On this week’s episode of Criminal Minds, a woman in Garcia’s (Kirsten Vangsness) victims’ support group is kidnapped by the man who abducted her daughter seven years earlier.

Garcia’s Group

Garcia is running her victims’ support group and one of the members, Monica (guest star Brigid Brannagh), is having a hard time of it because it is the anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance.

When Monica leaves the group, she is tricked into a bogus search by the episode’s UnSub (guest star Jack Coleman). The UnSub tells Monica that he is the one who took her daughter, Hope, all those years ago and Monica willingly goes with him because he claims he will take her to Hope.

Is Hope Alive?

The team begins to believe that the UnSub took Monica because Hope died and Monica reminds the UnSub of his former victim. Back at UnSub central, Monica demands to see her daughter but the UnSub keeps denying her.

Finally he shows her a video of Hope but the video was shot in the room Monica slept in and Hope is clearly no longer there, lending credence to the team’s suspicions.

The Creepiest Game of Hide-and-Seek

The UnSub decides to play hide-and-seek with Monica and Monica takes the opportunity to search his house. She manages to find a secret room that the UnSub tells her not to enter. Inside the room, Monica finds her daughter’s body.

As it turns out, the UnSub had raped Hope and gotten her pregnant, so Hope chose to kill herself rather than have his child. The UnSub kidnapped Monica so they could make another child, a “replacement” for the one they both lost.

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Garcia to the Rescue

Garcia has a difficult time holding things together during the search for Monica. Morgan (Shemar Moore) tries to calm her down but Garcia decides to pour all of her energy into the case.

After the team tells her that the UnSub is most likely a member of her support group, Garcia figures out who he is and tracks down his address. When Morgan tries to prevent her from coming with the team because it could be dangerous, Garcia tells him he will have to drag her out of the SUV. That’s my girl!

Garcia and the Gun

In the episode’s final scenes, the team arrives at the UnSub’s house and Garcia goes in to try and talk him down. Garcia is able to manipulate the UnSub into giving up his gun and Monica uses that moment to grab the gun and kill the man who took her child from her. T

hough it is not shown, one can assume that Monica is not held responsible for killing her abductor and the episode ends with Hope’s funeral.

Though this episode mainly focuses on Monica and the UnSub, it is still very much a Garcia episode. In the opening scene, Garcia reveals more information about her parents’ deaths, namely that they were out searching for her the night they were killed. It fits with what we know about Garcia and how she has probably carried that guilt around with her ever since.

I liked seeing Garcia get more involved with the case than she usually does, from speaking up during the profile to playing hostage negotiator. Kirsten Vangsness did an excellent job throughout the episode and I think it has been one of the strongest of the season.

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The next episode of Criminal Minds is entitled “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.” Any guesses as to what it could be about?

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Megan Cole
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of CBS)