30.11.19

Criminal Minds 1023: The Hunt

The episode opens just where the last one left off, with Love's daughter and her idiot friend getting abducted! Seriously, woman, you went to meet this guy without confirming he even exists? You all have videophones and laptops; you could have demanded a video chat with him at some point before meeting him in an alley.

Meg and Idiot start to get suspicious about the creepy situation, and when they try to escape the van, they're grabbed by the goon hiding in the back seat! God, if this organization is just a single family, I'm going to be very, very annoyed.

Meg managed to text most of her emergency code to Love, and she immediately checks with Idiot's mother! The girls are officially missing, so Love goes to Garcia to start an immediate phone trace! Hilariously, when Love walks into the room and demands that Garcia track Meg and Idiot's cell phones, Garcia instantly does it without having to ask for either of their numbers! Creepy, Garcia!

They unleash all of the surveillance abilities of the FBI to track the two girls down! And Love announces that she's not going home to wait for a kidnapping call, she's going to be working the case, while seven months pregnant!

This can only go well for everyone.

The team goes over what they know - there's camera footage of the minivan, but it has stolen license plates, so that won't be much help! Hopefully Garcia can use her network of traffic cams to follow it through the city! They put out an Amber Alert, and go to check Meg's room to see if there's any evidence of who she was in touch with!

What about all of the text records? According to Garcia, all of the girls’ e-mail and text messages have been wiped from the company servers. Which... how? Like, that's not a small thing to accomplish, but the show just blows past it like it was nothing. Does the Matchmaker have people inside every social media and communications company, covering up murders?

Greg and Garcia go to Love's house with her, and while talking to Chris, they figure out that the meeting at the mall was probably a setup, and his following them might have saved their lives! Except, you know, that time the plan was for a greasy perv to walk up to them in a crowded mall and try to get them to come back to his dirty van. It wasn't a rock-solid scheme, is what I'm saying.

Checking in with Idiot's mother, it turns out that the girls brought makeup and good clothes with them, because they were going on a date! Also, both of the girls' computers have been wiped clean of information - weirdly, I can believe that these girls are dumb enough to have wound up with viruses on their computers from the cute 'boys' they like to talk to online, but again, how did the killers get at the servers where all of those messages were sent and stored on. That would be such a huge ordeal by comparison.

Unless, as I'd suggested, there was a nationwide conspiracy of child molesters!

Over at the murderers' house, the pair are waiting for a call from their boss! The man in the team thinks they should 'get started' while they wait, and grabs a gun! Well, this is unpleasant!

At Love's house, she faints while trying to organize the 'missing persons' poster! Is the baby in danger? Nearby, Derek and Reid have tracked down a friend of the girls who has information about the guy they were chatting with!  Love gets a look at the picture, and recognizes it as one of the photos used by the child-predator ring she was investigating before coming to work on the team!

So this is all about her? Because wow, was that not the case with the introduction of the Matchmaker. These people really have no idea what they're doing. It's like that season where the team was being stalked by two separate and completely unrelated psychos.

Time for a check-in with Meg and Idiot! They wake up in a basement room, zip-tied at their hands and feet! The zip-ties are in the front, though, and they're not attached to anything, so maybe they'll have a chance to escape! Idiot wants to call for help, but Meg things it's a way better idea to keep quiet and come up with a cunning plan!

Love then drops the bomb - the whole season, she's been working on the Matchmaker case in secret, never mentioning it to anyone! Oh, and that jogger from Modesto at the end of the pilot? Yeah, she was killed in a 'car accident' in Maryland - which no one bothered to look into! Apparently Love recognized the video because that woman had been flirting online with a guy using the same photo of a 20-something dude that the Idiot thought could have been a teenager!

So, what - they didn't bother erasing all of her hard drives?

Joe also humiliates himself by suggesting that the evidence showed that the torso killer was working alone, except that it absolutely didn't - he wasn't the one selling legs, and the last victim was kidnapped far enough away that he definitely didn't have time to kidnap her himself. You knew all of this at the time and chose to ignore it, because you're all terrible.

