Criminal Minds 1007: Hashtag

*NOTE* It was pointed out to me that the first J in the name JJ stands for Jennifer, so my habit of referring to the actress Jennifer Love Hewitt by her first time is creating some confusion. I apologize, and from here on out will refer to that character as Love. Hopefully that will clear things up.

It's Christmastime in a Bethesda mall! A couple of zany modern teens are shopping for a ski trip during the holidays! The teen girl takes salacious photos of herself because of her obsession with being instafamous, and meanwhile they're being watched by a creepy shop worker who's placed a camera in the dressing room!

The shop worker approaches them outside the store, claiming to be a fan of hers from online! He tells her that she retweeted something of his, and it was the high point of his year! They take a photo together, and it's just so sad! Then the teens walk off to continue being low-grade terrible.

Over at a local hospital, Derek goes to visit his girlfriend, the doctor! It seems that they have a planned vacation the next day, and she doesn't believe they're actually leaving, because he cancels things literally all the time. Will he cancel this trip as well, because of a new murder?

Probably, because we then cut to the amateur model in her nice house, complaining about her terrible parents! The killer smashes her against a mirror, then slashes her throat with a shard of the glass! Get it, because she was self-obsessed! Then he forces her to take a death-selfie! Dealfie? Which he uploads to social media!

The next morning, they do a breakdown of the case - which includes the claim that the killer stabbed her before slitting her throat, which we absolutely didn't see happen, and there's no sign of it on her dead body.

The team wonders why they're being called in, since there's no reason to believe that this is a serial crime! The twist: When he posted the snuff pic, he tagged it-

#Selfie? That's the best you can do? If you want people to fear you, where's the unique branding? If you tag it #selfie you've just ensured that no one will ever see it, since it'll be immediately lost in a sea of posts with that tag. How about #SelfieKilla, #Deathfie, #Slashfie, #Killfie - why do I need to do this work for you, killer? And by extension, writers of Criminal Minds? This is stuff you should be figuring out on your own!

Hell, if you can't come up with anything, just tag it #fearme - it was right there in front of you!

The show then offers a quick montage of businessmen and women, school classes, even grandparents with grandkids all taking selfies - any one of them could be the next victim! But it'll probably be a pretty white girl, just saying.


The team goes over some of the details of the victim's life - she had hundreds of thousands of followers, the photo of her murder has be seen by millions of people, you know, the usual moral panic stuff. For some reason, Derek is absent from the round table, even though he was there before the opening credits. Did he just up and walk off somewhere in the middle of the briefing? Weird.

Just as they're wrapping up, Garcia hilariously announces that 'the media has gotten ahold of the case'. Greg is worried, because attention is what the killer craves, and the press covering it is only going to egg him on.

Um... the media already had ahold of the case. A million people have seen his post in the last twelve hours. That's why he uploaded it to social MEDIA. Do you think the killer cares if the local DC news does a story about his murder? He wants online fame and he already has it.

Confusing matters even further, the show zooms in on the reporter covering the story, and then the team drives into frame, interrupting her shot. If just Derek got out of the car, this would have been a great transition, and it would have explained where he was in the previous scene - Greg had sent him out to interface with the local PD. But when the SUV doors open Reid gets out - and he was in the previous scene where the report started!

So unless Reid got from the fourth floor of an office building in Quantico to the Bethesda residential suburbs in 30 seconds, this is a giant continuity error, caused by the show's awful attempts to be clever.

It turns out that the victim did a great job of setting herself up to be murdered - she posted her home location online all the time, and talked in her posts that night about her parents being out. Sometimes we bring heartache on ourselves.

This isn't relevant to the show, just a technical question - do mirrors still shatter, letting pieces of glass fall everywhere when they break, like a window? I've seen two mirrors break in the last few years, and both times they just cracked and webbed - in both cases the glass was securely glued to the backing. It left me with the impression that this was how most mirrors are made nowadays - but is that true, or did I just see two unusually well-made mirrors break?

