20.2.20

Criminal Minds 1510: And In The End...


Things start weird as we see the first team scene from the last episode of season one, where everyone was going to take a long weekend to themselves before the Fisher King showed up! Then it's back to the present, where comatose Reid runs around, trying to talk to people! This leads to Garcia turning into Erin! Nice to see her again, huh?

But will Thomas Gibson be back? Probably not.

Erin announces that he's on a psychic journey of self-discovery, and tells him not to be afraid! Then Reaper shows up to taunt him about all the people he got killed! Seriously? Reaper is here? The lack of Thomas Gibson is going to be inexcusable if he doesn't show up.

Personally I'd like to see Frank one more time, but I know that's a stretch. What other cameos will we be getting, I wonder? Ian Doyle, please? I guess we'll find out after the credits!

Criminal Minds 1509: Face Off


Well, this is it! Second-last episode of Criminal Minds ever! This should be a blast, right? Before I get started, though, can we take a second to mention how ridiculous the last scene of last week's episode was? They had Faceoff talking about how beautiful the woman's bone structure was, and wanting to preserve her face forever! Except bone structure is what's behind the face. Once the face is off, it's just a flat mass, as we've seen time and again. Shouldn't he have been complimenting something about her skin? Unless he's collecting heads from now on?

I guess my point is that the writing on this show has sunken to the point where they can't even make killers be creepy in a believable fashion.
Now, on to the episode!

We open on Joe's basement, where he's built an obsession wall to Faceoff! Apparently the guy has killed again? Maybe the woman from last week? This should be bigger news, given all those FBI agents he murdered that time. Joe also seems to dump a package of diamonds on his desk, and I have no idea what that's about. Maybe they're intercutting between the two of them to show us that obsession is similar no matter what it's chasing?

For some reason Joe has put a sketch of the guy up on the wall, even though they have pictures of what he really looks like. It's like that scene in H20 where there's a sketch of the Michael Myers mask on the wall, because the filmmakers have forgotten that A: You can get a photo of it, it's a regular mask you can buy in a store, and 2: they have actual photos of what Michael Myers actually looks like - he was in a state institution for years.

More craziness between Emily and JJ - it seems that JJ was offered a job as head of the New Orleans FBI, which is just a bad call on the FBI's part - neither of these women have any leadership skills to speak of, and putting them in charge of things - be it the FBI, BAU, or a field office - would lead to disaster. So of course that's what's going to happen.

Over at Reid's house the rest of the team is hanging out - apparently Luke and his doctor girlfriend broke up because of that time a sniper murdered his friend (her patient). Yeah, that's going to be a drag on the romance, I'm guessing. So what's the endgame here? Are they pairing him up with Garcia? That would come out of nowhere, but the show is ending, and anything is possible!

Garcia actually has a job offer! A silicon valley firm working on climate change! This would be a terrible job to take - I won't get into it here, since there's plenty of show to discuss without this nonsense, but suffice to say that joining a firm trying to profit off averting global disaster isn't going to be a good fit for her, morally speaking. Unless she's lying and the job is with a group of hackers working to bankrupt and destroy oil companies, in which case more power to you, Garcia.

Okay, things just got really depressing. Joe starts talking to Mandy to go over what he knows about serial killing in the hopes that they can track down faceoff, but it's not Mandy he thinks about, it's young Mandy, played by Ben Savage. I was hoping against hope that they would manage to convince Mandy Patinkin to actually come back for a cameo in a flashback, but I guess he really, really, really doesn't want to. Or it was a contractual thing with his show.

They decide the key element to catching Faceoff is 'why didn't he kill Joe when he had the chance'? Obviously because that would have taken time to do, and the team was on top of him. The show thinks there's more to it, though, and announces that the real reason is that Faceoff thought Joe reminded him of his father, a man that Sharon slept with as part of a con who later died! But what if she lied about who the father was, and Faceoff wants to track him down?

That's kind of a stretch, but this is the second-last episode, so why not.

Now it's over to Faceoff, who hands a guy a briefcase of money to find his father! This sleaze must be the most trustworthy sleaze on earth, because no matter how much money is in that briefcase, it pales in comparison to the amount he'll get from the government for telling them where Faceoff is.

