Criminal Minds

Season 6 Episode 21

The Stranger

5
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Apr 13, 2011 on CBS
AIRED:
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
322 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

The BAU hunts a stalker in San Diego who is targeting college students. Meanwhile, the team comes under the scrutiny of Section Chief Erin Strauss in the wake of losing of Emily Prentiss.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A very interesting and intesne episode!

    10
    This episode was yet another thoroughly enjoyable one in the aftermaht of Emily Prentiess' 'killing off' from the show. While she is definitely missed, this case held it s own, as a killer in San Diego goes on a massive spree!



    There were a lot of nervous and suspenseful moments, and it was nerve-wracking all the way! I really enjoyed the whole storyline from start until end, and there were some really great moments! Very suspenseful!



    All up, I'd have to highly reommend this episode! They have come up with another great case, even though we all miss a key character, and while her absense is clear, I think the show has held its own once again, and I am thrilled by the high standard and calibre of this show! Great work, guys!moreless
  • To like or not to like...

    10
    The only reason I gave this episode a ten is because I am addicted to the show. If I didn't like the show so much and didn't want it to stay forever, I would have given it a lower mark. Why? Because we got to see more of "Agent" Seaver. The episode started out as a flash-back to all the drama that happened over the last few weeks and Strauss telling Hotchner she needs his emotional assessment. The team then flies to San Diego to find an unsub killing brunette college girls.

    After more bodies appear, and pictures among other evidence, they have a suspect list and a profile. Seaver, again, says the magic line that gets Garcia to cut the suspect list from 30 people down to just one. They have their unsub.

    She "found her calling" at the end of the episode by helping Hotchner talk down an unsub. Although it didn't end in the most ideal situation, she still did a "good job". I have nothing against Rachel Nicholas, or Ashley Seaver, but I still don't like the character on the show. I know she hasn't been given her time to shine or anything, but I still don't feel like she belongs with the team. And, to me, it always seems like she has the same tone of voice no matter the situation. I have read many comments about how is "JJ 2.0" or "JJ v 1.2" but that would imply that she is an upgrade, and to me JJ was the oreos and Seaver is the cheap, not as good, knock-off brand.



    I'm sorry if you disagree with me.moreless
  • a great episode!!!

    9.5
    At first when i read that this episode was gonna be a Seaver centric, i was afraid that i will not like it ( i'm really not a fan of Seaver's character) and it seems that they wanted to push us to like her. But in fact i really like this episode very much. The opening scene with Garcia, Morgan, Reid and Seaver getting out from a theatre and talking about the horror movie they saw was very funny. Reid making fun of Morgan because he jumped during the movie. And Morgan who kept calling the villain "the unsub". After that plot of the episode was intersting with the student girl who babysit getting killed and how the team discovered who was the unsub.

    To finish the finale scene between Strauss and Hotch promise many things for the coming episodes. Can't wait.. But still not a fan of Seaver!!!!!!moreless
  • An unsub is murdering young, brunette college girls in San Diego, California and the team's assistance is requested to find the killer. On top of all this, Hotch must deal with an insistent Erin Strauss who wants the team's grief evaluations ASAP.moreless

    7.0
    To be honest, this episode wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. When I heard and read that it was going to be strongly involving the Seaver character, I gave it a miss until just now because I am in a very good mood following the excellentg news that A.J. Cook is to return to the show for at least two years and reprise her role of Agent Jennifer Jareau. Believe me, this is JUST the kind of fantastic news that I needed after what I consider a very average season of the show with too many negative changes to casting and a plethora of bad writing to go along with it.



    The beginning where we see Morgan, Garcia, Reid and Seaver coming out of a movie theatre after watching a horror film was amusing. Garcia was her usual self for a change and was justifiably creeped out about what she had seen. Reid too, spouting off facts was just what I would expect from him so that was nice to see.



    The arrival of Erin Strauss at the BAU is always a good thing as far as I am concerned because Jayne Atkinsons plays her so well. In this case, I think her appearance and conversation with Hotch was perfectly justified. She is quite right to want the psychological evaluations on the team following Prentiss's death as soon as possible. It would be very remiss of her if she did not, because if one or more of the agents are not coping with their loss as well as they appear to be on the surface, we would be looking at disaster with a capital "D". She was also correct later on to require as assesment of Hotch, regardless of the childish way Rossi spoke of it. I know there is (justifiably for Hotch) a lot of bad blood between himself and Strauss but wanting an evaluation on him as well makes perfect sense and would most definitely be procedure at the FBI for ANY agent who had suffered such trauma, particularly the team leader. I am still more than a little concerned that she allowed Hotch to assess the other members of the team in the first place though, as that most certainly would never have happened, given that he himself was totally involved in everything which took place. An outside analyst was what was required and that is how it should have happened. Television artistic license once again, but I'll make allowances for it because I like to see Hotch in any capacity and Strauss always improves an episode for me.



