24.12.19

Criminal Minds 1122: The Storm

The 'previously on' montage lets us know that they're going to be dealing with both Hannibelle and Mr. Scratch, the guy who hypnotized Greg to do something, but we don't know what yet!

The episode opens with Joe and Ada hanging out in his home! Apparently they're dating again! Aisha and Reid talk about his plans to take his mother on a trip before her dementia gets too bad! Wait, is it summer vacation at the FBI as well? I feel like that's not a thing.

Especially since, given the time-jump with Derek, this episode is set in September.

Then we see Greg at home! JJ arrives so their sons can go to school at the same time, and a SWAT team breaks into arrest Greg, presumably because he screwed something up due to hypnosis!

Everyone heads into the office to figure out the Greg situation and stay safe, which means we get to see Jr. drop by! That only happens like once a year, and it's always a blast! Hey, did we ever find out if the new son is named Trip yet?

While Garcia checks who called SWAT on Greg, Joe gets a call - he's being held in the DoJ facility in Washington DC! Joe gets there just as he's being rushed out of the building and into a car, but can get no information about the sitation! Isn't this what their boss Esai Morales is supposed to be for?

I'm kidding, of course, they don't have a boss.

Greg is brought into an interrogation room where a higher-up plays a tape for him. It's his voice saying 'today will change everything', and apparently it was sent from his cell phone at 7:23! Is this a hypnosis situation, or did they just edit his voice together and spoof the call? If it was hypnosis, you'd think Jack would have noticed him making the call - at 7:23 they're well into prepping for school.

It seems someone rented a van using Greg's driver's license, bought bomb-making materials, and stored them in his family storage unit! And I guess got rid of all of the security camera footage at all of those places?

I'd say this could be hypnosis, but Greg's at work so much that he literally doesn't have time to do any of these things. Strangely the FBI guy says they've been watching Greg for a while, but they only have receipts, not footage of him doing anything.

While Garcia goes over phone spoofing technology, the team notices that one of them is called 'The Storm', which is what Hannibelle said was coming for Greg! Wow, if she's involved in the plan to this extent, someone has done a terrible job of going through all of her correspondence! They realize that Hannibelle only mentioned her knowledge of the plan to get Greg after he brought up her 'son', which is a strange way of phrasing it, since they didn't know the baby's sex last week.

JJ goes back to see Hannibelle, which is an odd choice, since it's Aisha that she connected with. JJ says that Hannibelle's son is involved in the crime, and if she tells the team where he is and how to catch him, they'll guarantee he doesn't get hurt! She agrees to the terms, but is it a trap, and part of her larger plan?

Probably, right? I mean, her reaching out to the team to send them after those missing kids was obviously part of the overall plan, or why else would she have done any of it? Boredom? The very fact that she knows about the plan at all proves that she's an integral part of it. Otherwise we're expected to believe that a serial killer found out that her scumbag son was part of an elaborate scheme to frame Greg as the first step in a plan to do... something... and then she was like 'hey, why don't I distract Greg's team for 24 hours with an unrelated case?'

They should not be treating her like she's just a source of information. Hannibelle is a suspect.

The team looks up Hannibelle's son, and they find out that he purchased all the software required to send out a fake call from Greg's phone. Reid doesn't believe it, though, because he's in his 40s, and "SWATters" tend to be under 25. I mean, yeah, if that's all they're doing, sure. But this guy didn't send out a SWAT team over a round of Fornite, he did it as part of a multi-month plan to frame Greg for domestic terrorism. How is that inconsistent? Should a 40-year-old have forged a note?

On the way to the elevator, Reid explains that the guy doesn't profile like a SWATTER, so he couldn't be behind this! Again, he's not SWATting the guy for fun or out of boredom. It's an element of a plan. Let's say there was a series of murders where women were being stabbed. And a guy, unrelated to the crimes, wanted to frame another man for the crimes, so he got a knife from the guy's house and stabbed a woman with it. By Reid's logic, he could look at the murderer's history and say 'but he's not impotent, and time and again we've always said that stabbing is only done by impotent men because it replaces traditional sexual release!' That would be insane to say - the guy only stabbed her to frame someone else for a stabbing-related crime - but that's the exact logic Reid is using.

It's possible that this guy isn't involved, sure, but Reid's reasoning makes zero sense.

Greg demands to know who gave them a tip about his supposed terrorist activities. The answer? Mr. Scratch! What? Why would that guy know anything about Greg? It's not like brainwashing Greg was part of his plan all along - it was pure dumb luck that Greg went into that house alone. Their session could absolutely not have been part of a larger scheme.

The team rushes in to talk to the hacker, who is apparently Hannibelle's son. He's severely autistic - will they be able to get him to reveal any information? His obvious obsession with computers could well explain why Hannibelle chooses to communicate in machine code, though!

