Criminal Minds Season 9 Review “200”

After taking a week off last week, Criminal Minds returned tonight with the appropriately titled episode “200”. If you couldn’t tell by the rather obtuse episode title, this is the 200th episode of the show, so they’re celebrating the way that most shows do by trotting out as many guest stars as possible!

The actual story of the episode picks right back up where the last one ended, with JJ being abducted by some shadowy and mysterious figures. We quickly find out that she actually worked in Afghanistan trying to track down Bin Laden, and her kidnapper is Tivon Askari, an Iraqi interpreter that worked with her in Afghanistan. These torture scenes between JJ, Askari, and Cruz were definitely very tough to watch. It’s always difficult seeing a character that you’ve grown so close to after seeing her in so many episodes being brutally tortured like that. I didn’t really care about Cruz, and I continue to be annoyed by the weird flirtation that they had going on, but I was very happy to have this background into their relationship. It certainly helps me understand why they had such a strong connection, since they had to safeguard such an important state secret.

This glimpse into JJ’s time away from the BAU was filled with several guest stars. Jayne Atkinson returned with a small cameo as Strauss, and Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica) as the turncoat Michael Hastings. I just recently enjoyed watching Penikett in a more villainous role on Supernatural, so it was fun seeing him back at it here. The reveal that he was behind the whole thing was pretty surprising. I totally thought that Cruz was the one behind it for a while, so I was impressed they were able to pull that one over on me.

The highly publicized returning guest star was Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss, but I was a bit let down by this appearance. She didn’t really do anything too helpful instead of share an anecdote about a conversation between her and JJ. I would have much preferred that Prentiss get JJ’s Blackbird SOS signal and then just rush to the states and show up unannounced to save the day. This overhyped return didn’t really resonate with what we got on screen.

While it was pretty fun seeing everybody getting back together, some parts of the story didn’t actually make much sense. The first part that didn’t really ring true was the fact that the state department seemed so completely disinterested in finding Cruz and JJ. Disregard the fact that there’s two of your employees who have been captured and are likely being tortured, but there’s a very strong possibility that they could divulge state secrets. It’s almost as if they wanted them to die with their secrets, but that didn’t make any sense. Why weren’t they working with the BAU, or at the very least using all of their limitless resources to find them?!

I was also a bit confused by the whole “Integrity” thing. Either I’m just not getting it or it wasn’t explained well, but I thought it was just a database of information concerning Bin Laden. If that’s true, then why did Hastings care so much to get it back? Isn’t the whole Bin Laden issue kind of…over? Maybe this flew over my head, but I still think it could have been better explained.

Despite some odd story choices, it was still good fun to see everybody back together. I’m hoping we can have Prentiss join the team again in the future, and hopefully in a more interesting capacity. Maybe we’ll save that for episode 300!

Random Thoughts:

– So your son’s birthdate is too obvious as a combination for a safe, but the year you became a mom is not?

– What were we supposed to get by Hastings’ broken phone screen at the end? That the Integrity files had all been uplaoded and there was no way to retrieve them? Or that they were destroyed along with the phone?

– I didn’t realize until recently that the kid who plays JJ’s son Henry is actually AJ Cook’s soon in real life.