Criminal Minds 1112: Drive

The episode starts in Boston, where a woman is being driven home by a man! He walks her to her door, and then when he's not invited inside, he attacks her with a TASER!

At Quantico, Aisha drives up in a white sports car, and she and Joe chat about classic cars for a moment! Then they're called in for a case! It seems that two women have been decapitated and had their headless bodies left in public places! Also, their phones were missing. Does that have something to do with how he's connecting with the victims?

Then it's over to the killer's garage, where he cuts the latest victim's head off with a guillotine! Which the show depicts with way too much detail, because wallowing in human misery is what the show is all about!

Fun fact, doctor Guillotine didn't invent the beheading device, he's just the doctor who was consulted on the most painless and quick way of killing a person, and he advocated this as the best solution!

In case you were wondering, still no Aisha in the opening credits.

On the plane, they go over some history of beheading, but it's not relevant to the case, so Joe focuses on the most important point - why is he killing now?

Actually, no, that's not the most important point, that's irrelevant. The most important point is how did he find his two low-risk victims who disappeared right after their jobs?

Garcia chimes in with the latest victim, a bartender whose corpse was found on a bench in Boston Common that morning! If you're not familiar with Boston Common, it's essentially Boston's 'Central Park' Fun fact about it - you can't drive into the park, so if you wanted to get a body in there at some point you'd have to park on a street, get the body out of your car, and carry it over to the bench. In Boston, a city that's busy day and night.

You could also go into the parking garage, I guess, but that place is full of cameras, so the killer would already have been caught. Yeah, not sure how the killer hasn't already been captured.

Derek and Reid go to look at the body, which is, in fact, on a park bench in full view of the road, fifty feet from the sidewalk. There's got to be footage of this. They notice that the head probably wasn't cut off at the dump site, because of the lack of blood! Also, you know, it takes a lot of work to cut a head off, so doing that in public would be even more deeply stupid than the rest of the crime.

They notice the TASER marks on the woman's chest - the other two victims had them as well! The local detective wants to know how a killer could have possibly gotten close enough to someone to hit them with a taser.

Literally any way. It's not like you have to pull some clever maneuver or have a ruse. You walk up to someone, say excuse me, and when they turn, hit them with the taser. There's no information that can be gleaned from his method of abduction.

The killer is off cruising for his next victim! He sees a woman standing on the sidewalk in broad daylight and swerves over, but before we can find out his brilliant way of convincing women to get in a car with him, her ride picks her up! Foiled!

JJ and Joe go to check out the bodies in the morgue! All of them have battered knuckles, like the killer was beating them there for some reason. Is it catholic ruler discipline time? While two of the bodies' heads were cleanly servered, the first victim's head was sawed off! So it was only when he had all of that trouble the first time that he built the guillotine! The ME then tells them that the women weren't drugged or sedated (why did you use two words to describe the same thing, in this context?) and therefore must have been aware of their decapitation!

I mean, yes, we know that's true, but it's a weird conclusion to jump to. The women were also stunned with TASERs, isn't it possible he stunned them again before executing them? Or that they hadn't woken up yet?

Joe goes to talk to the latest victim's father. It seems that the victim's mother had died a few months back, and she'd been having trouble since! She called him from the train on her way home, and that was the last he heard from her! So, who was she on the phone with in the opening?

I'm sure Garcia will drop by with that info soon!

It's the next scene, in fact! Garcia hasn't checked the phone numbers yet, but she will! More importantly, they find out that the last woman failed to take the train - there was a line disruption! But then somehow she got home in 20 minutes anyhow! She called an Uber, but then canceled it. So is the guy another gypsy cab killer?

I guess so, because while the killer is driving around, looking for a new victim, a guy runs out into the street and flags him down! The killer is annoyed, because he'd rather be killing a woman than driving a man!

Back at the office, they discover that all three of the victims had done something shady - except not really. The latest had been shoplifting, the middle victim had been in trouble with the SEC over trading irregularities, but the first was just getting bad grades in school. That's a real one of these things is not like the others type of situation.

Garcia calls up with a list of everyone who's bought a sword in Boston recently, which seems like it would be a hard thing to get, since it's not like they're licensed items, but whatever. It doesn't matter because Reid thinks that they were killed with a guillotine! After all, the public display of a body suggests that this could be a private version of capital punishment!

Speaking of, the killer listens to the dude talking to his mistress, and decides that he's got to go! So he drives the guy into an alley and shocks him into submission! In each previous case, the person killed was on the phone right before their phones were shut off. We were told that Garcia was going to look into that, but she still hasn't, instead going with the 'sword' angle. How is 'what the person was doing right before they were attacked' not the obviously vital lead to follow?

Now we've found out that the killer listens to his fares' phone calls and murders them if they're found unworthy, so we know how important the calls are. But even without that information, the team really needs to be prioritizing tracking down the people on the end of the lines.

While the first two victims were just attacked in the cab, the bartender was walked to her front door - but why? The team thinks it sounds like the kind of thing a ride share driver might do in order to get a better review. Has no one working on this show ever been in a ride share? Especially given the famous association between ride share drivers and sexual assault, wouldn't any woman be incredibly weirded-out by the driver following her to her house? That's a rocket ride to a low satisfaction score, freakshow.

Also, they know that these women weren't being driven as part of a rideshare, because they have their phone records - so what does this line of thought even mean?