Then Faceoff gets a call from his latest girlfriend, who wants to move in with him! Is he staying in the same mansion from the season opener? I'd have to check - it might be that all mansions look the same to me.

Just in case it wasn't clear, this seems like it's the girlfriend's mansion from last week, and he's already killed her - he invites the new lady to move in once he's had a day to clear up all evidence of the crime.

Oh, and the way he's killing without anyone noticing is that now he incinerates bodies in a basement crematorium, rather than burning down their houses. So maybe this is actually his place? I can't imagine his girlfriend would have had one of those. Or been okay with her boyfriend installing a cremation oven in her basement, which she would have had to have been, since that takes a while to do, and only killed her just now.

But how would the most wanted man in America get a house? This is very puzzling.

Maybe we'll get an explanation of the housing situation after the opening credits?

13.2.20

Criminal Minds 1508: Family Tree


The episode begins on a sidestreet as a man in a sports car negotiates with a sex worker. What kind of sports car? I don't know! The logo on the front is vaguely shield-shaped, is that Porsche? Just checked - Porsche does, in fact, have a shield-shaped emblem, but so do Ferarri and Lambourghini, so I've got nothing. I'll lock in my guess as Porsche, but it's 1/3 and I'm only sticking with it because it was my first thought.

I would do terribly on The Price is Right.

The woman shoos the john away - apparently he tried to pay for sex with stamps! Now, depending on the size, a roll of stamps can easily be worth 50$, but I agree with her - this isn't a barter system we're living in. A creepy guy watches her from across the street in a pickup. Does he have evil intentions? Have you ever seen an episode of Criminal Minds?

He walks over to the second sex worker and asks her if she'd like someone to help her escape her life of depravity, which is a deeply condescending question to pose. He imagines her saying yes, but of course she doesn't, which presumably has marked her for death! Oh, and the killer has a gimpy leg, and the first sex worker full-on saw him and his car. So they've got leads!

We cut to the killer dragging the sex worker's body through the woods to a cabin, where he prepares it somehow with a knife, then buries it in a shallow grave. All the while he rambles in voice over about how he's really a good person, and he's only doing this because he has to. But who cares? He's a murderer.

Then it's over to Quantico, which is introduced with an establishing shot of DC! They've got just three more chances to get this wrong, are they going to take every one of them? On one level, I hope that they do! On another, it would be nice to finally see a part of Quantico that isn't the Marine base!

Turns out I was wrong, and for the first time in ages, they're in DC! Emily is meeting with someone about possibly becoming the director of the FBI! Yes, the woman who used to murder people for Interpol and faked her own death. That's exactly who you want in charge of the famously scandal-averse FBI.

The crazy part is, if they'd offered it to Hotch, this would have made total sense, but Emily? Not at all! Wow, is this going to screw up her relationship if she takes the job! At actual Quantico, a way more important job opportunity has sprung up! JJ might be moving to New Orleans for a field office job! It's a huge step down in her career trajectory, of course, but it would doubtless be way better for her marriage. Garcia and Reid are both upset by the news, obvs.

Time for a rundown of the case! The killer has the MO of murdering a 'respectable' man, then killing a sex worker soon after! Also he disfigures the corpses. It's not important how.

Then things get super disgusting, as the killer records a 'please catch me' message onto a tape and prepares to mail it - then starts making an ear necklace! Is he going to send that along with the tape? Maybe! Am I sad that I had to tell you a detail about the mutilation? Definintely!

Got to say, when I heard the title of the episode I thought it was going to be about the Face/Off killer - what with his whole psychosis being about his relationship with his mother. But no, I guess they're going to wrap that up in one episode next week?

Guess we'll find out after the opening credits!

6.2.20

Criminal Minds 1507: Rusty

The episode opens with an establishing shot of Washington DC in the midst of the flowering of the cherry trees! Which puts this episode's setting somewhere in the neighbourhood of mid-March, 2020! This means we're about two months after last episode, and a full seven months since the season started, as the first episode was set in September 2019! I'll say this for the show - they're committed to showing us a full year in these characters' lives even if they just have ten episodes to do it in!

