Criminal Minds 1120: Inner Beauty

A woman is coming home to her shady apartment building, and is unnerved by the creepy guy walking down a dark hallway towards her. She rushes into her apartment, but then it turns out it was just the super fixing the hallway lights! And the killer was already in the apartment? Nope - the twist is more disgusting than that! The woman goes to take a shower, and she's blasted by disgusting water, because - as the super finds out, there are two corpses in the water resevoir!

We then cut to Joe, who's vising his son-in-law and grandson, just a couple of hours away from the crime scene! Then his ex-wife turns up, and I guess they haven't talked since he found out he had a daughter? Wow. He probably should have called her at some point.

Ada, the ex-wife, has decided that her grandson's birthday party is the best time to have this conversation, because she's terrible at human interaction! Which is backed up by the whole 'kept a daughter secret for 30 years' thing.

Joe says that he called and texted her for a week straight, and she didn't get back to him, so he gave up. Um... that was a year ago. If she's not getting back to you over the phone, just fly there. This is too important to leave to her whims. Joe's also bad with human interaction, though, so there you go.

Ada says that Joe could never be trusted to put his family over the job, so she just didn't tell him to avoid causing him guilt! Then Joe gets a call about the Sacramento murder, and has to ditch his grandson's birthday party, proving Ada right!

Seriously, Joe, stay for another couple of hours. Greg asked you to meet the team in San Francisco. It's less than a two hour drive, and they're not going to be there for six hours. That gives you a full four hours - at least, let's not forget that you're an FBI agent and you can speed all you want - to spend with your family.

Wait, are you using this as an excuse to avoid an awkward conversation? I feel like maybe you are.

That night in San Francisco, a woman is getting hassled by a scumbag, when a better-dressed man intervenes! He tries to offer her a ride in his van, and she at first says no, because it's a van, then says yes, because he says he 'passed some guys' a few blocks up. When was this, exactly? You're not in the van now, after all. Did you park the van and just hang out waiting to intervene in a street conflict? That's creepy. Of course he immediately drugs her and throws her in the van.

I don't want to blame the victim here, but offering someone a ride in a van is like the biggest red flag imaginable. Don't get into vans with strangers, people. Ever.

On the flight, the team restates things we knew or assumed - the dead women were drug addicts, so the killer might hate addicts and sex workers, or he might just like easy targets! More importantly, how did he get two bodies down into a reservoir without anyone noticing? It's not like he could carry them both at once. That's a lot of hassle to ensure your bodies will be found immediately, so it must be central to his reason for killing, right? Weirdly, they don't mention it at all on the plane, only talking about crime rates and high-risk victims. Huh.

Turns out they're flying overnight and arrive in the morning, so Joe's skipping the party makes even less sense. Joe could have stayed until the kid went to bed, headed back to his hotel and set an alarm for 5AM, and he still would have beat the team to the police station.

Just some weak grandparenting there, Joe.

Speaking of the police station, they've identified one of the victims as a known sex worker, so they call in her pimp to interrogate him! He says that she recently quit drugs and got off the streets! Which was the case with the woman kidnapped in the opening, BTW. So that's the killer's thing? Murdering women getting out of the game?

Also, the pimp confirms that the clothes the body was found in - a single-colour knee-length dress, wasn't her style at all, so that's probablt also part of the killer's MO! Greg has Garcia track down places where the dress was sold!

Dear lord, the episode just got dumb. Joe and JJ decide they have to dismiss the 'moral enforcer' theory because that kind of killer would want his victims displayed! What is a bigger display then putting them in the working water reservoir of an inhabited building? They're guaranteed to be found almost immediately! Yet as the scene draws on, we're supposed to accept their theory that the killer thought of the reservoir as a hiding place where he planned to revisit the bodies! That would only make sense if the guy had complete and unobstructed access to the basement, which he obviously couldn't have!

This entire theory is based on complete nonsense.

We then find the latest victim asleep in a makeshift cage that a guy has built in his garage! She wakes up, then he drugs her back to sleep. Thanks for that!

At the morgue, Aisha and Reid go over the ME's report! One woman bled to death, the other died of sepsis! One was drugged by the killer, and he cut their faces open while they were alive with a big, jagged knife, then later used a scalpel to make slices on their corpses! That's all pretty weird stuff, show.

