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Criminal Minds - 300 - Advance Preview

It’s almost here, everyone! Episode 300. Can you believe it?! Quite the milestone for any series to reach, to be sure, and I can safely assure you all that this show is pulling out all the stops to make this a very memorable milestone.

To briefly recap where we left off at the end of last season: With help from a former FBI agent named Owen Quinn, the BAU discovered an active cult known as the Believers. Their M.O. involved abducting people and either indoctrinating them into the cult or murdering them. In the process, however, the team also learned, to their horror, that the cult was operating within the FBI, with an Agent Meadows from ViCAP (Quinn’s former unit) being connected to the cult. The danger further increased when the season ended on a cliffhanger in which Quinn was shot and Reid and Garcia were kidnapped by Meadows and the cult’s leader, Benjamin. If Reid and Garcia do not comply with the Believers’ orders, one or both of them will die.

The season premiere, naturally, picks up right where we left off, and also delves further into the history of the cult. Along the way, we learn, via flashbacks, about an especially important connection that the Believers have to a certain case in the BAU’s history, one which further explains why they’re targeting the team specifically.

The flashbacks aren’t all dark and case-related, though. We also get some lighter flashbacks that will no doubt make the fans smile, and it’s all done in a really clever, sweet way that acknowledges the team’s history and close bonds. Perhaps the most interesting non-case related throwback, however, is not a flashback, but rather, a moment involving one team member opening up about a moment from the series’ early years that they shared with another teammate.

I imagine some of you are wondering how this episode stacks up against the 100th and 200th episodes. The 100th episode is widely considered a classic in the fandom, but the 200th has people more...divided, to say the least. Fortunately, though, I think people will ultimately be satisfied with this one. I feel it aligns more with the 100th episode, in that while the storyline does connect to one particular team member, that team member isn’t the sole center of the episode. The focus is spread around, and there’s plenty of really great teamwork throughout. It’s especially fun to see the team members who worked the prior case use their memories and experiences from that time to figure out the current one, and the newer team members get to use their own talents and knowledge of various topics in creative ways that prove equally helpful as well.

As for Reid and Garcia, they get a few good moments of their own along the way, both individually and together, in their attempts to save themselves. There’s also a couple very sweet moments involving them as well.

Other fun teasers to tide you over:

-The episode’s title isn’t just the show’s way of saying, “Hey, this is our 300th episode!” It has a deeper meaning in relation to the case itself as well.

-A Bible verse whose words are also the lyrics to a famous song from the 1960s is recited by one of the team members at one point.

-Luke’s sign-language expertise, first introduced last season, comes into play in an important way.

-A character that is no longer on the show gets a very brief mention at one point.

-Somebody’s sporting a new beard!

Feel free to share your predictions and guesses about the episode in the comments!

“Criminal Minds” returns on Wednesday, October 3rd, at 10/9 central on CBS.

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