Dr. Spencer Reid’s girlfriend has been a mystery, appearing only in snatches of previous episodes, and fans wondered if the two would ever meet. In “Criminal Minds” episode “Zugzwang”, which aired Jan. 16, they did meet, but in an unexpected way.
We see Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) in a church, decked out in a tux, with the rest of the BAU team in attendance. Garcia is officiating at the wedding, and tells Spencer to put the ring on her finger. “I now pronounce you smart, and smarter.”
Of course Spencer wakes to realize it was all a dream, but that tells you just how much his so-called girlfriend – dubbed phone booth girl – has gotten into his head.
Reid goes to a phone booth to call her, hangs up, then waits for her to call back. The phone rings, he answers. The automated system responds with “Hello, I have a collect call from Adam Worth. Do you accept the charges?” Scrambling for change, Spencer agrees to accept the call. The caller says one word – Zugzwang.
Dr. Reid arrives at the BAU and knows he has to finally tell the team what’s been going on with his non-relationship with this girl, so he fills in Agent Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), quickly explaining how they use code words when calling and he never uses the same phone booth twice. Because it was a man’s voice giving the code word “Zugzwang”, he knows his girlfriend is missing. Giving more credence is that the man identified himself as Adam Worth, who Arthur Conan Doyle is said to have based his character Professor Moriarty on. Both Reid and his girlfriend have a special connection to Doyle’s works.
Zugzwang is a chess term where one is forced to make an undesirable move in order to continue play, or resign.
Without knowing if they really do have a case, Hotch suggests that can work on it, but on personal time. The rest of the team unanimously agrees.
Research reveals the girlfriend as Dr. Maeve Donovan, and they find that she’s taken a sabbatical from work, and her parents had rented a loft 5 days prior. Garcia asks Spencer if he wants to see a picture of her and after hesitating, he says no.
Checking the loft, they find it empty. They learn that Maeve had a fiancé named Bobby, who is known to be controlling. Reid is crushed.
The team arrives at Robert Putnam’s house where a girl answers the door, identifying herself as Diane, his girlfriend. When Putnam appears, Spencer realizes it’s the man he originally had suspicions about at the restaurant where he and Maeve were going to meet. Hotch pushes Spencer out of the way because if Bobby is the unsub, then he is a material witness.
When questioned, Bobby says that Maeve went into hiding when she broke off their engagement. Bobby hired a private investigator because of the stalker, and insists that he was being stalked too (Bobby shows photos of him and Maeve that he claimed the stalker had sent to him).
JJ (A. J. Cook) notices a photo of Maeve that is blacked out, that the medium used is eyeliner. The unsub is a woman.
Bobby is talking with Diane and notices that she is wearing different clothes. Maeve’s clothes. He realizes something is very wrong. She says she took the clothes right after she bashed her head in. Diane then hits him with a wine bottle.
Bobby is tied to a chair, and Diane questions why he would want Maeve. She hunted Maeve for 10 months, stole her man (Bobby), and still can’t figure out what is so special about her, then she saw Spencer, and wants what he had with Maeve.
Diane finds a letter in Maeve’s loft that she apparently hadn’t sent – “I bought the blindfold, can’t wait to use it.” Maeve insists it’s not what she thinks, that she has never even seen Spencer yet.
Reid reveals that in high school when he was only 12, he got a note from a girl that said she wanted to meet him, and he was blindfolded. It was a humiliating experience, and he apparently had relayed that to Maeve at one point, who told him “When we meet, I’m going to make blindfolds fun again.”
Diane says she wants Spencer to see her the way he sees Maeve. Maeve begs her to let them go, not to hurt Bobby. Boom. Bobby is shot.
Still digging, the team identifies her as Diane Turner, who worked as a research assistant with Maeve. When she wasn’t selected to continue, she left shortly thereafter. Her doctoral thesis had to do with suicidal ideations.
Diane takes Maeve to the rooftop and tells her to get up on the ledge. When Diane says “I want to see you jump. It’s my theory that once you make the decision to give up, your cells begin to die”, Maeve suddenly remembers who Diane is.
The BAU arrives at Diane’s apartment where photos indicate a shrine for her parents, who had committed suicide. They notice a webcam, so know that Diane is watching them.
Maeve says she turned Diane down because her testing was flawed; Diane is irate and said it was not flawed. “Your sample was biased, it included your parents.” Diane is delusional, says that she was a genius, while Maeve says she wasn’t a genius because she didn’t do the work, but she said she’ll help her.
Spencer holds a sign for Diane to see via the webcam. “Me for her.”
Maeve calls and tells Spencer that Diane killed Bobby, and that Diane has a message, that if he wants to find it, it’s as easy as pi. Maeve knows it’s a trap and tells Spencer not to come.
Spencer is determined to go anyway, saying he’ll talk Diane down, that he’ll tell her something that will make her famous. He says he will tell her that he loves her.
The BAU arrives to find a box on the steps. In it is a gift for Spencer: a blindfold. Diane allows him to come in after taking off his gun and vest, telling him to put on the blindfold. She sits him in a chair. He’s in the same room with Maeve yet he still can’t see her.
Reid praises Diane about her thesis, and insists that her brain is very valuable and she could likely make a deal with the FBI because of it. He says that he’s there because he hopes to get the chance to be with her, that he’s choosing her over Maeve. Asked to prove it, Diane insists that he tell that to Maeve’s face, and removes the blindfold. As much as he doesn’t want to hurt Maeve, he knows he has to make his words ring true to Diane. The first words Reid utters when finally able to see Maeve’s face are words that can crush her. “I don’t love you. I’m sorry.” Maeve says she understands. With Reid’s profession of love, Diane says she doesn’t need Maeve anymore, but Spencer says if she kills her, she won’t have to live with the fact that Diane is smarter, and suggests that she let her live with her irrelevancy.
Cutting her loose, Diane says she wants Maeve to see one more thing, and goes to Spencer, closes her eyes, and kisses him. Spencer opens his eyes to look at Maeve, pleading silently that she’ll understand this isn’t real. Diane opens her eyes and sees what transpired between them and realizes Spencer deceived her – he really does love Maeve.
In a struggle, a gun goes off and Spencer is wounded. The BAU enters, but Spencer is still in control, telling Diane there is still a way out of this. Diane said he lied, he says he didn’t, that he offered his own life in place of Maeve’s. Angered, Diane realizes that what he shared with Maeve was even stronger than she thought, that he would essentially kill himself for her.
Too much for her to bear, Diane puts the gun to her own head. Spencer tries to stop her, but it’s too late. Positioned next to Maeve, Diane pulls the trigger, ending her own life, taking Maeve’s life as well.
Spencer finally gets to meet the woman of his dreams, and watches that dream die before his eyes.
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