24.12.19

Criminal Minds 1111: Entropy

The episode kicks off with a montage explaining the League of Assassins plot. The 'previously on Criminal Minds' line is spoken by Reid, so maybe he's back?

I wonder if they'll actually wrap up this story this week? We're halfway through the season, so who knows, but if history can inform our predictions, probably not.

Especially since, you know, the League hasn't actually done anything yet. One assassin killed some clients, and then the other four had him murdered to keep the guy quiet, but that's it. Will they actually do something this week? The montage includes the NSA director getting arrested and them finding the codes to help understand Silk Road, but is that the only reason he's pictured - or was it the League who murdered Graff two weeks ago?

The episode begins in earnest with Reid arriving at a restaurant for a date. Is it with that Russian-speaking agent from last year, or is something else going on?

Something else is going on, because the woman who sits down is famous actress Aubrey Plaza! So is she the killer this week? Because this is kind of a huge get for the show. She's yet another woman that he's been courting online, which is his move, I guess, since he's not comfortable with people in real life.

She asks Reid about his 'wife', and I guess that means that she's just one of the League of Assassins, and Reid is pretending to hire her to hill his wife? Yes, he is!

Wait, if she's part of the League, why is she meeting him in person? We see JJ and Joe sitting at other tables, discussing Audrey's MO. She's apparently planning to kill Reid? So... she's an assassin who gets hired by men to kill their wives, and then kills them instead, without getting paid?

She might be the worst assassin in the world!

Aubrey looks at the ring and sees that it's brand new, and immediately realizes that it's a trap! How are they so bad at this? Couldn't Greg have just handed over his own wedding ring? Also, the better note is that Reid doesn't have a tan line or any marks that he regularly wears a ring. Audrey grabs a gun from her purse.

Also, why on earth is Reid trying to do undercover work? He's using his real name, and she knows about his 3 PHDs, so he's using a bunch of his real bio. The man is a nationally famous FBI agent who's been on TV a lot. He's one of the worst people you could get to go undercover.

Aubrey announces that she knew that she was being trapped, and so she brought a gun! Which isn't much of a plan. She says she planned for every possible outcome, but then she sat down at a table with an FBI agent. What would she have done if they'd just grabbed her the moment she walked in the door?

Again, she's not very good at this, is she?

Aubrey spots JJ and has her leave, then we get some info - she's a 'black widow' assassin who gets close to men so that she can kill them without them seeing it coming. Um... couldn't you accomplish that by shooting them in the back when they're not looking? Like, going out on dates with the men you're planning to kill is a great way to get noticed, and caught.

She says that sometimes she gets them to shoot themselves, so I guess she specializes in making things look like suicide?

Audrey asks for Reid's phone so they can play a game - he tells the truth for 30 minutes, or she'll shoot him! Her first question - how did they find her?

He says that they got a break in the case at the end of 'last year', then they cut to three days earlier. So I guess the break happened a while ago? Because she hasn't just been talking to Reid online for three days, right?

Reid goes to visit Derek at home, and Derek's GF hands over a file of medical research. Presumably stuff she's looked into about Reid's mother's condition? Then they all get a call about the lead Garcia and Greg had at the end of last episode!

Wait, that was just three days ago?

Aubrey stops the story to ask why Reid had taken time off work, and he doesn't want to tell her. She suggests that it's the team that he doesn't want to listen to his story! Reid's response - is this really how she wants to spend part of her 30 minutes? She gives in, and he gets back to the story.

What are you doing, Reid? There's every reason to believe that her own people are listening in on this - so every bit of personal information and details about how the team works are going to be employed by the League in the future. So you've decided that instead of wasting a bunch of her time with irrelevant information about your schizophrenic mother - who the team already knows all about - you're going to give her as much of that info as possible?

Spencer Reid - a man so screwed up by his toxic relationship with his mother that he'd rather put his friends and colleagues' lives in danger than talk about it out loud.

It turns out that the NSA director rolled while in solitary confinement. He doesn't know who the League are, just has codenames and specialties. Scarface made deaths look like accidents. Then there's 'The Sniper' (creative!), who they say killed Graff - he's killed people from over 2KM away! Except Graff was shot inside his car, with his own gun. Somehow.

Also, in the clip they show, the Sniper is shooting a guy who's fifty feet away. Which is honestly kind of funny.

Okay, one more thing about the 'sniper' - they show him using a heat scope to shoot through a window into a dark room-

What's the problem? Simple - which one of these guys is he supposed to shoot? They're two balding white guys of approximately the same height in suits. If he's supposed to shoot both, he's picked the wrong weapon for it. He has a bolt-action rifle, which means at least a second will pass between shots, massively raising the chance that the second guy will be able to get behind cover.

