‘Criminal Minds’ season 12, episode 7 review: Mr. Scratch tries out brainwashing

Mirror Image -Last time on “Criminal Minds” we saw for the first time a little bit of news regarding what happened to Aaron Hotchner — he’s alive, but at the same exact time, it certainly doesn’t appear as though the character isn’t going to be coming back on the show anytime soon.

So tonight, we moved on, and we did so without really mentioning much of Thomas Gibson’s character at all. Instead, what we ended up seeing was a story all about mind control, and about Tara’s brother-who-wasn’t-actually-her-brother after all. We saw tonight more of the story of Gabriel, a man who didn’t exactly have the bet relationship with Aisha Tyler’s character. The two were brothers, but when the idea of him first surfacing came up, many members of the BAU were worried about what exactly it was that he wanted.

What we learned instead was that this guy wasn’t actually Gabriel at all — instead, he was Desmond, a man under some mind-control at the hands of Mr. Scratch who entered Tara’s world and got very closer to her. The scene at the coffee house proved to be rather terrifying for Tara given that she was looking into the eyes of someone claiming to be someone who he wasn’t. This also was not a guy who was willing to claim anything different for the longest time. Desmond wasn’t trying to hurt Tara on Gabriel; he was just broken, and victimized by people who possessed that ability and had an ax to grind.

The good news that Tara learned near the end of the episode was that her brother was in fact still alive. They were able to find him still alive, which is one of the few moments of relief Tara had over the course of this. Unfortunately, this moment of relief was offset by the sentiment that many members of the BAU may have walked into a trap designed for the largest and most horrible sort of impact. There were multiple bullets, terrified characters, but luckily everyone made it through alive. Oh, the power of teamwork! We don’t know how they all made it through this, but we’re pretty darn happy that they did.

In terms of last-minute rescues, this has to take the cake as one of the most terrifying ones that we’ve seen — it probably would’ve done the show some good to let things settle down a little bit at the end. Yet, this was an atypical episode in many ways given there was no typical resolution, and we have a feeling we’re going to be hearing the name of a certain demented criminal architect in Mr. Scratch once more in the episodes to come.


We won’t pretend that this was a perfect “Criminal Minds” episode, given that we wanted more from the entire cast, and it’s still a little jarring how little of an impact Hotch’s departure apparently has — even if we understand that the show has to move on for the sake of syndication and other matters. That just doesn’t make our sentiment any different in the moment. Grade: B.

What did you think of tonight’s episode of “Criminal Minds”? Leave a comment in the box below and share your thoughts with us. If you want more scoop on “Criminal Minds” season 12 then head on over to the link here. (Photo: CBS)

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