We get an establishing shot of Boston common, and it's at this moment that I realize that this episode is set in the dead of winter, so where is all the snow? Also, you know, because there's no leaves, you can see clear from one end of the park to the other, and it's crazy that he could have walked up to a bench with a corpse. There's just no way.

Aisha and Derek go to talk to the head of Uber - who is coincidentally in Boston! And it turns out that the victims could have thought they were using a ridesharing app - their files were recently hacked by a rival company trying to steal a customer database, and there's a good chance that the killer could have gotten everything he needed to spoof and steal rides at the same time!

So I guess the woman at the start of the episode really did think she was getting a ride from Uber - then why was she in the front seat, and why wasn't she incredibly creeped out by him getting out of the car to walk her to her house?

Anyhoo, we check in on the killer's garage, and he's still got a living victim in there. So that's what, 12 hours of keeping the guy alive after kidnapping? Weird MO, dude. The killer locks him in some stocks, and says God put them together! Because, you know, super crazy.

Derek and Aisha have decided that Uber is telling the truth about the hack, so they're operating under a new theory. The killer drives around until he sees someone waiting for an Uber, then pulls up to them, offers them a cheaper ride, and they cancel the Uber and get in!

Here's the thing, though - the whole point of Uber is that it offers the facade of security - you get the name of the driver, and the description and license plate of the car that's coming to get you. We're expected to believe that all of these women, while waiting for their car to pull up, see a complete strange pull up in front of them and say 'sure, why not' and hop in with him because he offers them ten dollars off?

I know times are tough, but a stranger just tried to convince you to get into his car. Who would do that? I'll tell you who - way more desperate and poverty-stricken people than the ones the killer is grabbing.

Aisha and Derek have Garcia do the heavy lifting for them - find a list of everyone who applied to drive for Uber, but was rejected! And all current drivers with criminal histories! Even though they know exactly when and where all of the first three victims were picked up, they don't tell her to look for security camera footage of the area.

They give the profile, and it's all stuff we already know, so let's move on to the woman who thinks her husband was kidnapped! How did she get there so fast? They literally just finished doing the press statement that it was an Uber driver killer, how could this woman already be at the police station? Was she watching the press statement live, on her phone, while coincidentally standing outside of the building?

The wife thinks that her husband was kidnapped because this is the first time he hasn't come home in ten years of marriage! But she also thinks he was at a client meeting in Chinatown, which is well outside of the killer's zone of predation. Just to be safe, they have Garcia check his phone, and finds that he was in South Boston, meeting his mistress! They also find that he was waiting for an Uber, so why did he run out into the street to grab a different Uber? He'd have to have assumed that guy was on the way to a fare, right? So isn't canceling on a fare a bad thing for your rating - why would he assume the guy would do that just for the promise of a cash payment?

Actually, I take that back - Uber pays so badly that a cash fare might be worth the hit on your rating.

Time for more torture! He tortures the guy to confess about his mistress, but he refuses to, and gets tortured some more!

Finally they get around to talking to the friends of the victims, and discover that each one was talking about doing something crooked while they were being kidnapped! For a moment, they consider that perhaps people confess their sins to cabbies the way they do to bartenders, before shaking off that idiocy and realizing that they already have the answer - the people were talking on the phone in the Uber.

Just as another execution is about to happen, the guy says that he can prove he never cheated on his wife! But how? He says he can call a friend to prove it, somehow, but the killer insists on calling his probably mistress instead! Because there wouldn't be a show if another woman wasn't in danger!

Joe finally gets in touch with the last person the guy talked to - it's his AA sponsor! Apparently he claimed to have cheated on his wife, but maybe he was lying to cover that he'd been drinking? The sponsor didn't believe him!

While the victim waits for his maybestress to call back, the team finally realizes that there's some significance to the badly-beaten knuckles, and checks to see if there have been any recent Catholic-related scandals that could have triggered a murder! They discover that a Catholic school principal just went to jail for child molestation last month! Could there be a connection?

Okay, things just got dumb again. One of the kids abused by the Principal (who killed himself right before the murders started) was recently fired from Uber after a string of negative reviews, including an incident where he threatened someone with a hammer! They explain that this didn't show up on Garcia's background check because charges weren't filed! Why would that have mattered? Shouldn't the first question to every car company have been 'did you recently fire anyone for being a violent psycho'? If they didn't ask that, they're completely negligent at their jobs.

Speaking of psychos, the killer hears the victim praying, and starts monologuing about his motives - he was mad that the principal got away without punishment by killing himself, and now he's not going to let other people get away with their crime! Isn't the principal being punished in hell? Like, you're Catholic, right? Don't suicided child molesters go to hell?

The call finally comes through for the victim - the killer asks what the woman's relationship with the victim is, but we don't hear the answer! Would he really let the guy go? Of course he's not going to, the guy absolutely was cheating on his wife! Then the killer shows off his wall of heads just as Derek and Greg arrive. They tackle him and grab the guillotine before it can chop the victim's head off!


Then we get more with Aisha and Joe's classic cars! She's doing a great job of pretending to care about people to ingratiate herself to them... but what's her endgame?

Damn, there's a lot of green, leafy trees for Bethesda in January.

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

In the barest sense - although it took them way, way, way too long to connect badly shattered knuckles to traditional Catholic school punishments.

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

There's definitely video footage of the victims being picked up, and probably footage of that one body being dropped off.

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

2/10 - They seriously couldn't be bothered to even ask if any Uber drivers had any behavioural problems. He tried to attack someone with a hammer and was immediately fired! How did that not come up?!

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