In his testimonial, Mr. Scratch explains that when he dosed Greg, he was terrified that Greg seemed entertained when he thought his team was killed - so much so that it scared him! Of course, we know that didn't actually happen, but the OPR started looking into Greg a little more closely, and found that he'd been doing some shady things!

The list is... not a good one. They point out that she faked Emily's death, which you already had hearing about, so it's weird to bring up now. Especially because that was the best way to get her into witness protection. Then he says that Greg's a hypocrite for signing off on Joe murdering Herman when he fired Elle for doing the same thing way back in season 2! That's a deep cut, show!

It's a real apples and oranges situation, though - all of the times Greg covers for his team murdering people, it's because they at least pretend that the bad guy was a threat, and the commit the murders during the attempted apprehension of a killer. Elle crossed the line because she actively sought out the killer once the case was over and murdered him. That's too sloppy for Greg to abide.

I maintain that it would have been way better had Elle just walked out to the rapist's car and shot him during the stakeout - not only because it would have made for better television, but because then Greg would have had the figleaf necessary to give her a pass, since he was actually sitting in his vehicle with a gun next to him.

Reid profiles the hacker as the kind of autistic who finds pleasure in planning elaborate crimes that they have no intention of committing! Was this guy just exploited to come up with a plan that he had no interest in being a part of, and perhaps no understanding that it was going to be real? Reid asks the hacker about explosives, and the guy immediately tells him about the friend of his who'd talked about explosives! That was fast!

Back to Greg! It seems that he didn't mention that he was drugged in his report to the FBI! Why wouldn't he, though? They have him say that he didn't want the higher-ups to have anything on him, since there's plenty of corruption in the political part of the FBI, but that's not how Greg would operate, based on everything we know about him. After all, if he lies on his report, and Mr. Scratch tells anyone else about the drugging, he's in this exact state.

More to the point, his team found him in a drugged-out state, and the powder would have still been all over his clothing. We see him give a report to Derek at the end of the episode, and if he'd left out the part where he was drugged, it would have looked incredibly suspicious!

Anyhoo, the OPR guy says that he thinks Greg was going to blow up Quantico because of a psychotic break after dealing with Mr. Scratch, and then Greg points out that it would be crazy for him to call 911 if he was going to do that. Also, they've just had a guy confessing to making the call, so... this scene is kind of redundant?

Garcia checks in with the team about the hacker's friend. It turns out that he's a guy named Eric who had a group of anarchists working with him to plan a major bombing campaign! He was caught and Greg testified against him in court! That explains the person element, but what about the 'Storm'? Someone is using Eric's old contact method to send messages announcing that 'the storm breaks tonight. Get his bed ready'. Because it has the word 'break' in it, Joe immediately decides this is referring to a prison break, and Eric will be busted out of prison this very night!

We cut over to that prison break, already in progress! Someone has released an entire cell block worth of maximum security felons! The team is already on the way - although I'm not sure what they can do. Wouldn't every state trooper and SWAT team in the area be the right people to send?

The OPR guy goes to see Greg, blaming him for the prison break as well. Greg essentially laughs at him, since literally no part of the OPR's theory makes sense. What, Greg would work with Eric to put together an elaborate prison break and then blow up a city block, but then call 911 on himself the day of? What kind of a plan is that?

What I want to know is who got to Mr. Scratch to tell him the plan. Was he in the same prison as Eric?

The team arrives at the prison, and warns the warden that it's a break, not a riot, but the warden doesn't see that they have any way out! Then we see the SWAT team rushing into the prison to secure the control room, but for some reason Aisha and Reid are going with them? They're not heavily armored and don't have rifles!

On the way in, they find a bald guy just sitting in his cell, who seemingly has no interest in escaping. Good for him! Then they shoot a guy who was guarding a cell - a cell that concealed a tunnel into the prison's vent system!

Would that really get them outside, though? Even if the prisoners somehow got into the sewer tunnels, wouldn't the cops already have all possible sewer exits locked down? I mean, maybe I'm crazy, but don't these people already know every possible way in and out of prisons for just this kind of thing?

Apparently they do, because as the criminals bust through the wall into a courtyard, the cops are all there waiting! Well, this is just odd - even if they busted out of the main building, there's still at least two fences to get through before they're out of the prison, and the entire perimeter is being watched. This is a terrible plan.

The SWAT guys head for the control room, which apparently the prisons are holding. They leave Aisha to hold down all of Cell Block A on her own. Um... how many bullets does she have? Doesn't it seem like leaving a single FBI agent in a room full of cells that the rioters can open at any time is less safe than just taking her with you? Like, the rioters can't get out of the prison, so worst case scenario, you they open the doors and the rioters hurt each other. That's stuff you can sort out when the riot's over, isn't it?