Of course, this does create the impression that the world of Criminal Minds is a place where a known serial killer can walk into a Federal building, murder four agents, and then drive out and go uncaught for more than half a year. Seriously, how is the face/off killer not a priority here?

For some reason Emily is picking Garcia up in DC because her car is in the shop. Which is weird, because Garcia definitely doesn't live in DC. We're pretty sure that Emily does, because of all of that talk about her buying a condo downtown, but there's no reason that Garcia would elect to live a 45 minute drive from work when she didn't have to. Maybe her garage is in DC for some reason?

We then cut to an hour later, as they enter the office, and Garcia is still chatting about a show they both like! Oh, that hyper Garcia, we love you. Emily finds a bouquet of flowers in her office, and for once it's not sinister - they're from her boyfriend Andrew, the FBI guy from that crazy stabber episode! She's not happy to see them, though, and hangs up on him when he calls! Which is kind of cold, since that means he knows he was sent to voicemail, rather than being able to think she was just away from her phone. Cold, Emily.

JJ enters the office to remind Emily about a budget meeting she has that morning, and also ask about the flowers, which Emily is nervous about! I'm more concerned that anyone is hassling them about their budget. These people catch between 10 and 26 serial killers every year - I know that the private jet isn't cheap, but how could the cost not be worth it in PR value the team offers alone?

After the meeting she considers calling Andrew back, giving us time to wonder who this 'Steve' character is who calls her more frequently than her boyfriend but she never answers the phone:
Before she can decide an agent shows up to summon her to a meeting with the director of the FBI! The weird part is that he asks her if she's 'got a second' to go over her numbers. Except the director works 40 minutes away in DC, so a lunch meeting with him is going to take up most of the rest of the day.

Then again, the people making on this show have no idea where the characters work, so this isn't a huge surprise.

Then it's over to a breakfast meeting where a guy is having a meal with Mary-Lynn Rajskub of 24 fame! It seems that she's walking him through the process of adopting his niece, who currently lives with foster parents! I guess the kid's parents are dead? Anyhoo, Mary is attracted to the guy, but he's having none of it! In fact, he seems filled with disgust at the very thought of spending a moment longer with her than necessary! Is this guy a killer? Weird way to introduce him if he is.

Then we see a creepy weirdo watching the guy from a car across the street, and following him down the road in a 50-year-old station wagon! Wow, that is not a good vehicle to tail people in, buddy. It's as close to unforgettable as you can get.

We immediately cut to a dingy room somewhere - the weirdo has killed the guy and cut off his head! That was abrupt! He shows off the head to a camera, and then we pull out to reveal that the team has been watching the footage in the briefing room! Not the kind of stylish transition the show used to be known for, but not terrible, either!

We get some random nonsense from the team trying to establish that they can be sure that he's an organized offender with a specific goal to his killings. Reid also feels that he can detect a 'lack of empathy' in the man's voice. This is preposterous, of course - the entirety of the video message is a guy holding up a severed head and saying 'everything you know is wrong - this proves it'. That's not a message I'd associate with a planner, show. That's more the kind of thing a schizophrenic on a spree might have said.

On the way out of the office, we learn what the stress is with Emily! Andrew has been transferred to Denver, and she's not down with a long-distance relationship! What an amazing coincidence that this new case is taking them to his neck of the woods!

Then we get a look at the mine where the killer is hiding - he enters, carrying the severed head and an axe, and we discover that he's killing people because Baphomet tells him to!
Yup. Just the prototypical organized killer all right.

Seriously, how are you all this bad at your job? Maybe we'll find out after the opening credits?

Criminal Minds 1506: Date Night

Just five episodes left! And this one starts with people coming out of a movie theatre that seems to be showing Ben-Hur! Like... maybe the silent one? It's a really, really, retro poster is what I'm saying.

Turns out it was – a father and daughter walk out of the theatre, talking about whether or not the black and white film was boring! She proves to be a philistine, while he appreciates long takes et al! Suddenly a creepy woman walks up to them and asks if they know what happened to Susan! Who she is seeking. Desperately, presumably.

Then things get creepy when the father finds a flyer on his windshield – it's a missing persons notice... for him! Hey, just like way back in season... I want to say 3? I'll check later. The flyer accuses him of being the murderer of the aforementioned 'Susan'! So that's what that whole thing was about! Neat.