And it's a little funny that the show's visualization of 'heat scope' is 'put ghostly images over a picture of a dark room'.

The third assassin is 'The Chemist', who poisons dudes without leaving a trace! Except, you know, we see him put daubs of poison onto a guy's briefcase handle, and the skin contact kills him almost immediately. There's no way that wouldn't have left a trace on both the hand and the briefcase. Keep trying, though, show!

The fourth assassin is a Mossad-trained bomber. We don't get a video about them, so we're just assuming that the team is right when they say 'he' in describing them.

The fifth assassin supposedly has the highest body count - and it's Aubrey! Weird that she would, since dating guys and then killing them is, by far, the most time consuming MO of all of the killers. Why would she be the deadliest?

Aubrey criticizes the team for having information handed to them, asking whether they actually profile, or if they just get lucky. I mean, she's right about that - obviously - but it's not a good criticism to be levying here. After all, she asked how they found her, and the answer was 'the NSA Guy told us'. No one was claiming that psychology was in any way involved, I mean, how could it, it's a team of four assassins who kill anonymously after being hired on the internet, and one woman who goes out in public with her victims, because she's desperate to get caught.

She pursues the 'why was Spencer off on leave' thing, and he keeps not telling her about his mother! Has Jane Lynch killed herself, and that's why he won't talk about it?

Reid then explains that they figured out that the assassins must have a handler, and Aubrey's surprised that they discovered 'The Snowman'. Did you really need to 'profile' that, though? I mean, they're only a League because they work together - if they work together, it's because someone is paying them to do that. It's not like they have common interests or goals they want to achieve. You should have assumed that there was a handler from day 1 - and followed the money as well as you could have in order to track them down!

The NSA guy also tells them the the handler is the guy who built Silk Road - apparently he was getting nervous, so the League members kdinapped him and his holding him in a safehouse. But Greg thinks they can use the NSA director's USB key to track the Snowman down online!

Garcia searches through the code, and finds a bunch of dank memes, suggesting that the Snowman is an idiot kid. Then she traced his network usage to the house where The Sniper was holing Snowman hostage! Wow, that was easy. They waited until Sniper and Chemist were both in the building, and then shot the Sniper - but the Chemist killed himself before he could be arrested!

Aubrey is a little surprised to learn that the Sniper and Chemist are gone, but she thought it was weird that they 'didn't bid on some contracts'. Um... they've been dead for two days. How many contracts are coming in?

Also, are you bidding on things all the time? That's a terrible way to run a League - doesn't it make sense for the person whose skills are best suited to a job to take that job? Or is it just that a guy needs to die, and whoever is willing to do it for the least money gets the job? Again, that's a terrible way to run a league of Assassins.

Aubrey asks Reid about his mother again, and he refuses to answer, again. Aubrey then covers and threatens to kill Joe first if he won't talk. Except her gun is pointed at Reid's stomach, and Joe's gun is already just a few degrees from pointed at her head. So if she tries to lift her gun, she's getting shot to death and not even managing to kill Reid.

Reid's back at managing risk, though, so he tells Joe to stand down, and agrees to Aubrey's terms. He tells her about Jane Lynch's medication problems, and she says there's something more to it! Also she adds 10 minutes to the clock, beaause she's a cheater.

She also thinks that she's flushed out Reid's backup - little does she know that Derek and Aisha are just two tables away!

Um... why is anyone in the restaurant not an armed fed? Even if they chose the place last-minute, there was still time to get the whole team in there, so there would have been ample time to get fifty other agents in as well. Just tell the manager to call front of house staff and tell them not to come in, and then the FBI can do the rest.

The team interviews the Snowman. He explains that while he co-ordinated the league's jobs, they also had communications between each other that he didn't have access to, and so it won't be more than a day or two before they know something's gone wrong. Also, the bomber never guarded the Snowman, so there are no leads on who they are or what they look like.

They think that they need to lure Aubrey out quickly - so that they can catch bother her and the bomber before they go to ground. I don't know why they think Aubrey can help with that in ways that having all of the Sniper and Chemist's devices can't, but okay, sure.

Going over a list Aubrey's hits, they discover that every time she was hired to kill a woman by her husband, she killed the husband instead! So the plan became to lure her in using Reid! This doesn't answer the big question, though - why didn't they arrest her the moment she walked through the door? Couldn't the Snowman have identified her immediately, since she's one of the people who guards him?

Unless the twist is that she's not the black widow at all, but the bomber! Which would be a heck of a twist, actually.

They talk about how Aubrey changed the venue at the last minute in case it was a trap, but again, Reid's entire team got their first, got there first, so could the dozens of other agents that should have been ready to populate the original restaurant.