Over at the autopsy, Love and Joe get into some nonsense about what the weapon means for the killer. If he had an elaborate plan to kill his victim, why the use of an on-site weapon? Could he have planned to use something else, and then when she stood in front of a mirror as he walked into the room, the dramatic opportunities just proved irresistible?

Love wins the night's Prentiss Award during the scene-

First off, the whole 'organized/disorganized' concept has largely been discarded as functionally useless when talking about serial killers. Secondly, I don't know that this really reads as 'impulsive' or 'immature'. Think about it - let's say you were planning to kill someone because you hated their cooking, and so you sneaked into their house with a carving knife, ready to do the deed. But then you found them in the kitchen, busy cleaning their oven, with no idea you were there.

Wouldn't you clonk them over the head, stuff them into the oven, and turn it on, since that so perfectly fits your motive? Whatever the guy had planned when he walked into the house, once he saw the opportunity for narcissism-themed murder, how could he not take it, if only for poetic irony's sake? I feel like they think they're getting way too much information out of the writer's contrivance. They're like three observations away from realizing that they're fictional characters.

"That's when they usually make mistakes." He left no evidence at the crime scene, Joe. Shut up, Joe.

They go to talk to the store employee from the day before, who was somehow stupid enough to post the photo that he illegally took in the dressing room. The guy is so terminally stupid that he can't possibly be the killer - although, both he and the killer bragged about crimes they committed online, so who knows?

Wouldn't her friend telling the team about the creepy guy at the mall be a way more logical route to this interview than the guy publicly committing a crime for all the world to see under his own name?

They quickly arrest the guy, and Greg threatens him with being charged if he doesn't give them a lead. Charge him anyway, he's taking nudie photos of women in changing rooms. He lets them know that the victim was with a 'weirdo', which I guess is code for 'stereotypically gay', which is how the actor is playing it?

Then it's over to JJ's interview with the weirdo, and it's not clear whether he contacted the police because his friend got murdered right after he hung up the phone! If this were a Scream movie, then he would be the killer, and he would have been in the house with her while they were on the phone, which is how he'd know the perfect moment to attack. This isn't a Scream movie, though, so he's probably in the clear.

The friend is confronted with the fact that he took down all of his selfies right after hearing about the murder, but before he can explain why he did that, we see the reason in action! A group of three teens is leaving a mall, and one of them is nervous, because he thinks the killer is after him. Apparently a story has started that if you take a selfie in front of a mirror and it looks like there's a reflection of a face in the mirror, then you'll be the next to die. Here's the face in question-

I feel like that's kind of a stretch but I'm not one to police urban legends, so let's move on to a possible suspect! They see a grown-ass man across the street who they recognize as another instagram celebrity, and note that he and the last victim had collaborated on a video of some kind! What if he's the killer? Or possibly the next victim!

Then another teen says not to worry about the reflection, because he has one too-

Is this a thing I'm not familiar about with cell phones? That they're forever making it look like faces appear in reflections? Or is the killer making the photo-edits to taunt his victims? Is it notable that the third friend doesn't have one? Could he be the killer?

Okay, the next scene reveals that yes, it's the killer, putting images of Mark Twain into photos. Which is weird. I know quite a bit about Twain, but I can't think of a quote, story, or aphorism of his that would fit this situation. I'm sure I'm forgetting something obvious, though, and will kick myself later.

The team has dinner at work, chatting about the case and the killer's possible motivations. Did he know the first victim? Who among the people with the doctored photos are connected to her? I mean, there's that guy we met in the last scene who collaborated with her on something, that could be a lead. Although I'm sure she was busy enough that the team won't get to it right away.

Also, Garcia proves quite inept this week, as she's unable to track down who's been hacking into people's insta accounts and posting the Twain photos. She says it's super-easy to get around a password, but I don't know that that's true - like, if the killer worked for instagram, sure, but this guy is getting into dozens of random people's accounts - can they all really have weak passwords, or be that vulnerable to phishing attacks? I feel like the show wants to get away with saying 'he just is' getting into people's accounts, but that's not how the internet works. Unless there's a data breach, you have to screw up your own security to let people get your password, and whatever method he's using, Garcia should have a line on it. Or at least an idea.