Oh, and one of the women had blonde hair dye, but it washed out in the water. But why? We get a scene with the team restating all of the facts, but since we just heard all of the facts in the previous scene, I'm not sure why this was included.

The next day a woman's body is found in a nice house's backdoor jacuzzi! Reid says that it's strange that the new disposal site is so public. Again, the previous disposal site was incredibly public. Arguably more public than a jacuzzi. If the cover was put on the Jacuzzi, it could be days before the body was found. The water tank of a large transient apartment block would be in constant use. Your profiling is terrible.

They notice a stitch left in the body's face - the obvious conclusion is that the jagged wound was caused by the killer cutting out all of the parts that had stitches on them! But why was he stitching people's faces up while they were alive? Garcia then checks in with an ID on the previous victim, and they ask her to fill them in on any missing people with rose tattoos on their wrists (as the corpse has). She's got on, naturally, and it turns out that both women were turning their lives around and in treatment programs!

So I guess the killer was specifically stalking the woman from the opening? It's not like he could have just randomly heard some woman talking about how she'd gotten off drugs.

They deliver the profile! The killer loves torturing women via surgery, and there's probably a woman out there he hates or already killed who looks like the costumes he puts the women in! The only piece of actionable information they offer is that the killer will likely be working in the rehab community, which is how he's selecting his victims.

Although that doesn't really count as profiling - if all of your victims were in rehab, start the search in rehab.

Then the victim wakes up and stumbles around the room! She finds a table full of items labeled 'your favorite #', which is presumably part of his attempt to transform her! Like with the plastic surgery that he's not good at!

While JJ is busy theorizing about the case, Joe is fixated on his ex-wife! JJ offers her take on the situation, which is that his ex-wife was right not to tell him about his daughter. And she's saying that without even knowing that Joe skipped out on his grandson's birthday party!

Aisha then enters with the ME's report! The women were full of painkillers, and the latest one had a homemade saline implant! So now they know that he's not trying to kill the women, but transform them into something else, and they only die because he's so bad at it!

Over in the torture dungeon, the killer cuts off the woman's bandages, and shows that he's cut apart her cheek and resewed it into some kind of horrific scar! Why is this allowed on television? The team figures that he's trying to recreate someone he loved, rather than hated, and now they just have to find a facially mutilated drug addict and search back until they find their killer!

Reid points out that there's a condition that causes large tumors to grow on the side of faces - could the killer's ideal have had that condition? Garcia decides to check her drug user database against her 'all medical conditions in America' database! Will she succeed?

Garcia immediately finds the woman, who killed herself three weeks ago, wearing the dress in question! Hey... is three weeks ago really enough time for this guy to have escalated to crude attempts at surgery and transforming women into his dead girlfriend? Shouldn't he have had to fester and pine a whole lot longer than that?

Turns out the dead woman was found by her boyfriend, who works at a rehab center - that's where he stole the painkillers from. Also, apparently the vacuum-sealer he's been using to make implants. So that's obviously the guy.

Time for a delusional interlude with the killer trying to turn his victim into the dead woman. She does a little better at playing along, then hits him with a mirror and runs out into the street! Way to go, woman! She runs up to a jogger, who's shocked by the horrible open wounds all over her face. The killer then says that his wife is just out of the hospital, and loopy on medication. Seriously, giant open wounds and blood pouring down her face. There's no way this guy doesn't call the cops the moment he's turned a corner.

We get some background on the killer from Garcia. Mother with face mutilated in car accident, childhood sexual abuse. Just a standard monster cocktail. I still don't buy the immediate jump to serial killing and surgery, however.

As the team is rushing to the scene, they find out that his girlfriend killed herself because she had a panic attack when he convinced her to go out in public! The current victim is starting to ail from blood poisoning, but the ream rushes in to ask the killer nicely to let her go, and then he does!


Then Joe goes back to see Ada, and apologizes to her for resenting her decision! It's sweet!

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

Not particularly. I'd like to give them more credit, but the forensic data really solved the case this week. Once they knew about the implants it was easy enough to assume that he was trying to turn the women into someone.

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

Considering that the guy kept abducting people in public, and stealing from his place of work, and disposing of bodies also in public, I don't know how he wasn't already in jail.

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

3/10 - You know, they didn't really need Joe this week. He could have just remained at the party and hung out with his grandson the whole weekend. He would not have been missed.

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