Criminal Minds 1414: Sick and Evil

We see a woman talking on the phone with a friend. She's sad, because she lost her baby (as evidenced by the empty crib in the background, and is envious because the friend has one! Also, there's a killer in the house. She sees him at the end of a hallway locks herself in an office that has a fireplace in it! She grabs a poker to defend herself, but for some reason doesn't bother to push the desk in front of the door.

Instead, she just watches helplessly as the killer unscrews the lock and opens the door. The killer attacks her with a knife, while wearing some kind of two-colour plastic mask! It's a strange choice. Especially because whoever directed this episode isn't up to staging all of this like a slasher film the way Matt Gubler would have.

Joe goes to talk to Emily about his failure to find the conman, but she tells him that he can't worry about it too much - there's plenty of other cases that they need to work on. I'm not sure how the nationwide BOLO and adding him to the most wanted list hasn't helped - not to mention the bounty likely placed on his head by the surviving relatives.

They get a call about a new case! But it's already midnight. Why is Garcia even there to send them an e-mail. Then we see the team gathered around the table to chat about the case - it must be, what, 1AM at this point? Could this not have waited until the morning?

I know I explained in an earlier review why this can never wait until morning, but wow, is this troublesome from a writing standpoint. Like, I know most of you are job-obsessed weirdos, but JJ and Matt both have young children at home. Do they just never see their kids? Jr. and that Lawyer must be the best spouses on earth.

Emily reveals that both victims were clubbed into submission, then tied to a bed and stabbed 22 times in the stomach. Out of nowhere, Joe announces that neither of them were mothers, or pregnant at the time of their stabbing. What does that have to do with anything? Why would you bring that up? I mean, based on that opening scene, I'm sure that's going to be part of the killer's whole 'thing', but there's no reason that Joe should be talking about it already. They weren't stabbed in the womb, Joe.

And if they were clubbed into submission, why wasn't the killer brandishing a cudgel in that opening scene?

They head out to the plane at some point - we're not sure when, because Emily has continued giving people no information about when they're supposed to be at the plane. How is this continuing to be a thing? Oh, right, literally no one working on the show cares at all.

Then we cut over to a hose where a couple is cleaning up after a dinner party. Will the killer finally strike when it's not just a woman home alone? Yes! He murders the couple with a kitchen knife! Weird that people aren't taking more security precautions, what with two women being brutally slaughtered in their homes in the past week. Lewiston may be the second-biggest city in Maine, but less than 40K people live there, so it's not like this wouldn't be huge news.

Criminal Minds 1413: Chameleon

The episode opens as Joe is starting his day. Notably he has a band-aid on his head! No wonder dramatic music is playing over an innocuous scene! He grabs his gun from a secret panel that opens up when you put a magnetic card against a table. That's just a weird thing to have. You live alone dude, it's find if you have a gun safe.

This is the second time we've seen the team having this kind of secret gun safe - the weird part? No one had a secret gun safe until the Roswell episode. It's almost like the prop team had so much fun building the secret gun safes for that episode that they just decided that all of the team members should have them as an excuse to keep building the things.

Joe sits on the bed for a second, trying to get his head together, then goes down to leave, when he's intercepted by Crystal. She wants to know why he won't talk about 'this', and they're both really oblique about what's troubling him. Hey, what does Joe do on his birthday now that the Womb Raider has been dead for two years? Just curious.

When Joe gets to the office, we see that Eric's arm is bandaged and in a sling - apparently something bad happened to everyone? Also Reid has spent all weekend at the office, working on a case! What's going on here? Reid's mad it himself for not seeing something that should have been obvious. Apparently a case went horribly awry, just like the arson from last year - so... when do the flashbacks start?

From Joe's conversation with Emily we learn that a killer escaped and the investigation is still ongoing - Joe blames himself for what happened, and can't ask anyone for help, because that's the kind of person he is! So Emily sends him home to talk to Crystal, which is where the flashbacks will happen. So yeah, I guess this is a redo of that JJ and Jr. episode.

We get our first flashback scene - Joe is working his way through the woods completely on his own when the killer tackles him, knocks his gun out of his hand, and tries to choke him to death! So, is this the first time Joe's had a near-death experience while working for the team? I can't remember any others, but maybe I'll check later on!

Crminal Minds 1412: Hamelin

It's night, in Iowa, and a kid is sleeping peacefully in bed. But how long can that last? Like three seconds. Then he hears mysterious whispering and goes to investigate! He heads straight out the front door and heads down the street! We find him next in a playground, where he starts swinging. Then he's joined by more kids doing the same. Is this an episode about some kind of super-swami?

The next day, JJ gets a call from her mother announcing that she's coming to stay while her house is being repaired. For a moment I think this means we're going to have Josh Stewart show up, but no, their house is being painted, so JJ is staying in a hotel for a week while he takes the boys to Florida.

Wait... Florida? Why would he not take them to Louisiana? That's where he's from - shouldn't they get a chance to see their ancestral homeland? And I mean ancestral, they've got a French last name, they've probably been in New Orleans for ever!

Time for a case rundown- three kids went missing! Crazily, the team actually takes a moment to wonder if this is just ten-year-olds spending all night out with friends. Hey, remember when that actually happened last year, the kids were going to spend all night out with friends, and the team went anyway even though there were no signs of foul play?

This time they at least have reason to be weirded out - no clothes or shoes were taken, so the kids must have gone out in the bedclothes. Suspicious!

Then, Emily once again uses 'Wheels Up' as a catchphrase with no unit of time attached to it. When are they supposed to be in the plane, Emily? You're the boss, you should be planning this better, Emily.

Before they can leave, Garcia gets an e-mail from the police - they've got footage of the kids swinging in the park, and then getting into a white panel van, beckoned and dragged by a white guy, based on the hand!

Criminal Minds 1411: Night Lights

In bed, a woman is awoken by her smartwatch! It warns her that the motion sensors outside the house are detecting someone. Her husband assures her that it's just the cat, and they should go back to sleep. Why even have an alarm system?

Then they hear someone banging on the door downstairs and screaming! So naturally they check the door camera and call the security office, who are already sending a car!

The couple debates whether to open the door, and decide not to - but it woudn't have mattered, because the killer comes and grabs the guy less then 30 seconds after they turned on the camera. So by the time they got downstairs and opened the door, he would have been there, killing them. I'm not saying that this guy is an idiot, but if you're ever in this position, running away from a killer in a suburban neighbourhood, here's what you do - run across lawns, screaming for the police, and every time to pass a house, smash every window you can without slowing down. A dozen families waking up at once is the kind of thing that gets the police super-mobilized, and might even scare off a killer.

At Quantico, the team is talking about the fact that DRGF is planning a housewarming party so that she can meet the whole team. Eric is hesitant about it for no good reason!

Time for the case! It seems that a week ago a couple was wound with duct tape and killed in their home. Last night a man with duct tape on was banging on a door, screaming about how someone was going to kill 'us'. That suggests another couple has been attacked! Although the victim hasn't been identified yet. Despite Garcia's access to Portland's DMV, and the fact that they have a high-resolution image of the man's face from the door camera. Garcia explains that 'nothing's come up' on the guy. So what, he doesn't have a driver's license?

Then it's over to the killer's lair, where the couple are tied down with nowhere near enough duct tape. Seriously, there's just a single piece over the guy's forehead and neck, he could easily sit up with no trouble at all. They talk about how scared they are, and then the killer arrives with a blow torch and night vision goggles, even though it's super-bright in the room! Apparently the killer's thing is to burn people's eyes out with blowtorches? Disgusting!

Criminal Minds 1410: Flesh and Blood

In yet another SAW-type opening, we find a guy hanging from the ceiling of a torture dungeon, with a bag over his head! A killer shows up with the baseball bat and murders him! Based on the victim's statements, he's probably a murderer.

Then we cut to Emily, who's making dinner for FBI Guy! She doesn't like how the dinner is turning out, though, so she calls Joe for advice! Turns out she was using cooking wine instead of drinking wine! He's a snob, you see, and cares about that sort of stuff. This gets into her head, though, and suggests they order a pizza instead!

This is why you don't listen to cooking snobs, people. Your tomato sauce will taste fine if you use cooking wine.

The date goes fine until it's interrupted by a phone call! It seems that the latest guy was a lawyer - as was the previous victim! Was he a mob lawyer? Because he sure talked like a scumbag! Both men where smashed to death with baseball bats and then had their hearts cut out. Ick! The team divvies up duties to go and look for info on the killer - who's local, as most of their killers seem to be these days.

Seriously, they do not fly a ton. Does their new, lower budget mean they can't pull the jet set out of mothballs very often?

Then it's over to the killer, who makes a fancy storage case for the victim's heart! Just like that guy did back at the start of Season 3! Wait, has he been sprung from prison? No, wait, he was dying and wanted to find a replacement mother for his son, right? So he can't be the killer.

Criminal Minds 1409: Broken Wing

At a suburban house a woman is enjoying her first day back out of drug rehab! Her friends are worried about her and offer to stay over to help ensure she doesn't relapse, but she says she'll be fine! We'll see about that...

Then we cut to Aisha giving a lecture to students, accompanied by a kooky image. You need to see this, because I have no idea what it means:

Okay, so... doesn't recidivism rate measure the number of people who reoffend? How can those two interchangeable terms be the different colours on a pie chart? Let's see what Alisha has to say! She says that recidivism rates capture only a small percentage of the crimes repeat sex offenders commit. So I guess the chart means that 100% of sex offenders reoffend, but only 7% are caught so only that is registered in the recidivism rate? Or maybe she means they only get charged for a small number of the crimes they actually commit? In any event, this is flat-out bizarre.

At the end of the speech a guy comes up to harass her, and based on her reaction, I'm guessing this is the ex-husband/drug addict she talked about a little while ago? He demands her attention, because he's been working on counseling addicts, and he thinks someone is murdering his clients via overdose to make it look accidental!

While Aisha' ex is showing her some documents about spikes in overdose rares, we check back in on the addict! She's preparing a picnic lunch for her kids, but pauses when she notices that she's sweating way too much. It's withdrawl! She tries to call someone for help and asks them to come over. Is it her sponsor, or her old drug dealer? Whoever it is is probably going to kill her, either way.

Aisha calls the team with the details! Seven people have overdosed on heroin the day they got out of rehab. The weird part? None of them were in rehab for heroin addiction! That's good enough for Emily, who wants to fly the team out immediately!

Oh, and that lady gets murdered by a white guy. We see him open the front door with his bare hands, but that probably won't come up later.

Criminal Minds 1408: Ashley

A minivan pulls into a driveway at night. A man walks into the house, seemingly up to no good. I assume this because he turns no lights on, and wears his shoes as he goes upstairs. If he lives there, he must be an animal.

He doesn't, of course, and shoots the parents while they sleep! We cut to a little girl in another part of the house. She's awoken by the screams and gunshots, and darts under her bed! Somehow she thinks this will work - I guess because she's so tiny? It doesn't, and the killer drags her away!

At Quantico, Reid is prepping his next course! Weirdly, they say that Emily has to arrange for him to take a sabbatical to teach it. Um... are you still not on the restricted duty that Tuvok gave you last year? Do you really have any choice in whether you teach or not? It's going to be another terrible class, though - that's for sure!

Then Eric goes to see Emily, who lets him back on the team because he was able to follow orders, and played an integral role in solving the last case! Only he really, really, didn't. The man just followed a trail of blood. The other two cops with him could have done that even if he wasn't there. Still, this isn't a show about making people suffer consequences for their actions (see previous paragraph for example), so he's back on the team!

Then Garcia - just the worst person, overall, confronts Joe with the fact that he's planning to propose to Crystal loudly in the middle of the office. She feels betrayed that he didn't tell her this was happening!Naturally, Crystal is in the room for comedic purposes! Crystal isn't sure about getting married, but before they can talk further, the case comes in!

We get a rundown of the case - dead parents, abducted girl, you know the drill. Then Emily humiliates herself with the worst Wheels Up yet.

You know you're not on the plane right now, don't you? Like, you're aware of that fact? Because unless you're actually on the plane, the wheels can't go up. If the wheels go up now, that means the plane is leaving without you, moron. How hilarious would it be if the pilot had been on a conference call with them and took her statement seriously, then they get to the runway in twenty minutes and the plane is already a hundred miles away?

Speaking of, if I ever got the chance to pitch a Criminal Minds spinoff, it would be the lives of the two pilots who fly these people around the country. What do they do all day when they're in all of those cities, waiting for the team to need to go home? And they've got to have plenty of free time most weeks, since the plane has to be available whenever the team needs it. Those pilots are on staff, making a decent living just waiting around to ferry people to a place where serial killings are happening. And sometimes they don't work for a month.

That's an interesting story.

You know what would be the best episode for the last season, though? If someone noticed a pattern of 230+ murders over the past fifteen years, each one while the team was in the city, and Reid is briefly suspected of having murdered all those people, until they realize that their pilot had been a serial killer this whole time!

Okay, we've reached the point where I'm pitching Criminal Minds episodes, so let's move on.

Before the credits roll, we get a glimpse of the killer doing a bad job of washing bloodstains out of the little girl's clothes!

Criminal Minds 1407: Twenty Seven

A pair of women are taking pictures on the street when a madman with a machete slashes someone up right in the middle of frame! When he notices that he's being filmed, and hears the police being called, the madman runs away! He's not a handkerchief over his nose and mouth, but they've still probably got pretty good footage of him.

Everyone runs to help the slashed man while the ambulance is on the way, and in a closeup we notice that even though we saw the madman slash at his victim one more time before fleeing, the man has no additional wounds from when he fell. Maybe the guy missed?

An FBI agent arrives moments later, and starts organizing the scene! Emily, JJ, and Matt get there twenty seconds later, which is amazing. I guess this guy is a known criminal they were already chasing? Because he ran off approximately 90 seconds ago. In fact, why are you parking cars and talking to people - drive around and look for the guy?

According to Emily, a guy has been running around downtown for the last hour, slashing people with a machete! His first victim just died in the hospital! Wait, why are there still people out in the street? Shouldn't this news have already gotten around to everyone in downtown Washington? Shouldn't they all have been alarmed by the hundreds of cops cars that would be swarming the streets, looking for this guy?

Each slashing has taken place exactly 30 minutes after the previous one. So Emily sets a timer on her phone - is this going to be a real-time episode? That's ambitious, if so! I guess we'll find out after the credits!

Criminal Minds 1406: Luke

Looks like they're doing more with Eric, since the episode opens with a flashback to his injured friend and him dating that woman! Yup - the first scene has both those characters (as well as the dog) over at Eric's apartment! His injured friend is even walking again! They chat about their lives! The friend encourages Eric to set he and Garcia up! He's able to dodge all inquiries when a call about a case comes in!

At the office, it turns out Garcia actively wants to be set up with the friend, and Eric isn't doing it for some reason! Weird choice, Eric.

We get the details of the case - the killer has shot three middle-aged men in the back of the head with the same pistol. And he seems to be moving south in a straight line towards their neck of the woods. Could it be an assassin? Are they witnesses in some kind of a crime? Or does the connection exist only in their heads?

Hey, you know what no one says in this scene? "If there wasn't something shady in their past, they wouldn't have ended up with a bullet in the head." Weird that it's only female victims that Aisha is into blaming, huh?

Then we get a scene of the next killing - only this time it's a much younger guy, and he has bleach poured into his mouth while tied to a chair! That's a twist!

Criminal Minds 1405: The Tall Man

In the darkest woods some teen girls are going ghost hunting! Is this a halloween episode? They're looking for Slenderman out in the woods! Or 'Tall Man' as they call him, but we know what they mean. One of the girls goes on ahead, and the other two conspire about something they have planned. Are they going to stab the third girl, like the Slenderman crime, or is the show planning to use our knowledge of that crime against us?

It would be weird if there was a teenaged killer in two episodes in a row, though.

The next day, some campers in the woods are packing up, and the lead girl stumbles out of the woods, scratches all over her face, yelling that 'the tall man' has taken her friends!

It's breakfast time at the JJ household! These two boys are so incredibly blonde. They have to be JJ's real-life sons, right? And hey, Jr. is there, because of course he is! That guy's the best. Then JJ gets a call - the two girls are missing in a place called 'Dead Man's Conservatory Park'. They have to get there immediately!

JJ's upset, because that's in her home town, where her sister committed suicide! She doesn't want to go back, but then she sees the place they went missing, and remembers the stories about Slenderman from her own childhood!

We get a breakdown of the case - Slenderman's deal is that he grabs you and cuts you until you reveal all of your secrets! Oh, could the other two girls have been planning to torture the lead girl in some way, and it all went horribly awry? I'm sure we'll find out when they get to the park in question!

JJ flashes back to her childhood, when her sister scolded her for stealing a necklace from her room! But then the sister gives her the necklace, as part of the 'giving your stuff away before you kill yourself' thing.

In the hospital, a nurse comes to scrape under the lead girl (Ally)'s nails, and she has a traumatic memory of being attacked by Slenderman! Or is it just a delusion? Presumably we'll find out after the credits!

Criminal Minds 1404: Innocence

After a prologue about Garcia's fractured emotional state, we head into the woods at night! A crying, blindfolded woman is being dragged around by a man in a hoodie! She's tied to a tree and then murdered!

The attack is match-cut to Penelope dropping a mug as Emily enters the room! She almost breaks into tears, because she's going through some PTSD over her kidnapping and her fractured relationship with her family, but Emily doesn't notice how screwed up she is, and I guess Eric didn't tell her about the snuff film situation, so Garcia is left to cry over spilled coffee while Emily briefs the team!

A woman has been bludgeoned to death in Florida after a killer dragged her from her phone in the middle of the night. They've cleared the husband because he was out of town, and Garcia didn't see any evidence in his banking or e-mail history of him hiring a murderer!

Before we get back to the killer, we see Emily grab Garcia's mug out of the trash bin, so she can fix it and bring it back later! Is the mug a metaphor for Penelope's relationship with her family, which she thinks can't be fixed, but Emily will remind her that you just have to keep working at things if you want them to get better? Probably!

Then we finally check in on the killer, who hangs a man's nightshirt from a tree and then shoots it with a shotgun! I feel like that isn't as menacing as the shows thinks it was.

Criminal Minds 1403: Rule 34

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Criminal Minds 1402: Starter Home

A couple is moving into the new house they just bought, and discover that it's an absolute wreck! A sink fully of dirty dishes, dilapidated furniture everywhere. But will there be a corpse buried in the basement, triggering an investigation?

Nope. The corpse is in the wall! mummified and covered in salt to keep it from smelling!

I'm not saying this show goes back to the well too much, but isn't it strange that within four episodes we've had two scenes where a young, pregnant couple is moving into a new house and then drama ensues from tearing open walls? I know it's on the other side of a season break, so it feels far away, but the hum was only three episodes ago.

At the office, Emily complains about her commute, announcing that one should never live anywhere that you'll have to cross a bridge in order to get to work. I can't imagine what she's talking about, though - the marine corps base she works on has its own exit from the I-95, and while and since she definitely lives in a DC suburb, she should be driving against traffic every day. The only way she could have any traffic issues is if she actually lives in downtown Washington DC, which would be a crazy thing for her to do, based on where she works.

This might be my strangest nitpick ever.

Emily finds out about the mummy, but doesn't see how it's relevant to their work. But since Joe is in Georgia visiting Crystal anyway, she asks him to drop by the crime scene on his way home! That's right, they've continued dating, and are both hiding it from their loved ones. This is the third time they've done a story about Joe hiding a relationship, BTW. Just in case you were wondering if the show cared about going back to the well. Oh, and Portia has met a new man - will he also be a psychopath?

Joe arrives at the crime scene and gets some details. One of the previous owners is dead, and the other is in a nursing home. Could they be responsible for the body in the wall? Scratch that - bodies. They bring out a corpse dog, and it barks at literally everything. They pull the walls down, pull up the floorboards, and discover nothing but corpses! Also, some lumber that the props department forgot to age:

You know what? I'll change my guess - that was probably my strangest nitpick.

Criminal Minds 1401: 300

The season opens with a flashback montage, introducing all of the characters! I guess they're worried that someone might be confused by watching the season 14 premiere as their first-ever episode. Which, yeah, that would be weird. Also, hugely unlikely, but I'm not going to blame them for a surfeit of care.

The episode begins with the team driving back to base, unable to get anyone on the phone. That's because there's been a fire alarm in the building - that was how they were planning on smuggling Michael out of the building! Eric and JJ get to the garage from last year, and find the blood trail from when Owen was shot! They follow it to him, and find that he's barely clinging to life! They also notice spatters of blood on the ground near where the cult car peeled out!

The team finds out that Michael is missing and Owen wasn't in on it - we then cut to Michael and the evil VICAP lady in an ambulance. They've got a tablet showing footage of where Reid and Garcia are being held! Which couldn't be more than like ten blocks from the marine base, given the timeline here.

Criminal Minds 1322: Believer

The episode opens on Reid's face - that's right, he's finally back! He and some SWAT guys arrive in a creepy brick hallway via an elevator. Absurdly, Reid walks just behind the first SWAT guy with the rest of them following him. Dude, you don't have a helmet, rifle, or flashlight. Hang back.

Inside a storage unit they find a body wrapped in bandages! Reid immediately identifies the body as 'Owen', so maybe we'll get a flashback to figure out what's going on? And the guy's body temperature is apparently really warm, so he just died moments ago!

Then it turns out that the guy isn't dead at all! He springs up in the ambulance and puts a scalpel to someone's throat! Emily and Reid identify him as an FBI Agent, and he snaps out of his fog. He asks what year it is, and when he hears that it's 2018, he tries to kill himself! Luckily, they stop him. I guess he was brainwashed fairly severely? Is someone other than Mr. Scratch going around brainwashing people? Hopefully we'll find out after the opening credits!

Criminal Minds 1321: Mixed Signals

In a medical clinic a doctor is on the phone with her spouse! She stayed late to treat a final patient, so she's alone in the building. Then she notices a door ajar and someone searching through a room with a flashlight! She decides to confront the intruder, while her husband yells to call the cops. He's right, of course - the most likely thing that's going on is someone's searching for drugs, and you should not try to confront a desperate junkie on her own.

She's an idiot, though, so she checks the room, and finds a beardo searching through files. He knocks her to the ground and demands to know where 'it' is!

At the office in Quantico, Aisha and Eric talk about how he's been dating DRGF for three months now, ever since the werewolf episode! So that makes this... April? It's weird how much they want him to fit into the Derek mold, isn't it? Eric asks Aisha if she's seeing anyone, and she says she hasn't since she broke off her engagement two years ago.

Ah, the casual lies of the psychopath - she gains nothing by pretending that she wasn't dumped, but she does it anyway. A fascinating case, this one! So, was there ever a time when the producers were actually going to go down the path that her introduction suggests, and make her a psychopathic academic, like the real-life guy from the seminar at the beginning of Outfoxed? And now that storyline has been abandoned, and Aisha just has no character?

Or was I always just reading into things, wanting the show to do something interesting for once. I suppose we may never know the answer.

Oh, and Reid is taking yet another week off. Seriously, I know I keep saying this, but I really hope everything is okay with Matt Gubler. I keep almost googling him to find out if he's having medical problems, but I don't want any outside knowledge to affect how I react to these episodes, so I can't risk finding out whether he's in Season 14. One week from now, though, I'll check up on the guy.

Hey, do you think he'll get to direct the last episode of Criminal Minds? He definitely deserves the opportunity to do so!

Case time - the doctor was murdered by having a hole drilled into her head. I mean, really, she was killed by not having any sense of self-preservation, but the hole didn't help either. One week earlier, a high school teacher was killed the same way! The team talks about trepannation - could this be a killer with a crazed mystical mania?

In New Mexico, a construction worker arrives on a job site and is immediately clubbed by the killer! Again, he's interrogated and then executed! So yeah, it's a spree, just like always. Weird how sure the killer was that there would be no one around this construction site as he committed this noisy, time-consuming crime.

Criminal Minds 1320: All You Can Eat

In a nice house somewhere a woman is doing a crossword puzzle. Her husband walks in, sweaty and weak, complaining that he feels incredibly ill - so awful, in fact, that he was no help at all to his bowling team! Has the man been poisoned?

Yes, he has! The wife goes for aspirin, and when she returns, he's bleeding from all of his face holes!

At Quantico, we've got drama! Garcia is planning to go to the parole hearing of the drunk driver who killed her parents when she was 18! Oof. One of her step-brothers is going to give a victim impact statement, and she's going to be supportive!

She checks in with Emily, and announces that she's going to be working remotely! Which is just a crazy idea. You never know when they're going to need plates run, Garcia - what if they try to call you when you're at the prison, and someone dies because your phone was locked up?

A bank teller and a DIA analyst have each spontaneously bled to death. Is it poison, or an ebola-type pathogen! The CDC is coming to look at it, but they want the team on call in case there's clear terrorist or serial killing involvement!

Then it's over to the killer's chemical shed, where we get a look at all of the dead animals that he's been testing compounds on! He pours some toxins into a vial, because he's getting ready for another murder! But will it be a mass murder this time? Let's find out after the credits!

Criminal Minds 1319: Ex Parte

The episode opens with two guys loading electronic equipment into a van. Destination? Mystery! It seems they were inspecting the security at a location, and now they're done! Well, done in the sense that they immediately get attacked by a pair of goons with pistols!

They're forced inside another, and told to turn over their keys and uniforms. Obviously someone is going to break in somewhere, pretending to be them. But where?

They zip-tie the guys, but then murder them anyway, which seems like a really poor choice. You've just massively increased the scale of the police response to your actions. So unless your next move is a mass-casualty terrorist attack, there's a good chance this is going to be your worst decision ever.

We get more of Matt at home - he's looking for his phone! His wife mocks him for still using a blackberry, which is weird, because he works for the FBI and has to text all the time as part of his work. Blackberries are famously secure and way better for texting than touchscreen phones. Nonetheless, she buys him a new phone, which he refuses to accept!

Dude, just avoid the fight and accept the better phone as your personal model that you use for family stuff. Problem solved.

The killers load up the computer equipment and bring it what seems to be a law office, where a guy is talking to a receptionist, demanding to see someone immediately. The guys use their security access to hack into the building's system, and then hand an SMG to the guy in the waiting area and start firing rounds into the ceiling! They then load the place with explosives! This is a pretty outre plan. What can they possibly hope to accomplish?

At the office Emily gets a call - there's a hostage at the headquarters of the fact ACLU! Which is where Matt's wife works! That's why she was in the opening!

The lead killer hops on a table and yells about making history, but offers no insight into his motives or political affiliations. All three are young white guys, though, so they're probably Nazis, who famously hate the ACLU. I guess we'll find out after the opening credits!

Criminal Minds 1318: The Dance of Love

A guy brings flowers to a woman's home. He's disappointed when he sees sheets and pillow laid out on the couch. I guess this is a husband trying to apologize for something? Then he notices smoke coming from the stove in the kitchen, but instead of turning off the oven, he opens it up and pulls the burned item out with his bare hands, which will only serve to spread more smoke everywhere. Maybe it's just a bad reflex?

Then, in the dining room, he finds Muriel, laid out on the floor, dead, with a rose clutched in her teeth!

Hey, remember how Joe has a daughter, and an ex-wife he was dating again? Yeah, the show doesn't! He appears in Emily's office and asks to take a few days off so that he can romance this third ex-wife, the blackjack dealer from Vegas! Seriously, Joe, you're the worst.

We get a rundown on the case - Muriel was the second victim of the 'stab in the back, rose in the mouth' killer! It's not a great name. Also, the thing that was burning in the oven was a carton of cigarettes. Weird. The team concludes that the victims probably knew their killer, since neither house was broken into! Emily announces that they have to leave immediately, since two bodies have been dropped in two nights, so the spree is already on!

Then we check in on the killer, who makes a rum and coke and pours it onto a woman's face, before dropping a rose on her!

Criminal Minds 1317: The Capilanos

The episode opens with an old station wagon driving up to a farmhouse where a party was recently thrown. At least we can assume that, because there's a balloon person floating above the mailbox on the way in. The car's radio is playing a twangy bit of cowboy music, so I'm going to go ahead and assume this is a Matt Gubler episode, since this is the first song I've heard used in anything but a sad montage in ages.

