9.11.12

Criminal Minds 724: Run

When last we left the team, Emily had run into a bank just before it exploded. For no reason. Jr and the two bank robbers were in the basement, possibly sheltered from the effects of the blast. Will either of them survive? My money's on both, but I guess we'll see!

After one of those annoying audio things where the television tries to deafen me by playing a loud high-pitched whine to simulate the after-effects of a bomb blast on the inner ear, the team runs into the building to check if anyone survives. They don't let paramedics and firemen do this, once again, for no good reason.

As they enter, there's a corpse lying on the floor that I don't recognize-

That's a blonde woman in a brown or maroon dress. I'm not sure why she's there. The people who were shot inside the bank were: White Male Security Guard, Black Father, White Male Bank Manager, White Male FBI Agent, Jr. Jr's in the basement. Everyone else charged out of the bank before the blast, so whose corpse is this? I'd have to check, but I'm pretty sure she wasn't in the bank with the hostages earlier.

A search of the premises reveals another corpse, this one a black woman with long hair. She was, in fact one of the bank employees in the previous episode. I guess she just didn't bother leaving with everyone else while the place was unguarded? Why not?

Xander and Reid see footage of the explosion on Xander's computer, which causes Reid to utter the Prentiss Award-Winning line of the night



Yes, because if there's one place that a technical analyst is most likely to be helpful, it's away from his computer. Genius!

After a shot of King running away through the underground, Joe announces that this wasn't a suicide pact, but rather the bomb was meant to cover an escape. He points out that 'you don't learn explosives overnight', which doesn't have anything to do with anything - one of the members of the team is a professional criminal and murderer, and she's had over seven months to teach the other two whatever they needed to know. Also, the working theory is that they just burst a gas main to full up the main floor with gas, which doesn't actually require 'explosives training'.

Inside the bank Emily is revealed to be fine - she's discovered the elderly couple of hostages, who hid inside the bank rather than trying to escape when King left. Perhaps they've been hiding the whole time? Derek and JJ head downstairs to look for Jr, but find instead the hole in the wall that the Royal Flush gang escaped through. King manages to get to a car just outside the building and drive it away because the cops set a half-block cordon around the crime scene. I'm not sure why. He takes the precaution of driving a black SUV with police lights, but still, there should be a roadblock he has to get through, shouldn't there?

Where are Queen and Jr? I guess we'll find out after the opening credits!

After a nonsense press scene (here's a tip, writers - no reporter would ask the FBI if they consider bank robbers to be serial killers. It's not relevant information, and no one would think to ask it), the team breaks up to work on different parts of the case. Xander and Garcia look over tape, Greg briefs the cops who will be interviewing the hostages, then Reid looks over the underground maps and figures out the various locations the gang could have escaped from. Greg's theory is that Queen has stuck around to watch the chaos because she's aroused by it. Who knows?

I'm unclear on why they weren't covering the sewers already. Yes, blasting through the walls was a bit of a stretch, but it was also plainly visible that the gang members had carried heavy backpacks into the bank - why didn't any of the dozens of people looking over the bank footage think that was peculiar?

Okay, so Derek and JJ find Jr's wallet by the alley where the escape vehicle was parked, so at least he was alive enough to drop a clue. The second-stupidest thing of the night is said as they wonder why the killers would have brought Jr along in their escape - to use as a hostage. Like they've been doing all day, idiots.

The next scene finds the gang in the SUV, with a fully-conscious Jr in the back seat! Well, his odds just got a little better, right? The gang bickers because King wants to know who's really running things, but Queen refuses to let him in on the backstory.

I guess it's up to the team to figure it out, which is just what they're up to! Garcia has found footage of their escape vehicle, but no one rushes to put out an APB on it. Reid sarcastically suggests that a government SUV with sirens will 'really stand out' during the emergency. First off, guy, it's not a great time to be a dick - one of your only friends' husband has been kidnapped. Secondly, here's an idea - why not get eyes on the black SUV with sirens running that's driving AWAY from the emergency?

They decide that the only way they're ever going to find the killers is via profiling! If they can figure out the meaning behind the series of robberies that led them to D.C., then the identity of the mystery woman should be obvious! You know what? I'll give them the benefit of the doubt until I see where this is going. Emily says she'll go call Sebastien to see if he's got more information now that a bombing is involved, so at least we'll see more of him this week!

