For the entire month of Halloween, us here at Nerds have been talking about some of our favorite and classic Halloween moments in the ever growing world of television. With the traditional spooky season coming to an end, what better way to start to close it out than with serial killers and the BAU team at Criminal Minds in Season 8, Episode 5, “The Good Earth”? Despite the team having to hunt down some of the world’s worst real life monsters, there is always a little time to celebrate some fun.
I will say the episode itself as a whole does not focus on Halloween, rather, the writers chose to make two scenes as the teams first appearance in the episode and the last focus on the spooky holiday. The main non-Halloween storyline focuses on a mom kidnapping physically fit men, drugging them with her own melatonin smoothies to keep them asleep as she strings them up in their barn. She also force feeds them animal feed through a nasogastric intubation and eventually hacks off their limbs, all to make fertilizer for her tomatoes. She even used her late husband’s ashes in the fertilizer because her child was diagnosed with a skin condition and she believes the soil cured her. I think having this episode, which is focused on a mother killing to protect her child, is very symbolic because the holiday focuses on children. But the director and writers didn’t make anything extra spooky, which, coming from someone who loves Halloween (hard emphasis on love) but hates scary, this was my feel good Halloween moment.
The first mention of it even being close to Halloween is when we first see Jennifer Jareau, Penelope Garcia, and David Rossi discussing in the bullpen about Henry, JJ’s son, not wanting to go out trick-or-treating anymore. When Garcia wants to know why, JJ informs her it is because he was told Halloween was when all the real monsters go out. She also adds her and Will, her husband, were talking about past cases and it scared Henry. I love how they added this line in because they are working for the FBI where they solely catch “monsters,” so it was an important moment to have in the story to create the final scene.
The end of the episode is where the feel good Halloween moment happens. After the BAU team catches the unsub, they are back in Quantico, Virginia and despite the previous discussion between Garcia, JJ, and Rossi, JJ rushes into the bullpen to make an announcement. She informs the entire team Henry had made the last minute decision to go trick-or-treating after all. When asked what made the young boy change his mind, JJ responds, “The BAU did.” She told him he should go out and try to figure out who the real monsters are. Derek Morgan then deduces that Henry is going as a profiler this spooky season, but JJ adds in that Henry is going as his favorite profiler. Henry walks in with Garcia, dressed as a mini-Spencer Reid (cue all the Reid fangirls absolutely dying). He is dressed exactly like Reid, down to the messenger bag he always carries. Reid even gives Henry his FBI badge.
Despite there only being two scenes having to do with Halloween itself, I think this episode stood out to me because the audience is shown, and reminded, this team is still very much human. They have families and a life outside of the BAU, that sometimes mixes with it. On top of that, holidays, regardless if they are spooky or festive, should be spent with the ones you care for, and this episode gives an insight on how close the entire team is since Spencer is JJ’s son’s favorite profiler. This show is about catching bad guys and stopping monsters outside of Halloween, but it is also about this team of people who have seen some of the worse things in the world, who have caught the real monsters and stopped evil, being a family and being there for the important moments in life. Halloween is about scary moments, evil entities, and monsters, but it is also about spending time together and getting to have fun with being someone else for a day. If you are like me and enjoy a somewhat tamer Halloween show, Criminal Minds does have several other Halloween-based ones you are free to enjoy:
- “About Face” – Season 3, Episode 6
- “Devil’s Night” – Season 6, Episode 6
- “In the Blood” – Season 9, Episode 6
- “Boxed In” – Season 10, Episode 5
You can stream these episodes of Criminal Minds and the first 12 seasons on Netflix. Stay tuned for tomorrow Nerds Gets Spooky article!