Reid decides that the killer must not be a paedophile, but rather a 'preferential adult offender and long-term child abductor', which is basically just a word salad. Sure, the terms make sense, but he has no reason to think either of those things based on the information he's currently working with. Who targeted Love to punish her for looking into the case! Although she's made zero progress in the past year on that case. Seriously, how did they even know she was looking into it? Seems like they should be doing hard background checks on everyone Love talked to.

During a van-to-van handoff with the boss, Idiot manages to flee into some bushes and hide. The boss is so mad at the goon for letting the girl escape that he shoots him to death! Oh, and unrelated to that, the boss refers to the woman member of the team as his property, so I guess it's someone he kidnapped and raised into the kidnapping and murder trade?

Idiot gets to a house and calls the police, allowing the team to meet her at the hospital! She lets them know about the two guys - and explains that she only escaped because Meg told her that the best time to escape kidnappers is when you're being moved! If they're dumb enough, that is, to cut your feet free so you can run away, rather than just picking you up and carrying you like they should have.

Hey, why did the goon say they could 'get started' while they waited for the boss' call, and then walk into the other room with a gun? The captives were already tied up and unconscious, and then he didn't do anything. Or did he? Does Idiot have a bomb on her right now, and she's going to be used to suicide-bomb the team?

Time for the profile! It seems that they think the whole matchmaker thing could be run by just three people, because everyone working on this show is an idiot! Also they've figured out that the lady killer is a former victim because Idiot remembered the line about her being the boss' property! Oh, and the boss didn't let the lady know that he killed the goon - she thinks he's getting rid of Idiot's body, who he said he killed. I guess they just abandoned the other van in the woods, then?

Hilariously, a news person talking about the case mentions that she's the daughter of 'A BAU Agent', rather than an FBI agent, because they live in a world where either people know what that is, or the news likes to actively confuse its viewers with nonsense acronyms!

Love is freaking out, BTW, but Chris tells her to focus and solve the crime! I'd be sarcastic, but I'm just happy to see a supportive relationship on the show.

JJ and Joe check out the body of the jogger - she was found in a burned car, so no one noticed that she was stabbed! The ME even says that she was stabbed 'over a period of days', which there's no way you could determine on a charred husk of a corpse that's been buried for six months. Still, this new and completely unbelievable information convinces Joe that this isn't a case of sex traffickers killing an out-of-control hostage, but rather kidnappers who sell victims to be murdered!

This then proceeds to get ultra-stupid, as Garcia searches for 'questionable missing persons cases' in the tri-state area (Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware - although that third one's just a guess on my part, DC is as close to Pennsylvania as it is Delaware), and comes up with six names! Nationwide, she comes up with 50 over the past seven years!

These numbers are meaningless, by the way. How on earth are you deciding what constitutes a 'questionable missing persons' case? Is it that they turned up dead later? If so, there's got to be way, way, way more than 50 in the past seven years. Then things get super-crazy, when we see that Garcia's list has nothing to do with missing persons - it's just a list of dead people, how they died, and whether the case has been resolved.
And what does 'surgical' mean? Did they die during surgery, or are they saying these people were found with organs harvested?

She's super-concerned because she finds two victims who died on the same day, one an accidental drowning, the other an accidental poisoning - how could one group of killers be responsible for both? Also, what was the reporting like that convinced the cops that a person had accidentally been poisoned - especially when that person was listed as missing elsewhere in the country?

I could sit here all day talking about how nonsensical this list is, but instead, let's move on.

It's this observation of Garcia's that convinces the team that people are being kidnapped for the purposes of murder! If that's the case, though, why are the bodies of the dead people constantly being left where they can be found? Have none of these killers heard of shallow graves or lakes?

This is like the snuff ring from years ago all over again, except this time it's even dumber, since these people shouldn't be detectable at all, except for the fact that the killers keep leaving the bodies places. Oh, and because they specifically decided to attack the child of an FBI agent who has no idea they exist.

Then we see Meg asking the evil lady for help, and being sold online to a murderer.

