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Criminal Minds - Last Gasp - Review: “If It Ain’t Broke...”

It’s been quite the tough time in BAU land lately. The ball of nastiness that is Assistant Director Barnes has been wreaking havoc the past few episodes, much to the chagrin of both the team and us viewers. Seriously, this whole storyline has been met with some pretty vocal reactions on both ends, in a way that reminds me very much of the response to Reid’s prison arc last season.

To briefly recap: Barnes has been suspicious of Emily’s leadership skills since becoming unit chief, to the point where Emily was put on suspension and JJ promoted to running the team. But she didn’t stop there. Barnes has a history of splitting up teams for her own personal gain, and she did that very thing to the BAU as well. The last episode ended with the team being actively disbanded and sent off to different jobs entirely.

And that leads us into what would definitely rank as one of the weirdest, most offbeat episodes in the show’s history here. In this episode alone we briefly get to see the team in their new jobs, there’s a case, but it doesn’t follow the usual formula, and there’s a lot of jumping around between different aspects of the story. Quite a setup to give the latest cast member to direct an episode, as this marks Adam Rodriguez’ directing debut for “Criminal Minds”. Luckily, he directed episodes of his former show, “CSI: Miami”, so at least he wasn’t thrown into the wackiness completely unprepared.

Speaking for myself, I ultimately liked the episode overall, and I’ve been interested in this storyline in general. But I do think there’s a lot of valid discussion to be had regarding the criticisms of this storyline, too, and I’ll be addressing those critiques later on in this review. Since this episode’s format was unusual, the format of my review will follow suit, so before we dig into the case, and the whole Barnes situation, let’s start off by seeing how the team’s dealing with their new jobs.

Not-So-Green Pastures:

A comment from Luke at one point makes it clear that there’s been a time jump between the last episode and this one. Everyone’s been in their new settings for two weeks at this point, but judging from their general attitudes thus far, it feels like it’s been much longer.

“For a rogue agent, you’re pretty uptight.”

Emily: Initially, it looks as though she’s helping to take in our unsub of the week, but no. Turns out she has been reassigned to an OPR unit, aka, the FBI version of Internal Affairs, where she helps bust johns and the prostitutes who visit them. Her new co-worker, Odenkirk, is really obnoxious about his job, thinking he’s all badass. Emily criticizes him for his behavior, but he doesn’t take too kindly to her words to him. The above quote is his actual response to her, to which I say, if you think she’s uptight, buddy, especially after reading her file? Yeah, you really don’t know Emily Prentiss at all.

“Who knew there were so many dysfunctional partners in the Bureau?”

Tara: She’s using her psychology skills to help other FBI agents with their issues, and the clients she’s seeing this episode are...a bit unusual, and may seem rather familiar to many a viewer. It’s a male/female duo, with a redhead woman who’s a skeptical scientific sort yet also religious, and a man who’s fascinated by, if not downright obsessed with, the paranormal. They’re struggling to reconcile their very different worldviews, but they can’t bear to not work together. Gee. Yeah. Total mystery who they’re supposed to resemble.

Honestly, though, as entertainingly bizarre as this scene is...Tara’s a forensic psychologist. Her job is to interview criminals, not play therapist to fellow FBI agents. So I’m not entirely sure why she’s doing this job, other than as a possible way to show that Barnes really doesn’t understand these people’s particular skill sets and is crap at knowing where to assign people.

Anywho, Emily and Tara’s new jobs are getting to them, and they meet up at her place one night to share some wine and mock the weirdos they work with. Emily also tells Tara that Odenkirk apparently has rank body odor, so, yeah, she and Tara have my sympathies. She also lets slip at one point that she actually looked through Barnes’ file to see if there was any dirt on her...but to her disappointment, there’s nothing there. Barnes is as clean as a whistle. So they just gotta continue to grin and bear it around her for now. Sounds like a kind of defeatist attitude for a team that’s fought back hard against every other investigation they’ve been a part of in the past, though, I gotta say.