Their call proves super-fruitful, as Sebastien lets her know that these crimes seem like the work of an assassin whose MO involved shooting an ambassador in the gut back in '04. Just like in this case, a government vehicle was stolen to facilitate movement. Emily then jumps to the conclusion that all the previous bank robberies were just used to fund the explosion today, which is probably a diversion leading up to something else. What could she possibly base that information on? Yes, it's clear that King and Jack were more interested in the money than Queen was, and she's been up to something all day, but why would you figure that this was a money-generating scam? That's just a super-dangerous way to put money together, and explosives aren't that expensive.

The team confabs their data and comes up with very few leads. The only interesting one is that the style of bomb used in the explosion (which only went off less than an hour ago - that's how quickly they found pieces in the wreckage) was designed in the same way as some bombs from Chad! The very same place she said she wanted to escape! Just how risk-obsessed is this woman? If she never planned on escaping in a plane, why would she give the FBI a clue to her identity?

Meanwhile the gang grabs a paramedic, has him patch up Jr, then murders him. As usual, it's just for cruelty's sake. Then Queen finally gets around to shooting King, and announces that Jr will be her chauffeur for the rest of the crime spree. King isn't dead yet, though, just gutshot, so there could still be some help from him!

The team finally notices that Ed's Friend from the show Ed was way too composed during the robbery. They look into him and discover that he was dishonorably discharged from the diplomatic security arm of the marines back in '04. Wait, '04? Wasn't that when an ambassador was murdered? Could there be a connection?

Yup. Ed's friend climbs into the back of the SUV to continue the crime spree. I wish I could take some pride in having called this development, but there's been a sum total of one recognizable guest star this week, and they're not going to just have him being a hostage for one episode.

They head back to Jr's house so that Queen can hold his and JJ's son hostage while Jr and EF head out on the next part of the scheme. Luckily JJ and the rest of the team have figured this part out, noticing that Jr's license is missing from the discarded wallet. They're also come up with a profile of their killers - there's no grand scheme or ideological plan, they just love setting up elaborate crimes and then getting away for the thrill. So I guess today's plan must be a suicide run after all, since they couldn't possibly think that they'd get away after Queen's face was all over the news, could they?

We get a couple of pieces of motivation from the killers. EF says that he's a vet who went crazy in the 'Raq, so now he kills for fun. Good to know the 80s are back, huh? Meanwhile Queen claims that her grandfather and her hostage share the same last name, so that provides a perfect opportunity to tell him a creepy story!

While driving home, JJ is frustrated with herself for leaving Henry with a neighbour - she explains that she and Jr have a deal that the kid will never be left all alone, and her going in to work today feels like a betrayal. I'm not sure how that works, since they're both full-time law enforcement personnel.

Once again, aren't there cops closer to JJ's house who could be shooting Queen right now?

While searching the scene, Emily has an epiphany - the major events in the killers' lives happened in '04, '08, and now '12 - could they be working on something cyclical? Could this be an anniversary of sorts? Wow, that's an unsubstantiated jump. They do discover that EF was a pilot in Chad during the civil unrest, and they extrapolate that the two must have met there. Emily asks if there were any significant deaths in Chad exactly 4 years earlier, and Garcia comes up with a train explosion that killed a bunch of people. They must be trying to recreate that, using Jr's access to the secure area!

Again, they're acting like this is a master plan, but almost all of it had to be improvised. Bad luck was the only reason they had to bomb their way out of the bank, and there's no way they could have planned on having official police help in getting into the train station. Also, I don't know why they needed all of this anniversary stuff - couldn't they have just matched the style of explosive? Wouldn't that have been way more plausible?

After all, what if the anniversary this year had been on a Saturday or Sunday, when banks are closed?

Time for more simultanaity, as Greg and the team go to intercept EF while Joe and JJ plan to rescue Henry. Things aren't looking for for Jr, though, seeing as he's been strapped into a bomb vest with a super-visible digital timer!


Emily says that the bomb will cause the 'whole place to blow', which is a massive overestimation of the power of plastic explosives. Six pounds is a lot of boom, but it's not like he's chained to a load-bearing column or anything. Massive damage to the area of the mezzanine he's on? Absolutely. But not an apocalyptic charge. Can Jr get out in time?

Over at the house, Joe distracts Queen long enough for JJ to sneak into the house, but she doesn't just shoot Queen in the legs like a smart person, so instead they just have a preposterous kung-fu battle that Queen quickly loses.

Over at the train station, Derek is chasing EF down on foot-


While Emily tries to disarm the bomb. You know, at one point in this show Derek's only role was the guy who engages the killers in foot chases. I'm glad that that his character has grown beyond that, but it's also nice when we get the occasional callback.

