Finally, we got a little more insight into what made Tara Lewis the way she is.
A case in Los Angeles also resulted in a visit to her past on Criminal Minds Season 14 Episode 9.
This episode directed by Aisha Tyler delved into the BAU’s least developed profiler. Given the opportunity, Tyler did well by her character.
Tyler is the fifth cast member to direct episodes this season, along with Matthew Grey Gubler, Joe Mantegna, Adam Rodriguez, and AJ Cook.
Should we read anything into this, such these actors taking one last chance to put their directorial stamp on the series? Even though the season is about two-thirds done, it’s still too early to tell about the series’ future.
Tyler helped viewers to see another facet of Lewis, to understand what makes her tick.
While Tara obviously has a wicked sense of humor, she has always seemed so serious, even by BAU standards.
Related: Criminal Minds Season 14 Episode 8 Review: Ashley
Now we found out that it was with good reason. She couldn’t help the love of her life break the chains of addiction. So she left him behind and put up walls, throwing herself into her research.
It was obvious from the beginning, when Daryl entered the auditorium near the end of her presentation, that the wounds were still fresh, despite the intervening years. Tara somehow felt responsible that she couldn’t get Daryl sober when they were married.
Lewis wanted nothing to do with him, but she had to admit that Daryl was onto something with an unusual number of recovering addicts dying in unexpected ways, killed by something other than their drugs of choice.
Thanks to Tyler’s nuanced performance, and the scattered flashbacks, it was obvious that it killed Tara that he hadn’t gotten clean until long after she left and that the impetus for his resolve was another woman, his wife Mary.
Related: Watch Criminal Minds Online: Season 14 Episode 8
It was evident that working together with Lewis, and all the emotions that stirred up, was equally tough on Daryl, as he had to take off to seek out guidance from his sponsor.
I felt worst for Mary, who lived in fear that Daryl might take off with Tara, the love of his life, now that they had reconnected, however tenuously.
Still, Daryl and Lewis’s personal knowledge of the pitfalls of addiction and recovery was crucial to helping to solve this case. Although it was often tormenting for the two of them to be thrown back together, Daryl’s revelation ended up saving lives.
I really wanted that fake doctor to be the unsub. But no, he was just a con man exploiting addicts in need and their insurance company.. Hopefully, somehow, the murders would at least have put him out of business.
This case featured an oldie but goodie, an angel of death. By rough count, that type of unsub has been used at least every other season.
This episode also continued a recent disturbing trend — serial killers who are also largely victims themselves. Something horrendous happened to them and they snapped, killing others in the guise of helping them.
Related: CBS Cheat Sheet
The unsub, Douglas, lost his wife to a drug overdose. So he nobly helped other similar addicts, and when they “failed” in his eyes, he did them a favor by putting them out of their misery. Obviously a demented perspective, but his heart was in the right place.
It’s hard to come away from such a case feeling that some grand wrong had been righted. It’s so much easier to hate a truly evil unsub who is killing people gruesomely because some apparition is commanding him to.
It was heartening to see Tara and Daryl leave things in a relatively good place, with a weight seemingly lifted from both of them.
Now maybe Lewis can find a new relationship. Everyone else has, excepting Reid, a unicorn who seems quite comfortable by himself, and Garcia, whose possible relationship with Phil got scuttled by his death on Criminal Minds Season 14 Episode 6.
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That, of course, assumes that there are many more episodes to come, and a deepening of the characters’ personal lives would be a plus. If Season 14 is it, then that doesn’t matter as much.
But at least this episode fleshed out the character of Tara Lewis in a much-needed way.
To check out Lewis through the seasons, watch Criminal Minds online.
Do you know Tara better after this episode? Do you like your unsubs less sympathetic? Who needs the spotlight treatment next?