Criminal Minds Season 8 Review “Magnificent Light”

Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 9 "Magnificent Light"

Criminal Minds returned tonight with another solid episode in “Magnificent Light”, where our team tries to catch a motivational speaker in Seattle.

I’ve always been a fan of the Criminal Minds episodes that show us who the unsub is from the very beginning, so I was really enjoying seeing Barry Flynn’s quick little character development. Flynn was played by Patrick Fabian, who some people might recognize from his work on Joan of Arcadia, also starring Joe Mantegna! However, just when I was getting used to Flynn being the unsub, we find out it’s somebody else entirely!

The real unsub was Flynn’s biggest fan Carl Finster, played by Raphael Sbarge. Most people will recognize Sbarge as Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket from Once Upon a Time, and he was great here. I’ve only ever seen him on Once Upon a Time, and he plays a totally different kind of character on that show. Now that I’ve seen him play a psychotic killer, I honestly feel like this is the kind of character he should be playing from now on!

I don’t know if any of you are fans of Showtime’s Dexter or not, but tonight’s episode really reminded me of the Jordan Chase storyline from season five of that show. The whole idea of a motivational speaker influencing people to kill definitely was reminiscent of Chase and his “barrel girls”. Yeesh, that season still gives me the shivers.

Tonight’s episode was bookended by a couple scenes between Garcia and Morgan, and I really loved seeing Penelope influence Derek into giving a speech about his father’s old partner. These two have had probably a better relationship than any other two characters in this show, so it’s always fun seeing them together. The real excitement, though, came after Derek gave his moving speech!

The Creep is back!!! We haven’t seen this mysterious figure since the premiere episode, but we now know that they are not only collecting pictures of the BAU team, but also their DNA and pictures of their unsub’s victims! I’m really loving the idea of an ongoing “Big bad” on Criminal Minds, so I can’t wait to see who this is. Do you guys think this is somebody we already know? Or is it a brand new character? Sound off in the comments below!

Random Thoughts:

– Did anybody else think the scene of JJ eating popcorn on the plane was weird? They really focused on the bowl of popcorn being placed in front of her and showing her eat it. What was the point of that?

– I like how the Space Needle was clearly visible from right outside the room where the team was giving the profile. It’s as if they were saying “See! We’re in Seattle, you guys! I promise we’re not on a soundstage in Los Angeles!”

– Raphael Sbarge, the guy who played the unsub Carl Finster, was also in an episode of the short lived Criminal Minds spinoff show Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior!