'Criminal Minds' Premiere Recap: Introducing Alex and This Plot Thing
'Criminal Minds' Premiere Recap: Introducing Alex and This Plot Thing
Megan Cole
Megan Cole
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV


Last season, the team bid farewell to one of their own and in tonight's season 8 opener, we are introduced to a new profiler. How will this seasoned agent handle the challenges of the BAU? Only time will tell, but for now, the team tackles a case in which an UnSub silences his victims.

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Most of this episode is devoted to introducing Jeanne Tripplehorn's character, Alex Blake. The writers made an interesting choice by starting the season with Blake already imbedded with the team and introducing her to the audience via the recently-returned Morgan (Shemar Moore) and Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness). We learn a good deal about Blake in her first episode, mostly through her interactions with the other characters.

Garcia runs a background check on Blake and learns that their newest team member is all-but perfect, at least on paper. She's incredibly smart, teaches linguistics at Georgetown -- where Blake and Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) met when he guest-lectured for her classes -- and was recruited into the FBI at age 24.

And thanks to her tense chat with Strauss (Jayne Atkinson), we know it took Blake a long time to land a position in the BAU and that she had to work very hard to rebuild her career after Strauss let her take the fall in the Amerithrax case. We also know from her confrontation with Strauss that Blake is not afraid to speak her mind, though the two have called a tentative truce, at least for the moment. (Though I think it's safe to assume that the unpleasant history between these two is going to come back in future episodes.) Blake is clearly a competent agent, but does she have what it takes to make it in the BAU?

Change is Not Easy

Despite not seeing the lovely Paget Brewster on-screen in tonight's premiere, we did get an answer as to what Prentiss has been up to, thanks to Morgan and Garcia. The two traveled to London for work but also to help Prentiss move into her new flat, which Garcia gushed over in the way only Garcia can. So it looks like Prentiss did take that Interpol job she was offered in last season's finale. I suppose that makes sense but was I the only one hoping that the reveal of Prentiss' decision would be more of a surprise?

And if you are having a hard time adjusting to the team sans Prentiss, you are not alone. Garcia is also having a particularly difficult time accepting the changes on the team and that leads to a very bad first impression between Garcia and Blake. Garcia's scenes in tonight's premiere are hysterical and reflect the same wariness a lot of fans feel about accepting a new agent on our team. But while it only took the length of tonight's premiere for Garcia warm up to Blake, the audience may feel differently.

It will take several more episodes before we really get a handle on how Blake will fit into the team dynamic, but I enjoyed her scenes in the opener and I'm looking forward to learning more about the character and seeing the relationships she develops with the rest of team.

Silence is Golden, for Some

As to our first case of the season, I did not think it was anything special. The case allowed Blake to show off her linguistic skills and explored how said skills would be an asset to the team but otherwise, it seemed like a fairly routine case. I can't recall if this was the first deaf/formerly deaf UnSub, so that may have been something new. The case also gave us a glimpse of how well Blake and Reid work together and I hope we see more case-related interaction between those two in future episodes.

Aside from the lackluster case, this episode also gives us a glimpse of a new UnSub the writers have hinted at. We know this UnSub is going to be part of a season-long arc and that he or she is hunting our team. But why? Is this someone from the team's past? What has spawned the UnSub's obsession with our agents and how will our team figure out this UnSub is targeting them?

Leave your theories in the comment section and let us know what you thought about Agent Blake.

Megan Cole
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of CBS)



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