Criminal Minds Season 9 Review “Route 66”

If I’ve learned one thing from watching television and movies for most of my life, it’s that teenagers making out in the back of a car never turns out well. You’ll either end up dead, kidnapped, or with a sense of crippling regret. Criminal Minds reminded us of this cardinal rule tonight with “Route 66”, as 16 year old Samantha Wilcox is supposedly kidnapped in Kansas by her dad.

However, that wasn’t all the drama we got before the credits! Hotchner randomly collapsed while discussing the case, which led to a very trippy dream sequence featuring Meredith Monroe’s return as Haley and C. Thomas Howell returning as The Reaper! We haven’t seen either of these two since they were both killed in season 5, so it was great to see them again in this very unexpected reunion.

It was pretty random to put this storyline into the fifth episode of the season, as this is usually the kind of stuff that you’d save for a finale or premiere episode. I’m also a bit perplexed that we didn’t get this little reunion scene earlier in the series. I mean, this is a callback to season five! Only the hardcore Criminal Minds fans are going to even remember what happened back in the episode “100”, so I applaud the writers for giving their fans the credit to be able to recollect those events without much explanation.

All of the Hotch stuff would have been good enough if it were all by itself, but then we got a great case-of-the-week as well! In the Criminal Minds episodes where they immediately reveal the Unsub’s identity, you have to make sure that they will be a very interesting character. If you aren’t giving us a mystery to try to solve, then we need to enjoy the guy that we’re watching instead. Thankfully the chemistry between Samantha and Eddie was superb, and their storyline gradually escalated in a very satisfying manner. It was a great twist on the Natural Born Killers formula, and I’d love to see even more of their story if possible. Part of me wishes that we could have put the great Hotch stuff into it’s own episode, and then put the great Wilcox family stuff into a different episode. There was definitely enough great material here to stretch across a couple episodes, but combining them resulted in one of the best Criminal Minds episodes in years.

What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– If you’re calling the authorities because you think a wanted criminal is filling up at your gas station, maybe you shouldn’t conspicuously stare at him while he’s filling up his car.

– Does it make anyone else kinda uncomfortable when a 16 year old is in a scene only wearing a towel? I know the actress isn’t actually 16, but it’s still pretty weird.

– Hotchner doesn’t often make me laugh, but his angry refusal at Foyet offering him popcorn really cracked me up for some reason.