Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 14 Review: Miasma

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The Behavior Analysis Unit is once more under investigation. Stop me if you've heard this before.

Oh, yeah. There was also an incidental case set in New Orleans on Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 14.

Let's follow the episode's lead and dispense with the case rather quickly, so we can then get to the driving storyline.

Heading to New Orleans - Criminal Minds

Under JJ's temporary command, the BAU heads to the Crescent City because the local police have found ten burned bodies, drained of blood, inside a vandalized crypt.

Could it be VOODOO?

No. That would be a much more straight-ahead explanation than what they ultimately discovered.

What they found was an unsub who thought he was a plague doctor.

So what's a plague doctor? As Reid explained, like the unsub Kevon, a plague doctor wore a beak-like mask filled with aromatic items. These masks were designed to protect them from putrid air, which was thought to be the cause of infection as spelled out by the miasmatic theory of disease.

Their treatment often involved bloodletting.

Hence the episode title.

Seeking Answers - Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 14

And, as in many New Orleans-based storylines in the past decade, it was Hurricane Katrina's fault.

Or, to be more precise, those who failed the public in the aftermath of Katrina.

Usually, it's a politician in this role. But in this case, it's a landlord who failed to properly cleanse his property, causing Kevon's mother to contract a rare illness.

Once again, we're given another victim turned unsub, so it's difficult to totally blame them for their actions. Oh, for more whack-a-dos who are truly evil, not just misguided or broken in some manner.

Young Kevon promised his mother that he would become a doctor and help people. But when she died, he snapped and started trying to stamp out the disease by injecting people with ketamine, then draining their blood and lighting them on fire.

Yeah, that's pretty extreme treatment for the common cold.

And with the unsub having such an exotic motive and methodology, the BAU found themselves playing catch-up until Kevon made a mistake: grabbing a big guy that could handle his drugs. One thing real doctors learn about is proper dosing.

Another Target? - Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 14

Allergy guy swatted Kevon with what looked like a bedpan and escaped in Kevon's murdermobile. Well, at least until he quickly crashed it.

But soon he had shaken off the drugs and was talking up a storm to JJ. His description got Reid thinking plague doctor; then the profile just flew together. Thanks to Reid's unerring sense of geography, they soon had captured Kevon's hideout as well.

They had the unsub's van and hideout, but still had no idea who the unsub was. The drugs at the hideout led to Kevon's mom, which quickly gave them a good handle on the unsub.

Meanwhile, Kevon was growing more and more unhinged. First, he attacked the sick, then those that treat the sick. Finally, he went after the landlord be held responsible for his mother's death, even though she died from his mercy killing.

Standard Protocol - Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 14

So, while the JJ-led team stopped Kevon from curing any more people, Prentiss was battling for the BAU and her career with a superior with too much time on her hands.

Simmons had already warned about Barnes, who broke up his International Response Team unit from Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. (So that's what the ratings police look like.)

This is what it's come to. The BAU spent Criminal Minds Season 12 chasing escaped serial killers. Now their new villain is an ambitious bureaucrat.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Barnes ambushed Prentiss, but Prentiss brought some of that on herself. Despite JJ telling her the shit was about to hit the fan (I'm paraphrasing), Prentiss went in a little casually. She didn't do her due diligence.

So after she got beaten up in the first round, Prentiss went in guns blazing (would that it had been literally), putting Barnes on the ropes. 

Prentiss figured out that Barnes was targeting team members such as Rossi, who dared have a life outside the BAU, and Reid, who was taking time away from the unit as ordered. So she fell on her sword to protect the others as much as possible.

Has the BAU bent the rules beyond recognition? Of course. What will that mean in the end? Probably not a damn thing.

Operating outside the box is SOP in TV land. What's that saying that pops up at least once a week? It's better to ask forgiveness than seek permission.

Can JJ run the BAU? Of course, she can. But with Barnes kibbitzing her every move, that's going to ruin efficient operation of the BAU.

And now we wait until March 7 for the next episode. How long can this storyline last? Not long, I hope. I'm bored of Barnes after one full episode.

To catch up during the Olympic hiatus, watch Criminal Minds online.

How did JJ do? Has putting the BAU on trial been overdone? Are you also sick of Barnes already? Comment below.

Miasma Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (50 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 14 Quotes

We can't worry about this right now. We have a case. People need our help.


“My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.” -- Pat Conroy