He suddenly notices that there are flyers taped to posts all around his car! While he's distracted the lady returns and holds a gun on his daughter, demanding that they all get into the car! Hey, remember when the show did that whole thing about how you couldn't control two people getting into a car with a gun, and it didn't make any sense? I wonder if this episode will reference that?

We don't find out, instead cutting directly to Reid's apartment (somehow he's seems to be still living in the same place despite getting a nurse murdered down the hall. You'd think that would be the kind of thing to get him to move), where he's tidying the place up before Rachel arrives! I don't know how offended I should be by the fact that the establishing shot shows the Washington monument. There's just a handful of episodes left – it's a little late for the show to realize that these people don't live in DC.

Rachel has arrived to get coffee, and we get a funny joke about what the two of them consider fast vs slow in a relationship, but then he gets the call to go to work! Also, Emily tells him there's something significant about the case – but we don't hear that part of the conversation!

So, what's the twist? The lady wants Aubrey Plaza released from prison in the next 24 hours, or he kills the father and daughter! Hey, does that mean the father is Aubrey's long-lost dad, and Susan is her mother, who he killed? Probably not, but it would be nice to get some resolution on that story, huh? I guess it's back to scenes with the two of them baiting one another, huh?

As Aubrey's led into the building we get a recap on her character, in which they conveniently omit the fact that she was a professional murderer who was part of a cabal of elite assassins. Seems like that would be worth bringing up. Instead they announce that she was a black widow who seduced and murdered men – possibly in the hundreds! Of course, they have no reason to think that, since she killed people in untraceable ways and kept no records. Also, she was only killing people for a maximum of like eight or nine years, and that would mean killing like 25 people a year to hit a number that could be considered 'hundreds'.

What I'm saying is, they've used up all of their interesting killers, so now they're pretending she's the most dangerous killer they've ever faced. Which is just patently false.

Reid asks her how she arranged the kidnapping with her outside partner, but Aubrey feigns innocence. She claims that she's given up on life, has pled guilty to 73 murders, and is awaiting the death penalty! How does that work, exactly? If she was arrested for murder in either Maryland or DC, there's no death penalty. Did she kill anyone in Virginia? Also where are they getting this number from? The league of assassins weren't keeping a record of all of their murders, were they? What kind of sense would that make?

Wow, this episode just got so dumb! Aubrey complains that they never had sex, and Reid retorts that she violated him in Mexico. Aubrey responds that the hallucination drugs make it impossible for someone to get an erection, just like when they're on MDMA. Which is just... crazy wrong. People have sex on Ecstacy all of the time. Also, it's an incredibly limited definition of sex that requires Reid to have an erection.

More importantly, though, and I can't believe I have to say this... AUBREY WASN'T IN MEXICO. All of that was done by Joe Mantegna's daughter, acting as Aubrey's catspaw. She was in jail the whole time. Does the show not remember that? If not, how?

Aubrey demands a date, and tells him that she does, in fact, know about the kidnapping. Reid says he won't play her game, then immediately goes back to an office and freaks out, because he's still not over the whole 'drugged and raped and sent to jail' thing. Really, who could blame him?

So, will he play along with Aubrey Plaza's sick game? I mean, obviously yes or there's no episode, but let's find out after the opening credits!

30.1.20

Criminal Minds 1505: Ghost

The episode opens with some one-on-one basketball. They toss some rocks and talk some trash, then one is shot by a sniper! The second guy only has a moment to be puzzled be fore he, too, is felled by a bullet!

A bloody bouncing basketball transitions to a normal basketball in a gym somewhere, where Muscles and Brown Eyes are having a roundball duel of their own! Matt wins, but Eric's good about it! At the office some amount of time later - maybe they were playing before work - the team gets word about the sniper in Illinois!

They start talking about Tim Omundsen back in season 1 - could this sniper be a copycat? Um... no? Like, there have been a couple of snipers since then. Luke Cage, the kid from Suspect Behaviour - since this guy isn't trying to wound people, there's no reason to bring up the sniper from season 1. Of course, this is taking place in the same city as his rampage, so there could be a connection.