    The in the field evaluations would also be a must but for one horrible moment, I had visions of the "Suspect Behavior" team coming along and following the others around and then reporting back to see how they were doing! That would have been beyond horrific.



    Anyway, the episode continued and it was nice that we didn't know within the first ten seconds who the unsub was and why they were killing, as well as where they lived and their marital and job status. Prehaps a slight exaggeration there but honestly, it WAS good not to have everything revealed before the opening credits for a change! That is more like the "Criminal Minds" we are all used to.



    Somebody should tell Seaver that she needs to check her tone of voice. She always sounds condescending and arrogant and I find that irksome. She was also barking out orders to Garcia as though she was in charge and it annoyed me but she wasn't actually in the episode half as much as had been touted so I liked that aspect of it.



    I admit that while I understood the initial reason behind Hotch deciding to take Seaver into the house with him - the "good cop, bad cop" idea, once she actually got to the door, she seemed to feel that she was permitted to completely take over and I don't remember Hotch saying that at any point. Not answering the unsub's initial question wasn't very clever if she was supposed to be sympathising with him because refusing to answer a person in such a state of mind when they ask a direct question is usually asking for big trouble. There again, I felt she showed her arrogance. I won't accept "inexperience" as the reason because if Hotch, as leader, felt she was ready to be part of a negotiating team, then she should have been just a little more gentle and not confrontational - that was his job. But, I didn't create Seaver nor write the episode.



    With that having been said, I thought Seaver did quite well when she instantly developed rapport with the unsub because she pretty much followed Hotch's instructions when she was inside the house, even if she was more than a little lax when outside. I suppose the main thing was that she did what she was told when it counted. I won't ever warm to this character, she has been too shoddily written and introduced for me to do that, but she was far less obnoxious this time around than she has been in the past; rudeness to Garcia aside.



    I knew it would be Rossi who would end up taking the unsub down. Wherever Seaver goes, he seems to be there. In this case, it was justified rather than creepy, though. I had figured out that our young unsub had fallen in love with Kate at some point so I'm glad they actually mentioned it.



    I didn't 'love' this episode or think it was amazing, brilliant and wonderful, but it WAS, in my opinion, far better than a lot of the rubbish the show has dished out this season, especially the last 12 episodes or so which didn't give me much to enthuse about. I think one of the reasons this one was marginally better was that it was co-written by Rick Dunkle, who is a "CM" writer from the days of yore and KNOWS the characters far better than anyone who has put pen to paper this season. I imagine that is why most of them were more like their old selves instead of a plastic or cardboard version. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the Seaver character can be redeemed because she (as has Rachel Nichols) have suffered through some truly appalling scripts and arcs this season and, as a result, there appears to be a lot of negativity towards the character which won't disappear with one semi-ok episode as it is too engrained now and most folk have taken their sides one way or the other.



    I liked the fact that Hotch genuinely seemed to care about what was wrong with Strauss. He has a lot of reason to dislike her, but he saw her fear and vulnerability and reacted to it accordingly. I am glad he won't be required to 'step away from his regular duties' as that would mean either that Thomas Gibson would not be returning to the show or that we would see far, far less of him and I wouldn't like either scenario.



    So far, we have the great news that A. J. Cook will be back next season, the possibility that Paget Brewster will be returning and, fingers crossed that Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore can get all of these lengthy contract negotiations sewn up soon so that they too can reprise their roles in Season 7. I hope we hear positive news on all these fronts VERY soon.



    Having to wait such a long time (relatively) for the next episode is annoying but let's hope that when it airs, it's a good one. This one wasn't horrible and I would certainly like to see more of the same and even better as the season winds down.



    The return of A.J. Cook may make things problematic for Agent Seaver (and Rachel Nichols.) What the producers decide to do with Seaver in the wake of this development is anybody's guess.moreless
Rachel Nichols

Rachel Nichols

FBI Cadet Ashley Seaver

Thomas Gibson

Thomas Gibson

Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner

Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna

Senior SSA David Rossi

Matthew Gray Gubler

Matthew Gray Gubler

SSA Dr. Spencer Reid

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore

SSA Derek Morgan

Kirsten Vangsness

Kirsten Vangsness

Analyst Penelope Garcia

Chad Todhunter

Chad Todhunter

Greg

Guest Star

Michael Raynor

Michael Raynor

Det. Bryce Harding

Guest Star

Heather Mazur

Heather Mazur

Kate Phinney

Guest Star

Jayne Atkinson

Jayne Atkinson

Section Chief Erin Strauss

Recurring Role

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