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Fridge Brilliance

  • In a two-part episode in Season Two, Reid is kidnapped by a religious fanatic with three separate personalities: his own personality, his father's personality, and a personality that believes himself to be an infallible archangel. It takes a second or two to realize the significance of having this deeply religious killer be three people in one- the father, the son, and a holy spirit.
    • Also from that episode: while the father beats Reid savagely and the angel plays Russian Roulette with him, it is scared, meek Tobias who actually causes Reid the most agony and suffering by giving him the drugs... and he did it all while trying to help.
    • Yet again from that episode: Charles' line "There's only one bullet in that gun" at the end of "Revelations" makes sense when you remember the personalities, while aware of each other, were unaware of the fact that they co-existed in the same body, as alluded to earlier ("Do I look like Raphael to you?") What Charles was essentially saying was "There's only one bullet in that gun, and there's three of us."
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    • Moreover, the three personalities can also be seen as a reference to the Book of Tobit, the volume of Biblical apocrypha that the name Tobias and the archangel Raphael comes from. Those two along with Tobias's father Tobit are the primary characters of the story. They've Shown Their Work, as the whole bit about burning fish guts to drive demons away? Comes from Tobit as well.
      • It's even directly referenced in the episode, too. The domain Tobias types in when he does support work starts with www.tobitnet...
  • And then there's the episode, "The Performer," which involves a Marilyn Manson doppelganger promoting a new album called "The Liar". It seems like an odd name for an album at first. Then, you see the scene in which the desperate, drug-addicted rock star's manager promises him that things will get better, hear the rock star say, "Look, you may be the only friend I've got left, but you're a crappy liar," and realize who the album is named after.
  • The episode "True Night" can be looked at as a Deconstruction of The Dark Age of Comic Books. The unsub, Jonny, a comic book artist, creates a new character, Night, who appears to be a '90s Anti-Hero given his use of deadly force, and all Night's kills are subconsciously based on murders the unsub has been committing in real life. Jonny's manager is shocked by the violence of this art compared to Johnny's previous work. Furthermore, examine what caused Jonny's psychotic break: his girlfriend getting murdered in front of him by a street gang. Yes, she was Stuffed into the Fridge. His response was to essentially become a Nineties anti-hero himself, hunting down the gang members and killing them, like many a Dark Age "hero". However, this isn't portrayed as "EXTREEEEMEEE", but as a horrifying symptom of major mental illness. The scenes where he kills the victims are beautifully stylized in Sin City-esque fashion, but when you see them realistically afterwards (though you don't see much), they're stomach-churning. Jonny is what a Nineties anti-hero would be in real life: seriously disturbed and tragic, not badass. It's a meditation on how what is "cool" in comics is not very cool in reality. - Idler
    • I caught that on first viewing, but I didn't realize the Stuffed into the Fridge bit until I read that. Wow. — Tropers.Jonn
  • Tying in with the symbolism of the Death Tarot card that we see in "Lo-Fi"/"Mayhem", there are several events that act as subtle foreshadowing for how certain character arcs unfold later in Seasons 4-6.
    • Hotch and SSA Kate Joyner are targeted by a car bomb which horribly maims both of them. Hotch ends up surviving his injuries, Kate doesn't. Now, who was Kate compared to again in this episode?
    • Prentiss and Detective Cooper chase down the Un Sub, which ends with Cooper getting shot and Prentiss attending to him. Flash forward to Season 6, it's the same scenario, except with Prentiss in Cooper's position and Morgan in Prentiss', right down to Morgan telling Prentiss to stay with him, and like Detective Cooper, we don't find out that Prentiss survived until the first episode of the next season.
    • Morgan gets friction from SSA Kate Joyner because he's first in line for her job if she fails to solve the case. After Kate dies, Morgan declines the job offer, only to temporarily take Hotch's position as Team Lead after Hotch's actions in the beginning of Season 5 gets him in hot water with the Bureau. This transfer of leadership is also preceded by tensions between Hotch and Morgan.
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    • We find out that JJ is pregnant, which obviously foreshadows that she'll be taking a maternity leave later in Season 4. However, this also serves as the end of JJ's character arc of the season, which sees her and Will being more cooperative with each other as opposed to how they were back in the episode "In Heat".
    • Rossi tracks down Morgan in a bar after being forced to go for a walk after getting into a shouting match with Hotch over previously mentioned SSA Joyner. Rossi and Morgan then proceed to chat about how the Bureau wears people down, mentioning Gideon in the process, ending with Rossi correctly pointing out Morgan's emotional attachment getting in the way of the case, and giving Morgan a Rousing Speech to get him back on the case. Rossi would give Hotch a similar speech during the Reaper case in order to coax him off the Despair Event Horizon. It worked.
    • Reid doesn't get a moment of foreshadowing, because Reid had already got his fair share of torment back in Season 2 and isn't due for another go through the emotional meat grinder until Season 8.
    • The Un Sub's plan is foiled in part thanks to Garcia's intervention. Garcia as the mere support role died in "Penelope", the new more active Garcia was born in this episode, and would continue to take a more active role in stopping the bad guys, particularly in "Exit Wounds" and "The Internet is Forever".
  • In the episode "Lauren", Prentiss' headstone reads "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity" Put those together and what do you get? F.B.I.
    • For good reason: "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity" is the FBI's official motto.
    • Also, in the same episode, upon receiving news of Prentiss' death, Reid attempts to leave the room, stopped by JJ, to whom he says "I didn't get to say goodbye." Now think back to episode "Scared to Death", when Reid finds the letter Gideon left for him. He complains about abandonment and how his father (and father-figure) left without forewarning. And to who? Emily. Now, doesn't that feel familiar? I thought so.
  • Prentiss' origin as an Interpol agent seems to be an Ass Pull... but go back to the episodes in which she first appears. She really does seem to come out of nowhere, claiming to have worked in the FBI for ten years without Hotch ever seeing her. His initial mistrust of her is a natural reaction. Being in the FBI is a sort of witness protection for her—since she won't be leaving the country for assignments, she has less of a chance of running into anyone who knew her as Lauren.— Astrakhan
    • Also in "Revelations" both JJ and Hotch point out that she is completely calm even though a co-worker and friend has been kidnapped by an insane serial killer and nothing she has seen up to that point has made her lose focus despite apparently having a desk job until recently. But it makes perfect sense when you learn about her past.
    • In "52 Pickup," Prentiss says that she's dated guys worse than Viper. Well, that's probably the most innocuous way anybody could describe Ian Doyle...
    • At the end of "Lauren," an important clue to identifying Prentiss is the fact that, when she's under stress, she picks at her fingernails to the point of nearly destroying them. It might seem like an Ass Pull, except that Paget Brewster really does have this habit. So a season before, in "100," when she's nervously waiting to give her testimony to Strauss, there she is picking at her nails, and there goes the Ass Pull.
  • It always seemed a little weird to me that when Prentiss goes into Hotch's apartment in "Nameless, Faceless", she sees the pool of blood and instantly reaches for his address book, of all things. Yes, it's out on the table and near at hand, but she doesn't even look in the other rooms first. Then it occurred to me: the last time an unsub was in a team member's home, it was Frank. Where did they find the key to his next target?
  • One of the most interesting character interactions (to this troper, anyway) is between Hotch and Strauss. One is a major badass Iron Woobie that does everything in his power to keep his team safe and get the unsub. The other is an Obstructive Bureaucrat that does everything in her power to control the political/bureaucratic ramifications of the BAU's actions. At times the two become a rivalry, with Hotch proving time and again that he is capable and happy where he is and Strauss doing everything she can to keep her job (since Hotch has proven that he could easily do it himself). Their relationship (though favoring Hotch from the audience's perspective) is played up as a rivalry. What's one way to reinforce a rivalry? With Name's the Same: both are named Aaron/Erin.
  • In "Supply and Demand", Morgan displays some unexpected math skills when deducing how far a car has travelled based solely on how much gas was left in the tank. Rossi, upon hearing it, acknowledges it with an "okay Reid", joking that Morgan sounded a lot like Reid with his calculations. However, when you think about it, the comment is a bit of a nod to Morgan's relationship with Reid- although not getting the credit for it, Morgan is often the only one who really can keep up with Reid in conversations and does feel like the only person who understands Reid and thus is the only one Reid truly trusts.
  • In "Hit," the last thing Izzy does before getting out of the van to rob the bank is send a text message. When the group enters the bank, one of the customers is on his cell phone. Turns out he's more than just a customer, but you only find that out in "Run."
  • In "Zugzwang" Reid says that he's had 100.5 days with Maeve. Then she dies. In season 5, episode 100 of the series, Hotch lost Haley.
    • Anyone who knows their chess terminology will immediately recognize that the episode title refers to a position in which the player cannot make a move without losing something.
      • This is actually explicitly mentioned in the episode. It's a plot point.
  • Kind of a meta-example: various behind the scenes features have mentioned that the writer's room likes to picture the BAU's adventures as modern-day arthurian lore, similar to the unsub of the "Fisher King" two-parter. Assuming they kept this up with later seasons, it's not hard to imagine that Seaver was an attempt to add a Galahad. She didn't take because Galahad's brand of purity and Messiah-dom comes across as Mary Sue-ish to a modern audience.
    • Fridge moment based on the above entry: The writers probably overdid Seaver's Galahad on purpose in a bid to prove to producers that only JJ could be a likable Galahad.
  • The car in Hotchner's near death experience in "Route 66" has a license plate number 509 905. In the near death experience Hotchner not only gets to see Haley but the man who killed Haley and who's the reason that Hotch is on an operating table four years later. Now, the episode where Haley dies is Season 5, episode 9. "Route 66" is Season 9 episode 5.
  • In "P911," the team apprehends a school principal who is a closet pedophile. Everyone's pretty disgusted, naturally, but Morgan has to be told twice by Gideon to calm down or go somewhere else. It's rather subtle, and no one really pays that much attention to it, but only a few episodes later it's revealed that Morgan was sexually abused in his youth by a man who had a job working with children. His abuser even fits the profile given to the unsub (different from the principal) in "P911": A preferential pedophile, specifically targeting children of a certain age/appearance, and seeking out a job that would give him access to them.
  • When JJ returns to the BAU, she doesn't go back to the job of media liaison, instead becoming a profiler. The whole reason she was forced to leave was the Pentagon wanted her as their media liaison. By becoming just another profiler, she can't be unwillingly promoted out of the BAU again.
  • Spencer Reid gets hit on by prostitutes a lot. Sure, he's pretty, but Morgan is a chocolate Adonis and he never almost never gets propositioned. They go after Spencer not because he's pretty, but because he's not threatening. Hotch, Morgan, and Rossi all treat working girls well, but they are clearly dominant, physical men. Reid on the other hand exudes "timid nice guy." He's the kind of guy who'll pay without question, not smack you around, and probably leave a nice tip. What prostitute wouldn't want to sleep with him?
  • When The Reaper goes after Hotch's family, he shoots Haley and stabs Hotch countless times. This is the opposite of how he acts in every other attack - because in every other attack The Reaper's main objective was the woman, but in this case it is Hotch.
  • In "Blood Relations", Cissy Howard is saying her nightly prayers after many members of her family have been picked off by the unsub. She says she needs the "God of vengeance", to avenge the murders, and not a second later, she hears someone break in and goes after them with her shotgun. Turns out the vengeful God wasn't there to help Cissy, but to visit his wrath upon her. Specifically, for her incestuous relationship with her brother Malachai that started the whole problem in the first place, as the unsub is their illegitimate child, given away and badly deformed. By the end of the night, Cissy has been dragged through hell, and her and her brother's relationship has been exposed. The ending credits show their families, now joined together, demanding answers for the bloodbath they inadvertently caused. Vengeful God, indeed.
  • In "The Perfect Storm", why does Amber talk to Tony, even though it led to one way she was exposed as the killer? When everyone thought Tony was the dominant partner, Hotch went in with a strategy to feed his ego, say what he wanted to hear about his skill and strength. Now remember how Gideon talked Amber into the interview. "You're the only one who can get through to him." "You're our only hope." He was unwittingly following Hotch's strategy to a T against the REAL dominant partner... And it worked!
  • When Hotch is ambushed by Mr. Scratch in Season 10 and subjected to his drug cocktail, which makes victims hallucinate their worst fears, he hallucinates the rest of the BAU being shot by Mr. Scratch. However, everyone who is shown being shot is always being shot somewhere in the neck, rather than the head (them being shot in the chest would've immediately tipped off viewers that what they are seeing is Hotch's hallucination, since the characters should be wearing their bulletproof vests). This may be a strange thing to emphasize at first, but then it makes a lot more sense when one remembers the Season 9 finale, where Reid is shot and nearly killed by a suspect during a shootout. Where exactly was he shot? The neck. At that point, Reid's injury was the most recent time any member of the BAU was dangerously close to dying under Hotch's watch, and so Mr. Scratch's drugs brought up that specific trauma because it was still fresh in his mind.
  • Having the show's seasonal arc be "past unsubs return" right after Shemar Moore's departure makes perfect sense. With a new agent on the team, the characters and writers have an excuse to brief both the newbie and audience members without encyclopedic knowledge of the show's past about the episodes in which the returnees first appeared.
  • At the end of 3rd Life, we see Lindsey take up her dead (female) friend's name. Fridge Brilliance kicks in once you watch the Season 12 finale and find out that she's a lesbian (or at the very least, bi). She very well could have chosen the name because she was in love with said friend.
  • As they discuss Jack & Henry’s Halloween costumes at the start of "Boxed In," J.J. comments that Henry said that the FBI should use web shooters, something Hotch seems to seriously agree with. Which makes sense, as it’s a non-lethal method of incapacitating criminals.

Fridge Horror

  • In "Seven Seconds" turns out the little girl was being molested by her uncle. The episode doesn't point this out, but he and the father are identical twins. So, what's worse than being molested? Being molested by a man wearing your daddy's face.
  • The unsub from "Normal" killed his wife and daughters while they slept, blocked out the memory of doing so, and continually hallucinated his family was still alive. He never moved the bodies, so its safe to assume he had been unknowingly sleeping next to his wife's corpse for days.
  • At the end of "The Fox" the team find a box that contains 8 wedding rings collected by the unsub after he killed the families he lived with for five days. Counting the 3 families the team knew about, and possibly allowing another for the unsub's own failed marriage, that still means he did that to 4 other families at least before the team knew about it.
  • Most of the dead in "Amplification" were probably children.
  • The Reaper's attack on Hotch. Not only is Hotch helpless (which he obviously would hate), but remember, he'd been working on the Reaper case for years. He knows exactly what the Reaper is thinking while he's stabbing Hotch, and what else he could potentially do, and can't do a thing about it.
  • Jeremy, the teenage budding psychopath In "Safe Haven" is described by Garcia as having a disturbingly long rap sheet. A Freeze-Frame Bonus shows us that one of his crimes is sexual assault. Likely meaning that when he was younger he molested an even younger child than himself at the time. Add that to his creepy interest in a young girl in that episode and it seems that Jeremy is also a pedophile.
    • This is disturbingly Truth in Television. Most children who are molested know their perpetrator, and about half those perpetrators are other children.
  • Killing children does absolutely nothing for Frank, as he himself knows with complete certainty. But if he is completely certain that killing children doesn't work for him, that likely means he's tried it just to see if it does.
  • Most of the time, the show is straight up horror, but at the end of "3rd Life" we see teenaged Lindsey alive and meeting new people. But she has known for years that her father was a mob killer. She was kidnapped by guys who mutilated her friend, and she stood up to them, threatening them. When her dad rescued her, she insisted he kill the last guy, even after an FBI agent was on the scene and a witness. When her dad did it, she was happy. What is this girl going to be like in five or ten years?
    • Actually, she isn't normal. As she became a Cartel Hitwoman, and worked with Cat Adams to set Reid up for murder.
  • Perhaps not "fridge", exactly, but imagine what it would be like to be a Muggle in this universe. I mean, the team catches at least one serial killer a month, often more, all of whom kill their victims in brutal, horrific ways. And they aren't even the only BAU team.
    • Fun fact: We are Muggles in that universe. There are estimates that 30-50 serial killers are active in the US at any given moment. And many of the killing methods on the show are inspired by things that did happen in "our" world.
  • Every woman who had slept with the Unsub of Parasite really needs to get tested for STD's and that goes double for his wife. Part of his MO as a Con Man was to sleep with his victims to manipulate them. Considering the fact he got one woman other than his wife pregnant he probably didn't use condoms and could have caught anything asymtomatic over the years and passed it around a lot.
    • Also part of fridge brilliance, the Unsub devolved into killing all of his con victims in order to cover his tracks. And in the last moment he entered the house of one of his cons that he got pregnant talking to his wife. His wife may have unknowingly saved two lives just by being there.
  • It may be tame compared to he content on the rest of this page but in L.D.S.K. Reid jokingly tells Hotch "You kick like a 9 year old girl", it comes off as just a funny line until you find out that Reid was seriously bullied as a child and probably was talking from experience.
    • On the subject of Reid being bullied, in "Elephant's Memory" he recounts a particularly horrific incident from high school. Considering that later in high school he gained some degree of acceptance using his intellect to help the basketball team and the fact that he graduated at twelve, the story in "Elephant's Memory" is about teenagers tormenting a child. While child abuse is pretty common (if not downright idyllic when it doesn't make you a serial killer) for this show, the fact that it's Reid makes the impact that much stronger.
  • We already knew from the first episode that Gideon had worked a case that ended up killing about 7 of his agents. Then, in the first episode, Elle fills in an empty position in the BAU. Judging from Reid's interactions with the team, he still seems to be fairly new to the BAU, and JJ, it would seem, is too young to have been there too long either. Considering the devotion that the BAU agents usually display to the job, why would the entire team be so young? Then it occurs to you that this is what it looks like trying to replace a team that's nearly all dead.
    • "Tabula Rasa" takes this further, by showing that, in 2004, the team was only Hotch, Morgan and Reid, and Reid was a new member at the time. The brilliance of the scene goes further when one realizes that the three of them are the only characters that have been present since the pilot.
  • The beginning of "Derailed" gives us a little insight into the people on the train: a kid who's been kicked out of home for drink-driving (and crashing), a doctor taking a patient to a seminar, a woman going to get an abortion... and a man who is most likely on his way to either kill his ex-wife or force her to get back with him. What did he do after the episode ended?
  • In "The Big Game" and a few episodes prior, Reid displays some amount of technical skill — enough to translate for Garcia when she's explaining something over the phone. Yet some seasons later she refers to him having an "anti-technology quirk." Is this characterization marching on or the lingering effects of being kidnapped by the episode's technologically-capable unsub?
    • Just because Reid hates technology doesn't mean he doesn't know about it- he can still read about it, and apply knowledge from what he's read. He just doesn't use it.
  • A meta example: Matthew Gray Gubler has directed some of the most horrifying episodes of the show, including "Mosley Lane" and "Blood Relatives"... and only started directing after years on the show. Ever get the feeling that playing Reid has warped his mind?
  • In "Red Light," Reid finally snaps and — temporarily ignoring Cat Adams's pregnancy — comes close to choking her to death. At first, it looks like he's simply that pissed and worried about his mother's safety... until you remember that this episode's premise is eerily similar to that of "Zugzwang" (where Reid's girlfriend, Maeve, was threatened by a similar Yandere). Is he subconsciously reliving that experience and, afraid of this one ending in a similar Shoot the Shaggy Dog story note , becoming more gung-ho and willing to Pay Evil unto Evil (especially since he was already desperate enough to poison his inmate tormentors, who'd also killed his new inmate friend, in "Hell's Kitchen")? Looks like Lindsey Vaughn may not be the only one warped by her history with others' violence.

Fridge Logic

  • In "Bloodline", what happens if the families have a daughter, instead of a son?
    • They kill her, probably.
      • Or they could have raised her to become the perfect wife and give her to one of the other families.
      • Or they kidnap a little boy
  • Also in Bloodline, the family we see is at one point referred to as 'gypsies', an ethnic slur against the Romani...but are elsewhere described as Romanian. They speak Romanian, the customs they follow are explicitly described as Eastern European, and so on and so forth. Did the writers not know that the Romani are an entirely separate culture, and even those living in Romania follow a very different set of cultural practices to the Romanian people? The goddamn That Other Wiki page on the Romani people opens with 'not to be confused with Romanians, an unrelated ethnic group and nation', and that's just what a ten-second Google search can produce on the matter. And even if we do accept that this particular family happens to be Romani hailing from Romania, how on earth would the BAU know that when all the customs they practice are described as purely Romanian, as Prentiss knows from her time abroad in Eastern Europe.
  • Henry Grace mentions in "Masterpiece" that he's been working on his elaborate revenge scheme for five years. Rossi was still retired then.
    • He was probably intending to draw Rossi out of retirement with his killing "game." That Rossi un-retired himself was just a bonus.
    • Grace also showed himself to be somewhat of a profiler, and may have figured Rossi was going to come out of retirement at some point.
    • Grace is also quite clearly delusional, so who knows if we should take his words at face value.
  • "The Fight":
    • A guy with a criminal record, and who even spent time in prison, is somehow a member of a BAU team?
      • People who go to prison are not some other species. People wind up in prison for all sorts of reasons — including good people who make stupid choices.
      • People with criminal records aren't allowed to work for the FBI, though; doesn't matter what crime it was.
      • Word of God admitted this being a mistake after fan backlash, hence the change.
    • There's no explanation given for the existence of another BAU team. It was established in the first episode that there was only one, and, with such a specialized capacity, it would make more sense if there was one. At least in the spinoff the team was established as a rogue unit, but that explanation should have come in "The Fight".
  • "Psychodrama": Can Haley really just walk into the FBI without Hotch being notified/asked if it's OK for her to be there? Either that or the FBI has less security than the Googleplex or most other large companies that require employees to notify security if family members will be entering the campus.
    • Well, Ellie Spicer manages it in "Safe Haven", though it may be justified in her case, since she's eleven.
    • Considering Hotch's position and likelihood she known to most employees there. I don't think it necessarily out of the question.
  • When, exactly, did Hotch "liaise" with Kate Joyner? He married Haley right out of high school, and it would be incredibly out of character for him to cheat. It's not like the episode forgot about Haley, either, as Kate's similarity to her is remarked upon.
    • He himself gives no indication that he's ever done anything with her; the team jumps to that conclusion. It's possible they were just good friends, and rumors started.
  • If the unsub from "The Fisher King" episodes truly, whole-heartedly believed that the BAU were Knights of the Round Table who could cure his wounds with a magical question, why did he cast Reid — who got the most focus in the fantasy, probably due to the unsub getting info from his mother's journals — as Sir Percival? He had to know that Percival fails his Grail quest. He reaches the King but fails to ask the correct question.
    • Maybe part of his mind knew the whole quest was destined to end in failure, and the whole thing was just a set-up to end his life with one last great adventure.
    • Technically Percival does succeed in the end in some stories. He doesn't ask the right question at first, but then he is able to reenter the Fisher King's castle and asks the question that heals the Fisher King.
    • Or, in the case that the unsub considered the first version to be true, he could be expecting for Percival to have learnt from his mistakes - if he got it wrong the first time, there's no reason he should get it wrong a second. In fact, it's more likely that he would get it right.
    • I always assumed that it was because Percival leaves behind his single mother in order to become a knight in many versions of the legends. In some versions, she even dies of sadness because he abandons her. This episode plays off of Reid's guilt for not visiting his mother, and the unsub would have had Diana's perspective, and seen that she felt abandoned by her son.
  • Unless I missed something, "Won't Get Fooled Again" implied that Morgan was the only FBI agent who didn't enter the warehouse in Boston. What, then, happened to Reid and Hotch? They would have been on the team at the time as well.
    • Given Reid's difficulty with physical tests, he might not have been field-certified at the time.
    • Morgan was part of a bomb squad before joining the BAU (or the FBI). It might be a different FBI unit made only of people with knowledge of explosives.
  • We are told Katherine Cole is a former BAU member. When? She's not around or mentioned during the Rossi/Gideon flashbacks of season 10. She's not seen during Rossi's own series of flashbacks in the BAU through the years, and she's not with the BAU in the 2004 flashbacks. When was she ever on the BAU?
    • Given the immense amount of referrals the FBI must get from the staggering number of serial murders, it's likely there is more than one team in the BAU. She could have been a BAU member, just not on Hotch's team?

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