d let her. That wouldn’t really make much sense, though, because this would be a really strange, roundabout way to protect everyone. And given Matt’s history with her, I’m guessing her dismantling of the IRT had squat to do with protecting them.

So maybe she could be some shade of grey. Unintentionally helpful while still a piece of work in her own right. That could be interesting. And since she’s only supposed to be in a handful of episodes, I’m hoping that whatever actions she takes here will have long-term effects of some kind for the team throughout the remainder of this season. It’d be pointless to wrap up what could become an intriguing story in such a brief time and set everything back to normal.

As for the team themselves, it was quite fun to see their reactions to Barnes’ manipulations throughout. Rossi’s noncommittal grunts when Barnes was trying to engage him in small talk were perhaps my favorite reaction, along with JJ’s rant on the plane. Unprofessional behavior? Sure. Not helpful to them in terms of trying to keep Barnes off their tail? Definitely. Still satisfying. You bet.

And finally, regarding the team being split up, spoilers seem to indicate we’ll get at least a glimpse of the team in their new settings, and I’m actually kind of looking forward to that. It would be fun to get an idea of what a non-BAU life for these guys would be like, and I’m curious to see where some of them get reassigned, and how their new jobs go. To say nothing of how long it takes before Rossi gets bored with retirement and goes stir crazy. The team has only ever really split up once before, between the season six finale and the season seven premiere, but that was generally their choice (save for Hotch being sent to Pakistan) and we never really got to see how they handled their time away from each other. This is a good opportunity for something a little different.

Plus, it’ll make their inevitable reunion after they do away with Barnes that much more rewarding. As always, time will tell how this all plays out.

What did you think of the episode? How much did Barnes grate on your nerves? Did you enjoy Reid and Emily’s talk? Did the case work for you, or did it feel a bit anti-climactic? Where do you think some of the team members will be reassigned? Whose rant against Barnes did you most enjoy? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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