Criminal Minds

Season 4 Episode 22

The Big Wheel

Aired Wednesday Apr 29, 2009 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
588 votes
  • Not your usual unsub.

    I've always believed that the best thing about entertainment, be it through movies, books, or television, is when you can walk away with a thousand thoughts churning through your mind about what you've just seen. Questioning and evaluating your usual view of the world and everyone in it. This episode does that for me. Even more incredible is that it manages to do that through the eyes of the unsub and his youngest victim, rather than through the eyes of the BAU team as I expected. Vincent, the unsub, is a sadistic killer at first glance. He seemingly chooses young blonde women at random and kills them without hesitation. But as the case progresses, we see a different side. Vincent, the sole witness to his mother's murder at the tender age of nine, is reenacting the most violent act of his life repeatedly through his victims. That alone doesn't really leave much room for sympathy in my book. Plenty of people have lived through situations just as tragic without the compelling need to kill. That's where Stan comes in. Stan is the son of Vincent's 10th victim. Stan, like Vincent, was at home when his mother was murdered. But unlike Vincent, Stan wasn't the traditional witness. He was born blind, and thus didn't witness his mother's murder, only discovering the event afterward. But even so, Vincent feels a connection with Stan, seeing his younger, more innocent self in the wiser-than-his-years young man. And through Vincent's love for Stan, and Stan's obvious adoration for Vincent, I am able to feel compassion for Vincent. I can see the little boy that Vincent once was, the child that lost his most precious gift, innocence, at the hands of a monster. And though Vincent has grown into a near replica of that monster, Stan is his only hold, his only connection to the innocence he once had. The final scene, as Stan 'reads' Morgan's face as he asks him if Vincent murdered his mother is very moving. All in all, this episode gets a 9 from me. I realize that some may not see the message in this episode, as it really isn't as crystal clear a message as we are used to seeing in most Criminal Minds episodes. But it does make you think, be it about your own personal views of the world or that of society, and that, in my book, is always a good thing.
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