On this week’s episode of Criminal Minds, the team travels to Philadelphia for a case, and Hotch (Thomas Gibson) makes a new friend.

Beth Has Arrived

Yes, Hotch’s new love interest is finally here and their first meeting is cute, if awkward. Hotch has been training for a triathlon and Beth has spotted him while training herself. Hotch seems rather thrown when Beth begins to flirt with him, but he leaves things open-ended and Beth gives him her card.

Later, we see Rossi (Joe Mantegna) tease Hotch about the meeting, saying that distraction can be a good thing.

Not Exactly New Territory

The UnSub in this episode is a boxer with a love of violence, something that is not quite unheard of. The UnSub, Jimmy, murders two men in a blind rage and it triggers his blood lust. The more Jimmy kills, the more he likes it and the less remorse he feels. As Jimmy is prone to rage, it does not take much to set him off and make him attack someone.

Ryan Is Dying

The team learns that Jimmy’s blood lust was triggered when he got into a fight after learning that his son’s leukemia is back. Ryan’s illness continues to provoke Jimmy into lashing out, first while trying to earn money for Ryan’s treatments and then as a result of learning that Ryan is too sick to be saved.

While it is easy to empathize with the UnSub over his sick child, Jimmy has always been a violent person and got into boxing because it allowed him to hurt people, legally.

Guest Star Charles S. Dutton

The veteran character actor feels a bit wasted in his role as Jimmy’s trainer. He gets a few decent scenes, but for the most part, is sorely under-used in the episode. His character, Tony, becomes one of the UnSub’s victims when Jimmy learns that Tony has been betting against him for almost his entire career. Jimmy kidnaps Tony and beats him to death after he learns the truth. Jimmy later tells police where to find Tony’s body.

Endings and Beginnings

After the team arrests Jimmy, they take him to the hospital so he can be there for Ryan in his final hours. Jimmy proves that he is capable of some kindness when he helps his son accept the end of his life and pass away in peace. Ryan’s death and some words from Rossi convince Hotch that he should take a chance with Beth, even though he is still grieving for Hayley. The episode ends with what we can only assume will be the first of several dates for Hotch and Beth, as it looks like Beth’s portrayer, Bellamy Young, will be sticking around for several episodes.

Hotch seems to like Beth, but will the audience feel the same? And what about Hotch’s son, Jack? Will Beth be in Hotch’s life long enough for him to introduce her to his son or will Hotch’s relationship with Beth be a brief affair that simply helps him get back into the dating game?

The next episode of Criminal Minds, titled “True Genius,” will feature crime novelist Patricia Cornwell, who will guest star as, you guessed it, Patricia Cornwell. The episode, which is the first to air after the show returns from its winter hiatus, will air January 18.

Megan Cole
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV