Criminal Minds season 12, episode 15 review: Spencer makes a friend behind bars

Criminal Minds -When we last saw Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds the worst possible outcome went down for him concerning this murder case. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, but was denied bail. This means that he’s going to be in jail for at least three months before his trial begins and he’s going to be separated from his mother who is confused about what’s going on and is blaming herself for everything. Of all the cruelty that Mr. Scratch has inflicted on this team, this is easily the most heart wrenching for us to watch.

We expected prison to be rough on Spencer, but Criminal Minds found a way to make us cringe through his entire prison process. We were a little surprised that all the other criminals being processed had to strip to their underwear and Spencer got to keep his shirt on, but this is primetime and a half undressed Spencer might not fly that well before 10pm (even though this isn’t exactly a family friendly show). At first it looked like Spencer was on a short list of people that were going to be put in protective, but after looking at the list, one of the guards decided to put Spencer in general population instead – is this Mr. Scratch at work to deconstruct Spencer even more? At the very least it seems that the guard just doesn’t like Spencer because he’s FBI.

Back at the office, the team is happy that Spencer didn’t take the plea deal, but at the same time are worried that they are going to lose him for the next 25 years. The problem is that the majority of the rest of the episode for Reid featured him struggling to figure out the right way to survive since there were clearly some prisoners ready to rough him up.

Enter Calvin Shaw (Harold Perrineau), a guy used to being in the system at this point for a crime that he felt he had to commit. He’s also a former FBI agent who killed after finding himself in an extremely challenging position. While we’d certainly have trust issues with anyone behind bars if we were Spencer, for now, it’s nice to see that he does seem to have one friend in there who is willing to do his part in order to help.

The case of the week

This was a case all about power moves and trying to find the best way to mitigate someone with a complex of rage, desperate to take out others because of his own unrequited love. Also, there was face-melting going on. There is a certain element of familiarity to almost every UnSub mystery out there at this point, but what made this case notable was the hands-on way Stephen handled it. He was essential in profiling precisely who this UnSub was, and then led the charge in person to try and talk him down. The man’s rage simply came down to how it was “unfair” that he didn’t get the love others did, and we imagine that there are parts of this that are incredibly difficult. However, there’s a clear difference between fairness and doing something horrific. Consider this a case closed.

Our overall take

The Spencer Reid portion of the story continues to be fantastic, though tony was a slightly slower build than usual. Spencer’s journey now has a friend in it, and there are two clear questions that we’ve got when it comes to Calvin — if he’s really a good guy, and if he is, what could happen to him at the end. Giving Walker a little bit of a showcase helps to elevate the UnSub case slightly past run-of-the-mill. Grade: B.

What did you think of tonight’s episode of Criminal Minds and what do you want to see happen next time? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts. If you want more scoop on what’s coming up on the next new episode of Criminal Minds then head on over to the link here where you can check out a preview. (Photo: CBS)

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