The team rushes to the plane, then we cut back to Des Plaines, where I guess word hasn't gotten out about the sniping, because three more people get shot while hanging out in a park! Maybe it's time to shut down the whole city, like they did with DC back in 2002. Or was it 2003?

My question - why are people so comfortable hanging around in public places when they know there's a sniper on the loose? Snipers are pretty famously one of the most alarming types of killers there are for the public. If the first victim in the parking lot two days earlier had been shot in a drive-by, or the cops were simply treating it as a standard murder, that would be one thing - but this is someone killed with a rifle from far away, and nobody heard a shot, suggesting a silencer of some kind was being used. That's the kind of crime that makes everyone ultra-careful until they know that it's been resolved in some meaningful way.

This is something that the show forgets every time - but when compared to real life, the absurdity becomes obvious. Try to imagine a situation where someone is sniping people in a city and the cops do literally anything else but chase that person until they're caught? It basically has never happened. Especially in a city that's already been through this exact thing. Imagine how fast DC would be put on lockdown if another sniper showed up.

So, will Des Plaines be shut down when the team gets there? Let's find out after the credits?

23.1.20

Criminal Minds 1504: Saturday

The episode opens in the Quantico office, where a klaxon is blaring and red lights are shining. Is this a biological attack on the FBI? That would be a twist! Especially since the FBI has been attacked a whole bunch on this show. Like, special forces guys, evil cults, rogue cops, hackers - the FBI building of Criminal Minds is not as secure as one wants it to be.

The camera pans down from the red light to the floor - passing a photograph of a bald man along the way. I'm not watching this in HD, so I have no idea who it might be. It's not the president or the attorney general, so maybe this is a cameo by one of the producers? Could it be what Jim Clemente actually looks like?

We pan across the room - turns out it's the main work area where most people's desks are! And it's full of bodies, and people have guns lying next to them. Is this some kind of a drill? I feel like a full-on assault on the FBI is a weird way to start an episode. It would be quite a drill if it was, though, since a bunch of people are covered in blood!

Reid enters the room, his gun drawn as he looks for his target. Maybe this is a dream? Of course, that's happened already, while a drill would be fresh, if kind of preposterous. Okay, it's a dream, or maybe a book someone is writing - out in the hallway Reid find a guy in a butcher's apron with a bloody axe.

God, how great would it be - since they're leaning on slasher imagery anyhow - if they'd used the Jason from that Gubler episode in season 10? You know, the one they never bothered to try and catch?

The Jason attacks Reid, but then it turns out he was just telling his therapist about a dream he'd had! That's right, after getting definitively dumped by JJ, Reid is finally seeking help for his issues! Good for him! Seriously, I am proud of the guy.

The therapist gives him the hardest assignment of his life - go for one day without thinking about his job, and try to actually speak to a human being. She even gets him to admit that he has no friends or life outside of work! I cannot express how happy I am that the show is finally realizing just how screwed up Reid has always been, and is working to set him on a good path before things wrap up. Better late than never, right?

His new project leads to awkwardness when he thinks a woman in the elevator is talking to him, but no, it's just a phone call on her headphones.

Joe drops by Matt's house to help him prep for the new baby! Which leads to some wackiness with him trying to assemble a crib! You'd think he'd have this down by baby #5, but apparently not. Also, he's annoyed at himself for having accidentally ordered the crib in red, so he's pretending that's what he meant to do! I don't know why he's so hard on it, though, the red crib looks awesome. What was he going to have, white? Bare wood? Live on the edge, dude.

Emily is also there to help! If by help, you mean 'drink wine and eat donuts'. Then she gets a phone call - is it a case? No, it seems that Garcia is hosting a hacking workshop in the office! That's right, she invited a bunch of hackers into FBI headquarters, and they're working inside the FBI with only her supervision. This breaks basically every kind of security protocol there is, right?

One of her students asks her for help on dealing with a cyberstalker! Wait... is there not going to be a murder this week? Are they doing another episode about stalking? It's been what... 11 years or something like that?

Let's find out after the opening credits!

17.1.20

Criminal Minds Video Reviews!

