Criminal Minds

Season 3 Episode 9

Penelope

17
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 21, 2007 on CBS
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (32)

9.3
out of 10
Average
645 votes
  • This episode is currently ranked by TV.com as the top episode of Criminal Minds! And for good reason...

    10
    ...It gave the limelight to a character that had been on the backburner throughout the entirety of the show, Penelope Garcia. That alone made the episode so interesting and thrilling. Because of her lack of airtime throughout the first three seasons, in a way it had helped build up so much interest in her character for the audience. Where did she come from? Who is she? How did she get to where she got? All of these questions and more are answered in this expertly woven episode, as well as the most important question of all... Who is this man and why did he shoot poor innocent Penelope? The name Penelope has symbolic significance as a strong woman name. It reminds me of the greatest Penelope of all, the one in "The Odyssey," who even after not seeing her husband in twenty years and being pressured by her suitors to remarry, she never lost faith in her husband. The strength of resolve, determination, and loyalty of "The Odyssey"'s Penelope is similar to the qualities that Kirsten Vangsness' character, Penelope, exhudes. Though she had been shot and nearly killed, she has resolve and determination to find out who had done this. She is also fiercely loyal to the BAU unit and her friends. Though like the literary Penelope in "The Odyssey," Kirsten Vangsness' character does have flaws as shown in this episode. In a similar way in which Penelope in "The Odyssey" responded to her suitors with indecision about whether to remarry, this flaw of indecision was the same that caused Vangsness' character Penelope to be temporarily suspended by the BAU unit in this episode. She does not know whether or not to tell her friends about what she does as an extracurricular activity, where she helps victims' families cope with their losses and unsolved crimes. As a result, she slows the hunt for her killer, where they could have at least developed a motive for her being shot. But in the end, Penelope Garcia shows herself to be an integral part of the group, once again, but more emphatically this time. She could have simply rested in the hospital and recover but she went out of her way to help catch and dispatch her killer. This episode had great performances by the guest stars of Whedon's great talent pool from Buffy and Angel. Marc Vann, Chase Bailey, and Nicholas Brendon all did an expert job. I look forward to seeing Brendon back as Kevin Lynch. Brendon was the only bright beacon this episode had. Though "Penelope" is considered the best episode of the series' three year run, and "is" rightfully so in my opinion, let me make this clear, it was probably the most bleak and depressing episode as well. You had Morgan being solemn and prophetic about his prayers, Rossi going crazy briefly on Garcia, JJ and Emily arguing with Marc Vann's character, Hotch being pissed about Penelope's passwords, Reid more toned down with his genius tidbits than usual, and of course Penelope wouldn't be too happy after being shot. Brendon's Kevin Lynch was good-looking, funny, charming, witty, and cunning. His hacker battle with Penelope was obviously the funniest part of the episode and the cutest part had to be his "You're better" line to Penelope at the end, as well as mouthing her name. It seemed his overconfidence at her during his hacker battle and his subsequent defeat had humbled him, as well as allowing him to be serious enough to be cunning and deceive the killer into believing he'd wipe his file later on in the end. If they do not bring Brendon back, then it would be a huge mistake for the show. I have seen the first three seasons of Buffy and make no mistake about it, Buffy was a dark show during those seasons, where humor and moments of brightness were badly needed. No one gave humor to it as well as Brendon did. For this show, Criminal Minds, which is also dark, there needs to be someone to brighten it a little. Vangsness has done an admirable job, but there's only so much humor you can use between her and Morgan until you just get tired of it. Overall, I give the episode ten stars. With this third season looking like it will be cut short at thirteen episodes, I say the box set that comes out for the third season should still be vigorously sought after and purchased. Why? This episode alone. It's worth every penny.
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