Criminal Minds 902: The Inspired

After last week started off the season with one of the most terrible and unpleasant episodes in the show's history, let's see if they can top it post-twin reveal!

The show opens with the twin being let out of jail, and the twin's lawyer announcing that he's going to sue the department. For what, exactly? And why is he being let out? He led the police on a high-speed car chase, endangering lives, and then lied to them by not telling the police his name while he was being booked.

There's a ridiculous bit of the lawyer's speech where he says that 'profiling doesn't work, and this proves it', as if his guy was arrested because of a behaviour profile, and not, you know, because he's the identical twin of a serial killer who just shot a guy after taking a room full of women hostage and forcing them to eat rotting human flesh.

Jeanne, in the SUV with Joe, ponders what the odds are that there would be identical twins. I feel it's like... one in a couple hundred live births? Something like that? Twins aren't actually that uncommon. Now if these guys are completely unrelated yet live in the same city, then those would be some longer odds. And since we find out that the have different last names, maybe that's what they're going with! Although separated at birth is more likely.

According to Reid, the odds of twins are 3.5/1000, and Wikipedia says 4/1000, so my 5/1000 guess wasn't really that far off!

The team gets to the station, and the cop explains that because the twin is a paralegal, they had a whole firm itching to bust him loose. Which seems plausible, although the high-speed car chase and lying to cops seems like it would be a hard thing to get kicked.

Garcia explains the backstory - the twins were separated at 3, and a few years ago the twin got his adoption records unsealed, and found out about the existence of his brother - but there's no evidence that they're in contact! Well, given the fact that he apparently knew that his brother was a serial killer, motivating him to lead the cops on a chase and then lie to them, I feel like Garcia's probably missed something.

Wow, the scene with the twin's lawyer is dumb. Greg asks him - quite logically - if it's a coincidence that he was arrested right when they were looking for his brother, and the lawyer responds that the twin was working the night shift when the murders were happening.

Which is so... just yikes. Not only is that not an answer to the question that was asked, it doesn't his accuse his speeding, reckless driving, and lying to police!

Things get so much dumber in the next scene, as Camryn Manheim arrives at her home, and the killer rushes from his car across the street, so he can confront her about the twin brother he's only now finding out he has!

That's right - the entire city of Glendale, AZ is hunting a spree killer who's armed and dangerous, yet that killer was able to park - in the vehicle that is registered to him - across the street from his mother's house without being immediately caught. Is everyone in this world an idiot?

Seriously, show people, at least have Camryn get home and find the killer waiting inside, so we can imagine that he parked a mile away and walked over while wearing a hoodie or something. God. It's like the producers of this show not only want to do stupid things, it's important to them that they do them in the stupidest way possible.

Then it turns out there's a reason for the god-awful writing - before the killer can get to the house, though, the twin looms out of the darkness and clubs his brother over the head!

This should have an intriguing explanation... after the credits!

The twin brings the killer back to his house, changes into his clothes, and then ties him to a chair. I guess he wants to kill a bunch of people and get away with it by framing his brother? That seems like a terrible plan - not just because they have different fingerprints, but also because his incredibly suspicious behaviour around his arrest makes it impossible for the cops to give him the benefit of the doubt.

At the police station the next day, the team finally realizes that maybe they should watch Camryn if they want to find her son. Not sure how it took them this long to realize it, and what Glendale's cops are doing at the moment. Garcia finds records that Camryn used to send the killer out of town on a train when he got into trouble. So maybe they're doing that now!

As Jeanne and Reid are arriving at the house, they're talking about how their careers could be in danger because of the wrongful arrest suit that the twin is threatening! I'm going to stop commenting on this part of the story after this next mini-rant, because this is a show written by people who don't understand how anything works, and at some point I just have to accept that they're not capable of doing a good job.

But I need to be clear on this: HE DOESN'T HAVE A SUIT. A police car tried to pull him over, and he sped away from it, breaking the speed limit and driving recklessly. Then, when he was told that he was being arrested for his brother's crimes, he made no effort to correct the police, leaving them to find out the mistake themselves via fingerprints. He was uninjured in the arrest, and his name has not been publicly associated with any crimes. He. Has. No. Case.

Alright. Where was I? Yes, they see the car that he supposedly stole from the attack on the restaurant, which I'd thought was his own car. Let's just check that.

Here's the car across the street from his mother's house:

Here's his personal car that we see him driving to work in.

That's obviously the same vehicle. That's right, the producers of Criminal Minds can't be bothered to keep track of even the most basic of continuity from one episode to the next.

Seriously, how are you this terrible at your job?

Also, whether it's his car (which, again, it is) or a car he stole, how did it take people this long to find it?

Jeanne and Reid rush into the house, and find that it's been torn apart, and documents have been burned in the fireplace. They're left wondering what Camryn could possibly be hiding if they already knew about the twin. Is there a third brother? More importantly, though, you wouldn't have to guess about this stuff if you'd had cops watching the most likely location for the killer to show up.

The twin wakes the killer up by slapping his face a bunch, and then demands to be told what the killer did, so that he can know if he'll be able to walk down the street in public, or if his life is destroyed because he looks like a spree killer. During this whole speech, the killer doesn't find it odd that the twin has stolen and is wearing his clothes, so he doesn't suspect that the twin really wants to know the details of the crimes so that he can copycat them and frame the killer.

Going through the burned documents, Jeanne and Reid realize that the only things that were destroyed were pieces of paper with the twins' father's name on them! Which, you know, should be easily searchable in computerized birth records, right? The killer was born in like 1980, so all of this burning was probably a waste.

The twin offers to take his brother across the border into Canada after the cops 'chill out', so that he can get some mental help. He also wants the killer to take a heavy sedative so he'll be out for 16 hours. The killer is reticent, although seemingly not because the plan is absolutely nuts - a crazy man raped and murdered four women and then shot up a restaurant. They'll never stop looking for him. The town should be shut down right now.

Anyhow, the killer takes the drugs so that the twin is free to go out and do whatever he wants, unsupervised, dressed as a serial killer. Only the killer didn't actually swallow the pill, so he'll know what his twin is up to! I'm really going all-in on this theory, aren't I?

Then it's over to the train station, which longtime fans of the show will remember as the location of the final showdown with Frank!

It makes a lot more sense, visually, as an Arizona train station than it ever did as a DC one. The team sees Camryn arrive, but she starts to leave when she doesn't see the killer anywhere around - did they plan to meet here? When did that happen? - so the team just grabs her for an interview.

Then it's back to the twin that night, as he cuts off his brother's bonds and leaves the house, sure that he'll be out for another twelve hours. But, of course, the killer wasn't sleeping at all, which is going to blow a big hole in the 'framing' plan.

So the twin goes to a woman's house and shoots her in bed, confident that he's going to get away with it! We know better, of course. I'm not sure how the twin is able to get around town so easily when the cops should be prowling around, searching for signs of the killer. A guy driving around, looking exactly like him would be a tempting target for the police, after all.

Also, he breaks into the woman's house by just kind of shoving the door? I'm not saying that the woman deserves to get killed or something like that, but there's a serial killer on the loose murdering women, and yet you still don't lock your deadbolt?

In the next scene Greg is interviewing Camryn and it's daytime again, but I think this is a case of the show being sloppily rearranged at the edit, rather than suggesting that they kept her locked in a cage for 18 hours before talking to her.

Camryn gets a speech about how she couldn't handle being a single mother of twins, so she gave one of them up. It's a nice speech, but we already kind of figured that. Like, if she'd said that she thought that one of the kids was possessed, and she sent the other one away to protect him, I'd get the point of the scene, but 'selfish, whiny, overwhelmed parent gives up child' is a dog bites man situation.

The twin arrives back at his hideout and is shocked to find that the killer isn't in the chair any more! But he hasn't run off or anything, he's just standing by the window. Because, of course, he knows what the twin is up to! The killer says he's down with it - he wants the twin to start doing the killing for him! I guess because he's lazy?

Greg finally gets around to asking Camryn about the father of the kids. Camryn refuses to tell.

Moving right along, the team has Heather's parents go on TV to ask the killer to turn himself in. This, naturally, summons Heather's ghost to taunt the killer some more. She does this by having mantises crawl out of her mouth! Which, you know, ick, and also I'd kind of blocked that part of the M.O., so thanks for reminding me, show.

The killer freaks out so hard that he runs out of the house, where he encounters someone who knows the twin! Awkward! He acts incredibly suspiciously and flees back into the house. Will she spot the twin at the dog park and realize what happened?

The team goes to the new crime scene, and talk about how it's an obvious copy, but they fake in the 'it could be him' direction for a second, saying that the rape and shot through the heart match the M.O. Except that the woman was raped post-mortem, and shot in he bed, which couldn't be further from the M.O. Still, the scene is different enough that they're sure the twin is the new killer. But what's his connection to this victim?

Talking to her brother, we find out that they were twins! Everyone looks at each other like this is significant, although I'm not sure how.

Then, as predicted, the dog-walking lady sees the twin, and apologizes for freaking him out earlier. He invites her inside so he can kill her, and she agrees, which is crazy, because she was in a minivan and obviously on her way somewhere when she saw him and apologized.

The team arrives at the hideout and sees where the latest victim was raped and murdered. They talk a little about how twin killing a woman who had a twin brother was probably a way of getting out his anger at his own brother. But how did he know she was a twin? Did he know her? As far as we've been told, he just busted into some random woman's house, and now it was supposed to fill a psychological need?

Also, they sped off in the dog-lady's minivan, which gives the police, who should be in the process of shutting down the whole city at this point, a good target to search for.

In other news, Camryn slipped her tail, fleeing out the back of a restaurant where someone was waiting for her in a car! Probably the father. Who's the lawyer? I guess? I mean, it's a secret, and only one other person in this episode has had any lines, so it's got to be the lawyer that the twin works for, right?

No, the lawyer was just acting as an intermediary, because he's kind of sleazy. But by going through the private files on Camryn, Garcia's able to find the name of the kids' father, one Bill Robbins. It's an unintentionally hilarious scene, because they go straight from Greg forcing the lawyer to spill the beans, to Greg at the police station, listening to Garcia explain what the beans mean, and then Greg saying that he's going to go talk to the lawyer, who obviously knows a lot if he's the family attorney, and has been for some time.

Because these two scenes are together, we're left with the impression that Greg left the lawyer's office and drove across town just to take a phone call, then drove right back. It's ludicrous.

There's a quick scene of the twins, wondering where they can go, since they're driving around in the car of the woman they just killed. The killer suggests the church, since that's where Camryn always took him when he was feeling bad.

Then we cut to Greg in an interrogation room with the lawyer (that's another car ride!), who explains that Camryn wanted to put the family back together by setting up a trust for the twins, so twin would forgive her for giving him away. He then explains that he found out how messed-up the family was when he met Bill, the father, and other trustee. Greg asks him what he means by that.

What, is the father a priest or something, and that's why they went to church all the time? No, probably not. So what could this dark secret be?

Reid and Derek head deep into a flophouse to find Bill, who's a schizophrenic deep in the grips of a manic episode. Reid and Derek agree that their kids' psychosis definitely has a genetic component.

The team meets up for a convo about the situation. Greg's theory? Camryn wants twin to murder the killer, so it can be just the two of them, and she'll finally have a worthwhile son! They assume she's been planning it for some time, and that the train station meeting was supposed to be a talk with twin, not an attempt to help killer escape. Then things all went to hell because the twin also loves murder!

When did she make this plan, exactly? Like, we know she's been in touch with twin for a while because of all the legal stuff, but when did they start conspiring to kill her other son? Is that why he fled from the cops? How would that have helped their plan?

Greg wants Derek to find out if Camryn or the twins have visited the father, or if they had a 'shared family history' before the adoption. Who knows where they're going with this?

Then Camryn shows up at the church with the boys, and says that's it's great to finally see twin in person. So they haven't been working together? Wait, no, they're just acting like they don't know each other for the killer's benefit. That makes sense.

The team finally get some info out of the father - when the kids were adopted, it was via Saint Mary! Of course, the team already has that as part of their records, so I don't know why they'd think it was significant now, or why they immediately jump to the conclusion that Camryn and the twins are hiding out at the church they were adopted through. Joe tries to offer a figleaf justification for sending a SWAT team to a church, that as a narcissist Camryn would identify with the most idolized mother of all. That's great and all, but I don't know how it translates to two serial killers and their mother being able to arrive - unnoticed - at a downtown church in the middle of the day.

At the church, Camryn tries to set up killer to get chopped in the back (cleaver again. Great.), but twin double-crosses her, and puts the knife to her throat! Which irritates killer, who points a gun at him. Honestly, I don't care if any of these people live, so let's fast forward, shall we?

One twin shoots the other, and when the cops arrive, they announce that it was twin who shot killer. Of course, a quick fingerprint check will sort that out. Greg doesn't think so, calling it an 'inexact science', then suggests that they use a trick to make killer behave like himself to reveal his true nature! Because, you know, behavioural science is more reliable than fingerprints.

God, this show.

Outside, they ask the crazy father which son is alive, and the father says that he taught his son to twitch his fingers when nervous, which the killer immediately starts doing. That's right, folks, according to criminal minds, finger twitching is more reliable than fingerprints.

Come on.

On the flight home, Greg announces that he's not going to be their new boss! So I guess we'll find out who that is next week?

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

No. Of course not. The closest they came was saying that psychology dictated that they would all meet up in a church that Camryn took killer to as a child. Which, you know, is crazy.

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

They were driving around town in the car of a woman they'd murdered. It was not going to be hard to catch them.

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

0 - Of course zero! How could it be anything but zero? This is a terrible second part to a terrible two-parter. There's no way killer wouldn't have been caught after murdering Heather way back when, and none of the twin stuff should have happened at all. But even if you set that aside, the cops accomplished nothing! The villains' plans played out based on the mental problems of the various participants, and the two survivors would have been caught immediately whether or not the team made a random guess that they would meet in a church. Which... why would they?

As for the 'but which twin got shot' thing, with the killer pretending to be his twin, that would have lasted all of five minutes. Beyond them having different fingerprints, the killer is in the midst of a psychotic break, and knows zero information about his brother's life. It's not a charade he would have been able to keep up for more than like three minutes.

Also, brother's fingerprints are all around the house where they murdered that woman together, so... yeah, the team accomplished nothing.

And god, so many unanswered questions...

When and why did Camryn start plotting to murder killer? After he killed Heather? Before then?

Why weren't the cops watching her place to find killer?

What was going on with the woman twin killed? How did he target another twin? Why wasn't her door locked with a deadbolt when there was a killer on the loose?

How on earth does killer's story not end with Heather in the back seat of the police car with him as they drive away?

Why did the twin lead the cops on a police chase? It can't have been part of a plan he'd worked out with Camryn, since it accomplished nothing positive, and only risked having him thrown in jail, which would have but a crimp in his 'become a serial killer' plan.

Seriously, when did Twin even come up with this plan? Killer had only been killing for five days, and there's no reason to suspect that he even knew his brother was a killer until the cops came to talk to Camryn. So what, did she immediately call twin and hatch some kind of a plot? If so, what was it?

Why was Camryn so desperate to destroy all records of the boys' father when the man had zero useful information to offer? It couldn't be to hide him from her preferred son, since she went out of her way to make sure that the father was one of the trustees of the kids' trust fund!

This was terrible in every way that a show can be.


Anonymous said...

I think that these were two of the worst episodes of the series.

Vardulon said...

They're going to be hard to beat!

Not that the very next episode doesn't try...