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Criminal Minds 1503: Spectator Slowing

The episode opens with a mother and daughter arriving at home in rural Memphis! The mom finds a package sitting underneath her mailbox, and brings it into the house with them. I'd be a little annoyed at the mailman at this point, since the package looks to be book sized, and it only wrapped in brown paper. If any water gets on that it will wreck whatever's inside. Couldn't the mail carrier have at least dropped it off on the porch?

I guess since this place is rural all of the mail delivery is done out of the side of a truck, so that's not actually possible, but make an exception once in a while, people!

The family heads inside and it turns out that the package was a bomb, so you can just disregard everything I said about the mailman in the past two paragraphs. Weirdly, the bomb was disguised as a photo album, and it didn't blow up until the mother opened the cover and saw something sinister inside!

Let's think happy thoughts - it wasn't a very big bomb, so while the mother, who was standing next to it, is probably dead, the daughter who was at the end of the table is probably fine!

In whatever suburb of DC they live in, Matt and his wife talk about her being on bed rest due to the imminent birth of their fifth child! Wow. Lots of kids. Based on the size of the littlest one, maybe one of them was born during the first season of Beyond Borders? Something for me to find out at some point, anyhow. Looks like Matt's going to take a week off from the whole 'flying around the country' thing to look after his wife. Will we have a new kid by the end of the episode? Fingers crossed!

At the office we find that JJ is back at work. So I guess this is eight weeks after the last episode? I mean, she had a lung collapsed by a bullet, that's not something you bounce back from. What do you want to bet no one is going to mention the face off killer until - maybe - the end of the episode? I mean, a wanted serial killer did a mass shooting at the headquarters of the justice department then stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a rich, well-connected family, torturing the daughter of that family in the process. I feel like that's all anyone would talk about until he was in jail, you know?

Time for case details! The mother and daughter are both in the hospital, but might pull through! I guess they need the mother to tell them what was in the photo album? They confirm that the killer dropped off the packages himself, rather than actually mailing them, which Reid thinks is strange, because 'mail bombers' generally want to stay as far away from their victims as possible. This is a better of a stretch in describing the MO, though - many bombers drop off the bombs personally. The unabomber dropped off bombs himself (hence the sketch), the show's fake version of the mormon bomber (and the real guy) dropped bombs off himself - it's not as big a deviation from the profile as Reid would suggest.

Emily ends the scene by suggesting that Matt should consult by phone, since his military experience with explosives should be helpful. You know, Eric's sitting right there. He was also a special forces guy. Like, unless Matt's actual job in the military was bomb disposal I don't know why he would be especially good at this.

Oh, and she once again says 'Wheels up in 10, because after being in charge of the team for 4 (4!) years, she still doesn't know how long it takes to drive to the airfield'.

Then we get a disgusting scene of a guy buying a dead body so that he can see how a bomb destroys it. The question is, is this guy the bomber from the last three bombs, or is someone out there giving these bombs to people in order to let them settle scores of their own? The only reason I suggest such a crazy idea (that's certainly wrong) is that it's kind of strange for a guy to only now be testing what his bombs do to a dead body, three bombs in. Then again, maybe he was unsure of himself because the last two victims survived? Yeah, that makes way more sense.

Oh, and the killer was annoyed that the grave-robber wasn't able to get the body of a woman, so he puts the dead old man in the yellow dress that he'd bought for the occasion - that's how focused he is on he fantasy of blowing up a specific person.

So, who is the focus of this killer's rage? Let's find out together, after the credits!

9.1.20

Criminal Minds 1502: Awakenings

The episode opens with a recap of the Faceoff killer's situation, and JJ getting shot. Because, again, she's terrible at every part of her job. And not a great person, generally. Then it's off to the races, as Faceoff and FD speed away from the crime scene, hijack a car, and flee into the aether! In a hilarious bit of what should be time compressive editing – but can't be, because all of the characters in the same places between the two scenes – we see Garcia get word of the hijacking literally seconds after it happens, as if it's been reported officially already.

Meanwhile JJ is rushed to the hospital and prepped for surgery! Reid is there! Has anyone called Jr.?

