Criminal Minds (2005– )
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The Gathering 

The BAU investigates victims who were documenting their personal lives and inner desires on blog posts and social media. Also, Kevin gets jealous when he learns Garcia may have a new love interest.

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(created by), (as Kimberly Ann Harrison) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Erin Strauss
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Dr. Montgomery Houston
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Sam
Elizabeth Higgins Clark ...
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Storyline

The BAU is disturbed by their finding that the Replicator has had such intimate access to all the team members. However, Strauss gives a directive for them to put that case aside since there are no new leads which may give them some perspective over time of who the Replicator is, and focus their attentions on their regular cases. That next case takes them to Saint Paul, Minnesota, where women have been stabbed to death, but more disturbing have had their tongues pulled out pre-mortem. They know that the tongue removal is the key to understanding the motivation of the unsub. The disparate set of women victims is seemingly chosen at random until the team discovers one common bond: that they all have a very strong on-line presence, their deaths telegraphed by stories in their own on-line blogs, messages or texts. To catch the unsub, they may have to dig a little deeper into the world of on-line chatter and who else may be sharing stories about violent deaths. Meanwhile, Kevin catches ... Written by Huggo

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TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

20 March 2013 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Garcia's background is a photo of Derek Morgan. See more »

Goofs

Penelope goes into a café correctly signed as "Le Petit Cafe" outside, but the sign inside says "La Petit Cafe", which is incorrect. See more »

Quotes

Jennifer Jareau: Okay, it takes a lot of strength to rip out someone's tongue. It's one of the strongest muscles in the body.
Aaron Hotchner: The M.E. is still trying to determine whether it was done ante or postmortem.
Dr. Spencer Reid: According to Chinese mythology, one of the most dreadful punishments in the 18 levels of hell involves having one's tongue ripped out. It's considered to be one of the most horrific forms of torture.
Alex Blake: It's also symbolic, used to punish liars and anti-regime activists.
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Soundtracks

Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Traditional children's song
Performed by Kirsten Vangsness
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User Reviews

 
Fantasy doesn't get much darker or twisted than this
7 April 2017 | by See all my reviews

When on form, and even better at its best, 'Criminal Minds' is one of my most watched and most re-watched shows and is a personal favourite. It is nowhere near as good now, but there are still good to great episodes made every now and then when the show doesn't forget what it's about, but Seasons 1-5 was its prime period.

Season 8 was a wildly variable season, almost as much as Seasons 6 and 9 while not being as generally underwhelming as Season 11. It was a season with a sizeable number of mediocre episodes, but also ones that were very good and showing signs of greatness. "The Gathering" is to me an above average middling episode. Not one of the best of the season like "Restoration", "All That Remains", "The Lesson", "Broken", "The Fallen", "God Complex", "The Good Earth" and "Alchemy". Also not one of the worst like "The Pact", "Magnificent Light", "Through the Looking Glass", "The Replicator", "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Magnum Opus", with a few things stopping it from being one of the average and bland episodes like "Perennials", "Carbon Copy", "#6" and "Pay It Forward".

"The Gathering" had a case that had its run of the mill and formulaic moments, and while there are Season 8 episodes and episodes overall that do a worse job with prominent unsubs that the viewer knows so much so early before the team does take away from the suspense and fun as well as making one feel frustrated at how long it takes for them to figure out. While Garcia and Kevin's subplot was enjoyable, one could really have done without the cringe-worthy conversation about moobs, where it was hard to believe considering her position Garcia didn't know what they were.

As for the Replicator story arc (or more its effects) having a little time wasn't as distracting this time around, feeling justified considering the creepiness of the previous episode "Carbon Copy" (one of the standout moments of a generally nothing special episode), but even for someone who doesn't care for Strauss usually it didn't seem right to be so aggressive and rude as well as cold. Blake is still a bland and not particularly well developed character.

However, "The Gathering" does have creepiness and some tension and suspense, with some clever misdirection regarding the unsub(s) that helps lift a formulaic episode into an above average one. Also elevating are the subplots, Reid's was done very touchingly and his involvement at the end was atypical but logical while in contrast Garcia and Kevin's was sweet and like a ray of sunshine, one conversation aside.

Visually, the production values in "The Gathering" are without complaint. It's very well shot and lit and is overall stylish, gritty, classy and atmospheric. The music is moody in the haunting and melancholic sense and fits well, without either enhancing or distracting from the atmosphere. The direction keeps the momentum going but lets the case breathe.

The script is mostly thought-provoking and often leaves one moved and repulsed. The team interaction is delightful and cohesive, and Peter and Mark are interesting and well played characters that are not what they seem. The story is not perfect, but is diverting enough with a twisted nature that is suitably dark. Acting is very good as usual all round, apart from Jeanne Tripplehorn not completely registering with very little to work with.

Overall, above average episode that could have been both better and worse. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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