Oh, and Derek is at the dinner meeting, which means he's missed his vacation with his girlfriend. The show does not mention this or acknowledge that it's happening. No Derek making a text, getting on a phone call, or really doing anything but hanging out with the team, chatting about murder. He really is a bad boyfriend, isn't he?

Then, the instafamous guy from the afternoon drives up to the mall and gets murdered in an absolutely preposterous way. Let's watch it together!

VID2 (18:40)

So, what happened there was that the killer walked up behind the guy and shot a single nail from a nailgun through the back of his neck, killing him instantly. Then, the editor and the sound editor went nuts and tried to make it seem like he was shot 120 times with the nail gun. This attempt was undercut by the closeup we get of the single red mark on the back of the guy's neck, and the single, completely bloodless nail that winds up protruding from his throat.

So, I guess one of the three teens from the earlier scene is the killer? Like, the murderer was waiting for this guy to arrive, and unless he was constantly posting about all of his movement plans, they're the only three people in a position to have heard him tell his girlfriend that he would be waiting to pick her up at 10PM. I don't know which of the three it is - although the guy who didn't get a Twain photo would be the most obvious choice - but it seems like it has to be one of them, right?

Love and Derek arrive at the new crime scene, and discover that the local cops have no leads! They do point out that plenty of people knew the guy dropped off and picked up his girlfriend at the mall, so there's a slight possibility I went off the rails there in the last paragraph. Also, it's the same mall where the first victim was shopping the day she was murdered! So the killer is maybe there a lot, and focused on the two of them because they frequented the mall as well?

Oh, and the killer has finally branded himself as #mirrorman, which is kind of weak, since only one of his two crimes has notably involved a mirror. I mean, yes, the newest victim was looking at himself in a rear-view mirror when he was killed, but nobody knows that, and the killer made no effort to involve the mirror in any way in the murder or body positioning, either before or after the killing. Garcia is surprised by the news and the new name, which is a little strange, since literally two scenes ago she was talking about how hard it was to track down the guy originating the Twain mirror meme - how could she have done all that work without realizing that the kids were all calling the creepypasta 'mirrorman'?

Then they talk about how strange it is that the killer switched weapons. The detective is actually thick enough to ask why he would do such a thing. Um... because there wasn't a full-length mirror around to slam the guy's face into? Moron.

On the upside, right after I typed that line in and restarted the video, Love pointed out exactly what I'd said! Thanks, Love!

Although she still manages to botch the interpretation, making it seem like he just couldn't pass up the ironic twist of using the mirror as a weapon. Um... we know that, Love, that's what you and Joe were talking about in the morgue scene, remember?

Okay, my bad - apparently the thousand extra nail shots were the killer making a # logo on the back of the seat, and the guy was moving around because the nails were shaking the chair. Hilariously, the show acts like Derek is 'discovering' the nail hashtag logo on the chair, as if that wouldn't be the second thing the first responder noticed, right after the corpse. It's a giant hashtag on the back of the car seat. It's unmissable.

Then they're like 'we're ready to give the profile', as if the nail hashtag logo gave them a piece of information they didn't already have based on literally every other thing the killer has done.

Hey, if he brought the nailgun with him the night before, why didn't he put a hashtag logo on the wall? Did he just now think of this? That seems weird, since nailguns are super-awkward murder weapons, and must be pretty easy to trace, since this kind of powder-loaded nail gun is essentially a .22 caliber pistol that fires nails instead of lead bullets. It seems like the only reason to bring the nail gun would be for this kind of artistic statement.

Before we move on to the profile, let's take a moment to point out how ridiculous it is to try to kill someone at 10PM in a mall parking lot with a super-loud nail gun. There's no sound cover, there's definitely lots of people around since the mall is just closing, I can't imagine you not getting caught for this. Also, you know, malls have security cameras EVERYWHERE.

They profile the killer as a 'narcissitic sadist' who is 'blitzing' with 'weapons of opportunity'. Most of that is fine, but how is the nail gun a weapon of opportunity? Was a fully-loaded nail gun just lying the in the back seat of the car? Because if he brought it with him to the crime scene then it's the literal opposite of a weapon of opportunity. He was looking for an opportunity to use the weapon.

They talk a little about Slenderman and poisoned Halloween candy, cases of people being taken in by urban legends and trying to make them real. Except they're operating under the theory that the guy doing the killing is the one creating the legend, so it's more about self-mythologizing than it is legend-tripping.

While the team is busy theorizing about the killer's motives, the killer is watching people taunt him online, daring him to try and kill them. Naturally the video he fixates on is the lead guy from the trio of teens in the earlier scene, and this so angers the killer that he smashes his monitor. So maybe it is one of his two friends? Either that, or the mirror man killer has really, really, really thin skin.

For some reason, Garcia is working out of Derek's office, trying to use the mirror man stories online to find a clue about who the killer is. I say 'for some reason', it's so Garcia can overhear his awkward conversation with the doctor, who he's finally talking to a full 24 hours after they were supposed to go on vacation. She says he needs to 'make time', but I say 'just go'. I mean, you're a team of five people with interchangeable opinions and skillsets, and one man who sometimes draws circles on maps. If Derek didn't show up for work for two weeks, would anyone even notice?

I mean, other than the amount of inappropriately sexual workplace banter in the FBI going down like 20%.

Penelope is frustrated because she can't figure out which #mirrorman story is the 'right' one. I don't know, Penelope, maybe check into which one was posted first? Even if the guy didn't actually write the absolute first one, he probably became quickly obsessed with it, and would likely have written about it online. Also, not for nothing, maybe check into who received the earliest mirrorman photos? Since these people frequently first target people in their lives?

Derek has another idea - just use demographics, like they always do. Get a list of every man who works in the mall, cut out all the people who were working that night, cut out all the people outside of their generous age range, then focus on anyone who displayed unusual online interest in the murders. Penelope acts like he's unusually good at his job for thinking of this, but this kind of demographic narrowing is literally all that profling is for, so it's kind of crazy that they didn't start on it right away.

Then it's over to the jerk teen's house, who learns to regret mocking mirror man, because he's assaulted as he comes home, and quickly nailed to death! There's a weird moment in the scene when he rushes for the home alarm system to push the panic button, but is knocked to the ground before he can reach it! Should that matter, though? Won't the cops be alerted in a few seconds anyway, since he didn't disarm the system after entering the house?

Things get a little dumb again as Reid announces that the unsub 'has found his weapon of choice' because he used the nail gun. Um... no, Reid, this confirms the theory that the nail gun was ALWAYS the weapon of choice, and he probably brought it to the first crime scene, but found a preferable weapon of opportunity while he was there. How do they manage to always get the small details so completely wrong?

The body is an absolute mess - a severe amount of overkill totally different from the previous victims. Why would the killer be so mad at him? Garcia immediately finds the video where the dead guy taunted mirrorman, which is an especially stupid thing to have done when you live in the same neighbourhood where a serial killer is murdering young hot instacelebs.

Sometimes we bring hardships on ourselves.

The team decides to lower their age estimate because the killer has thrown a defensive tantrum. Here's a more important question - why did you ever have a 30s-40s age estimate? This is a killer obsessed with instagram, which tends to skew considerably younger than that. The entire basis of their age guess was 'the killer has extensively planned his crimes', which doesn't seem like enough to make that kind of a restriction.

Garcia lowers the age guess based on the team's new insight - although she really shouldn't have used the 30s-40s guess in the first place - and it turns out there's just one guy who works in the mall and is talking about the killings online but doesn't have an alibi for either crime! And it's this guy!

Is that one of the three friends from earlier? I have such a bad time remembering faces that I have no idea, and won't go back to check! In a cute nod to a former guest star on the show, he goes to 'Sunnydale High', has a juvenile record, and works in a hardware store, from which he could have stolen the nail gun! The team decides to go looking for him - in real life, they'd just be looking for an interview (with his parents in the room, if he's under 18), so let's see if they do that, or go kicking down his door while wearing body armour.