The driver takes a child out of the back seat of the car and carefully carries him into the house. Maybe the party was somewhere else, and he's coming home from it? The guy makes the mistake of closing the door without locking it, almost as if he thinks he lives in a safe part of America, or something! Fool, this is Criminal Minds - no part of America is safe! The guy puts the kid to bed, but then he's woken up by a noise from his closet!

The kid runs into his dad's bedroom to hide from the closet monster, which doesn't bother the father at all! So he turns off the light and goes to bed. Then a killer clown slides out from under the bed and looks at the camera!

No, seriously. That happens.

So yeah, this has to be a Matt Gubler episode. It's weird, but for a show about serial killers, he's the only one who cares at all about horror movies.

Criminal Minds 1316: Last Gasp

With the team torn asunder,it looks like there's going to be some catching up to do! First, though, let's check in on a murderer, who wears rubber gloves and has a tray full of surgical tools! Actually, it might not be a killer, since it's a woman dressed in bondage gear, looming over a man with a ball gag in his mouth. Based on the language of television, this is probably consensual.

It was! Emily and her new partner kick down the door to arrest the ball-gag man, who's an FBI agent they were investigating! It seems that Emily's in the office of professional review now, which makes zero sense. They took a woman who was removed from her last post for constant unprofessional behaviour and rule-breaking, and transferred her to internal affairs?

Are you people high?

At the office, JJ, Barnes, Eric and Matt hear about a potential case! Murderous bank robbers are killing bank employees! Barnes thinks there's not enough good PR in that, so they should move on. Eric has found a person killing ailing Mexican immigrants in California. Again, that's not a PR coup. Apparently this has been going on for two weeks - how have they not figured out what Barnes wants by now?

Especially when she specifically told them what she wanted last week?

JJ then wins a Prentiss Award for the following line:

26 people? How are you counting that? Is that the total number of people murdered by serial killers in the past two weeks? Is it the number you could have saved if you'd been working cases? What is any of this based on, you mad people?

It's funny - and I don't believe I had anything to do with this, it's obviously just a coincidence - but when I started this project of reviewing all of Criminal Minds, it was based on an observation that not only have profilers never helped solve a crime, but it was such an impractical academic pursuit that you couldn't even write fiction about it being used to solve crimes. I've proven that theory out dozens of times over, of course, but what I came to believe through working at this project was that serial killers have never been a particularly large threat, and that they were primarily advertised by the FBI as a way of helping improve the Agency's PR in the post-Hoover era.

And now, the show is unbelievably close to having the villain just come out and say my conspiracy theory as her motivation. It's kind of amazing that we've gotten here, isn't it?

Okay, back to the episode - their new tech guy arrives, and he's so incompetent that he doesn't even know how to do a background check on their various victims! I know they want this guy to be worse than Garcia, but there's no way someone this incompetent could have a job working research for the FBI. Whatever respect I had for the show almost managing to understand the truth of profiling has gone out the window the moment that this guy walked in.

Then we check on Garcia, who's working in cybercrimes, and forced to wear a respectable suit. The horror! Also, she gets a look at what actual crime fighting is like, and she does not care for it! She shut down an identity theft ring, but all of the people involved are in Russia, so there's nothing to be done. The moment that's over, she has to search 50 hard drives for more info about identity theft! It's a hard life, being a data analyst, when you're not spoiled and get a private office and a shockingly light workload.

Then, when working on the hard drives, she finds evidence of a woman being tortured and murdered! Is it just weird porno, or is there a serial killer on the loose? Obviously the second, this is an episode of Criminal Minds!

Criminal Minds 1315: Annihilator

The episode opens with JJ standing uncomfortably in Emily's office! This is a rough hand she's been dealt! JJ starts off the scene by making a strange accidental admission, saying "I don't want to be unit chief, not like this.' So you do want to be unit chief, you just don't like the way it happened. Interesting that you would half-lie like that. Also, she's really not the kind of person you should trust with any power whatsoever, because her first response in this new situation is to wonder how she can use her power to go after Barnes, destroying her before she ruins the team.

Yeah, whatever her motives are, she's only able to go after the team because you so often break the rules and do whatever you want. So it doesn't speak well towards your self-awareness that your initial reaction to being told that you're thought of as loose cannons is to say 'Obviously she's lying, how can we bend or break the rules to ruin her career?'

Joe, for his part, says that they should just do a good job, by the book, so she'll have nothing to use against them. It's a great idea, but weird to hear coming from the sleaziest member of the team.

In St. Louis, a group of young people are hanging out in a house! Someone comes in, ties them all up, and stabs them to death! According to Garcia the next day, the cops think it's a robby gone wrong, which is crazy, because you generally don't see massive amounts of stabbing in situations like that. Also, who's going to rob four young working people?

Barnes then arrives, announcing that they're taking the case because from now on she only wants the team to focus on high-visibility cases that are easy to solve. What do you think they've been doing up until now? They don't get called in on anything other than the most outre crimes, and always wrap them up within 72 hours. There's a guy with a skull tattoo on his hand, driving up and down a major interstate right now, murdering children, and the team doesn't think it's worth their time because it would be hard work to investigate it.

How is her new policy going to change anything?

The team recoils at the possibility of Barnes coming along on the trip because she's not a 'profiler'. As if profilers are the only people who can solve crimes? As if most of their crimes aren't solved when they just ask Garcia who did it? The team is openly insubordinate, and Reid announces that if she's going on the flight, then he's not!

Somehow, he isn't immediately suspended without pay. You know, for a villain, she's not great at using her authority to get what she wants. She's coming after this team for being unprofessional, and now they're being even more unprofessional when they find out their being investigated. Seriously, how does Reid still have a job at this point?

He's already proven himself to be the opposite of indispensable - he was off the team for half of last year, and their clearance rate was completely unaffected.

Criminal Minds 1314: Miasma

The episode opens where the last one left off - JJ meeting with Barnes about replacing Emily! Apparently the FBI is a little unsettled by the team's treatment of the whole Scratch/Aubrey situation, so Emily's handling of it is going to be scrutinized! She also tries to rile JJ up by asking why she thinks she didn't get the team lead job when Aaron left.

As JJ walks to her car she gets a phone call from Emily! They've got a case tonight. JJ immediately warns Emily that people are coming for her - which she was specifically told not to do. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have told her, JJ, but at least wait until it's face to face!

There's an emergency case briefing, but it doesn't seem like anything that couldn't have waited until the morning. Cops in New Orleans found a crypt with ten bodies stacked inside and then burned. Is that really a 'overnight flight' type of situation, though? Even if the victims were drained of blood?

There plenty of voodoo markings around the crypt in question, but apparently they were preexisting, so the killer might have liked them for some reason, but they're not an actual message. Then Emily announces that she's not going to be going along on the trip because of the performance review! I'd point out that this means Barnes lied to Emily, since she said she wasn't going to tell Emily until the morning, but it's more likely that Barnes found out about the mission, and told Emily early to make sure she didn't skip town.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, the killer is draining a corpse's blood! Also, the killer is wearing a strange, long-nosed mask.

I often joke about the team rarely deals with cases important enough to warrant them leaving in the middle of the night, but there's a reason I mention it. I like to call focus to the show's weird obsession keeping a straight timeline. Other than specifically frames flashbacks, the shows are always told in strict chronological order - and since they always want to end the episode's cold open with a murder, so they can be at a daytime murder scene right after they land. If the briefing took place during the day, then the death is at night, that means that chronologically they couldn't do the plane conversation scene, which the producers feel the show couldn't do without.

