Review for Criminal Minds Episode 12×07, “Mirror Image”
“Oh, we’re gonna go there, huh?” – Desmond as Gabriel
I don’t know about you, but I was extremely pleased to be a Criminal Minds fan this past week. We were presented a unique, intense, and well-crafted episode in Mirror Image, and I thoroughly enjoyed the return to the cerebral, twisty CM that seduced us all from the very first season.
I’ll be honest. I’ve been trying to write this review for 5 days. Something happens once in a while when I’m hugely impressed with a given episode. Sometimes it’s hard to get hold of the right words. It’s not that I can’t discuss it – there’s SO very many sentences – like “The dialogue felt so real” and “Could you believe the acting chops on that guy?” and “I’m sorry but Aisha just brought it!” within the conversations I’ve been having. But it’s putting them all together cohesively that’s been eluding me. Whatever, here it is and as a special surprise, please enjoy the debut of some exclusive behind the scenes pics sprinkled throughout the review (Thank you, Charlie)!
I admired Joe’s directing choices here, and it’s my favorite of his directed episodes thus far. He drew out excellent performances from the entire cast, while allowing moments of stillness that really sold it for me. Rossi’s presence was thin (because yeah, busy guy), but necessary, and I enjoyed the long shot where he gestured to Prentiss from his office when Emily took Tara aside for their talk.
Desmond. Dude. Delusion, much? I mean wow, he was deep in it. I liked how Emily figured out that humoring him was the better way to go, and that in doing so, they were finally able to reach him. I believed that the bond he had created with Tara in just that small amount of time went a long way in helping him to break out of his Gabriel role-play and come back to reality. I was riveted during his scenes. How freaky and frightening it must have been for Tara to sit across from this stranger who was pretending to be her brother, knowing all her and her real brother’s secrets. Some, like how her dad behaved after her mom died, unknown even to her. Alimi Ballard was real, convincing, and sincere in the part, and I really cared about how Desmond ended up.
Speaking of role-play… I thought the bondage couple was hilarious. So “everyperson” outwardly, and so hella kinky behind closed doors. The fact that their young daughter was completely aware even though they’d obviously taken pains to never expose her to their predilection (“Don’t come in!”) was another laugh-out-loud moment, and a reminder to those of us with tweens as to just how perceptive they actually are.
Scratch. Whaaat? How elaborate was this? This guy is one sick sicko and he’s just getting worse as time goes on. Some say he’s becoming too “Batman Villain”, but hey, our nauseating president-elect is assembling his own coterie of Batman villains so you could say it’s art imitating real life. I’m glad Em put protective details on everyone’s fam, but I also remember how unsuccessful Sam Kassmeyer was at protecting Haley from Foyet, and it makes me uneasy.
The team’s ‘power shot’ in the elevator and Emily’s “rat-faced sonofabitch” remark solidified her willingness to lead and protect her team at all costs. I fist-pumped. I may have whooped. Her “Let’s go to work” reminded me of the very same last line of the series Angel, when he was about to fight the dragon in the alley. Slay, Emily.
I’d be glad to have Prentiss back under any circumstance, but her being Unit Chief feels organic and inspiring, and she wears it well, squarely across her shoulders. Loved too, how she told Garcia not to call her ‘ma’am’, an honorific Emily used to load up with sarcasm when addressing Strauss.
Speaking of Garcia… the opening salvo with her getting all snippy with her beloveds (and the newbie) aside, she was excellent at her job and did exactly what was asked of her. I like efficient Penelope as much as I like schmoopy Penelope, and it’s always a pleasure to watch her work.
Speaking of the newbie… hmm, I love Adam, I do. Luke restored a much-needed vibe to the team, one of confident muscle and god-like looks, and he’s been and I’m sure will continue to be one to watch (especially in scenes with Roxy)… though he’s got some acting quirks, he does. I originally chalked it up to nervousness at being the newest addition but his constant head bobbing and broad gestures come off as playing to the cheap seats in the back of the theater. He’s a TV pro, so not inexperienced, but it’s just distracting and oh I’m probably making wayyy too much of it. I feel bad now for saying it. I really AM glad he’s here!
Speaking of ‘glad he’s here’… how amazing was Reid? Contributing his trademark combination of random facts and vital information that only he would know peppered throughout the entire episode, and looking gorgeous while doing it, my eyes went to him in every scene he was in. I loved that he was the one that figured out the rope was *ahem* special (Spencer? Something you want to share with us?), the DMV pic was a fake, the first shotgun trap was a decoy, and he discovered and delayed the trigger for that WAY COOL nail trap! Oh, and I always dig it when they pair up him and JJ. They play off each other so well, and have such a rhythmic rapport that’s completely natural and instinctive. *sigh*
Breen’s writing this time diverged from what we’ve come to expect from our show, in the best of ways. It was energizing to watch our team figure out the maze through Desmond’s mind, and even after a few false starts, how they quickly rallied, regrouped and kept moving forward until they broke through. Excellent. This episode had so much of everything – humor, creepiness, cool murdery traps, a twisty mystery, and family love and conflict in abundance.
Maybe that’s why I had a hard time writing the review, because it was hard to decide what to talk about first. I’ve watched it 3 times now, and will revisit it many more, I’m sure. Kudos to all!
Written by: Breen Frazier
Directed by: Joe Mantegna
**Edited to Add** Will be updating with more bts pics from this episode as soon as I can figure out what their childhood trauma is. They absolutely will not post for me at the moment. Watch this space and check back!
HA! GOT ONE!