Since the SWAT guys are idiots, when they see two guys in orange with rifles pointed at the floor while facing away from the door, they immediately assume that they're rioters, and shoot them in the back without even giving them the chance to surrender! Of course, they were really guards, and the rioters were sitting on the floor, dressed in guard uniforms, holding pistols!

Yeah, this is why in real hostage situations, SWAT people are trained to assume that everyone is a criminal. Everyone goes face down on the ground, everyone gets zip-tied, and they sort all of it out later. Stuff like this just can't happen. Unless, of course, everyone is terrible at their jobs!

Meanwhile, in A Block Aisha notices the guy she was so obsessed with interviewing that her fiancee left her over it! He's unhappy because after she was done talking to him he got transferred here, to the serial killer wing! Does that mean we're going to see some familiar faces from earlier episodes set on the east coast? I can't imagine the whole country's killers are being sent to Virginia, after all.

Eric appears, planning to grab the SWAT vests and rifles and escape, assuming that they'll be able to get past everyone without anyone noticing them! So, the plan is based on the assumption that if the guys who mysteriously stopped talking after radioing that it was a trap and a gun going off suddenly turned up outside with completely different faces, everyone would just let them walk past?

Oh, and they open the serial killer wing, so people can start menacing Aisha! I guess she's going to have to shoot a bunch of them? Her friend says she can't shoot them all, but I see sixteen guys or so, and once she's shot three or four in the head, is everyone else going to be super-psyched to charge her?

She doesn't have to. Greg and more SWAT guys arrive just in time to shoot a bunch of people!

Eric's plan almost works, because the SWAT guys with Reid and JJ don't question the guys in SWAT suits coming the other way. Even though all movements in this area should be broadcast pretty clearly. It doesn't matter, though, because Reid and JJ get behind cover, and now that Reid's actually in a gunfight, he looks like a complete tool for insisting on carrying a revolver all the time.

It doesn't matter, though, since Greg and his guys shoot all the criminals in the back, and then flashbang the ones who are still breathing!

Greg asks Eric where the bomb is, and announces that the guy is 'too obsessive' to have changed his targets, even years after he's been in jail! Sure, Greg, let's just pretend that makes sense and move on. Since people are already mobilized to two of the three locations because of the breakout, Greg thinks the anarchists will be at 'The Ivory Tower', a safehouse for fundamentalist groups.

We see the compound where a bomb is being loaded into a helicopter, and then we're expected to believe that Greg's team were the closest to the site, because they're the ones who drive up and start shooting at the anarchists! The bad guys try to take off in their helicopter, but helicopters aren't even a little bulletproof, and soon enough the bomb has exploded, ending the threat!

Or has it? I don't know, I paused during the explosion, but there's seven minutes of show left, which is plenty of time to introduce another threat.

Back at Quantico, we see that the families are doing fine, because Jr. has been watching them all day. It's nice that Josh Stewart is always available for these tiny scenes.

Greg tries to apologize to Jack for screwing up his life, but doesn't quite manage it. Then Joe finds out that Ada can't stay with him, because he's too obsessed with his job! He asks her to meet his team so that she can understand why he has to work so much! So everyone comes over for dinner!

THE END

Naturally, during the dinner they get a call to go off on a case, leaving Jr. and Ada to share the rest of the wine and chat about their obsessive spouses! I truly wish that we could have heard that conversation instead of going inside with the team the way we do.

The call was about three other maximum security prison breaks across the country! That included a bunch of serial killers - one of them being Mr. Scratch! Weird that they didn't put him on lockdown the moment it was clear Greg was being framed. It should have been obvious at that moment that he was in on the prison breaks, right?

Anyhoo, 13 serial killers have escaped, so I guess the start of next season is going to be them tracking down people for a second time? Weird turn for this show to take.

Especially since serial killers won't be hard to catch at all. The only reason they were hard to find in the first place was because you didn't know who they were. Now that you have their names and faces, they should be back inside in minutes!

Or, you know, in 13 episodes.

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

Not really. They asked Hannibelle who did it, and she told them about hacker, and they asked hacker who did it, and he told them about Eric. The funny part is that the one attempt at profiling this week, Reid's nonsense about 'SWATting' proved to be both wrong and useless!

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

Probably! Although they might not have stopped the bombs. Then again, the bomb was being taken by helicopter, and there's a chance that flying a helicopter around a city would be considered so suspicious that it might have gotten taken down anyways!

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

1/10 - Yeah, just a weak entry all around. So Hannibelle really wasn't a part of the plan at all, and it was just a complete coincidence that her son had some tertiary involvement in it? That's a ridiculously lucky break!

I'm amazed at what a bad job the villains did this week. Like, Eric was so hell-bent on ruining Greg's life that he brought attention to himself - if he hadn't framed Greg, the prison break would have gone much better for him, and whether he escaped or not, the bombing would have been successful! Just think, it was his desire for revenge, and not any meaningful part of the FBI's activities, that led to him being caught.

Food for thought!

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