Obviously it's the second, because they're hugely unprofessional. They find the guy in his bedroom, rather than the crime dungeon that the killer is using, so I guess this isn't their guy. JJ does spend a while looking at the guy's various fanart of mirrorman, really playing up the Slenderman connection.

In the interview with Derek, he reveals that he was the creator of mirrorman, who was supposed to be a boogeyman for the instageneration - but he claims not to have been involved in sending the doctored photos! So who put them together?

JJ and Love find the poem from earlier in the episode, the one with a note written in different handwriting on the margins! Could the person offering the notes on the early mirrorman legend material be the killer they're looking for? More importantly, did they need evidence to inspire this line of questioning? Couldn't they have just asked the author to name all of the people he personally knows to be super-obsessed with mirrorman?

They ask the guy who's the craziest person to know about mirrorman, and he responds that there's a 15-year-old whose parents were killed in a car crash the previous year who is absolutely bonkers for the thing. The team rushes out to find the guy, and it turns out not to have been one of the people from the earlier scene! Which on one level, yay for surprising me, but on another level, it really does stretch believability that some random kid would be able to lie in wait for that second victim. If it was one of the people overhearing it, fine, but this guy's whereabouts being so common that you could lie in wait for him in a parking garage is just preposterous.

They roll up to the mall just as the kid is arriving, and blare their sirens, alerting him to their presence and giving him time to grab a hostage and put a nail gun to her throat! Then, somehow, a news van shows up and starts filming the standoff, giving him the chance to die in a dramatic fashion! So he shoots the woman in the neck and gets shot by the team!

How did the news know to be there? It's not like they knew where the kid was, they just sent cars to his house, school, and the mall, and happened to find him there. Even if someone told the newscasters the kid's identity and likely location, it's hard to believe that they'd be able to scramble vans in the time it took the team to get to the mall.

In the next scene they're in an ambulance with the killer and his victim, both of whom were shot in the neck. Derek phones up his girlfriend and asks her for a favor. Presumably because she's the best trauma surgeon in the ER, he wants to make sure she gets assigned to the victim rather than the killer, since it's important that the woman lives, but who really cares about the kid one way or the other.

Eventually Derek's girlfriend shows up, and it turns out both of them are going to be fine! So... yay?

The creator of mirrorman goes in to check on the killer, who is quite insane. He's not concerned about prison, he's just psyched to be famous! So he takes a photo of himself and uploads it to instagram, and that's that!

Wouldn't it have been nice if Derek had killed that kid?


Derek then picks up his girlfriend and brings her to the house that he's restored for them to live together in! Which is a sweet way of proposing.

Wait, no, he's not proposing, he literally just wants them to move in together. You're both professionals in your late 30s. Just get married, people.

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

Barely at all. Their lame attempts at profiling delayed what should have been the real focus of their investigation - who the creator of mirrorman was.

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

The crimes are themed around an urban legend that was created the previous year in Bethesda. Obviously you'd investigate who created it, and he'd just tell you who did it.

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


Can we talk about how contrived the attempts to link this to profiling was this week?  They proudly get into how good they are at narrowing down the suspect pool, but then they expect us not to notice that said narrowing found them a witness by pure luck? They needed to find a guy who worked at the mall, was teen-aged, had access to a nail gun, and didn't have an alibi for the time of the murders. But when they found one, he wasn't the killer, but knew who the killer was. What are the odds of that? What if the creator of mirrorman hadn't worked in a hardware store? Or hadn't been off on the nights of the murders? Would they just have never found the killer?

Again, wouldn't just tracking down the creator of mirrorman be easier to do? Also, why on earth did no one get into what was going on with the Mark Twain pics? Why did the killer pick that image?

I know that I previously chided them for going so old with their profile, but the 15-year-old killer seems a little preposterous. I mean, the killer had to be able to break into houses, have access to a nail gun, be a master at hacking into instagram accounts, have masterful stalking skills to figure out where people live, and be able to kill people without hesitation.

Fifteen seems a little young for that, show.

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