And that's why they're always getting called to work in the middle of the night.

Criminal Minds 1313: Cure

In an office somewhere, stock people are talking about stock things! Riveting television! Then one of them gets told to go home for the day, and finds herself confronted by a masked gunman! He duct tapes her to some furniture, then goes to murder her boss! Which he presumably does, although it's left off camera, so it might have just been a kidnapping?

Back at Quantico, JJ is t the office crazily late when she gets an e-mail from someone named 'Linda Barnes' requesting a meeting! It's super-alarming, but we don't get a clear enough look at the message to understand why! Reid is also still in the office - hey, what's going on with Jane? It's been half a year and she hasn't been mentioned - so he asks her about it. It seems that someone from the National Security part of the FBI needs to talk with her. Is she going to be reassigned again? Let's hope not, that would mean we'd lose the most stable marriage on television, and that's not an acceptable outcome.

Their chat is interrupted by Emily, who is also still there after 9PM! What is wrong with these people? Jr. is a saint. Seriously. Point is, they have to go to a local crime scene!

The team gets there and hears about the masked man who tied up the lady and shot the guy! Interestingly, he was tied up and tortured before being murdered, and his blood was used to draw a sign on the wall - it kind of looks like a caudecus but with only one snake? Strange - not a sign I've seen before!

According to Reid, the real symbol for doctors is a single snake around a crutch, rather than the staff of Hermes, which is normally used. I went to wikipedia to check his facts, and it's pretty obvious the writer of the episode did as well, since the text of the article is essentially Reid's verbatim dialogue.

The cops asks what the symbol could mean, and they offer no theories, other than that it has something to do with the victim. Which is such a dumb thing I can't believe she said it out loud. Here's a concept - maybe the killer thinks he's a doctor, curing something? Maybe the stock guy committed a crime against medicine, like the American insulin industry? Throw some theories out there, guys! What are you here for?

Then we see the killer's lair, where he's picking out his next target from a portfolio of guys in suits! Also, he's a white guy, just FYI.

Then he calls 911 and says he's the staff snake, and that he's going to cure 'the sickness' which is represented by... people?

Criminal Minds 1312: Bad Moon on the Rise

The episode opens in central park, of all places! A man is jogging alone, at night, because apparently he has a death wish? He's then chased down at attacked by something that grunts! Is it a gorked-out troglodyte who lives under the park? Is this an episode about CHUDs? Let's hope!

Then it's over to DC, where Eric is on a date with a lade! With a nurse that his disabled buddy set him up with! The date is interrupted by Garcia, who has come to collect him for a case! Way to ruin two people's nights, Garcia! Is this case really so urgent it couldn't have waited until the morning?

We get word about the case - a man was disemboweled and had his throat torn open by something with large claws! They immediately wonder if a tiger is loose from a zoo, or possibly escaped a private home. Aisha suggests that a large dog could have been trained to kill. This is a very silly idea, since large dogs don't have claws the way big cats do, and these guys were sliced open.

My bet? Either a werewolf, or a guy in a werewolf suit, like that episode of Hannibal.

Joe mentions that this case is a lot like one from '97, in which two teenagers slit a man's throat, disemboweled him, then filled his body up with stones and threw him in a lake. That sounds almost nothing at all like a guy being mauled to death by an animal. Why would you bring it up?

Then we cut back over to central park, where a couple is walking along, happy to be celebrating their 25th anniversary! Hey... why are they being allowed to do this? Just a couple of hours ago a man was mauled to death in the park, and the police think there's a very real possibility that a wild, bloodthirsty animal is on the loose! How has the park not been cleared out and flooded with police?

Right, then there wouldn't be a kill right before the credits. Gotcha.

A man in a hoodie leaps out of the bushes, frightening them, and they hurry their step as he darts back into the woods. Then he appears in front of them, threatens them with a knife, and gets their money! Moments later, he is mauled to death by a werewolf.

The show intimates as much by showing us the full moon before the killing, which forces us to remember the last murder was exactly a month ago!

Criminal Minds 1311: Full Tilt Boogie

The episode opens as a father and his two kids prepare for a camping trip! The mother is planning to stay home. The father is Ben Browder, of Stargate fame!

We see the mother going to meet friends at a bar for a ladies night out! She's hit on by a creep, and shuts him down! He then follows her outside to harass her during a smoke break, so she knees him in the ground and runs back inside! Next a cop has shown up to take her statement, and we learn that this is a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, because the cop knows her and her husband!

Wait, does that mean everyone knows she's going to be alone at the house tonight? Looks like she's getting murdered! Will the creep be a red herring, or will the crime so obviously be that of a serial killer they'll immediately know he wasn't involved?

When the cops gets her home, there's some dialogue about how she didn't turn the alarm on because she keeps forgetting the code. Wow, that's some great foreshadowing! Wait, did I say great? I meant the opposite of that. As she prepares for bed, the power goes out in the house, and someone pounces on her!

Suddenly it's the next day, and the woman's life is flashing before her eyes as the killer prepares to bury her alive in a shallow grave! Seriously shallow. Like, a maximum of a quater-inch of dirt over the body shallow. This killer is not interested at all in hiding their crime.

Criminal Minds 1310: Submerged

It's night somewhere, and a topless woman floats dead in a pool. A man is tied to a cinderblock at the other end of the pool, and he's pushed into it by the killer! His legs are bound as well, in case you're wondering why he doesn't just walk to the shallow end. Fun fact! A closeup of the cinderblock reveals that it's actually painted wood, because this scene wouldn't be safe to film otherwise.

In Quantico, Joe talks about hanging out with his famous friends, and then they have a case! In the past two weeks, three different men were tied to cinderblocks and drowned. Also, one of them had a wife who was shot (the topless lady). Apparently the local cops think it's a case of several burglaries gone wrong, because valuables were taken from the house!

So... I guess these are the dumbest local cops in the world? The killer obviously brought the rope and cinderblocks with them. Because, you know, people don't generally just have rope and cinderblocks lying around. So obviously this is a fetishized serial killing.

Interestingly, the team say that they know these were planned murders and not failed robberies because a robber would have made sure that the houses were empty before robbing them. Except no they wouldn't. People rob houses with people in them all the time. It's called a 'Home Invasion'. It comes up a lot on this show.

No, what tells us that it was a panned murder is the ridiculous method of killing. And, you know, that the killer brought the murder weapon along.

Meanwhile, the killer is out in his shack, spraying bleach into his eyes! Yeah. He's really, really, crazy.

Criminal Minds 1309: False Flag

The episode opens with the team already giving a profile! That's weird. They're explaining that since the two victims were likely known by the killer, the team is giving a profile to everyone who knew them in the hope that one of them will find the description of the killer familiar in some way! Strangely, the profile is happening in a gym, during some kind of event - there are silver balloons on the stage behind them.

It turns out they're talking to a society of 'Truthers' in Roswell, NM - and apparently the show has interpreted this to mean that the people literally believe nothing is true? Like, a guy raises his hand to tell Joe that Womb Raider was a patsy? Which is just so many kinds of nuts that I can instantly tell the writer has no respect for these characters.