Oh, this just keeps getting dumber and dumber. The team decides that in order to buy a victim, the killers have to agree to dispose of the body in a specific way, so as to insulate them. Except disposing of them publicly does the opposite - it makes it more likely that the killers will be caught, and since any one of the killers could turn in the Matchmaker, that increases everyone's risk a hundredfold.

Then things get dumber still - we find out that the dead jogger, who was killed in a car crash when the car caught on fire, remember? Well for some reason the killer decided to stick around the scene of the accident and pretend that he'd hit her, allowing himself to be interviewed by the cops, and even let them take a blood sample to prove that he hadn't been intoxicated during the accident!

Why would you do any of this? Push a car off the road in the middle of the night, set the gas tank on fire, run away. Why are you overcomplicating things? Right, so Garcia can catch you! Got it.

The murderer going out of his way to call attention to himself allows Garcia to identify him, and the team rushes over to the guy's house to arrest him! Garcia goes to work on his computer, while the team tries to talk him into giving up the Matchmaker before Meg is sold to her buyer!

Which they know is an imminent thing, despite having no reason to believe that the buyer is local. Heck, the woman they just arrested this guy for killing was kidnapped 3000 miles away!

He is, of course, and we see Meg get handed over. They tied up her legs this time, because they learn from their mistakes, I guess? The Matchmaker specifically asks the killer to get rid of her in the public way they agreed to, which, again, is the dumbest thing about this terrible plot.

The jogger's murderer immediately gives up the auction site's password information when he's threatened with being arrested for all 50 murders. Which, again, there's no proof were connected, and no judge would allow information about them into a trial. More importantly, though, the guy doesn't even ask for anything - like, the punishment for one rape and murder is the same as the punishment for 50, dude - make them give you something in exchange for your help. God, everyone's an idiot.

With access to the Matchmaker's website, Garcia is able to instantly find out his real name and current address, because the writers don't even care at all any more. They arrest him, but he taunts them, saying that they'll never find Meg, because yeah, even though he was making huge amounts of money on an untraceable crime, he decided to grab Meg solely to piss off Love, even though he knew that it would likely result in him immediately being arrested.

Speaking of Meg, she knocks out the back light of the car she's in so she can wave for help!

During the interview, the Matchmaker wants to talk to Love, and he claims that were he able to kidnap her, he could have made a fortune! Except, you know, no, just like grabbing an FBI agent's daughter, they'd have immediately arrested all of you. They also try to explain his plan to have the killers’ public dispose of their victims, saying that it was a way of making sure that they were arrested for the crimes, and the cops would never know he existed.

Except of course they would - when the cops arrested the guys, they'd immediately flip on the Matchmaker. Why wouldn't they?

Zero parts of anyone's plans make sense this week.

JJ goes to talk to the lady killer - it turns out that the goon was her son with the Matchmaker, and that immediately makes her turn on him! She gives them the address of the killer's murder room, and the team is able to arrest him without incident! Luckily they get there just in time!

Oh, and the killer lady has the names and addresses of literally every one of the customers, so this wrapped up very cleanly!

THE END

Other than Meg coming home! Oh, and JJ's pregnant again!

And Love gets a scene with Greg, wherein she apologizes for not letting the torso case go the way she was ordered to? Um... what? If you'd have just told people about your suspicions, you would have arrested everyone eight months ago, moron. That's what you should be apologizing for.

Then she quits, because she can't do the job while having a new child to take care of!

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

Of course not. The crime was solved because everyone involved with it was an idiot.

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

Depends - if the Matchmaker and his clients had acted believably, then no, they would have kept getting away with it forever. If everything else happened the same way as here, then yes, because the cops on the scene of the accident would have noticed that the guy who ran the woman off of the road was using a fake driver’s license, and they would have followed up, found out he was a sex offender, and squeezed him until it was all over. Seven months earlier.

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

1/10 - Just a trash mess of a season wrap up. It's fascinating to watch the writers come up with an insurmountable challenge for the characters to face, but then they're not smart enough to have the characters actually defeat the threat, so instead they turn everyone into idiots.

As season-long arcs go, this is one of the worst we've ever encountered!

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