Criminal Minds ‘Awake’ Review

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WARNING: This review contains spoilers

After last week’s shocker of Garcia finding out that she is actually the Dirty Dozen and the target of the hit men that the team has been focusing on alongside their other cases, Hotch informs her that she’s going to be put into witness protection, effective immediately. Morgan, Hotch, and Garcia have been the one’s shown the most involved in the search of these men, and even though Morgan told Garcia that he wasn’t going to let anything happen to her, I think every Criminal Minds fan already knew that. Morgan would do anything to protect Garcia and that’s what worries me most. I’ve got an inkling that this could come down to the two of them in danger. If this all ends well, and fingers crossed that it does, then I’m really glad that Garcia is getting a story line. She deserves more attention on the show. This added stress doesn’t stop her from doing her job, she’s as efficient as ever.

It looks like JJ’s newborn, Micheal, isn’t sleeping through the night anymore. When we first see her she’s asleep in the elevator. Of course, Morgan had to get a joke in about her being tired from a late night with her husband. Too bad he has it all wrong, and Tara knows it. JJ and Tara hit it off immediately, which I expected, but what wasn’t expected was how great of a dynamic they became so quickly. They were paired together most of the case, which was a good thing because we’ve already gotten to see how Tara works with everyone else.

When they all sit down at the round table to brief the case, Reid’s chair is empty. He’s in Las Vegas and taking JJ’s advice of visiting his mother as the doctors work on finding a new medication to help with her schizophrenia.

The team is taken to Phoenix in search of an unsub driven by guilt and rage because of his daughter’s abduction. After a long day at work, he decided to stop at a rest stop and get a few minutes of sleep before finishing the drive home with Tatiana (his daughter) in the backseat. A few minutes of sleep turns into a few hours and when he wakes up she is gone and all he can remember is someone with a skull tattoo on their hand knocking on the car window. When her body was found a week earlier, this triggers him to kill. He tortures his victims and forces them to stay awake because he wishes he had. He believes that each of his victims is the man that took his daughter.

It’s ironic that while this unsub is forcing his victims to stay awake, JJ is having trouble staying awake herself. She even falls asleep on the way to the crime scene of the 2nd victim. She’s having to adjust to being back and with having two kids instead of one. After her weeks of absence, I think it’s great that she’s getting more screen time, fans missed her! Plus, more JJ in an episode is NEVER a bad thing. JJ also spoke with and comforted the wife of the second victim, another skill that she obtained from her former job with the BAU before becoming a profiler. We don’t see it often, but it’s nice to see her step in and take on those roles again every once in a while. She fits it so well.

JJ’s sleepiness actually ends up cracking the case when she realizes that the unsub is using sleep deprivation on his victims and making them stay awake. Their high caffeine levels confirms this. After rescuing David, (the third victim) the unsub refuses to believe that his daughter’s body was found, and tries to drive away to find her, resulting in Tara shooting him in the head.

JJ is struggling to get some shut eye on the jet ride home and Morgan and Rossi try to help her sleep by channeling their inner Reid and spewing facts about how the light from her phone was the thing keeping her awake but before they’re even done speaking she’s out.

Tara reveals to Hotch that she doesn’t believe the unsub’s daughter just wondered off, and it turns out she’s right as we end on a rather creepy note. A mother and a daughter stop to wait out the rain and a man with a skull tattoo knocks on the window and tells them that their taillight is out. Could this be something they BAU comes back to later on? Or is this just a ending signifying that there’s always someone else to catch?

A few thoughts:

  • We saw what the unsub looked like in the first ten minutes which is unfortunate. I miss not seeing who was actually behind things until the end. However, I think the amount of interactions we got between the main characters and how good the story line of the case was makes up for that.
  • Hotch seemed to show no concern towards JJ’s sleepiness. This seemed really out of character for him. After all, he’s the only other parent on the team who could relate to the whole being up all night with a newborn. With her constant falling asleep, this was obviously more than a little tiredness. Even with his profound trust in JJ, he should have been concerned that she wouldn’t be alert enough to go out in the field. He’s usually on top of things like that, and I don’t know why they didn’t add something in.
  • The JJ/Morgan scenes were a perfect touch, especially seeing how uncomfortable he was when he offers her coffee and realizes she can’t take it because she’s still nursing – but has no problem talking about her sex life.
  • I wish they’d do more main character focused episodes like this, those are always my favorites.

“Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death.” – Coco Chanel (Spoken by JJ)


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