Hopefully the rest of the team’s new jobs are going a little more swimmingly, right? Well...

“I shouldn’t be telling you guys this, but I’m definitely putting this on the final.”

Reid: He’s in the midst of a lecture when we check in on him. He’s explaining the difference between triggers and stressors to what looks to be a very captive – and mostly female – group of students, only to soon learn that most of the students didn’t even bother to actually enroll in the class. Rather, they simply audited it, apparently for the opportunity to ogle their attractive new teacher. And honestly, I can’t really say I blame them. Reid getting all enthusiastic over getting to teach a subject he’s invested in is kind of freaking adorable.

I do think it would’ve been rather neat, though, if we’d also gotten a scene or two of the students actively participating in the class and engaging with Reid somehow. It would’ve been fun to see them eagerly answering his questions, or volunteering to demonstrate some aspect of what he was teaching. And I would’ve liked to see students enrolling at the end, too, to show that even though Reid wasn’t their teacher anymore, he inspired them to properly sign up for the class.

“When you draw down on a suspect, the line is, ‘FBI! Put your hands up!’ Not ‘Freeze, scumbag!’.”

Rossi: His new job is perhaps my personal favorite of everyone’s. He may have been forced into retirement, but he’s damn sure not going to just sit around and do nothing all day. Instead, he’s now a consultant on some crime show, helping make sure the technical jargon is accurate and that the man playing the FBI agent is believable. Unfortunately, the actor doesn’t exactly seem all that interested in accuracy, much to Rossi’s obvious and increasing frustration. I know he’s just published a new book, but maybe he would’ve had a better time staring at his computer screen and trying to write something new?

“Bank robbers killing bankers? Let’s look at this from the POV of the media coverage. Who’s the emotional victim?”

JJ, Luke, and Matt: They continue to try and work with Barnes as best they can, but it should be no surprise to anyone that that’s far easier said than done. They present Barnes with a couple possible cases worth taking. The first one involves a pair of unsubs going around murdering bankers. Barnes instantly refuses that one, though, because she thinks the public might actually be more sympathetic to the unsubs than the bankers. Crappy reason, yes, but honestly? I hate to admit it, but knowing how people can be, she may not be entirely wrong on that.

So then they present a case involving an “angel of death” who’s targeting elderly immigrants. Surely that’s a case worth taking on, right? Nope. Barnes’ reason for turning this one down? “We need cases that unite the public. I can already hear people asking why they should care about a dead Mexican grandma.” Well, screw you, too, Barnes! Sheesh. Seriously, if looks could kill, the expression Luke threw Barnes here would’ve struck her dead right then and there. JJ doesn’t have time for Barnes’ BS, either, and chews her out, noting that twenty-six people have died since Barnes has sidelined the BAU. Barnes reminds her that her job is to make the BAU look good, and that ends that little conversation.

And if things weren’t stressful enough for these three, they’ve also had to deal with Ned. Who’s Ned? He’s the guy who’s taken over Garcia’s role, and not good at his job. Like, at all. He’s constantly late, and isn’t very detailed in the research he does. And since Barnes has zapped virtually all the patience out of JJ, Ned winds up bearing the brunt of a lot of her leftover anger as a result. See what happens when they lose the bright spot that is Garcia?

That said, however, while I totally sympathize with their longing to get her back, and while it’s true that so much stuff is online nowadays, and it’s a much faster research method...there wasn’t a Garcia back in the early days of the BAU. And there still has to be paper files and trails, and other non-technological means of finding whatever information they need. It would be interesting to see JJ, Luke, and Matt having to go that route for a while, and would spare poor Ned any further stress as well.

“So this whole place is like a giant game of Whack-a-Mole?”

