Review for Criminal Minds Episode 12×02, “Sick Day”

hero-jenniferReview for Criminal Minds Episode 12×02, “Sick Day”


“You’re a hero, Jennifer Jareau. Don’t you ever forget that.”

Whoa! Filled to the gills with action and destruction, and jam-packed with emotion, Virgil Williams gave us what we’ve been asking for in character development and heart, as well. This was a winner across the boards, so jumping right in…

AJ Cook was an acting force of nature as she took us through everything JJ had experienced that day, using Will as her insistent and accommodating sounding board. Reluctant at first, she soon opened up as in his gentle way he made her see that she needed to unload, despite it being 3am and having a baby up with the croup.

Those that already like JJ, like me, were pleasantly surprised that they decided to take a detailed look at what goes on when she goes home. We’ve seen them bathing the kids, and waking up in the morning. But this conversation needed to happen, and this time, we were privy to it. I’d like to see them go home this deep with everyone this season, time allowing.

Disclaimer – I don’t like Will with JJ. I get zero chemistry from the pairing, and always have. Short of all the smooching (which seemed forced and inappropriate to me, given her state of mind), he could’ve been her brother encouraging her to talk. But I liked him as a person better after this episode. Not that he was ever a bad guy, he hasn’t been, but he always just seemed tacked on for convenience because AJ got pregnant. I’ve no doubt Will loves JJ with all his heart. It’s the reverse I can’t buy.

I want to talk about AJ’s acting again because even though JJ’s always been a favorite and a sympathetic character for me, tonight it was her empathy that was spotlighted. I believed every single thing she said, every single emotion she shared, every moment felt true and earned and honest. She was very good in 200, but that episode was highly divisive (nobody cared about the Afghanistan plot) and way too much was going on. This was different. Personal. Visceral. She brought it home. Kudos to AJ, and an overwhelming majority of the fandom seems to agree.

As good as she was, someone had to write those words. With all the controversy surrounding Virgil Williams of late, most wouldn’t blame him if he just stayed quiet on social media. Yet he gamely showed up on twitter, promoting his episode, proud of it, as he should be. The dialogue and the story, and the teen girl’s unfortunate end wrenched our hearts and made us care (made me cry), and invest. Well done.

Yes, this was the episode that resulted in Thomas Gibson getting fired, we may just as well get that out of the way. That’s on him. This was also the episode that made non-JJ fans see her in a new light. The writers’ room broke from the usual format to give us something different-told in flashbacks as was the case with 200-but there the similarity ends. And we all sat up and noticed.

The team. Well… Garcia’s computer was on overdrive, and spat out some odd stuff like ‘boys with brown hair in a five-mile radius’… what? Tara and Rossi were largely absent, Hotch was dour and ill-used, and paging Dr. Spencer Reid please because sometimes he’s just full-on Gubler and as much as I adore Matthew, we need Reid, most often. The new guy, Luke (why does everyone call him ‘Luke’ and not ‘Alvez’?), seemed to overstep in the opening scene with JJ on the jet, but it ended up making sense anyway because they had saved those victims together, all but one.


And wow that was hugely upsetting, the loss of that girl, that sister, that daughter. Did I already say that? Much talk has been had about why wasn’t the one closest to the fire saved first? JJ said it herself… the boy she saved first reminded her of Henry. Why’d she order Luke to run and catch the UnSub when LLE could have nabbed him while they saved the kids together? All valid questions.

Maybe your take is different but all of that just made it more real to me. Sometimes, there’s just a horrible fucking clusterfuck and you go with your instincts and do the very best you can. They were in a firepit with boiling hot metal chains and locks and screaming children and they did what they could do, the best that they could do.

Our heroes.

Larry Teng’s direction was outstanding (seriously, some of those shots rivaled some of the best Netflix and cable shows that sport a WAY bigger budget, and big props to the always amazing crew), and while I’d like to see more of the team present and involved when one of them is singled out and featured, I was duly impressed with this episode. I feel like I want to say more, like I’m forgetting a whole bunch of things but for now, while I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next, this one will stick with me for a very long time, indeed.


Written by Virgil Williams

Directed by Larry Teng


12 thoughts on “Review for Criminal Minds Episode 12×02, “Sick Day”

  • October 7, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Okay, since I’m going to get a lot of flack for this, might as well spit it out. I was okay with this episode. I enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t my style. Just don’t kill me for this, but I am a sucker for character-centric stories.

    Except for the fact that I couldn’t really connect with this episode. It just felt really off to me. I get that this was a JJ-centric episode, but I just wanted more team, more focus on the families, JJ revealing that she had a miscarriage. Did anybody else miss that?

