Criminal Minds Season 9 Review “The Black Queen”

Criminal Minds returned tonight with their first episode of 2014 in “The Black Queen”, as we found out more about how Garcia was recruited to the team, as a case from when she first started at the BAU comes back into the forefront.

The opening scene was definitely a surprise for me, since (to the best of my knowledge) we’ve never had confirmation of just how prolific of a hacker Garcia was before she was recruited by the FBI. We knew that she did her fair share of hacking before we started keeping track of her in 2005, but we never knew that the stuff she was doing was so naughty. Apparently Garcia had a little bit of a rebellious streak, as well as a goth stage, but apparently Hotch’s offer was too good to pass up!

That scene led naturally into the hilarious sexual harassment seminar, which seemed like it was directly targeted at Garcia and Morgan. The idea of making Garcia feel bad for her pet names and relationship with Morgan was a persistent plot point throughout the episode, and I was really glad that they didn’t go any further with that thought. When Garcia’s old hacker buddy Shane said that she was demeaning herself by allowing to be called “baby girl”, I was afraid that it would make her think twice about the close relationship she has with Morgan. She even went so far as to call a temporary moratorium on their pet names, which was a huge bummer. Thankfully, by the end of the episode they were back to their old selves and she was enthusiastically describing a Flarpy Blunderguff

The actual case of the week revolving around Sam Russell and the new prostitute killer was a bit of an afterthought, as Garcia’s storyline took the forefront. I’m totally fine with the regular Unsub storylines taking a backseat to substitute for some great character development, so I hope we get more episodes like these in the future.

I also hope that we get a little more of Paulo Costanzo’s Shane. He was a great presence on the show, and I took a much stronger liking to him as a potential mate for Garcia then I ever did with Kevin, despite my love for Nicholas Brendon and Buffy. I loved the digital world where Shane and Garcia met to discuss their terms, as it was a great artistic choice for a show that so rarely takes big visual risks like that. I’m hoping that we can get more character focused episodes in the future, and it looks like 2014 is off to a great start!

Random Thoughts:

– It was pretty crazy timing that Reid mentioned the BTK Killer when briefing the San Jose police officers, considering that the guy who caught that killer just recently passed away two days ago.

– Famous “nerd actor” Jesse Heiman has had a great year! He got to make out with Bar Rafaeli in last year’s infamous Super Bowl ad, and now he got to make out with Kirsten Vangsness! Not bad for the guy who’s best known for being a prolific background actor!

– I don’t know if this was supposed to be funny, but Sam Russell excitedly gripping his rosaries while JJ pulled her hair really cracked me up.