Criminal Minds

Season 8 Episode 10

The Lesson

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Dec 05, 2012 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

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out of 10
710 votes
  • 8x10 - So creepy

    I always enjoy episodes where the unsub exists in his own twisted reality and this episode didn't disappoint by delivering a very creepy episode.

    The puppetry scenes freaked me out. And not just because of how the people's limbs had been dislocated so they could move that way but how people who were alive were reduced to representing lifeless dolls all because of the damage to one mind. *shivers* This episode was very, very well done.
  • Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

    How can Alex Blake be the one to interact with Reid about his gf. Why not JJ or Penelope... Really really missed the charater of Emily Prentiss in this episode cos betrayel or not she would have been the one Reid confided in about the girl... Really hated Blake cos of the one single fact that I still miss Prentiss a lot...

    The case in itself was extremely creepy especially with the dolls or puppets or whatever as audiences at the end.. Loved it but way too much time given to the unsub... Apart from that CM is back on track again...

    My rating is 8 cos of one simple factor - I want Emily Prentiss back... If not I would have given it a 10/10

    Almost forgot... Loved Hotch's reaction at the end when JJ says Reid has a gf
  • Gubler is the director!

    I had just found out that this episode was directed by our Spencer Reid, Matthew Gray Gubler. Not too bad and he has potential of being a horror movie director even though he is so handsome that he looks like a guy who directs romantic films.
  • Very creepy.

    This episode was much better than the previous two, however it did not reach the soaring heights of "The Fallen". I still feel that we are getting too many episodes in which it is unsub focused, and though this unsub was brilliantly acted, I am becoming sick of the formula and would love a change. Remember the old Criminal Minds? "They dehumanize their victims, so we humanize the killers"? When the unsub is completely explored in detail throughout the episode and not by the team, it seems very anticlimactic when the team actually discovers him.

    That being said, it was an unusually good unsub.

    I very much enjoy Gubler's directing style (any who have read my previous reviews know that I am not sycophantic and I would admit it if Gubler was a poor director, no matter how much I love him) but I personally do find his episodes hard to watch. I have seen him say he goes for the creepy, the suspense - he wants our minds to scare us rather than the gore on screen. He certainly delivered in that respect. I found, and my younger sister did too, that I could not watch several sections or even listen as it was too frightening - I even put my fingers in my ears and yelled to myself until the unsub scenes had finished. In this regard, kudos to Gubler, as I know this is what he was aiming for.

    The writing was also better than the two previous episodes. I am much more confident in my critique on writing than I am directing, so I will always be a bit more critical on the writers than the directors, but there were a few areas it could have been tighter. With all the evidence presented to the BAU, I thought that it was unrealistic that Reid came to the conclusion that the unsub was making human puppets. I thought it even less likely that the rest of the team would immediately accept this as fact and stop following other leads - it would have been more likely that they considered the idea a possibility, but continued to explore other ideas. This frustrated me as it could have been easily fixed by having one of the victims' bodies show up with rope through the holes the unsub made - then it would have been a much more plausible idea on behalf of the BAU.

    I felt the episode did become weaker as it went on. The first scene with the victim being forced to play the role of the puppet did go on a little too long and could have been edited down. However, the music and the haunting movements did make this scene successful in causing the audience to feel creeped out. The second unsub - the one who turned out to be a puppet - was also a bone of contention with me. It became just a little too obvious that he was fake, and it would have been a much bigger surprise had there been fewer scenes with the unsubs and more team focus.

    I did very much enjoy the subplot. I have stated before that I do not enjoy romance in any medium unless it is done well, and I can count on one hand the number of times it has been done well in American television and cinema. However I'm very much looking forward to future plotlines with "Phone Booth Girl". I loved our first glimpse of her - though we haven't really seen her act yet she looks to have been cast brilliantly - I am so thrilled she is a plainer sort, which is far more realistic and uplifting than the typical romance. I loved Alex Blake talking to Reid - both Tripplehorn's and Gubler's acting was particularly good there - and I can't wait for a Blake centric episode now.