Garcia: So just where is Garcia working now, then? Why, the cyber crimes division, of course. And when we see her, it’s very clear that she is none too happy about being away from her friends, or having to dress all professional. To make matters even worse, she’s restricted in the amount of personal items she can have on her desk! Three things is the maximum! This just ain’t cool. The only positive aspect of Garcia’s new job is her co-worker, a sweet, soft spoken woman named Anita. They hit it off pretty quickly, with Anita complimenting Garcia on a little unicorn figurine she owns.

Given what Garcia has to secretly do later, though, maybe cyber crimes isn’t the best place for her – I’m thinking they’re less sympathetic to hackers, the way the BAU is. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As the episode starts, Garcia’s new job seems pretty uneventful. She’s basically responsible for looking through people’s computers and collecting evidence for the cases her unit works. Once she passes on the evidence, that’s where her part ends, as she isn’t kept up to date much on the aftermath. That doesn’t sit right with her, given she’s used to keeping in touch with her teammates during a case, and sharing information back and forth, but that’s how they roll here. So when she’s asked to look through a hard drive for a guy named Adam Jeffries, who’s currently being charged with multiple counts of identity theft, she thinks it’ll just be another typical run through.

Until the mysterious, creepy pictures appear, that is.

The Case:

Apparently identity theft wasn’t enough of a crime for ol’ Adam. His hard drive reveals that he has some rather disturbing images that involve two women saved on there as well. A couple of the photos initially appear pretty innocuous – each woman is smiling and looking perfectly happy in her respective picture. But then two more pictures of the first of the two women pop up, and they’re much darker in nature. One photo features her being held captive somewhere, all beaten and tortured, the other has her in some kind of makeshift coffin, and she appears to be dead. The time stamp on those three pictures shows they were taken a few days ago, and the time stamp for the lone “happy” photo of the second woman shows it to be much more recent.

Garcia immediately takes the photos to her boss, but he doesn’t feel they’re of any concern. He believes these photos are nothing more than some sort of really taboo, kinky fetish stuff that one can find in the weirder corners of the internet. Garcia is not on board with this reasoning, and keeps insisting they investigate this further. Her boss stands his ground, however – he won’t look into this. But, he points out, if she feels there’s something more here, she can take her concerns to those who can properly investigate the matter. Like, oh, say, the BAU…

“This woman? She’d be number twenty-seven. If she dies, her blood is on your hands.”

Garcia then sends the photos off to JJ, who takes them to Barnes. Unfortunately, she seems to agree with the whole “faked, kinky fetish” angle. JJ, who is well beyond the end of her rope with Barnes at this point, presses her to look closer. She explains how she’s seen far too many photos and crime scenes similar to this over the years, to where she can tell what genuine terror looks like. She’s convinced these photos are the real deal, and she makes it clear to Barnes what the consequences of her refusing to help these women would be.

Barnes’ heart remains ice cold, however, and JJ is just done. So very done. She storms back into the bullpen, and Luke and Matt only have to look at her face to know what her determined walk means. The BAU is back in business!

“The BAU started in a room just like this one. If this is how it goes out, so be it.”

The team’s reunion spot isn’t the most official setting – it’s at Emily’s house. But they have to meet there, because, as Emily makes very clear to the others, they’re defying direct orders by working this case. And no matter how secretive they may try and be, there’s always a chance Barnes could find out about them going behind her back. If she does, they could all lose their jobs for good.

Everyone seems pretty well okay with taking that risk, though, and get right down to work. Since they don’t know the names of these women, or any other information about them, all they have to go on right now is the photos. They look at the “before/in captivity/post-mortem” pattern of the first woman’s photos, noting the difference in her disheveled, tortured appearance in the “captivity” photo and how posed and cleaned up she is in her final photo. This indicates the unsub likes to display his victims for the people he sells the pictures to.

Since the second woman just has a “before” photo at the moment, that means she’s unfortunately on her way to her “captivity” photo. The fact that she and the other woman look very relaxed and comfortable in their “happy” pictures also implies the unsub clearly had to know these women to some degree. So that allows them to focus on tracking down anyone who knew these women.

