"Criminal Minds" Season 9 Episode 11 manages to surprise viewers once more, this time with an origin story of one of the BAU team.
The spotlight now turns to Blake (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn), the aloof and smart linguist who apparently has a pretty hard background of her own. Behind the rather icy appearance that she can sometimes put up, it's an episode that surprisingly puts on a warm glow to Blake's character.
For "Criminal Minds" Season 9 Episode 11, viewers learn that Blake's surviving families are her brother and her father, both of whom are also in the law enforcement profession, at least before her father had retired.
Blake and the BAU team are invited by her father to return to her hometown in Kansas City where he wants her to work closely with her brother. However, Blake and her brother are far from being enthusiastic at being dumped together to work on a case, giving the unexpected family reunion an even worse aftertaste.
*More spoilers for Criminal Minds Season 9 and the 200th Episode: Read here for more.
The story of a bully
Meanwhile, the BAU team also has a string of murder cases to deal with, one where the victims are bludgeoned and beaten to death and made to wear women's panties. It's a classic case of bullying if you were to put it in a high school setting (minus the murder), and apparently, this is the very heart of "Criminal Minds" Season 9 Episode 11's case.
The bullied becomes the big bad bully and goes farther than the usual high school pranks and head-dunked-in-the-toilet acts. It's the typical story of revenge and one's idea of divine retribution against those who have done wrong in the past.
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The unsub, who was the friend of a victim of bullying that led to his death, had been portrayed as a muscled man, fully evolved from his high school days of timidity and chubbiness. But it seems like more could have been done for "Criminal Minds" Season 9 Episode 11 to make it a bit more different from any other bullying issue portrayed by media.
Not only was the unsub not as fleshed out as most of the unsubs in Criminal Minds are, there was no concrete backing on why he would turn to murder in order to avenge his friend's death. The buildup and impact of the episode prior to "Criminal Minds" Season 9 Episode 11 was lessened--just when it was starting to go back to its roots of showing the psychology behind a criminal's actions.
Perhaps this is a case that was more focused on the dynamics of Blake's family and to show that, just like the other members of the BAU team, she's made of flesh and blood, and can shed tears and have her own emotional moments.
*Episode recap: Digging up the skeletons in the BAU team's closets. Read the full recap for Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 9 here.
Her family then and her family now
"Criminal Minds" Season 9 Episode 11 goes back to the rather formulaic ending of bringing the gang together at the end of the episode to show warmth among the BAU team. While this is changes up the pace that the show was already rolling on with, it does give a sense of familiarity, and gives Blake's origin story a more heart-warming ending.
It certainly does give the edge off the bullying and murder case, but given that there are only two more episode before the much awaited "Criminal Minds" Season 9 200th episode, it might be time to bring back the almost breakneck and cliffhanger pace that the show is known for.
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