Criminal Minds 1103: Til Death Do Us Part

The episode opens in a bridal shoppe where a photographer chats with one of the women who works there. A wedding party comes in, and he offers his services - he winds up being invited to the bachelorette party at a bar that night, which doesn't please the store's employee!

We cut over to Derek, who's doing some kind of a 'helping kids' thing with a guy who's probably a real-life football player. Then he's called in for a case - I can only assume this is another one so urgent it has to ruin his weekend!

In the office, Greg updates Garcia and Derek about the assassin from the season opener - he's still refusing to talk about the 'dirty dozen' victims that his League is targeting. You know, it's possible that he was just lying because he was pissed about being caught. This is a guy who was self-destructively theatrical, remember?

Garcia is worried that they won't be able to find the targets in time - of course they won't, they're not good at their job - but Derek reassures her, based on their terrible history of failing to save more than 50% of the people targeted by killers after the team has started hunting them.

It seems that in Savannah, two brides in the past few months have been murdered on the night of their bachelorette parties, had their 'bride to be' sashes wrapped around their heads, and their bodies tossed in dumpsters!

Confusing the timeline some, we then see the bride from the visit to the shop get murdered by someone large enough to carry her body away. He's able to attack her because she wandered out of the bar alone, and drunk. Is that something brides-to-be do? I've never been to a bachelorette party, but do brides generally go wandering off on their own while drunk?

Is this something that could realistically happen three times in just a couple of months, all in the same city?

Also, is the team already in Savannah at this point? It was the middle of the afternoon when they came in for the table scene, and Savannah's like a one hour-flight, and since this woman isn't murdered until that night, it would be weird if we did a plane scene after the opening credits.

We do get the plane, though, and learn that both earlier brides were bar-hopping on the night of their bachelorette parties, and try to suggest that it's not strange that the killer would have been able to isolate and kill them. I don't buy it, though - it's one thing to get someone away from their friends at the bar to talk for a minute, or follow them to the bathroom, but these women were all lured entirely out of the bar and found or dragged somewhere completely isolated, then brutally assaulted without anyone noticing - that just doesn't seem possible.

Oh, and according to the opening credits, the football player's name is Michael Irvin, who is...a hall of fame football player from the Dallas Cowboys! Maybe he's a fan of the show or something?

They talk a little about how the killer most likely is a man who was recently jilted, and his taking his anger out on other brides-to-be! Oh, and the latest victim's body hasn't turned up yet, so maybe she was just kidnapped? That seems even harder to pull off than the murder - carrying a woman to a car that he parked nearby? That bar looked busy enough that the environs should have been packed...

We also learn that the bride's wedding was in a week. So she and her bridesmaids flew down to hang out in Savannah for a full week before the wedding? Rich must be nice, huh?

Reid goes to chat with the ME about the latest body. She was strangled a number of times - was this kind of breath play torture the killer's game all along, and the first woman just died too quickly from the blow to the head, or is he trying out new things? Here's the important part - the killer bit off his victim's fake nails, but didn't touch the real nails or skin underneath. And the nails are the same colour pink as the latest victim's were!

The Derek and Aisha guide the maid of honor through here memories of the night, and she remembers the bride being accosted by a guy at the bar! She can't come up with a description beyond 'white guy' just yet, but perhaps mug shots can jog her memory. As the maid is leaving, Aisha gets a call from 'Douglas', but she hangs up on it immediately. Aisha raises an interesting question - it was a complete fluke that the killer was able to grab the latest bride. How did he grab the other two? Will we ever learn?

Garcia calls with some info- she found a guy whose fiancee left him three months ago, and has been going to bars and harassing brides until he's thrown out, over and over again! It's the guy from the maid's memory, BTW. She has a really, really good memory.

Joe interrogates the drunk, but he has an alibi! That seems like something the cops could have checked before bringing the guy in for an interview, but whatever.

Then it's over to the bridal shop, where the photographer is working with his camera! He flirts playfully with the far-less-cute sister of the woman we met who also works in the store, and the lady obviously takes the flirting way too seriously. My first guess was that the photographer was the killer, but I guess it's this woman, who's been driven mad by jealousy seeing the brides flirt with the guy she's obsessed with?

The show isn't coy about this, either. The moment the photographer and the cute one walk out of the store, the other sister starts biting her nails, then fantasizes that the photographer is talking to her, and telling her to murder the bride she has locked in basement!

Back at the office, they're letting the drunk go - Joe says that they have to because when he was shown the photo of the latest victim, he had 'no cognitive reaction' to it. You make me sad sometimes, Joe. Also Derek says that the cops checked out his alibi and he has a bunch of witnesses to it. Not that those have ever stopped the cops from jailing people before!

Joe thinks that if they can just figure out where the killer first saw the victim, they might have a chance to save her! Most of the girls just turned up dead the next morning, after all. Not for nothing, Joe, but shouldn't you already be checking into every location the three victims had in common? It's not like they were abducted from the same bar, after all. Or are you operating under the assumption that the killer was just trolling bars, hoping to run into a bride?

The killer fantasizes about the photographer telling her to kill the bride - she's been in love with him since the 7th grade, it seems, when he took her to that year's dance. If we find out it was out of pity later, I'm going to be angry. So she kills the bride.

The team goes to see the body - based on the fact that no sexual violence was committed against the victims, and that the word 'slut' was written on the latest one's forehead, they figure the killer must be a woman! They also think the ligature strangulation points in that direction, because men always strangle with hands, but that's not true, so I won't dignify it by adding it to their list of justifications.

Profile time! They're looking for a crazy woman, who's probably romantically obsessed with someone and angry at the brides for having what she never will! More importantly, they tell the cops to canvas wedding vendors - finally. They don't mention that the woman definitely bites her nails, which seems like it would be something the cops should keep in mind when interviewing people. I'm kidding, of course, cops in the world of Criminal Minds never interview anyone when the FBI is in town!

The killer's sister drops by her room, and suggests that she go back on her antipsychotic medication and see her doctor again. The killer says that she's fine without it, which you should never believe. Then the sister says that the photographer is taking the two of them out of a special dinner that night. I guess they're going to break the news that they're engaged in public, so the killer can't make a scene? Oh, how little do they know!

Garcia reports back that none of the vendors that all three brides used reported running into a heavyset woman who was recently dumped. Dear god, they're still going by the 'recently dumped' thing? That was when it was a man, you idiots? Eventually they realize that one of the vendors is the far more likely killer, since otherwise the killer would have had to hang out around the stores for months to pick targets.

Things then get a little strange, as the team points out that women who are dumped don't normally lash out violently this way, they're more likely to wind up depressed! They come to the conclusion that she must be suffering from a mental illness!

Wait, you said that during the profile, and you're already checking mental hospitals. Are they playing these scenes out of order?

The killer preps for dinner, and convinces herself that it's time to tell the world about her love with the photographer! Wow, this dinner is going to go terribly!

Time for Aisha and Derek to have a scene! He asks why she doesn't wear her engagement ring at work. You see, she's made a bunch of comments about how difficult wedding planning is, and there's an indentation on her finger, so...

The comments I believe, but if she's taking the ring off all day long, every day at work, there would be no indentation to notice.

Aisha says the situation with her lawyer fiancee is complicated, and she doesn't like to talk personal stuff on the job. So instead Derek asks if her wedding expertise can help with the killer! Her observation? Now that her fiancee is engaged, women flirt with him more! That makes her think that the killer might be in love with someone who's engaged!

She's wrong of course, the engagement is happening that very night, so she's not far off! Seriously, though, this was a nonsense guess on her part.

Naturally, the proposal goes just as bad for the killer as we thought, and she immediately starts biting her nails and trying to figure out how to kill her sister and get away with it!

As Reid and Aisha talk around the possible profiles of the killer, Garcia calls up and tells them she's found no recently divorced wedding vendors. They ask her if a family member of any of them recently got engaged, and that leads them to the social media account of the sister who got engaged last night!

Hey, wouldn't it have been a lot faster to look at the employees of all of the wedding vendors and check if any are heavyset women with histories of mental problems? I feel like the could have solved this last night.

The killer heads over to the photographer's house to murder him, but he's saved when she has a psychotic episode where fantasy photographer tells her to kill her sister! She's swayed by his arguments, because he's in her head. Like that torturer was that time, with JJ!

Maybe JJ will take some extra maternity leave and get some of the PTSD counseling she so desperately needs? The woman is a time bomb.

Garcia discovers that the killer has set up a wedding registry for her and the photographer - that's just how severe her delusion is! The cops run over to the store (where they also live) to save the sister. But will they get there in time?

Not exactly - there's no one in the shop! I wonder why they aren't calling the sister on her cell phone yet. Weird. The team finds many, many details about how pathetic the killer's love obsession is, but it takes Reid to figure out that the women might be at a greenhouse, since how else could they have all of these fresh local plants to sell?

Didn't their background check on the women already tip them off about any other properties they owned? Again, if they'd have done even the basic work on investigating the killer's financials, they could have arrested her before she had a chance to even attack her sister, which is what happens next!

Hilariously, when she attacks her sister, we learn that the sister's phone is on, so they could have just called her.

God, you're all terrible at this.

The killer ties up her sister and invites the photographer over to be part of their murder/wedding tableau. Somehow he also gets there before the cops do? What is taking them so long? Oh, right, they want the characters to be able to wallow in cruelty for a while.

The team shows up and talks the killer into not killing herself, then they get Ryan to pretend to be in love with her!


Wow, the sister and photographer are going to have a lot to talk about leading up to their wedding, huh?

On the plane back, Aisha talks about how it's hard being engaged when you have a job that takes out out of the city 3 days out of every 7. Joe points out that Derek isn't one to point fingers, since he hasn't even proposed to the woman he's living with!

It seems Joe and I agree on this one!

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

Slightly! I mean, they figured out that the lack of sexual assault suggested that it wasn't a man, and that the woman would have to be large enough to move the bodies, but then they kept trying to use psychology to help with all of that 'what is motivating her murders' jive, rather than just checking the wedding vendors.

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

Yes, a search of the wedding vendors would have turned up a crazy lady quite quickly.

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

3/10 - Hey, remember how we never found out about how the killer got the first two victims alone? Yeah, the show has no idea how that happened. The killer is a socially awkward person who can't carry on a conversation with a stranger and is in the midst of a psychotic break. No, I don't believe anyone would leave a bar alone with her, for any reason.

That's right - this episode could have never happened!

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