Based on the background of the “before” pictures, Garcia believes the women were taken from a particular fancy hotel, so there’s one starting point right there. Luke and JJ head out there, and JJ notices that a painting on one of the walls was in the background of one of the women’s “happy” photos. They ask a man who works at the hotel what he can share about the women, and he’s initially hesitant to reveal too much, but when JJ flashes her FBI badge, then he starts talking. And that’s when things get even more interesting. The women were frequent visitors to that particular hotel, and were seen with many a man on their arm.

In other words, they’re escorts. And the men they were with were very high profile types, notably, politicians. Not hard to see why one would want to keep that hush-hush. So these women are clearly not hurting for cash, and neither are the men they’re with – not only can they afford to go to fancy hotels, but when Emily and Reid look closer at the photos, Emily notices a wine rack next to the woman. The unsub’s holding her in a wine cellar, and those sorts of rooms tend to be in very old, fancy homes. So between the fancy hotels and the wine cellar, the unsub clearly comes from money of some kind.

Sure enough, when we do see our unsub, he’s very different from the creepy person we initially see. He goes from wrapping one of the women’s bodies in a body bag, and then dumping it into an incinerator, and creepily whispering to another woman about wanting to take pictures… taking some wine and a couple glasses upstairs to what looks like quite a little shindig going on in his house. He’s schmoozing and flirting away with people, and makes a point of chatting it up with a woman he hasn’t seen since she was not even twenty years old. He impresses her with some wine, asks about her dad, and the two reminisce a bit. He also takes her photo. Oh, dear.

Rossi and Matt, meanwhile, head out to see Adam in prison. He believed what Garcia’s boss and Barnes believed about the photos, that they were simply fetish porn. Basically, the unsub would send him photos, and he’d sell or give them away to anyone who was interested. When he refuses to give up the remaining pictures he owns, Rossi and Matt inform him that all the photos are very much real, and one of the women is dead. And if he doesn’t cooperate, he could be charged as an accessory. Adam freaks out at this news, and cooperates. Smart move.

The case gets even more messed up when Garcia tells Emily and JJ that further investigation into Adam’s Dropbox account reveals that those two women were not the unsub’s only victims. The woman they believed to be the guy’s first victim was actually his second, the second woman his third, and sadly, the team is now too late to save them both, as their respective trio of photos are all in that account now. So now the team has to focus on finding the unsub’s very first victim, and time is of the essence, as the first photo of a fourth woman has recently appeared online.

While the others do some digging for the elusive first victim, JJ meets with Reid to tell him about forty (!) “captivity” and “death” photos of one of the women that have been discovered in Adam’s hard drive. As Reid examines them, he notices that that the unsub is intentionally trying to hide the specific moment when the woman’s fear shows on her face. The types of victims he’s picked are telling, too – he’s moved on from targeting call girls to targeting women from prominent families. His first victim may well help explain why he goes after these particular women.

Sure enough, soon after, while looking up similar crimes in the area from the past few years, Garcia comes across the curious case of a woman named Tracy Ferguson, who was found dead in a manner very much like that of the other women. Her death was big news when it happened back in 2010, because she was the daughter of a prominent politician. The exact details of her death aren’t readily apparent, however, because her file was sealed by a particular field agent who worked that case.

That field agent? None other than Assistant Director Barnes. Hmmm... So basically, as Reid points out to JJ, if she wants to learn more about Tracy, she’ll have to essentially out their secret investigation to Barnes.

It’s a risk worth taking, though. When Barnes asks JJ why she’s so interested in this file, that’s when she spills the beans on the team’s involvement. Needless to say, Barnes is NOT happy about this, but she does take a moment to discuss Tracy’s case. She explains that Tracy was a runaway and a junkie, and lived a wild life. Seven men had been with her the night she died, and needles were found strewn around her body in her hotel room. Her death was believed to be due to an overdose, and Barnes sealed Tracy’s file because she didn’t want to make a public spectacle of her death, in an attempt to spare Tracy’s dad the media scrutiny. As she shares this story, she actually shows a hint of what may be genuine emotion.

