Criminal Minds 706: Epilogue

Time for more flashback intros - this one to 1996! Two guys are out fishing - a son and his sleazy drunk beardo father! The father starts to beat his son with a belt for talking back - will this drive him to grow up to be a serial killer? Almost certainly, presuming that this creepy guy-

Is the grown up son, watching campers from the woods while the cops pull some bodies from the lake nearby. Then, in a puzzling move, the camper's friend who's currently boating near the cops watches the killer bound out of the woods and club the camper without mentioning it to the police. Or yelling 'look out behind you' over the walkie-talkie that they're communicating with.

Over at the office, people notice that Joe is distracted and withdrawn, so they try to drag his personal information out of him. He's tight-lipped however, and then rescued from the interrogation by Greg, who announces that it's time to start talking the case.

They go over the basic details - three bodies of young men in the water, the latest guy kidnapped, and the forest is so big that people will doubtless have trouble finding him. Nothing to complain about here, except when they say that the victim's friends saw him clubbed and dragged away, but the two were long gone by the time they reached the shore. Here's the thing, though - check out where the friends were-

Now let's see the camp in relation to that-

So, what - two-three hundred meters, tops? Can't be much farther than that, can it? And please note that the cops have an outboard motor on their boat, meaning they could be at the campsite in under two minutes. Given that the killer is trying to drag someone his own approximate height and weight up a hill into the woods, how far could he possibly get before the cops arrived to arrest him?

Not very god-damned far.

Yet the next we the kidnapped victim, he's thrashing about while being held underwater by the killer. Nice work, producers. Couldn't give both characters a set of binoculars and said the action was happening way on the other side of the lake, rather than a nearby outcropping?

After the opening credits we get some further flashbacks of the kid fighting with his dad. He insults the sleazy beardo, and winds up punched into the water for his trouble. Presumably the dad will then threaten him with drowning, creating his sick obsession. But we don't get there yet.

On the flight the team theorizes about why the killer might be drowning people, but it doesn't really seem like a useful avenue of investigation. The new body has turned up in a nearby lake, though, so they already have another crime scene to hit when they get to the ground! No one mentions that the killer must be using some kind of vehicle to move around quickly, since it's not exactly plausible that he could have physically moved a body twenty miles from one lake to another in just a couple of hours.

The killer is already looking for his next victims - some coeds are renting jetskis, and while they head back to the shop to grab life jackets, he siphons gas out of one of their engines. On the middle of a busy dock, in broad daylight. Somehow no one notices and makes a fuss.

Joe talks to the brother of the dead guy, who recounts 'paddling as hard as he could' to try and catch the guy, but failing in his attempt. Because god forbid you ask the cops with the speedboat directly next to you for help, right? Joe asks if anyone strange had been hanging around his brother, and the witness recalled a beach party the night before, but can't think of anyone who paid his brother undue attention.

What does Joe take away from this interaction? That the 'unsub' mixes easily with a younger crowd, and that he's most likely in his 20s to early 30s. Which would be a great catch, if you had the slightest reason to think that he was at the party - but you don't. In fact, the only definite thing you know about this guy is that he blitz-attacked someone and then drowned them. The blitz attack, according to your own oft-stated logic, suggests an inability to approach his victims any other way, or lure them into an isolated location. Wouldn't that suggest an inability to mix with the young people he wants to kill?

While out on the water one of the girls has her jetski run out of gas. Amazingly her friends are complete a-holes and they drive off without her, not even away that she's run out of gas. If this was the killer's plan to isolate her, there's no way he could have expected that it would work. Who doesn't stop for their friend and bring them along for the rest of the ride - even tow the jetski behind? Hell, how could he be sure she wouldn't run out of gas after immediately riding to the other side of the lake, a half-hour's drive from where he is?

Over at the morgue Reid and Emily get news about the killer's MO - he drowns people, then resuscitates them, then drowns them over and over until they die! But why? Should they be looking for someone who drowned and was rescued by his scumbag father, or someone who drowned his scumbag father and then failed to resuscitate him?

Apparently it actually was the killer's plan, since he approaches the coed twenty minutes later when she's managed to paddle to shore, then offers to take her to the docks. Yup, it's almost a half-hour later, and her friends still haven't noticed her or bothered looking for her. Who are these people? Anyhoo, she gets into the car with him because he mentions that there might be a killer around, looking for new victims, and they're safer together. Hilariously ironic!

While the team tries to figure out what the importance of the drowning/body relocation ritual is, Joe gets a phone call he has to take in private! More news about the ex-wife, we assume. Oh, and the killer murders that coed who was dumb enough to go along with him. In broad daylight, along the shore of a well-populated lake. How is this continuing to happen?

The new information? We see his sleazy beardo father saving him from drowning. Or at least trying to - apparently the dad gave up at some point, and then buried his son alive. Ouch. Also, the killer is sick, and getting sicker by the minute - not only his he too weak to overpower people, and seemingly has a low white blood cell count, he's also medicating with a panoply of pills:

Then it's profile time, which opens with a uniquely stupid line which, while we've heard it before, gets worse in the repetition, until it finally, this week, wins a Prentiss Award.

Here's a tip Greg - if you have to explain your cute little trademarked term, then it's not working as a contraction.

We just say killer. Doesn't matter who.

The big notes from the profile? Look at people who knows CPR, because he does it a lot. Thanks, guys. And maybe put some slight-looking cops undercover around the lake, hoping to act as bait. Oh, so now you're cool with using people as bait? Where was this attitude last week when it might actually have worked, dullards?

The killer gets some bad news from his doctor, which drives him out immediately to go looking for his next victim. In this case a teenager who's waiting by his car while his mother goes back to a gas station in order to get a spare tire. The killer doesn't show up just yet, but it's only a matter of time. Luckily for the teen, he's the show's third victim, so his chances are great! Unless the killer grabs his mother on the way to the gas station - she could easily wind up dead. Of course, the killer might try to kill both, which probably wouldn't go well.