Also, this suggests that Aubrey started talking with Reid online yesterday - and she went to meet with him immediately, doing no background research of any kind? Yes, she's the worst hitman in the world.

Reid theorizes that she wants to get caught, and that's why she's getting riskier. She's mad at her father, and since she can't find and kill him, she'll go out taking out as many scumbag husbands as she can! Also, she had the bomber plant bombs under the building, and will blow the place up if Reid doesn't help her leave!

Seriously, though, what would she have done if they'd just arrested her the moment she walked in the door and shoved her into a black SUV? Both of the people at this table had terrible plans.

The team swarms into action - in the basement they look at the bombs and find they're remotely detonated - they won't be able to block the transmission that might set them off! Except, you know, you could just wrap the bombs in lead foil. Or any other number of signal-dampening materials. It's a fool-proof way of cutting off the signal. Then you can just spray liquid nitrogen all over the bombs and take out the electronics at your leisure.

Bombs aren't actually that hard to disarm, people.

Aubrey gets up to leave, but Reid asks her to sit back down - he says he has a 'trump card' to play! Is she curious enough to find out what it is? At first, that's a no - but then he says he knows where her father is!

SHAZAM!

Operating under the terrible assumption that Aubrey is using her real name as an assassin, he tells Garcia to look for women whose fathers killed their mothers, and then had plenty of abuse in the foster care system. Then she narrows it down by people who were in foster care homes where there was a suspicious death, because they assume that she's been killing people since she was a child - based on nothing.

Still, Garcia gets her real name! Which only could have happened if she didn't have an aunt or uncle, I guess?

Reid found her father - a homeless guy who's living in DC by an amazing coincidence! According to Reid's story, the guy is such a wrecked alcoholic that he didn't even recognize her! Oh, and we finally discover what's going on with Jane Lynch - she has alzheimers, and no longer recognizes him! Now he's scared he'll get it to!

Aubrey's not psyched about surrendering to Reid, and suddenly the bombs are armed! The team decides this means that the bomber must be in the restaurant - since Aubrey didn't touch anything to send a signal. Except her arms are folded in her lap, and you can't see her left hand, so you don't actually know that.

Also there's no reason to suspect that the bomber is in the building - Aubrey could have a microphone on, and the bomber is listening from another country. Or, you know, a van outside. Or there could be a set timer on the bomb. What I'm saying is, you're operating based on terrible information!

Finally the team realizes that the bomber could be a woman, and they spot one at the bar, watching Reid and Aubrey intently. So they're both suicidal? What's wrong with these women? Anyhoo, Derek and Aisha grab the bomber and shut off the bomb - while Aubrey puts a gun to Reid's head!

It seems Aubrey's been outplayed, though - Derek says her father is in a car outside, and if she surrenders, he'll be charged with murdering her mother! Reid doesn't want them to bring the father in, because we have to assume that she'll kill him and then get shot, and Reid wants to avoid further bloodshed.

Or heck, maybe it's all a con to distract her, which would be a nice touch!

No, it's not that dark on Aubrey's part - instead of asking her father to be brought in, she surrenders and gets rid of the gun! Then it turns out that it was a con! They never found her father as all! She says that she'll be out of jail in 20 years to kill him, and he won't see it coming, because in 20 years, he won't remember that she exists! Except Reid's like 36, so at 56, it's really doubtful that he'll be suffering from dementia just yet.

THE END

Reid drives Derek home and they talk about the alzheimer's situation! Then Garcia is also there, and she wants to party because she's not under house arrest any more! Then Reid and Derek hug, and Derek still can't tell Derek that he loves him, because he still won't get therapy!

Then Reid is sad about his mother.

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

Yes, kind of! Reid's improvised story about her father helped Aubrey to surrender! Then again, they should have searched the building to find the bombs that they should have anticipated, then arrested her on the way into the building. So it's not like I can give them full credit.

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

They had the League's entire network handed to them on a silver platter. They could have just traced the communication of bomber and Aubrey to find out their locations. Really this whole 'lure her in' thing was a complete waste of time.

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

3/10 - Seriously, this was it for the League storyline? They never accomplished anything! They sent Garcia into hiding and killed one of their own. Then they blew up one guy and shot another to try to cover for the NSA director. But we never saw them accomplish anything of note, and they were never a threat to the team.

How disappointing.

What an amazing coincidence that the Leagues' home base of operations, where all the killers lived, was in DC! How convenient for the team!

Also I'm still not sure how the 'Sniper' got Graff's gun and used it to fake a suicide.

Really disappointing wrapup to the half-season plotline, folks.

Maybe we'll see Aubrey again and this storyline will redeem itself? I mean, I doubt it, but maybe?

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