Let's find out together, after the credits! Seriously, that's all that happened before the credits. Is the whole week going to be about chasing down Faceoff? They can't resolve this storyline yet, can they? What else would they do for the rest of the year? Then again, if the first two episodes feature the team losing over and over again, maybe they can build up some momentum for the rest of the season!

Criminal Minds 1501: Under The Skin

Well, here we are! We've got just ten episodes of Criminal Minds left! Fifteen years, 324 episodes, and it's all coming down to this! Will the show try to get JJ and Reid together? Will they kill of Jr. to do it? Will... other things happen? Honestly, I'm not emotionally invested in any other part of the show. I mean, it would be great if Aaron would drop by for one more episode, but I have no expectation that's going to happen, so I'm focusing on the more likely plot threads to get wrapped up.

What do you want to bet they never grab Appalachian Trail child molester or skull hand child murderer? Those are the ones that got away, and only one of them was ever mentioned again!

So, yeah, the episode. Let's get to it.

Things open up with a flashback to the faceoff killer who almost murdered Joe that one time. I maintain that he's not an interesting enough character to build the show's final arc around – and the fact that the actor played the same recurring serial killer role on Castle just leads to distraction. Am I saying that they should have announced that Ian Doyle or the Reaper was secretly still alive and gone with that instead?

Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying.

After the recap we find a guy driving up to a mansion that's suspiciously dark. The guy finds it weird as well, and calls someone on his phone. A man answers and confirms that yes, he really is inside, and encourages the guy to enter the house and grab some wine while he waits for the man to get out of the shower.

The guy enters the house and finds the promised wine waiting for him. It's a red! The room is fully of creepy art suggesting hanging, stabbing, and someone walking on a tightrope. Has this guy walked into a deathtrap?

Yes, he absolutely has. He flips through a photography portfolio left on the piano, and it quickly moves from BDSM photography to pictures of mutilated corpses. Corpses mutilated in the very room he's standing in! The guy tries to flee, but naturally, he's been drugged, and collapses to the ground!

So, we've got another art-themed killer, like the photography tableau guy from the comedy episode that Eric directed back in season 13! Neat?

Over at Matt's house there's a baby shower going on! As you may remember, we found out his wife was pregnant in the season ender, and it's been seven months since then, so now she's ready to pop! Eric and Garcia are there, along with extras who smile politely. One of them looks a lot like Elizabeth Moss!

Then it's over to Aisha and Reid, who are chatting about gifts! I'm immediately concerned about Aisha, because her voice is really ragged. Hopefully she just had a cold that day and it's nothing serious. Matt Also looks quite strange – he's got 5 O'Clock shadow that stands out really oddly from his too-pink face makeup. Did their regular makeup person or cinematographer get another job since this last season was only going to be 10 episodes?

Anyhoo, he gets a text about his mother degrading even further, which makes him wistful about his desire to go back in time and 'do things differently', which is a comment about his love for JJ, but I'd like it to be a realization that he should have escaped his mother's madness.

Then we see Emily and JJ, and find out that Emily is still dating that FBI agent from DC! Also, Jr. is mentioned as existing!

Emily calls Joe to find out where he is – and it turns out he's still looking for faceoff! She's concerned that his obsession with catching the guy is harming his work and life. I'm concerned that they're having this much trouble catching the guy. Like, you know what he looks like, and you can have his face all over the internet at all times. Unless this guy is hiding in the woods somewhere, how is he still on the loose?

And don't give me the 'he's a master of disguise' thing – they can put beards on photos.

Actually, maybe he is hiding in a shack in the woods? Joe is currently meeting a small-town sheriff in the middle of nowhere! Apparently everyone is calling Faceoff 'the Chameleon', everyone except for me, that is.

She shows him to the latest crime scene – it's the victim from the start of the episode! Lying dead on the ground with all of the skin cut off of the front of his torso, just like in the photographs! Wait, why is Joe here? Faceoff murders middle-aged women and cuts their faces off as a way to attack his mother, Sharon Lawrence. How could this be connected?

Oh, okay, the point is that it's not connected, Joe is just reaching because he's so desperate to catch the guy. He's convinced himself that Faceoff has started skinning men because, now that he's on the run, he's 'uncomfortable in his own skin'. This whole speech is so idiotic that it would win a Prentiss Award, but for once the stupidity is intentional – the show is making the point that he's confidently spewing nonsense because he's desperate to find a way to make sense of the world.