Then the show takes the dumbest turn in maybe the entire history of the show? A guy reaches into his pocket and finds a fun, and tells the team that they planted it on him! The team all points their guns at him, and he announces the he 'knows a false flag when he sees one' and shoots himself in the head.

Yes. That happened. Wow. You know, I'd been warned that this episode was the dumbest one that Criminal Minds had ever produced, and it's not disappointing so far.

So, as far as I can tell, the guy thinks that the serial killings were done by the government to make the Truther community look bad, and now he thinks he's being turned into a patsy. So his reaction to that is... to commit suicide, so that everyone will think that he was, in fact, the killer? And if he wasn't the killer, how could he not notice a pistol in his pocket? Yes, it's a small pistol, but it must weigh somewhere between 1 and 2 pounds. Take three rolls of pennies and drop them in your pocket. See if it's possible to not notice that they're there.

None of this tracks even slightly from a logical standpoint, and we're only two minutes into the episode.

Criminal Minds 1308: Neon Terror

The episode opens with Joe on a talk show, plugging his new book! Because for all of his talk about it being immoral to seek fame and fortune for hunting serial killers, he sure does do it a lot! He's written a whole book about the... ugh... 'Womb Raider' and is now on a tour promoting it nationwide!

The team comes in to watch the interview together, and they wonder when Joe has time to write books. Well, I'm guessing the man doesn't do a ton of paperwork, so I'd imagine he wrote it at the office. Then something truly bizarre happens, as the show host announces they're pausing book talk to jump to a breaking story about a local serial killer!

Wait, is this a news show? They don't cut into talk shows in order to put up footage of dead bodies, live from a crime scene, even if Joe is on their show promoting a book. This has never, and would never happen.

The team immediately gets a call about the case - three peoople have been shot in their cars! The cops thought it was a robbery-homicide spree, but only the first person was robbed. Then Eric wins a Prentiss Award for this groaner-

It's weird that this team has no idea what a forensic countermeasure is. A guy is going around shooting people in their cars, all using the same gun, why would taking the wallet of one of them keep the cops from seeing a connection? As always, I'm going to suggest that if you have nothing useful to say, maybe just don't open your mouth?

Oh, and all the victims are women who look alike. Somehow Garcia already has a picture of the third victim, even though the crime was literally just reported moments ago, and they shouldn't even have her name yet.

Then Emily again fails to understand how either driving or planes work, and says 'wheels up in 10'. It's like 8PM and you've all stayed at work late to watch a TV show, Emily. Your pilot has long since gone home. It's going to be HOURS before you can get the plane off the ground. How can you be so bad at this?

We see a bad date ending! The woman is not at all interested in the guy, and texts while they're walking in the general direction of her car! She calls her friend from the car, and then the creep appears at her window and starts yelling at her! He's not the killer though - the killer shoots him in the back, then shoots her!

Wait, that's two shootings in one night? Pretty bold. Also, this multiple shooting happened twenty feet from a busy street full of people, so I'm guessing there are a lot of witnesses. This should be wrapped up quickly!

Criminal Minds 1307: Dust and Bones

A woman wakes up in her car in a messed-up state. Has she been drugged? There's a featureless mask on the seat next to her, which is probably significant. She has no idea who she is, and even misidentifies the man calling her. The guy offers to come and get her, then she looks in a window and is horrified to discover that someone has cut strips of skin off of her face! Ick!

Hey, it looks like we're finally getting that Eric episode that's been coming for a season. He goes to visit his former partner in physiotherapy. It seems the man was put in a wheelchair during that serial killer entrapment thing they'd run years earlier. Yes, the Crimson King, a character we never really met, who's responsible for all this misery. And I guess he's back in jail now? We never followed up on all of those missing serial killers after the Joe episode.

Wow, season 12 was sloppy.

Eric tries to comfort and motivate his friend, but he's not great at it! Then he gets beeped about a job, and he's off!

So far the face slasher has had two victims! Each time he grabs a woman, drugs her, and then she wakes up in her car miles away, her face sliced open and a mask on the car seat next to her! Naturally assuming this slasher is going to escalate to a spree, because nearly all of them do, the team rushes to the plane!

Then it's over to the slasher's lair! It's in something that might be a tattoo parlour, or maybe a garage of some kind? He's cleaning off his disfigurement tools! Then he grabs a live mouse from a tank, and it looks like he's preparing to eat it! Oh, and he's wearing cosmetic contacts to give himself reptile eyes.

I say 'him', we don't get a look at the leather-clad slasher, so it could be a woman as well

Criminal Minds 1306: The Bunker

A woman is walking through a parking garage, talking on her phone! Damn it, woman, don't you know that's the most important place to keep your bearings? While she's busy taking a flyer off her windshield, a killer appears soundlessly behind her and covers her mouth, then drags her away!

In Quantcio, which they introduce with an establishing shot of Quantico for the second week in a row, the team talks about Garcia moving to a new apartment! Not because of PTSD brought up by last week's episode, but rather because a guy across the courtyard from her is naked all the time and refuses to close his blinds.

Then it's time for the case! This latest victim is the fourth to go missing in the past few years! At least this won't be a spree, right? Each one was a young professional, two grabbed from garages, one from her house, one off the street - no connections between them other than being in the same age range and having full-time jobs! The question is, does the killer hide bodies well, or are they being held alive somewhere, like in the James Patterson novel!

The second, I guess, because we see the latest victim wake up in a fake bedroom with a fake green field view out the window! The killer has also left her clothes to wear with her name written on a card by them. And the view is actually a large television, not a picture. Neat!

Two women come in to check on her- they're not onscreen long enough to see if they're other victims, though. She runs past them and finds she's in an underground maze of white hallways and identical doors, and the staircase out has a glass wall in front of it! She's approached by a man in a hazmat suit, which understandably freaks her out!

Is this one of those situations where the killer is going to tell women that the world has ended, and they're safe in a hiding place? I feel like Medium did an episode with that plot?

Criminal Minds 1305: Lucky Strikes

In Florida, a group of teens stop at an under-construction rest stop for a bathroom emergency! One girl goes in and finds a dead body with its fingers and legs removed, and a pentagram carved into its chest! It's another satanic ritual murder! Could Jamie Kennedy have found an acolyte to his evil ways? Oh, and I won't bother with a screenshots or a video, because the producers obviously knew how garbage the effects look, and cut quickly so we wouldn't notice it, but wow, are the effects around the body atrocious.

Between the missing legs and the fact that the victim's jewelry was laid out in a pattern, Joe and Emily come to an immediate conclusion - Jamie Kennedy is back and killing again! Hilariously, JJ explains that people called the guy 'Lucky' because he kept falling through the cracks. Only no, that was just the title of the episode. No one called him that.

Garcia flees the room, because she's traumatized by talk of the murders. In case you need a reminder, it's in the aftermath of this case that someone tried to murder her for nonsensical reasons!

They talk about how Jamie's been in the crazy bin for a decade, so he can't be the killer! How many of the details of the case were made public, though? If the missing fingers and strange arrangement of a items was kept secret, then you've got a very small pool of suspects to draw from! Let's keep our fingers crossed, because it won't be too hard to investigate a handful of cops and people at the asylum where Jamie lives!

