Criminal Minds Season 9 Review “Bully”

After taking a week off last week, Criminal Minds returned this evening with the interesting installment “Bully”. After giving us the classic Criminal Minds misdirect in the first scene in Los Angeles, we’re suddenly whisked away to Kansas City to meet Blake’s family!

We haven’t learned much about Blake’s background or family, and apparently we aren’t alone. The rest of her team also says that she hasn’t opened up to them about any personal matters either, so I guess that explains why the audience hasn’t learned much either. We’ve met very few family members of any of our group, so it was pretty odd to meet both Blake’s brother and father. At this point we’ve just met Morgan’s Mom, Reid’s mom, Hotch’s brother…and that’s about it.

Brennan Elliott played Alex’s jealous brother Scott, and he’s a homicide detective in Kansas City. Not only that, but their dad used to be the captain of that same police department, so the guy has an understandable inferiority complex. He doesn’t only have a hotshot sister in the FBI, but his dad is a legend in the department where he’s trying to make his own mark. At first it was a little irritating how one-note he was in his jealousy, mostly coming off like a whiny little douchebag, but he thankfully became a lot more fleshed out as the episode went on. It was nice for him to finally accept that he was glad for his sister to come and assist in the investigation, despite how overshadowed he might feel at times.

The Unsub of the week was a guy who was bullied in high school, and has since bulked up and is getting revenge on his old bullies. This is definitely a story device that we’ve seen before in shows like this one, with old high school feuds ending with deadly results. Bullying is such a hot-button issue right now, too, so it made sense that Criminal Minds would get around to it eventually.

Bullying might not be getting as much news and airtime as it was a few years ago, but it’s still a very prevalent issue with our society. What I found especially interesting in this episode was when the Unsub criticized his old teacher for only forcing the bullies to shake his hand afterwards, which was a clear reference to the controversial 2011 documentary “Bully”. If you haven’t seen that film, please go Netflix it immediately. There’s an especially disturbing scene in there where a young man has his life threatened by another student in the high school, and a teacher just asks for them to shake hands. When the kid who is being bullied, beaten up, and threatened on a daily basis refuses to shake hands, he’s the one that gets in trouble!

The last scene between Scott and Blake was very powerful. We found out that Blake’s mother and older brother both died, and that she deserted Scott as soon as they were gone. Scott was coming off as unreasonable and petty when the episode began, but we really came to understand why he really resents his sister. It turns out he’s not mad because she’s a hotshot profiler (Well, maybe he’s a little bitter about that), but he’s really upset because she left him when he needed her the most. Apparently Blake even keeps things from her own flesh and blood, so now I don’t feel too bad that they rarely tell us anything about her character

The last scene was really cute, as the whole team (Penelope included!) all show up for a barbecue with Blake’s family! I love these little bonding moments at the end of some of these episodes, and it really drives home the point that this team is a family. Really great stuff, and I hope to see more of it in the future.

Random Thoughts:

– Blake’s dad’s smile freaked me out when he first walked into the room. I literally yelled out loud.

– Do you think actors have to get paid any extra to be dressed up in ladies underwear? Also, I know that beating people to death with your bare hands isn’t supposed to be funny, but seeing people laying dead on the floor with red lacy panties really took away from the seriousness of the scene.

– I think Blake casually mentioning to her brother that she got shot was the first time she ever made me laugh.