‘Criminal Minds’ Recap: 8.17 – The Gathering (Spoilers)

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The Breakdown

The show started off with the team discussing The Replicator case.  Agent Hotchner wanted to work that case along with their other cases.  Unfortunately, his boss was not in agreement.  Section Chief Erin Strauss informed the team that since there was nothing new with it; The Replicator case was considered “dormant” and made inactive.  They were to focus their attention on the cases that needed their help.  Reluctantly, Hotchner and the team agreed.

And so, the next case began.  After a short fight with her boyfriend outside of a bar in Minnesota, a woman was rescued by a man who happened to be in the area.  After the boyfriend retreated back to the bar, the woman was attacked by the man eventually leading to her murder and her tongue being removed. 

As the case evolved it was discovered that two other women in Minnesota were also murdered and had their tongues removed.  Medical reports indicated no drugs, no sexual assault and nothing in common between the victims except location.

In the midst of their casework, Penelope Garcia and her ex-boyfriend Kevin ran into one of Garcia’s old flames in a coffee shop.  Kevin was bothered by the amount of information this flame knew about her that he did not.

As the investigation on the case continued, it was brought to light that each of the women had a significant online presence.  Social media networks were being researched.  It was then time for the profile to be presented.  To sum it up, the UnSub turned women’s fantasies posted online into reality, finishing up by removing their tongues. 

With the next victim not having an online presence at all, the team was only stumped for only a short time.  The victim had an acquaintance that maintained a blog dedicated to her.  This led the team to the discovery of a story swapping site where users would share fantasies of murder, rape, and torture.  They then discovered a type of writing therapy in which people would write out their fantasies.

Their UnSub turned out to be a member of one of the therapy groups.  However, a twist took place where another UnSub popped up!  The leader of the group was involved as well as their UnSub.  The UnSub discovered this too and “took care of” that leader.  Meanwhile, the team was connecting the dots.

The case ended with the UnSub and his last victim in a swimming pool.  He was reliving her fantasy involving drowning in a lake.  He then pushed her into the pool while bound.  In the nick of time, the team arrived to save the victim and Dr. Reed attempted to talk the UnSub out of taking his own life – with no success.  This had a negative effect on Dr. Reed.

The episode concluded with Garcia and her two men.  After a conversation with Kevin on the phone, she walked into the other room where her flame from the coffee shop was waiting for her.

The Analysis

This episode had a little too much going on at once for me.  It started off discussing The Replicator case, moved onto the current case which turned out to have two UnSubs instead of one, then Garcia’s relationship story was worked in, winding it all up was Reed’s wrong move and its effect on him…it was all a bit much to take in.

Presenting personal stories in TV shows like this is common.  It is important that the audience really get to know the characters.  So, character-specific stories like the Garcia triangle or Reed’s issues, I can forgive.  I think it was those stories along with the case and the confusing way it actually played out that left a bad taste in my mouth.

It took me a while to really “get” what was happening with the UnSubs.  They showed one UnSub all along and the storyline was good until they brought in UnSub #2 – the writing group leader.  I felt totally lost at that point as to who actually did what with which victims!  I enjoy a good twist in any show, but this twist left me feeling confused and wondering why it was necessary.

Did anyone else feel this way about this week’s episode?

 

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About the Author

Sandy Stachowiak
is an IT Project Manager and team manager with a B.S. in Information Technology. She is also a Freelance Writer in her spare time. So, when she is not working or writing she enjoys TV with her family. Dramas and reality shows are her favorites. Sandy has also been an avid horror movie fanatic since she was a kid. Visit her blog at: http://www.sandystachowiak.com.
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