Ensuring that it's completely impossible to make their already-ridiculous 'wheels up in 20' edict, Emily calls JJ over after the briefing to chat about something - but we don't find out what just yet, because the show cuts over to Jaime being brought lunch! Will it contain human flesh? No, but Jaime claims that he's already full when the food is offered, so he obviously knows about the new murders!

Criminal Minds 1304: Killer App

The episode opens in Silicon Valley, where people at some kind of tech office are partying, because that's the culture of SV - ping-pong, not unions! Two of the guys are planning to head back to work, but then they notice the pretty lady masseuses that the company keeps on staff, and head over to harrass them!

Before they can get there, someone is machinegunned in the lobby! Everyone ducks, and then the security guard gets machinegunned as well! Then a couple of other people, including one of the introductory characters!

Over at Quantico, Emily brings Eric in to talk about how he murdered Scratch! He confesses to the whole thing, and Emily says that he followed protocol - had he tried to grab Scratch, Scratch would have pulled him down as well. Apparently it's the FBI's policy to let people die if they're dangling from roofs. Good to know!

As the scene ends, they get work about the mass shooting, but it's hard to care because the company is named Ori-Gamey, and I can't focus on anything but that. The team is scrambled to respond! Wouldn't it be hilarious if the killer was already shot to death by the cops right after they took off, and then they have to decide whether it's worth going to San Francisco since all they'll be doing is going through his creepy hand-written manifesto?

Also, Emily offers her most ridiculous Wheels Up moment yet. She claims they'll be going in 10! Of course you won't.

I've already explained the whole 'distance' thing, but this is so much worse. When Aaron said 'Wheels up in 30' it's because they were already planning on leaving. Five minutes ago Emily didn't know they were going to California. No one was planning on flying today. They have to get the pilot to go to the airport, do a full check of the plane, and then file a flight plan before they can get in the air.

It's going to be at least an hour, silly.

Then, back in SV, we see the killer watching footage of the massacre's news coverage while reloading his assault weapon!

Criminal Minds 1303: Blue Angel

As the episode begins, a station wagon drives down a dirt road with overgrowth all around. For some reason I'm reminded of the way the team never bothered looking into the skull-tattooed man who was abducting and killing children from rest stops. Why are you so bad at your job, team?

This doesn't have anything to do with that, BTW - instead it's a hooded man who finds a shed and breaks into a shed with some bolt cutters. Turns out the shed is a serial killer's torture dungeon, one that's gone all cobwebby with lack of use! How did this guy find out about it? More importantly, is the show taking another stab at the toolbox killer?

In addition to all of the murder tools, there are some tiny videotapes left on a counter, documenting the crimes. Interesting! For the audience, anyhow. The hooded guy is more interested in grabbing a victim from the trunk of his car, and dragging him into the torture shed to be killed.

Next we find Matt at home! I wonder if this is a first for the character, or if the wife and kids he talked about in the backdoor pilot had already appeared on BB?

At the office, Reid, Garcia, and Eric talk about a thought experiment that Reid wants his class to do! It's terrible, and kind of pointless, so it's exactly the kind of thing I'd expect from professor Reid.

During the scene, I notice JJ's desk is in the background-

There's no reason for her to change her name, of course, but it's at this moment that I realized that 'Lamontagne' is a way better last name than Jarreau, and she should have taken it when she married Jr.

We get a breakdown of the case. Two men have been extensively tortured, had their genitals removed, and then been hung from meat hooks in public-adjacent spaces where the bodies were obviously meant to be found. Matt thinks the torture is similar to the kind of damage done by a Detroit drug gang that was recently taken down. Could one of their buttonmen have decided to go freelance?

Then we get a scene of the killer videotaping his latest victim, with the kind of tiny videocamera that one would assume the mini tapes fit inside!

Criminal Minds 1302: To A Better Place

The episode opens with two bicyclists chatting on a beach! Will there be a corpse in the sand? Yes, of course they will be. Unpleasantly, it's been stuffed into a suitcase!

Then it's over to Quantico, where Reid is training to be good at shooting, finally! He's still using his ridiculous tiny revolver, though, so he has to reload during the shooting course, which costs him valuable seconds in his overall performance ranking. Also, one of the cardboard attackers is a clown, because the show thought that would be cute!

The instructor tells Reid that he did great on the course, which is weirdly condescending. I mean, he stopped for ten seconds to reload a revolver when he should have a professional weapon instead. He might be accurate, but he's not ready for a real gunfight.

Also, he probably likes murdering people too much.

Reid then goes up to meet with Tuvok, the psychologist in charge of clearing him to return to work! Now, we know that Reid doesn't respect psychologists, and has been faking his way through counseling, but the good news is - it worked! He's back on the team, with one caveat. But what is it? Are they going to make him carry a sensible gun in a normal holster? Force him to shave his ridiculous stubble Van Dyke, and get an professional haircut?

Emily and Aisha chat about their time off. Then Matt enters with boxes full of all the serial killer cases he's been working while the team was away! It's four file boxes. Which is a huge number, for a team that mostly works with digital information. Did Matt consult on a hundred different serial killer cases?

Then the whole team together to celebrate Reid being back at work and Steven joining the team! Emily then says that IRT's loss is their gain, but last week Matt said there wasn't an IRT any more. Can the writers seriously not keep basic facts about the world straight over just two weeks?

We find out about the case - two women killed and then stuffed into suitcases. One hasn't been identified yet, the other was attacked in her home while making a dinner for two! Could the killer have insinuated himself into her life, or did someone get called in to work and miss a dinner date?

Meanwhile, down in Florida, the killer drops another suitcase off, this one at a bus stop!

Criminal Minds 1301: Wheels Up

Our 13th season picks up just where the last one left off - with Garcia noticing that the team has been rammed by a truck! All of their phones go dead simultaneously, which must be some kind of a device Mr. Scratch has, since it wasn't that bad of an accident.

Then we see Garcia pacing by the elevators, which is weird, since why isn't she in touch with the large SWAT team that was also on their way to the cabin? Then the elevator doors open and Matt walks out - this is the character from Criminal Minds Beyond Borders that I've thought of as 'Asian Derek' because I haven't watched that show, but since he's showing up here in the first episode, and that show has been canceled, I guess that means he's joining the main show's cast?

Wait, does that mean Eric is dead? Because he was just starting to settle in to the role of replacement Derek!

The two of them drive out to the crash site, which once again has me wondering about the SWAT team that was supposed to be right there. It seems the show has forgotten about them as well, because while they drive, Garcia is calling for backup!

They go to check the cars, and Eric is fine - but Steven has been killed! Damn, that's rough for the guy. Then again, if he'd been any good at his job and found a single lead on Scratch in the half-year he was supposed to be doing that, maybe he's still be alive?

Sucks for his wife and daughter, though.

Is Aisha going to be okay? She's got internal bleeding and is going into shock! Oh, and Emily is missing!

She wakes up on a gurney somewhere, with a mysterious doctor looking after her. He says that they're both being taken care of, which means he might be Scratch's captive as well?

Scratch comes in to talk to Emily, well, taunt her, really. He reveals that her legs have been shattered, and the doctor has attached metal frames and screws to them to hold them in place while the bones knit! Eww!

But is this really happening, or is it just another delusion? Let's find out after the credits!