Good work, show! If only this made up for all of the times they exclaim nonsense without realizing that's what they're doing! So, how long until Joe is humiliated by just how wrong he's got this? Let's find out after the opening credits!

7.1.20

Criminal Minds 1415: Truth or Dare

A red truck drives up to a small Mexican fast food place, and the driver heads inside. Watching him is a bedraggled man in a black plaid shirt. I mention this only because I've never understood black plaid. Using black as a colour in plaid? Sure, go nuts - but a shirt that's just black and grey? You're being extravagantly emo at that point.

The waitress notices that Black Plaid hasn't eaten any of his food, so presumably she'll be able to identify him later on. Unless he shoots the place up, or something. Happily, he doesn't, instead waiting for Red Truck Guy to leave and then following out into the street!

Over at Quantico, Eric and Reid walk into the briefing room, with Eric busy chatting about Reid's amazing shooting skills! I've already pointed out how weird it is the way they're trying to butch up Reid which seems redundant, given that they've already got two hunks on the show, and the cast doesn't need to be any more generic than it is, but it's especially disquieting to see that the way they've chosen to make Reid more manly is to say 'he's better at killing now'. Um... do you not see the bad psychological path that takes you down, show about the psychology of serial killers?

It turns out that they haven't had a case in a couple of days, so they're just hanging out and playing cards! Um... isn't there something more important they could be doing? Writing up psychological profiles of nonserial killers for police departments across the country? Giving lectures? Nope, they're going to get paid to play cards, because they're all a little on the terrible side. Just a little, though.

Once again it's pointed out that Reid has been banned from Vegas casinos, and he gives a little spiel about math being the basis of all card games - which is true, but not relevant to the situation. Everyone knows that card games are just math, knowing that didn't get you kicked out of casinos. Your memory did, because you were counting cards at 21. If the team was going to be playing blackjack or chemin de fer, then you would have an advantage, but this is draw poker, where it's just luck and bluffing - no math skills are needed. Math only comes up in games like hold 'em, and even then, everyone knows the math, so it doesn't give anyone an advantage.

Back in crimetown, Black Plaid T-bones the red truck and then gets out and shoots the driver a few times! Also, he doesn't seem psyched to be doing it. Is someone forcing him to commit the crime? It's not like it's personal - the show is good enough to give us a shot of the driver seeing Black Plaid and not recognizing him before getting shot.

At the poker game, JJ wins, despite the fact that Reid says she has a tell proving that it's a bluff! This leads JJ winning one more Prentiss Award before the season ends-

No, JJ, this has nothing to do with lying. You weren't bluffing. You actually did have an unbeatable hand. There was nothing dishonest about anything you did.

How are you this bad at such basic concepts?

Time for the case! Two people have been crashed into and shot in the past two days! Obviously it's a serial killer! Emily humiliates herself by referring to police's initial belief that it was a 'road rage incident gone wrong'. Um... road rage is something that - by definition - has gone wrong. It cannot go right. What you mean is that it was road rage that escalated to murder.

They spend some time wondering if it's a guy who's aroused by car accidents, but we already know that it's someone who's being forced to murder people, so let's skip all of that and check in with Joe, who's checking out the wedding venue with Crystal! This seems like a weird time to do it, since the wedding is in two days, but the whole thing has been pretty last-minute, so why not?

Then Joe gets a call and has to go with the rest of the team to LA for the case - so he's gotten out of dealing with caterers and florists. Great work, Joe! He promises to be back before the wedding, though.

More with Black Plaid - this is a long teaser, huh? He goes to steal a third car, which is modern enough that it has an alarm that goes off when he breaks the window. He's not great at this, huh? The owner rushes out to see what's happening with the alarm, and Black Plaid demands the keys at gunpoint!

So yeah, he's being forced into this. Which makes this episode a remake of Death By A Thousand Cuts, the final episode of Suspect Behaviour! So, which member of the team is going to get kidnapped to force another member of the team to shoot someone? Joe, since it's his wedding in two days? One of the women, because that's just how this show is?

Let's find out after the credits?