    The music was what really made the episode for me - I've been wishing for a long time CM put more effort into their music selection. I did see that Gubler said he was proud of his music, and he has reason to be. The atmosphere of the episode would not have been half what it was had it not been for the music.

    Overall, I enjoyed this episode when it wasn't too frightening for me, though I don't grade it down for that. It could have been tighter, but it was still very good.

    EDIT 8th December 2012: I rarely criticise television and movies for having scenes that I consider "too graphic" for the viewer, as I am a squeamish person and I frequently must look away. However after a number of disturbing dreams since watching this and realising that for once, I'm not the only one who couldn't cope, I'm afraid I have to jump on the bandwagon and say the scene in which they dislocated the girl's arms was unnecessary and it was too graphic for the viewer. Clearly, it was successful in frightening the viewer, and Gubler has a big future ahead in horror movies, but I wish it would be left off Criminal Minds. I've not had nightmares about an episode since the teeth pulling in Season 1's "Natural Born Killer".

    I've also come to the realisation that if the unsub wanted to manipulate them like mannequins, all he had to do was inject them with a paralytic. There was no need to dislocate joints at all. It also would have led to a more cooperative victim and therefore a more successful "performance" of The Robber.

    I've lowered the grade I gave this episode to better reflect my new opinion.
  • Creepy but preictable case

    (Sorry for my spelling, I'm not that good in english)

    I didn't like this episode. The case was creepy but not interesting at all. It felt pretty predictable and they hardly had any focus at the characthers, excpet for Spencer of course.

    The scene when he said " It doesn't matter what she looks like. I mean, she's already the most beautiful girl in the world to was the best scene if you ask me. Spencer Reid is adorable (want him to be real, hah) and I think that Gray Gubler is just perfect for that character.

    It would be awesome if the next episode contained more focus on the characthers, they didn't feell like the team they uses to and that is a bit worrying.

    A case that comes with more thriller and less creepy would also be great!

  • Sick and gruesomely good!

    I'm pretty sure this is the creepiest and most horrifying episode yet, but I can't help actually liking this episode. I've felt that CM had been slipping a bit, and had forgotten their old ways. They still lack the profiling explanations they used to have, but this episode was far from dull, that's for sure. Also, props for the awesome character they've cast for Reid's girlfriend! Legend! I'm very glad to see Reid has also "returned", so to speak, after I felt he was becoming more some kind of fashionable male model rather than the geeky, bordering autistic nerd he used to be. That Reid has come back during the last few episodes, which makes me extremely ecstatic. Definitely the best episode in a long time, guys!

    PS: I notice people either loved this episode or hated it. Personally, I know it was very graphic and disturbing, but at the end of the day such horrors happen in real life, maybe not in that exact way, but I still find 'the evil of man' believable and realistic.
  • Elevated Gore

    This week some of the old ep's were the repeats and I can't help but compare. I've been a true loyal fan, but have to face the facts - CM is replacing good story lines and writing with gore. The early ep's just flow brilliantly, with pretty equal screen time for the team members - this week from my prospective the gore exceeded all recent absurdities. (Can you imagine people with all their joints ripped apart not screaming in pain). How about backing up and finding something closer to reality. I once loved the intelligence of this to find it now. Still love the characters- just give them something better to work with. The only redeeming part was around Reid's new relationship.
  • Not perfect, but very enjoyable!

    Wow, we had one of the most sick and twisted cases today - but what I liked about it was that it was sick and twisted but obviously not over the top. I could've done without the scene with the girl's arms being pulled back and disclocating her shoulder, but other than that, it was great!

    The case itslef was obviously not an amazing one, but it did have some very interesting elements to it, such as reenacting a scene from his childhood, or even the fact that the car accident had sent the man back into his horrific childhood experience in a way. It was an inteeresting format.

    I don't know what to make of the imaginary 'second unsub'. There are a few too many cases of an unsub having an imaginary partner or instructor by his/her side in my opinion (Derailed from Season 1 comes to mind) but I don't understand with today's one how the man was controlling the puppet without realising it wasn't a puppet. That seemed beyond the realms of realistic, but I'm not an expert!

    Aside from the case, we had an interesting continuation to the Reid/phone lady romance. The ending was interesting, although I was looking forward to Spencer meeting her, so I was kinda let down! I thought for a moment that the 'stalker' might be that same guy who has been spying on our team and copying crimes, but obviously not since it was a mistake.

    An interesting episode with a few minor flaws. Good effort, but I do have slightly higher hopes for next week.
  • Disappointing

    Yet another lackluster episode in a season so far filled with them. I for one am growing tired of the need to try to garner sympathy for the unsubs by making excuses for their behavior. As for the Reid "Girlfriend" portion of the episode, who didn't know that they would not get to meet face to was telegraphed in a very clumsy buildup. I have been a fan of this show since the first season and season 7 and this current season have been filled with more disappointing episodes than riveting ones.
  • Didn't Like it as Much as I Wanted To

    only because my expectations were high (and been waiting for this episode for weeks). The main story felt somehow rushed -- despite the scenes that were stayed in my head with their detailed-ness. The plot was quite predictable, even the outcome of the 'date' part, the show; what I liked about it was the efficiency of the team -- working together from different places -- to id their unsub. The arrest was anticlimactic, but of course, arrests could never always be exciting. I did like the flow of the story, the music, and the unsub was convincing. (The best part for me though was seeing Hotch's facial expression in the elevator. It looked like he just realized that he liked Reid or something and that he was regretting having lost him to someone.
  • Where is my mind?

    It seemed that the victims would have vocalized their pain they were drugged somehow and I missed it. Otherwise, this was the second time in a week that I have heard a version of the Pixies song--Where is my mind? (During rehearsal scene). The other was in the last CSI episode. I guess that's long as you convince yourself it is not for the purposes of selling product.
  • quote in book

    does anyone know who wrote the quote in the book at the end that dr. reed was given?
  • Amazing Episode!

    An absolutely fantastic episode of Criminal Minds! Certainly the best thus far this season, and one that won't soon be forgotten. The plot was superb in a messed up sort of way and there were enough twists and turns to leave you captivated throughout the entire thing. Great work from Matthew Gray Gubler who directed this one. Bravo!
  • Great show tonight

    Had a Rob Zombie type story line,great to see Hanna Hall and Brad Dourif back acting in the same show once again!
  • Really wierd

    Weired, difficulat to watch, but intriguing at the same time. I don't like episodes like this.
  • Wormtongue is insane!

    Wormtongue or Brad Dourif as he otherwise known plays a super creepy killer. What a perfomance! This episode, like many others from CM shows how the brain can trick us and make us believe we are seeing this that aren't really there.

    After surviving torture like that and being used as a marionette, I'm not sure how the victims would ever get over it. Jesus, it scared the hell out of me just watching; just sick.

  • Its Parker!

    Other than one of the scariest unsub in the entire season (maybe the series?) played by the excellent Brad Dourif, that will give me nightmare for the next few days, this episode played the viewers by not letting them Reed meet up with Phone Booth girl. Man, when can Reed meet the girl of his eidetic mind? He is already developing the paranoia psyche of a stalking victim, sort of a twisted "Couvade syndrome" of the mental variety. Hope to see more of her with Reed down the road.

    By the way, I personally love the casting of Beth Reisgard as Reed's love interest. Love her as Parker from Leverage by the way. I really like to have an episode where Reed can be the Knight in shining amour (or sweatshirt) that banish the evil stalker and save the quirky damsel in distress, and they can live happily ever after. Come on, after 8 seasons, the kid deserves a break!
  • Where is my mind?

    This one was out there bad shit crazy. The meat puppet Marionette with The Pixies where is my mind played on the xylophone floored me. A great scene and episode.