Criminal Minds: Season 6, Episode 9

Into the Woods (17 Nov. 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 612 users  
Reviews: 3 user

When a boy is found murdered on the Appalachian Trail, the BAU team goes deep into its forests in search of a man lurking in the wilderness who is targeting children.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Shane Wyland
Joseph Lanham
Robert Brooks
Ranger Walter Turner
Brandon Stiles
Frank Brooks
Violet Brooks


The dead body of ten year old Daniel Lanham is found buried in Harwood State Park in Pennsylvania. Missing since November when he and his father, Joseph Lanham, were camping, Daniel was kept alive over the winter before being killed in March. Experienced hiker and camper Joseph was and is a suspect, most notably now since he purportedly stopped looking for Daniel around the time he was killed. Reviewing the crime scene, the BAU find another dead body of a boy around Daniel's age, who also was killed months after his abduction. Reid suspects that the serial killer would have murdered more boys over several years over the entire course of the Appalachian Trail, and that he lately has confined himself to a smaller portion of the trail due either to his age or a physical disability which is making him less mobile. The unsub is working like an animal in the woods, hibernating with the boys over the winter before disposing of them. Meanwhile, adolescent brother and sister Robert and Ana ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

17 November 2010 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


When Garcia displays the unsub's prison record on her computer monitor, it lists his sentencing date as 1994, but indicates his date of birth as 10-28-1990. (making him only 4 years old when he was sent to prison). See more »


Derek Morgan: What'd you find, Reid?
Dr. Spencer Reid: I went back ten years, matching reports of missing children with Daniel and Tyler's victimology, and in my estimation, this UnSub may have taken 12 victims.
David Rossi: How can you attribute all of those to the same offender?
Dr. Spencer Reid: The dates and locations of the abductions create an unmistakable pattern.
Emily Prentiss: Now, if he's been abducting children for ten years, why weren't we called in before now?
Dr. Spencer Reid: The thing is, he walks the entire trail, end to end, and each way takes approximately six months. ...
See more »

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User Reviews

Into the Woods recap with spoilers
25 November 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have a strong stomach when it comes to content in TV and movies, from every episode of Criminal Minds and along with nearly every other crime procedural on today, to Dexter, Breaking Bad, American Horror Story--if it's provocative I've probably seen it, complete with blood, guts, gore, and racy subject matter--and I've come out the other end of every episode virtually unaffected. I am unshockable, if there were ever a word; desensitized.

This episode of Criminal Minds, however, left me wondering who the hell would ever find this episode entertaining.

CM writers have a way of thinking of the worst things people do to each other and then pushing it even further, and it's usually at the expense of women and children. The satisfaction we normally get from these shows is when the bad guy is caught and either killed, or thrown in jail, one would assume. It doesn't always happen but more often than not, it does. This episode is one of the exceptions.

Little boys are being found dead along the Appalachian Trail. Their bodies indicate that they were each kidnapped and kept throughout the winter by a child molester. Concurrently, a family is camping in the same area, and in the middle of the night, the kidnapper takes the 10- year old son Robert and his younger sister Ana to the cave where he's holed up, and has locked the children in a cage filled with toys from his previous victims. Robert seems to almost understand this.

Ana is superfluous; Robert was the real target, and he lures him away from his sister with the promise of a flashlight for Ana. After an extended period of time, the monster brings a visibly upset Robert back to the cage. The implication is clear: Robert has been raped, and you can see it on the destroyed child's face (to the actor's credit, his performance was devastating). His eyes are filled with tears and he is speechless. His sister looks at him as if she can tell what has happened, and then she holds her brother as he drops his head and cries. He tells his sister that when the man returns for him, she is to run and never look back, which is what happens. Robert fights the man off to save his sister, but the man overpowers Robert and he and the man make a run for it.

The man brings Robert to a Half-way House to buy drugs, and exchanges an hour with Robert for the pills. He pimps out a child for pills, as if Robert hasn't been through enough. The writers showed Robert a single kindness by having Robert put up a fight and getting knocked out before he can be molested again. Thinking Robert dead, the drug dealer takes Robert's body to dump it, and long-story short, Robert lives and the drug dealer is taken into custody. The kidnapper is free to kidnap and rape children another day.

You can't watch any episode of Criminal Minds and feel good, but it is possible to feel moved or engaged in the main characters lives, or maybe you learn something or gain perspective on human behavior or the logistics of the criminal justice system or SOMETHING. There wasn't a single redeeming factor of this episode, except perhaps the performance of young Gattlin Griffith. What they put "Robert" through goes beyond the realm of entertainment and telling a compelling story, to my sensitivities, anyway. Do these things happen in real life, yes, unfortunately, they do. But when I think of the person who sat down and wrote these cruel things to happen to young Robert, she's sadistic.

I rated it two stars, but honestly I selected that number pretty arbitrarily. This one was hard for me to watch, but you may have a hard time with another one and feel indifferent towards this one. For me, the young actor connected to the material too well for it not to hurt, and where a writer's mind goes in order to torture a child on paper is disturbing. Why do we watch these things?

5 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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