    I like Will as a person, and this episode showed that, but the chemistry, like you said, not a great fit. He acted like the big brother trying to get the little sister to talk, but that is okay.

    I just felt like the team could’ve been better used in this episode than rather being background characters. And the families, I think we should’ve gotten a better point of view than what we did have. But we can’t have everything after all.

    I was also focused on homework, but that really doesn’t influence my opinion. Might I say though, AJ’s acting was the best and clearly showed.

    Don’t kill me because of my opinion.

    • October 7, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Nobody’s going to kill you, just maybe string you up by your thumbs. 😉 Thanks for your comments!

  • October 7, 2016 at 11:39 am

    you’re not alone. I didn’t particularly care for it either. Too many things left me going WTF?.

    And really? Send the guy after the unsub instead of rescuing all the victims first? Nuh uh. They KNEW who their guy was, they coulda got him AFTER saving the sister, and the two kids. Nobody needed to die. Where were the local police and the freakin’ fire department for heaven’s sakes. ‘on the way’ right. Not feeling it for Alvez particularly yet. And I dislike the fact that he’s front and center so much. grrr. Hardly even saw Rossi, Hotch and Lewis. And certainly Reid was underused. Story of the CM world.

    That said, I adore Josh Stewart and thought he was absolutely fabulous in this. How many women out there would love to have a compassionate, understanding man like Will for their life partner. (reminds me a little too much of my own husband in that respect) AJ Cook did really well too, and unlike the OP, I do see JJ/Will as a couple. Probably because I absolutely do NOT see JJ/Reid as one, despite the wishes of some of you. I thought AJ conveyed her feelings here better than she has in some of the past episodes, especially acknowledging how much she really depends on Will. He looked awful, but he was supposed to I guess, being up with a sick baby all night. And speaking of sick babies, Michael (Phoenix) is soooooo cute!

    I liked this one way more than the previous two JJcentric episodes (200 yuck! and Forever People oh please!)

    • October 7, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Like I said, it was a clusterfuck and they reacted, making a wrong choice or two. That made it more real for me.

      Good thing we’re NOT watching a documentary, huh? None of those fire/police things bothered me in the least. I wonder who the expert is on LA response time in that neighborhood?

      Glad that you got your Willifer fix. I’m resigned that they’re keeping this lackluster duo, regardless of what I personally want.

      • October 7, 2016 at 12:38 pm

        I’m okay with Willifer, but maybe they can put in a JJ/Reid scene because of the fact that they have a special friendship. Next week or the week after that because I’m kind of partial to them.

        • October 7, 2016 at 1:40 pm

          Me too.

      • October 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm

        oh no. No, no, no. I ain’t a ‘Willifer’ sorry. I love Will. I tolerate JJ. 🙂 And I suppose the only reason there even is a Will is because JJ needed a husband 🙂

        Police/fire things always bother me 🙂 in any show, not just this one. Hazard of the job I guess.

        as for the ‘response’ time, I hardly think the FBI special units would be on scene before the city’s own emergency services, but, whatever..

        • October 7, 2016 at 8:44 pm

          Who cares? You’re going to nitpick THAT? That the team got there before LLE and Fire? So what? We don’t even know how much time was supposed to have elapsed. And what does it matter anyway?

  • October 7, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    This was in my opinion the best episode of Criminal Minds ever! I love JJ and I love Willifer. AJ Cook and Josh Stewart chemistry is incredible!! You really believe they are truly in love. AJ’s acting was so heart wrenching and just phenomenal! I loved how it was her point of view the whole episode. Correct me if i’m wrong but I don’t think we’ve had a CM episode like this before. I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT

  • October 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    The story line had too much going on. Will finally had some good scenes.
    Unfortunately new guy will always be CSI . Some things just do not change. I will watch next weeks episode to see how they deal with the firing of Hotch. Then I am done. Hitch was the character that held the team together and provided that “conscience” that every drama needs. Sorry but I won’t be watching after next week.

    • October 7, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Actually, a LOT is changing, so people will either adapt and continue to be entertained, or they won’t. Looks like you’re in the ‘won’t’ camp. Enjoy your one remaining episode.

  • October 9, 2016 at 1:06 am

    I tuned in to see the team but specially to see Hotch. I was clearly disappointed. I’m trying to feel out the rest of the season without Hotch and so far, it’s kinda hard. I think JJ is awesome but I feel homesick without Hotch. I’m missing him already will tune in next week and see I suppose.


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