Barnes still plans to keep that file sealed, too, and because she’s mad about JJ allowing the team to disobey her, she also relieves her of her duties entirely. JJ tells Emily what happened, but Emily’s not deterred. Emily then asks Garcia to hack the photos that were taken of Tracy the night she died, to see if they can get any further clues from them. Anita, who’s caught on to what’s happening, distracts their boss so he doesn’t get wise to Garcia’s actions. I officially love her.

Garcia’s hacking, of course, proves successful, as the team notices a rare and expensive bottle of wine sitting in the background. She tracks recent purchases of that brand of wine, and voila, they have their unsub, a man named Kevin. It’s then that the team sees the news reports on the current missing woman, Jessica. Her father’s pleading for help, with Barnes right by his side. They can’t help noticing the obvious physicals similarity between Jessica and Tracy, and there’s a reason for that. Because as they learn more about Kevin, they find out that he knew Tracy very well. How so? His mom married Tracy’s dad when Kevin was thirteen and Tracy was nineteen.

Kevin and Tracy were the definition of night and day siblings. Tracy was the screw up kid, the drug addict, and Kevin was the good, upstanding young man who did right, winning over his stepfather. There was one rather unsettling problem with Kevin, however. He had a creepy infatuation of sorts with his stepsister. The feeling wasn’t mutual, though. Kevin’s mom was a stripper, and because of that, Tracy didn’t think much of Kevin and his mom, even going so far as to call her stepmother “white trash”. Not to speak ill of the dead or anything, but what’s that saying about those who live in glass houses?

That attitude changed, however, when Kevin inherited a trust fund from his stepdad. Then Tracy became all buddy-buddy with him. He would use the money from his trust fund to help fuel Tracy’s drug addiction, which worked for her, since her dad cut her off financially to punish her for her addiction. The trust fund money apparently wasn’t enough, though, as Tracy also became a prostitute to further fund her habit.

And that’s how she and Kevin found themselves at the hotel one night with seven other men. Kevin apparently actually watched as Tracy had sex with the men, and hoped to have his own turn with her, because that’s not super creepy at all. Tracy shut Kevin down, however, and shocker of shockers, he did not respond well to her rejection. He injected Tracy with a lethal dose of heroin, and then went dormant for eight years. Recently, however, a friend of Kevin’s, who also ran in the same prominent circles as Tracy, returned home from a trip overseas, and her return, and resemblance to Tracy, was enough to trigger him and kickstart his killing spree. That woman’s name? Jessica. She was the woman he was chatting it up with at the party.

Soon after, Rossi and Matt head out to Kevin’s creepy lair, but see no sign of him or Jessica there. They then figure he likely took her to the same hotel where he was with Tracy the night she died, and that’s where they find him and Jessica. The two of them are decked out in bathrobes, with him whispering about how he never got to be with Tracy the night she was with those other men, and how he would’ve taken care of her had she let him. Seriously, I’m feeling like I need a good long shower here, ‘cause this guy is beyond scuzzy. They take Kevin in, and are relieved to find that Jessica is alive. Her dad gets the opportunity afterward to thank the BAU for their help.

In regards to the case itself, it seemed a mixed bag to me. On the one hand, like with “False Flag” from earlier in the season, I feel the unusual structure of the episode, which was generally well done, worked in the case’s favor. Since we got a glimpse of the unsub fairly early on, the show was smart to keep the suspense focused on other aspects of the case. I wasn’t entirely sure how the case would unfold and ultimately be solved, I think they did well in slowly revealing Kevin’s motive along the way, and the growing list of victims added to the genuine horror of the entire situation.

And for an episode that had to juggle the team being separated, and later working a case, alongside Kevin’s creepy scenes, the general storyline remained pretty easy to follow throughout. I admire Rodriguez for being able to take on such a strange premise as he did, and feel his direction gave the episode the appropriate urgency (I especially loved the scenes of JJ making a beeline into the bullpen). I also liked the setup for the case itself. Kevin was suitably creepy, and I’m always intrigued by the cases that reveal there’s way more to the initial story than what the team originally believed.

Thing is, though, Kevin was so creepy to the point where it seemed a bit odd to me that he could lure in the sorts of women he nabbed. Yes, he’s got plenty of money, which, for some women, can allow them to overlook any negative aspects of a man, and escorts can and do hook up with whomever’s willing to pay them the money they’re looking for.

But even so, he still didn’t really look like the sort of guy they’d bother to spend much time with. He wasn’t all that suave, he was kind of dorky-looking, and he just looked like somebody who could make a woman feel awkward very quickly, even setting aside his violent urges. Tracy didn’t even really want anything to do with him, and she was his stepsister. All they would’ve wanted was his money, and I imagine women of their status could find ways to get it that didn’t involve spending much time with him. The fact he had to go to escorts at all indicates he wasn’t having much luck with your average woman.

It also seems weird to me that he watched Tracy have sex with other men, but didn’t do something similar with any of the other women. Obviously, he wouldn’t want to go through another rejection, and I get that the photos were kind of his way of “sharing” these women with other men, the way he’d planned to with Tracy. But somebody who’s perverted enough to watch their own stepsister have sex with multiple guys in the same night...I dunno, I would think some element of that would show up more prominently in his actual crimes themselves somehow. If a guy does something like that, especially a guy who’s a serial killer, I can’t imagine it’d be just a one time deal.

I also wish we could’ve learned a little more about the women themselves. Even if we didn’t know their names, maybe we could’ve learned a detail or two about their lives. Did they have children? Were the women who were escorts looking to get out of the business before Kevin got to them, or have any bad experiences with men before (that could’ve allowed a little mystery regarding who the suspect was)? What were their struggles, their interests? Stuff like that. We only ever got to know these women through their horrific ends. It would’ve been nice to balance that out with what they were like when they were alive.

And I can’t imagine the higher ups would be satisfied with knowing an assistant director is actively denying the BAU an opportunity to investigate a case. Surely JJ could’ve gone to the director themselves to tell them that Barnes was denying them the chance to work a case, so as to spare them having to do this in secret at all. I also think the show missed a really good opportunity with Barnes’ initial involvement in this case here – when it was revealed she sealed Tracy’s file, I thought that we’d learn she had some sort of shady connections to the politicians in town, or knew the real story about Tracy’s death and covered it up for some reason that benefited her or somebody else.

That kind of cover up strategy could’ve also explained her careful picking of other BAU cases as well, and would’ve added to the reasons to take her down, and perhaps better explain her reason for targeting the team. Emily’s comment about there being no dirt on Barnes felt like foreshadowing, so for the show to not follow up on that somehow is rather a shame, honestly.

Speaking of Barnes, is she still going to remain a thorn in the team’s side?

Ding Dong, the Witch is Gone:

After the case wraps up, Emily informs the senator, right in front of a clearly annoyed and embarrassed Barnes, about JJ’s recent termination. This news does not make the senator happy, and he states, in no uncertain terms, that he will see to it the BAU is funded and staffed to full capacity. He also tells Emily she has full authority to staff the BAU her way...and then asks Barnes to speak with him privately. Ooh, somebody’s in trouble!

The next day, everyone is reunited in the bullpen, celebrating their return to their old jobs, desks, and, in Garcia’s case, regular clothes. Emily then announces to the happy gang that Barnes was specifically told to never touch the BAU ever again, putting an end to their nightmare at long last. The team is back! Woo!

