In last week’s episode, the team searched for a missing girl while Hotch underwent emergency surgery and processed his unresolved feelings over Hayley’s death. In this week’s episode, “In the Blood,” the agents investigate ritualistic murders with a focus on the past and Garcia brings everyone together for a special celebration. Read on to find out what the minds behind Criminal Minds have in store for us this week.

Messed-Up Family Tree

Despite his recent medical crisis, Hotch is now back at work and ready for the team’s latest case. A female victim was found buried in a ceremonial-type robe, her bones having been smashed until she was impossible to identify. Shortly into the investigation, the agents find another victim and realize that the Unsub is quickly evolving. His torture of his victims is becoming more intense and his murders are becoming more ritualistic.

During the course of the investigation, the agents discover that the Unsub is branding his victims, and Reid traces the brand back to a family crest from the 1690’s. The team learns that the Unsub is a descendant of the lead prosecutor in the Salem Witch Trials and has developed delusions that he is hunting witches. Garcia identifies and locates the Unsub and the team arrives in time to save his latest victims. When the Unsub makes a last attempt to burn the “witches,” Blake is forced to shoot him.

A Toast to the Fallen

In the B-plot of this episode, Garcia is hosting a “Day of the Dead” themed party to tap into her step-father’s ancestry. The agents attend Garcia’s party and bring mementos that remind them of their fallen friends and loved ones. Garcia honors her parents and her cat, Reid honors Maeve and Nikola Tesla, Morgan honors his dad, Blake honors her mom, Rossi honors a friend, JJ honors her sister and Hotch honors Hayley.

Hotch is a surprise guest at the party, able to sneak away because Jack got a better offer for the night. When Hotch arrives, Garcia wishes him a happy almost-birthday and promises to keep quiet about the upcoming event.

In a cute moment before the party, Reid helps Garcia get things set up and Garcia tries to scare him. Garcia is bummed when she fails to elicit so much as a flinch from Reid because she wants to prove that she does has a scary side. Reid points out that everyone has a little bit of scary in them, including him. Garcia demands to see Reid’s hidden personality and he channels Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry to personify his scary side. It is a terrible impersonation that makes for a great scene.

Room for Improvement

This week’s episode is solid, with some cute moments between the agents. That being said, while there is a bit more profiling during the hour, the Unsub’s identity is still revealed too quickly. But Reid has a few moments to shine and one of the victims in the case impresses me with her quick thinking.

When the Unsub kidnaps a woman and her daughter under the suspicion of witchcraft, the woman admits to being a witch but says that her daughter is a witch-hunter. She pretends her daughter’s birthmark is the “Mark of the Angel” and the Unsub believes her ruse. Her deception fails to protect her daughter in the long run, but I always appreciate it when the victims are given a chance to out-smart the Unsubs.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Did you like the show’s version of a Halloween episode? Are you surprised that no one but Garcia knew about Hotch’s birthday? Were you impressed with the victim’s birthmark bluff? Hit the comments section and let us know your thoughts.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV