What Do You Think of Reid's New Love Interest Max on 'Criminal Minds'? (POLL)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 15, Episode 4 of Criminal Minds, "Saturday."]
"Have one normal conversation with one normal person." Sounds easy, right? That's not necessarily true for Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) on Criminal Minds. But when he does just that, he finds something he wasn't expecting.
Reid's been having a recurring nightmare in which he fails to stop an axe murderer in the BAU. He wakes up when the man swings the weapon at him. It's a common anxiety dream for law enforcement, his therapist assures him. But rather than focus on work, she wants to focus on him, such as how he's doing with his feelings for JJ (A.J. Cook). "JJ and I have worked through it," he says. "We're doing great."
Work dominates his time and focus and has for 15 years, she notes, so what does he do for a healthy outlet? All he can offer is that he reads. When he admits he doesn't talk to anybody outside work, she assigns him to not think about the job for the day and "have one normal conversation."
His first attempt fails; he thinks a woman on an elevator is initiating a conversation when she's just talking on her phone. And so he's more than eager to go into work if he's needed, but a kid interrupts his phone call with JJ. "That's a strange haircut for a grown man," the kid informs Reid. "Most men don't have hair like that." When he tries to reach out to touch it, Max (Rachael Leigh Cook) runs over and pulls her nephew away. Reid follows them to explain the situation and witnesses her car being towed. (He tries to intervene by pulling out his badge but gets nowhere.)
When the kid begins having a panic attack, Reid distracts him with a magic trick (and throws the penny into a guy at the bus stop behind them). Max's nephew insists that Reid join the two of the them at the park. Max agrees, as long as they don't exchange names or numbers and go their separate ways after.
The adults talk about their jobs; she uses her art history degree to teach art to first-to-third graders, while he'd rather not detail what he does. As he explains, their conversation is the first he's had in a long time where he's not defined by his job, and "it is nice." When her sister Michelle picks up her son, she helpfully informs Reid that Max is single. And rather than part ways as they initially agreed, Max asks him to tell her about the dream he referenced earlier.
After, she notes that it's obvious something at work is stressing him out, and he details some recent threats, like JJ getting shot and their hostage situation. She likens it to kids riding their bikes until they had to return home for dinner. People stop doing that because they lose trust along the way. For example, she initially considered him a threat when she saw him with her nephew, but then he took the time to calm down her nephew. She saw him as a decent person.
When the nearby sprinklers turn on, she pushes him into their path. However, he then picks her up and carries her right into the water. It's fun. It's a side of Reid we haven't seen before. And it's exactly what he needs.
The two get dry clothes, including a much-too-big Washington D.C. sweatshirt for him, and while he doesn't feel normal, he does "feel decent," he tells her. Upon learning Kristy's in labor, he goes to leave, but not before adorably and awkwardly (and therefore so very Reid-like) telling Max, "I know that we said no names and no phone numbers, but I would really like to do this again sometime, preferably with you." She asks what he does for the FBI — he tells her he finds people, and she leaves him with, "Find me."
And she's not the only one to encourage him to do so. JJ does as well, while the rest of the team goes to meet baby Rose Marie Simmons. (It's the closet they could get to Rossi, who has brought Matt in as a co-author to help the family financially.) After noting his new look, she asks what he did to get into it. "I had a conversation," he says.
"Whoever this conversation was with, she's put a smile on your face I haven't seen in a really long time," JJ tells him and urges him to see the baby another time.
Reid takes that advice and runs for the exit at the hospital. He tracks Max down near where they met. "Took you long enough," she tells him, and they continue talking.
It's been quite some time since we've seen Reid with a real love interest on Criminal Minds. (Anyone else still not quite over everything that happened with Maeve?) But what do you think of Max for Reid's final season love interest? Vote in the poll below.
Criminal Minds, Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS