Criminal Minds 916: Gabby

The episode opens with a few shots of abandoned businesses and rotted out homes to establish that this episode is set amidst an environment of urban squalor. Then they cut to a perfectly nice low-end suburban street, because the show shoots in Los Angeles, and they don't have access to the kind of wrecks you can find in Mississippi there.

A woman is dropping her daughter off to stay with her sister for a week. They offer some exposition about how the mother won a raffle for a week-long cruise, and it's her first real vacation away since the daughter (who's like 5-6, something along those lines) was born! The aunt has prepared a child's playhouse for the front yard, so the visit should go great! Unless a killer shows up, murders her, and steals the daughter. That would be less great.

Later that week, we see the aunt pile the kid into a car to go for a nighttime drive. She explains to the neighbour that going out for rides helps the little girl get to sleep, then as they're driving off, the little girl and the neighbour lady exchange some sign language! Which they know for some reason? Is one of these characters deaf and I somehow didn't notice?

We cut to the aunt sitting in her car at a gas station, waiting for there to be no witnesses before she runs into the store to buy some food. Maybe we're supposed to think that she's waiting for the guy to drive away because she finds him creepy and doesn't want to leave the niece alone in the car with him at the pumps, but then again, the niece is sleeping, lying across the back seats, so there's no reason to think that anyone even knows she's in the car.

So while the aunt is in the store, a minivan drives up, presumably grabs the kid, and then drives off. Did the Aunt sell the child to someone? Because it's kind of crazy to imagine that a kidnapper would have been been following them this whole time and managed to land on this incredibly lucky moment.

Seeing the empty back seat, the aunt starts screaming for help, and the guys inside call 911!

The team immediately jumps on the plane and flies there - like, immediately. Preposterously immediately.
That's the sun just coming up to the front right of the plane - which is a little weird, considering that they're flying west, but whatever, let's just assume that they mean it to be like 7AM when this scene is happening.

Assuming they're almost in Mississippi, that's like a two-hour flight, meaning they had to get on the plane at 5AM. So let's figure the abduction happened around 10PM, that means that the cops showed up, took statements, decided they couldn't handle the case, called the local FBI, who kicked it upstairs to Washington, and someone there decided that the serial killer people should be working on it - even though it's just a missing girl, not a beheaded little girl - and then called Greg and woke him up at like 3AM, and then he told everyone else to get moving, all so they could be on a plane at 5AM.

This is just so far from how the police actually work. Would it have killed the show to have them arriving at noon the next day? A plausible amount of time later?

Oh my god, it's so much worse than I thought. All of that figuring I did above? Yeah, it's even worse - it's been just three hours since the abduction during the plane scene. I don't know how far they are into the flight, but that means the idea that they were all gathered up and put on a plane happened even faster than I'd calculated. Also, how can the sun be coming up? Was that abduction at like 2AM? Damn, this show is crazy.

In their pre-file they point out that the abductor would have had to have been stalking the little girl - and perhaps even gotten the mother sent away on that trip! Although that might be a stretch, since it's my own interjection. Bigger issue, though, is that they talk about having 24 hours to find the girl before it's too late!

Weird that they would still be saying that, since just six episodes they did a story about how that was a meaningless rule of thumb.

We catch up with the minivan driving down a rural road and dumping something body-shaped but wrapped in black plastic into a river! Has he already murdered the little girl? Was the little girl already dead, killed by the aunt (who's actually the girl's cousin, it seems) and this is a friend helping make it look like an abduction/murder? It's not like we actually saw the little girl moving in the back seat during the convenience store scene.

Hopefully we'll find out after the opening credits!


Criminal Minds 915: Mr. & Mrs. Anderson

At a cold gas station a backpacking young woman walks up to a familiar character actor and asks if she can get a ride with him. He demurs, and starts to drive away, then stops and invites her in. So which of the two of them is the killer? Probably him, right?

He offers to take her as far as he can - which is the motel up the street where he and his wife are staying. It has a bus stop out front! She immediately agrees to this, which is a little suspicious, since that's not much of a ride.

