Review for Criminal Minds Episode 12×07, “Mirror Image” *UPDATED*

reid-lewisReview 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.

alimi-ballardDesmond. 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.

garcie-short-hairSpeaking 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!





8 thoughts on “Review for Criminal Minds Episode 12×07, “Mirror Image” *UPDATED*

  • December 7, 2016 at 2:19 am

    Another spot on review. I was wary about it being a Tara centric episode, I do like Tara but this season I was finding her not very interesting, but this episode changed that. I am also not over the moon with some of Joe’s directing but he did great in this one. I was worried that after Gube’s episode last week I was expecting this week to be a little weak in comparison but it wasn’t. I am liking Emily as Unit Chief, She was the ideal choice. Tough and caring. The team are gelling really well despite all the changes in personnel brought on them both intentional and forced. Not really missing Hotch. I like what the newbie is bringing to the team. I agree with you about Adam, he does have some distracting acting quirks which didn’t enthuse me when I learned he was coming to the team as I really didn’t rate his acting in CSI Miami, but then the acting and writing in that show was not always that good, but given a decent script and yes he is an ok actor. Reid WOW! I LOVE it when he is allowed to show his genius and fast thinking mind, which sometimes does seem to go awol. When he is allowed, he shows his brilliant mental chops off in such a cool way. Some episodes it can be easy to forget that he is actually a certified genius, with an IQ of 187, eidetic memory, and can read 20000 words per minute. Mind you whenever Matthew is in shot doing nothing he can be extremely distracting to what is going on 😉 Over all I enjoyed the episode. It showed just how well the team has settled to having no Hotch around, something that a certain group absolutely hate but when they are too busy getting some silly hashtag to trend and ‘aren’t’ actually watching how will they know? lol. The team and the show certainly isn’t collapsing without him.

    • December 7, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Agree with all you’ve said here and always appreciate your intelligent, well-written contributions and positivity! Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for an update soon with more exclusive BTS pics!

  • December 7, 2016 at 6:50 am

    I love the show as well. I really like the twist and the way Tara got into the role of a “sister” to break the case as a sister! I would really love to have a pair of shoes like those that Joe Mantegna was wearing!! Great job I thought!

    • December 7, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I love that we all notice such different things – I didn’t see Joe’s shoes at all, lol! I too thought Aisha was fantastic in this episode, she wiped out any doubt as to whether Tara gells with the BAU.

      I also like how she can come and go on CM depending on when she’s free from her other jobs. Isn’t she the first series regular that has been able to do that?

  • December 10, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Okay, before I actually sit down and get to writing this; I have to say that I think that the CM writers are stepping it up this season. With Hotch and Morgan gone, I think they’re doing a better job writing the episodes this season than the ones before it. That’s not to say that they don’t write great episodes (Entropy, Mr. Scratch, and A Beautiful Disaster being quite notable ones), but the writing this season has been a lot more consistent and a lot less off-the-rails crazy, if you can say that for a fictional TV show.

    First of all, after managing to catch up with Elliot’s Pond (excellent writing by Erica and superb directing from Matthew); Mirror Image brings the same exact flavor, also known as great acting, writing, and directing, which I LOVE. This episode is not only excellent with Breen writing it, but Joe directing it was a great choice. He brought something different this episode, something that really goes beyond the norm of “let’s make it different, but still keep it that same!”. He’s done an excellent job not only as a talented actor, but as a fabulous director as well.

    Aisha. God, can I say that she absolutely brought it here? Because her acting was just that good. She’s great as a stand-up comedian, but damn; she was brilliant in Mirror Image. Trying to walk the fine line of being a professional FBI agent and loving sister/daughter is something that most actors can’t pull off all too well. Yet Aisha did it, and she did it in a fantastic way.

    Even Alimi was amazing in his role, playing the fake brother/delusional innocent caught in the crosshairs. Going from confident to justifiably scared is just that brilliant. And Scratch, even though I hate that rat faced son-of-a-bitch, sorry for my language there; is convincingly frighting, even when he’s not in the episode. I know a lot of Batman villains, and he could play one brilliant Joker, Vandal Savage, or Ra’s al Ghul. (This is my DC fangirl mingling with my CM fangirl. Don’t ask.)

    Everybody had a part to play here, from badass unit chief Emily Prentiss, to butterfly hacker Penelope Garcia, to badass genius Spencer Reid; even the new guy got a part in this! Yes, I said new guy. Do I like him, yes. Do I call him newbie? No. I have no idea where Spencer got that knowledge of the special rope though. Secret undercover mission that requires something to do with a certain blonde? Yeah, let’s leave it at that.

    All in all, one action-packed episode to follow up a heartfelt, and somehow emotional episode. Yeah, I thought Elliot’s Pond was emotional, okay? And this is coming from the girl who doesn’t cry at emotional scenes; even Spencer’s last scene on the plane so he could spend time with his mom before he could comes back to the BAU in Scarecrow. (That was a mouthful.) Yes, even 100. I’m a aloof dark-haired girl after all.

    This is really long.

    Also, the BAU in the elevator was badass.

    Now my “comment” is over.

    • December 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks for your… review… glad you liked the episode! 🙂

      • December 10, 2016 at 5:53 pm

        Yeah, I went into manic writer mode. Doesn’t help that I wrote a paper before this. :-\


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