Season 1 of 'Criminal Minds' has seen some great episodes ("The Fox", "Riding the Lightning", "The Fisher King Part 1", "Extreme Aggressor" and "Compulsion" for examples).
This said, the episodes between "The Fox" and "Riding the Lightning" are hit and miss with "What Fresh Hell" being the best, though the weakest episode and the only real misfire is "Machismo". "Secrets and Lies" is a good, solid episode without being one of the season's better episodes. My general indifference towards Elle turned to dislike here, always have found her cold and annoying and this is her at her coldest, most annoying and bitchiest.
Most of the acting is very good indeed, with commanding Mandy Patinkin and truly delightful Kirsten Vangsness stealing the show, but Lola Glaudini's personality-less and overacted Elle and a one-note Lisa Vidal are exceptions. The part with the note doesn't quite make sense.
On the other hand, the episode looks great as usual, and the music suits the tone well and never distracts if not quite enhancing. The script is tautly structured and tense, while also allowing room for some great humorous moments with Garcia which blend remarkably well.
Story-wise, "Secrets and Lies" is edge-of-your-seat stuff with some nice twists and turns and a shocking reveal, after several episodes of the first season where the unsubs have been too obvious. Garcia has some of her funniest moments ever here too, especially the parts about Princess Diana and Prince William's number. Direction is solid.
In conclusion, a good episode if not immune to flaws. Not the best of the season, but not the worst, somewhere around top middle. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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