More Joe stuff - he admits to Emily that he's dealing with the ALS stuff, and the possible euthenasia. Luckily the show doesn't seem to waver with his decision too much, and he announces that he doesn't really have any choice in what he has to do. He doesn't actually say he'll do it just yet, but there's no other logical choice - after all, it's not like ALS is a week away from being completely reversible - and the devoutness of his Catholicism has always seemed limited to the fact that he was born Italian.

The blood tests on the killer come back - it's blood cancer! He's going to be dead super soon. When the team links this with the fact that the first victim was a guy who died and was brought back, then talked all the time about what heaven was like, they feel they've discovered the killer's motivation: he wants to bring people back from the dead so that he can interview them about heaven. Where he's not going, because he keeps killing people. I'm kidding, of course, he probably is going to heaven, since there's, sadly in this case, no biblical support for 'hell'. Oh, and in what's probably the most important development, Garcia violates all medical privacy laws to get the IDs of everyone in the area with terminal blood cancer.

The patriot act. Read it.

Oh, and the killer totally is going for the 2-fer. He grabs the mother on the road, then subdues her and grabs the son as well. After this we get a flashback to the time the killer died in that ditch. He had a tunnel of light kind of vision, then was grabbed by a few sets of hands before finally springing back to life. Was hell grabbing for him? Probably, if you believe in determinism.

The team talks a little about near-death experiences. Reid had one when Van Der Beek briefly killed him that time, but Emily didn't when she was bleeding in the ambulance after Doyle stabbed her. They suspect that the killer might have killed the first guy because they both had different near-death experiences, and he wants to perform experiments until he can prove the veracity of the visions!

Which is all well and good, but doesn't get them any closer to actually finding the guy. Who's busy trying to murder a woman at the moment.

Far more useful than their rambling is the fact that the mother's car has been found near the lake. Looking for further facts about CPR, they bring up the famous fact that people do better at coming from the dead if they've drowned in cold water. It seems that the coldest lakes around are where the guy has been drowning people! Then they finally get around to checking previous murders around the lake, and come up with the sleazy beardo - his son killed him after the whole bured-alive thing, and then got away with just a couple of years in jail!

Wait, shouldn't you have looked for murderers who've previously killed people around the lake hours ago? The second you got the case, really?

While the team drives out to the guy's house the teen manages to trick the killer and pull him into the lake. Then they have a brief foot chase before winding up back in the water. The team shows up, and faced with the inevitability of capture, he chooses to drown himself. This time, when faced with the tunnel of light, he wrestles off the arms and blots forward, into... a flashback of killing his dad! But before he finds out what comes next, Emily successfully CPRs hm back to consciousness, because... um... I have no idea why she does this. To allow the guy to die of cancer in a prison hospital three months from now? Isn't that just a huge waste of resources?

The important part, though, is that the mom and son, as predicted, are fine!


Other than the part where Joe goes to see his first wife in order to tell her that he's not down with this whole euthanasia thing. Okay, guess I was wrong about him. The show then gets super-insulting, letting us know that because Joe is the 'best man she's ever known' she always knew he wouldn't be down with helping her kill herself, but she wanted him to comfort her while she dosed herself anyways.

That's right - good people aren't down with euthanasia. Because it's inherently immoral to slot yourself before the effects of genetic disorders turn your life into a seemingly endless cycle of agony, until a withered husk that no longer resembles you finally casts off its mortal coil.

If that's immoral, then suffering through every moment of a fatal illness must be super-moral! After all, pain cleanses the soul, right? Fun fact - this is a point where opponents of euthanasia and Thomas de Torquemada agree!

If you're not familiar with who that is, hit him up on Wikipedia. Seriously famous serial killer with a giant body count.

Anyhoo, Joe sticks around as his ex-wife dies, and does the noble thing of not calling an ambulance. Ex-wife wonders if 'he'll' be there in heaven. Who's he? The son they head who was stillborn! Well, no wonder they got a divorce. That must have been rough. This was also a super-quick resolution of Joe's storyline - does that mean there'll be time for a Derek story this year instead of next?

1 - Was profiling in any way helpful in solving the crime?

Nope. Physical evidence FTW this week!

2 - Could the crime have been solved just as easily using conventional police methods given the known facts of the case?

There were a series of murders by the lake, and their first question wasn't 'Hey, who has a history of murdering people by this lake?'

So, on a scale of 1 (Dirty Harry) to 10 (Tony Hill), How Useful Was Profiling in Solving the Crime?

1/10 - You know, the episode ended without a single mention of the real villains - those three coeds who abandoned their friend to die horribly at the hands of a serial killer.

Hair of gold, hearts of coal.


Anonymous said...

First of all, I'm a huge fan of your reviews. They're highly entertaining, and every time I see a new episode I rush on here to see what you have to say! This episode was particularly hard to get through. I have to watch this kid get brutally beaten, then look at him as a killer? Is it wrong to pity the Unsub? I do have a question for you that I hope you'll answer. Do you like Criminal Minds? While your reviews are sort of harsh on the show, you've watched like every episode

Anonymous said...

I loved your closing comment :)
And thank you for using the expression 'mortal coil' correctly. Not to sound patronising, but so few people seem to manage it!

Chris Abbey said...

Don't forget the almost-made-a-saint torturer, Mother Theresa of Calcutta who didn't even believe in palliative care, making sure that the warehoused victims...patients would die horribly even if they weren't all that sick when they got to one of her charnel houses. Torquemada was a piker compared to that evil.

Kevin Horgan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

One instance of biblical support out of many for 'hell'. Mark 9:43