As for the bomb, Emily manages to figure out the disarm code for cell phone bomb by asking Jr what Queen's real name is, but turning off that bomb just opens up a secondary detonator with the classic three-wire setup! Which one should she cut? More importantly, why isn't she just pulling the detonators out of the C4 so that even if the blasting caps go off they won't detonate anything?

While Greg shoots EF to death in the alley that Derek had cornered him in, Emily talks the wire problem through. The wires are Red, Blue, and Yellow, the colours of Chad's flag. Since yellow is the only colour that doesn't also appear on the American flag, that must be the one to cut!

Unless, you know, the killers weren't massively over-thinking the bomb that they were building.

But whatever, the wire cutting works, and the day is save! Much earlier than usual. We're still 13 minutes from the end of the episode. Maybe there's time for a musical number? Or another bomb planted somewhere?

Time for some wrapup! JJ and Jr finally decide to get married! Will his good friend Bane be his best man? Almost certainly not!

Over at Quantico Emily announces that she's definitely not buying that house she looked at - does this mean she's going to work for Sebastien like he's been bugging her to? The boss then enters, revealing that Queen has been identified as 'Izzy Rogers', and she's going to spend the rest of forever in jail. Yes, Izzy isn't just what EF called her as a nickname, it's apparently her full legal name, see-


Seriously, prop people? You couldn't have put 'Isabelle' on the picture for verisimilitude's sake and just trusted that your audience would get that it was the same person? What am I saying, this is a show where Emily profiled a bomb. The boss then wants to talk to Derek to thank him for confronting her about her alcoholism. What a sweet season ending note!

The next night everyone swings by Joe's house for drinks, where Emily finally admits that she's planning to go back to Interpol because she doesn't feel right working at the FBI post-near-death-experience. We're actually wrapping things up on a super-happy note, with everyone showing up at the house for an impromptu wedding ceremony!

Hilariously, JJ doesn't know that it's a surprise wedding until her mother shows up, even though when she walks out into the back yard there's a decorated gazebo with a carpet of flower petals leading up to it.


What kind of party did she think this was?

Anyway, that's a super-happy ending to leave things off on, with which I'm totally satisfied. Sure, I'll miss Emily if she really does go off to Interpol, but at least they didn't fake kill her off this time, so I'm not going to have to change the Prentiss to a memorial award or anything like that.

THE END

Well, two things are keeping the ending from being as super-happy as it should be.

1 - You know who's conspicuous by her absence at the party? Jr's partner. Oh, that's right, she died. Did the family not have to go to her funeral today? Everyone seems to have gotten over that pretty darn quick.

2 - Some quick numbers - let's assume that the cops should have stormed the place the moment King shot that FBI agent. Two people with handguns, one of them super-distracted so he probably couldn't have gotten a shot off. I can't imagine Queen could have shot more than three or four people, and I doubt any of them would have been fatal, but for the sake of argument, let's assume 2 more people would have died. Here's the actual death count post FBI-Agent:

Bank Manager
4 people in the explosion
Paramedic

For a total of six deaths.

To put that in the starkest terms possible, four people died because the team tried to 'figure this thing out' rather than just letting a SWAT team storm the place.

Might Ed's Friend have briefly escaped capture had they raided the place? Maybe - but the two of them seemed so emotionally unstable that seeing his girlfriend gunned down in front of him would have likely set him off to the point that the team would have noticed something wrong and arrested him.

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

Kind of? I mean, if Emily's amazing series of lucky guesses about romance and Chad count as profiling.

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

You know, had the team just let every cop in the city know that the gang was using Jr as a hostage and to immediately apprehend anyone he was with they would have been stopped at the roadblock, and there wouldn't have been a need for any bomb-disarming sequence.

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

3/10

One last time before the season wraps up: not one part of the villains' plan made the least bit of sense. If they hadn't been interrupted by Jr, if the FBI hadn't been terrible at hostage situations, if the cops hadn't been incompetent-

The show wants us to believe that this was all an elaborately-planned anniversary celebration for these two to enjoy as a last hurrah before death, but their plan relied on a long series of things happening that they couldn't have possibly predicted.

Also, if her partner was in the bank the whole time, who was turning the surveillance feed on and off? Don't tell me that they could do that with a cell phone ap. Banks don't have those kinds of computers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Criminal Minds is only worth watching because of your recaps. Any chance you'll pick it back up? I watched a few episodes this season but it just wasn't the same without you.