And how do the people at their other jobs fare? Odenkirk gets a new partner who brings along an air freshener. The Mulder and Scully couple, upon realizing Tara’s not there to chat with them, decide to spend their time making out instead. Reid leaves a message for the students that they’ll all get As...if they officially enroll in the class he was teaching. The actor on the crime show decides to quit. JJ fires Ned. And Anita? She and Garcia have a sweet little goodbye moment, with Garcia gifting Anita her unicorn figurine. She also thanks Anita for distracting their boss, and credits her with doing her part to help their case and save Jessica’s life. Aw. I really hope those two keep in touch.

So. That’s it. Barnes is out. Seems kind of an abrupt end, doesn’t it? Especially given how dramatically she’d disbanded the team in the last episode. And it’s because of that abrupt ending that I totally get people’s complaints of, “ that’s it? What was the point?” I mean, it’s certainly not like the show needed to prove the team’s loyalty to each other or anything like that – we’ve got thirteen years’ worth of examples of the team standing by each other through thick and thin. Tell us something we don’t know, right?

There wasn’t any suspense in the team’s disbanding, either, because we knew full well it wouldn’t be a permanent thing. In fact, lovely as it was to see the team celebrate getting back together at the end of this episode, I’d wished we could’ve seen these guys in their new jobs for at least another episode or two. If you’re going to split them up, you gotta let that decision stick a while. Not only would that have allowed us more fun scenes of them in their new jobs, but letting the separation last a few episodes would’ve made their inevitable reunion that much more rewarding.

Add in the fact that, as noted previously, Barnes investigating the team is very similar to the way Strauss constantly investigated them, and the fact that we don’t really know why she messed with the team outside of being on some kind of power trip, and yeah. People are right to call this an unnecessary rehashed storyline. They could’ve gone so many interesting places with it. Maybe the team grew suspicious of Matt somehow, thinking he was “protesting too much”, and was actually in on whatever Barnes was plotting.

We could’ve seen team members blaming themselves, or offering to be the sacrifice. Barnes could’ve gone even farther and dug up other things from each person’s past that nobody outside the team knew about to use against them. Or Emily, and later JJ, could’ve had to take a harder line with the rest of the team in certain situations, causing some new tension along the way.

But that very “that’s it?” reaction is precisely why I continue to stick to my theory that this isn’t over yet. What better way to lead us out of this season into, hopefully, the milestone season premiere than to lull the team into a false sense of security, only for the bottom to drop back out? Besides that, I highly doubt Barnes would just slink away so quietly, and go down without any further fight. Even if she’s done showing up this season, that doesn’t mean her plans disappear with her. We don’t necessarily have to see Barnes for the effects of whatever plans she’d had to show themselves, after all. Somebody else could use her seemingly typical investigation to their advantage somehow.

Even if none of the above happens, however, despite the inherent issues with this storyline, I still don’t really mind them doing it, simply because, well, the team has been through a lot of craziness within the past year. And while it’s true that most of it was stuff that Emily had zero control over, and therefore isn’t something she should’ve been punished for, or something that the rest of the team should’ve been harassed over, it seems anytime the team has an extended period of drama, both personal and professional, somebody from outside is always going to come in and try and figure out what’s going on. Strauss wanted to see what was up after all the craziness of season two. The team was interrogated after Emily’s fake death and the hunt for Doyle.

And now, with Hotch being forced out of the BAU and Reid winding up in prison and Stephen dying on the job and so on, it’s only natural another investigation would happen. I don’t know that that’s so much a rehashing at this point as it is just par for the course. Anytime the team goes through something huge, a higher up will inevitably come along and go, “You guys okay out here, or…?” And with Matt coming on board, it was to be expected that Barnes might follow along soon after at some point.

For the time being, though, at least, it looks like things truly are back to normal for the team, and they can take another breather. Let’s hope this break can last as long as humanly possible.

What did you think of the episode? Did you enjoy seeing everyone in their new jobs? Which team member’s new job was your favorite? Did the case work for you, or did it feel a bit haphazard? How happy are you to see Barnes gone? Do you think all is said and done with her, or this storyline in general? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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