Criminal Minds Evolution Season 2 Episode 7 Review: Piranha

Spoilers
Critic’s Rating: 4.25 / 5.0

So far, during Criminal Minds Season 17, we’ve focused mainly on Elias Voit and what he can bring to the BAU table.

He’s been the most demented of all characters because he needed to appear that way to top his comical attitude. We must remember that he was more than the man in the cage.

While Elias revealed he was still in the game, “Piranha” bucked the system and featured an UnSub so deranged that he made my skin crawl when all was said and done. But before that, he seemed like a normal, caring father and husband.

A frightened man in a glass cage on criminal minds
(Michael Yarish/Paramount+)

A Criminal Minds Twist We Never Saw Coming.

When was the last time a show took such a shocking turn? Usually, and this has been a complaint of mine all season, we can see what’s coming from a mile away.

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Roger, the seemingly doting husband and father, was a different story. It was like we were walking along one path and got shoved down another without expecting it.

It’s not easy to write something that cleverly, but this was a brilliant challenge to the norm. It wasn’t until Emma started bleeding that something seemed off.

A frightened man in a glass cage
(Michael Yarish/Paramount+)

Diabolical Torture

This was a case that will stick with me for quite some time. The easier it is for me to imagine my terror in a similar situation, the more my brain will incorporate it into my nightmares.

This case was nothing if not nightmare-inducing.

It’s hard to imagine finding yourself in the position of one of the victims. Awakening in a glass case with no way to escape and a lunatic holding your truthful words against you is no way to go. That kind of fear is incomprehensible.

Those feelings of dread went into overdrive when the first poor bastard got a taste of the shower that would ultimately take his life. How debased do you have to be to think of something that?

The real kicker was that we were tricked into believing Emma was at fault when it was Roger with a pervasive and profound psychosis.

A man stands next to a glass cage holding an injured man
(Michael Yarish/Paramount+)

Who Was the Bad Guy?

Another brilliant setup was questioning who was behind the evil deeds. All signs pointed to Emma, but when the switch flipped, everything became crystal clear.

Emma

Using the information at hand led us to believe Emma had gotten raped, was unable to handle the aftermath and the baby that resulted, and needed vengeance.

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It’s not a stretch to imagine a mother’s inability to bond with a baby she gave birth to after a sexual assault.

Emma was also adequately confused about how to process it. She knew she didn’t love the baby, and she needed something to ease her pain. From our perspective, it appeared that she needed the men who gang-raped her to be terminated for her peace of mind.

When she finally took matters into her own hands, though, it did nothing to alleviate her pain.

A man behind a woman holding a remote control criminal minds
(Michael Yarish/Paramount+)

Roger

Roger was set up as the doting husband who loved his wife so much he would do anything to assuage her pain.

They did such an excellent job of establishing Emma’s role that I never questioned why the method of torture used to kill the supposed culprits was so horrifying. Looking back, you see that it was highly personal to Roger.

Love could do that, but it’s a more typical reaction for love to work violently against your partner, not carrying out vengeance on their behalf.

This is an episode of Criminal Minds I’d like to rewatch to see if I can spot the cracks in his veneer before I get walloped upside the head with the truth.

Aaron Yoo as Roger Song in Criminal Minds: Evolution, episode 7, season 17 streaming on Paramount+, 2024.
(Michael Yarish /Paramount+)

Roger’s True Motivations Were Shocking But Recognizable

It wasn’t until Roger lured a trusted doctor to his lair that the situation became clear.

Roger, infertile, wanted a baby, and he ground her down until she agreed to have one via sperm donor. That didn’t make her magically want the baby, and Roger ultimately used his insecurities to place the blame on Emma.

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The doctor lumped Roger in with other husbands who hear the word no as an attack, a raised voice as criticism, and tune out anything that doesn’t fit with their personal narrative of what a baby (or a wife or mother) should be.

What I don’t know is whether he killed them outright or if Emma really did hemorrhage and die, but he didn’t get her help. Did he just give up on the baby? What happened to Emma and the baby remains a mystery to me.

Prentiss touches Jill criminal minds
(Michael Yarish/Paramount+)

Felicity Huffman Appears as Jill Gideon

Felicity Huffman is an excellent addition to Criminal Minds! She’s perfect as Jill Gideon, the Penelope Garcia before Penelope.

She didn’t have Penelope’s technical skills, but it was evident she was as whip-smart and just as helpful in profiling as her successor.

Jill was brought into the loop to help navigate Gold Star and North Star, as she had insight into Gideon’s work with Rossi. She also works as a bridge between the past and present, which has been frequent this season.

Jill visits the BAU
(Michael Yarish/Paramount+)

Recalling Criminal Minds’ Long History

During Criminal Minds Evolution Season 1, the focus was on the BAU’s rebirth and hunting Elias Voit. But Criminal Minds Season 17 has been more gracious in recognizing the show’s illustrious past.

Every agent has stories that go back years, and those stories not only shape who they are today but also give us a chance to discover more about them that we never knew.

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Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that we didn’t see every case or personal development with characters who have been around so long, but there is plenty to explore that has never otherwise come to light.

Jill has a fun dynamic that I’m looking forward to exploring as the season continues. She will appear in at least a couple more episodes, so we will have time to decide whether to keep her.

BAU agents stand up
(Michael Yarish/Paramount+)

Tyler Wants to Change

It’s not a stretch to imagine that Jill could stick around longer term. The team is relatively small in terms of the amount of work they do and the importance of the cases they solve, and they could use another helping hand.

In “Piranha,” Prentiss introduced Tyler as the future of the BAU. As he’s a consultant, it never crossed my mind that he might be labeled as the BAU’s future. He’s got so much to offer that it makes sense.

I felt for the guy when he told Prentiss he wanted to change. He only believed he was being asked along because of the tricks up his sleeves. She shocked him by saying she needed his polite and nonviolent nature.

Who doesn’t love a good character arc? Tyler is already showing signs of growth in his short time with the BAU. I kind of love that they’re considering the next stages of the department and putting him on the shortlist to carry it forth.

Man runs from a house
(Michael Yarish/Paramount+)

Voit Is Up to His Old Tricks

The perils of attorney-client privilege with a dastardly villain like Elias Voit are all too real.

Criminal Minds Evolution Season 2 Episode 7 found Voit both on the phone with and manipulating his attorney face to face to do his dirty work.

Why does a criminal mind the likes of Voit’s get that privilege? He’s a master manipulator, and someone should have conceived that he’d lure someone to do his bidding sooner or later. That time has arrived.

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Voit has been playing along with the BAU in its hunt for Damien (I didn’t miss the detour away from that deviant at all this time out), but it seems he’s never been all-in on the reality of it.

Voit sent his attorney to get one of his infamous go-packs, a very special, one-of-a-kind number just for Damien. Will the surprise be that Voit wants Damien taken out so he can resume his plea deal, or is this another stop on his tour of manipulative violence?

I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

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