During the ride, the man asks questions designed to reveal whether the young woman has anyone waiting for her, or if anyone knows where she is. It's a no in both cases, just FYI. They get to the motel and the man gives her some cash to take the bus, but then his wife comes out and invites the woman inside, saying there's about to be a storm, and she'll freeze out in the cold waiting for a bus!

So, is the wife the one who's more psyched about killing in this pair? Because the husband wasn't trying very hard to get this lady into their motel room. The show cuts away before we see what happens.

At Quantico, Garcia and Derek talk relationship stuff, and then run into JJ - it's her first day back after getting tortured last episode! Time for the case rundown! Two women have been thrown half-naked into ditches at the side of the road - please note the complete lack of snow, even though both were killing in and around Pittsburgh, and the show went out of its way to show a bunch of snow on the ground in the first scene.

The women were strangled, stripped but not raped, then wrapped in shower curtains. Joe intuits 'a lot of rage', although the women weren't tortured in any way other than the strangling that killed them, so I don't know what Joe is basing that on. The team wonders why no sexual assault, since the vast majority of serial killers are rapists, so they guess maybe the killer is impotent. But they can't figure why the killer would cover the bodies, which is usually a sign of remorse.

We've got a pretty good idea about that already, since we saw that the wife was a little more into killing than the husband, but to be fair, we have access to more information than they do.

Also, the two bodies were dropped in the past two days, so yes, they're already spree killing.

Then we see the couple with a marriage counselor, who interrogates them about their homework to put the spark back in their marriage. Have they been working on that? We see a flashback to the murder, and it's revealed that the reason the women aren't being raped is that the sexual component of the crime is that the couple has sex after the husband strangles the women to death.

Thanks for that, show.


Criminal Minds 914: 200

Okay, if I'd known when I made that prediction about JJ's storyline that 914 was the 200th episode, I'd have guessed that it would be the place for all the secrets to come out. This is the downside of trying to go into episodes completely clean - you miss out on chances to make super-accurate predictions.

So let me make one more bad prediction before the episode starts - we'll get another visit from that background agent whose job is giving people rides home, last spotted being let in to the office by Mark Hamill last season!

Now, on with the episode!

Picking up soon after the last episode left off, JJ is dragged into a room with a bag over her head, shackled to a chair, and then drugged! Is this a chemical interrogation? We're finally going to get that backstory from the year she was off, though, since it's a middle-eastern guy doing the ejecting, and then pointedly middle-eastern music pipes up on the soundtrack and we cut to a view of one of those eight-sided towers I don't know the name of!

Back in 2010, JJ arrives in Iraq, where she's met by Erin, who is still alive in the past! She starts explaining that it's an incredibly secret job that she's taking on, but then the speech gets interrupted by the introduction of Esai and Helo from Battlestar, who are outside of a tent, arguing over who screwed up their attempt to interrogate a terrorist!

JJ meets Helo, who's not psyched that she's been brought on board to mediate interrogations - he'd prefer to just torture people to death, as he just got finished doing! In a great moment, it's acknowledged that JJ has no training in profiling or interrogation whatsoever, so it's not really clear what a media liaison/case manager is doing there.

They never did explain why she was able to start profiling when she got back, did they? I mean, other than Garcia having stolen her old job. Was it a subtle dig at the art of profiling, suggesting that if you just hang around these people for a couple of years, you'll become as good at faking it as they are?

As JJ is escorted out of the tent by Esai, she sees the wife of the dead guy, who she's supposed to interview, and then meets their interpreter... the guy who drugged her in the present!

Speaking of the present day, Josh arrives at the office, bringing their son, who's not named William the 3rd, as far as I can recall. Josh tells them to call Esai - he knows about the secret mission, of course, and JJ said to call Esai if she ever mysteriously disappeared! Naturally Esai has also mysteriously disappeared, information that is brought by Anderson, the chauffeur/agent who's rarely on the show!

So that's one prediction correct! I'd make more, but I have no idea where the episode is going, and won't pretend that I do.

Speaking of Esai, he's dragged into the torture dungeon as well, and they're both hung from pipes, as the translator gets ready to go to work! I hope this doesn't get too gruesome - I guess we'll find out after the credits!