Criminal Minds 1205: The Anti-Terror Squad

As the episode begins, and group of teen girls drop one of their number off at home! She's worried about having broken curfew, but she should be more worried about the bloody curtains in the upstairs window! Is she about to get murdered, or did being out late save her life?

The latter! When she goes upstairs she hears an alarm going off - and when she investigates, discovers that her entire family has been murdered, seemingly by being shot in the head!

At the office, Garcia brings gifts for Eric's dog, so they can bond! He is unimpressed by the flowery pink dog sweater, and doesn't hide his disappointment at all!

The team goes over the details - happy suburban family seemingly all killed for no reason. Could it have been mob-related? Could the daughter have been involved, and that's why she survived? We saw her reaction to finding the bodies, so we know the answer is no, but they don't have that information!

Wow, this show is suffering from the lack of Aaron. There's no leader to organize the team around, and without him to say his catchphrase, we're left with Joe trying to be the guy in charge by saying 'We good? We fly.'

It's even more cringe-inducing to hear him say than it is for me to type.

Then it's over to the killer's basement room, where they - we can't tell if it's a boy or a girl yet - puts on some tragically loud music, takes a silenced pistol out of their bag, and slashes up a picture of the teen girl with a box-cutter! I guess she was the target, and got impossibly lucky?

On the plane, they go over the family details! The husband has a pill addiction, and the wife was a cheater! There was also an insurance policy that's going to net the teen daughter 100K! There's worse reasons to get someone to kill your family, I suppose.

Weird that the killer didn't just hang around until the daughter got home, though.

The team recreates the murder, and assumes that the killer was extremely familiar with the house, which is how they were able to climb in through a second-story window, find the parents and execute them first. Would you really have to be that familiar with the place, tough? You could see that a window was open from outside, and just watching order the windows black out at night would let you know where all the bedrooms were.

Eric and Joe talk to the sheriff - the daughter is currently sedated at the hospital - they can talk to her soon! So Joe and Eric decide to go to talk to the wife's lover, who was recently fired from his job as a trainer at the local gym! On the way there, Joe talks to Eric about what it's like no longer being a fugitive hunting specialist. Eric responds that it's weird working with a team! He likes being out on the road, alone. Wait... they let FBI agents work alone? Since when? Even undercover agents have handlers.

When the lover sees FBI agents at his door, he tries to flee! Why? Has he been counterfeitting movies or something? He claims to have an alibi for the time of the shooting - was in the hospital with a buddy who needed stitches! They don't ask him why he ran, for some reason. People only run if they have something to hide - so why did he?

It's almost like he ran just so that the show could have an action scene!

He claims that the daughter knew about his affair, and had been blackmailing him for ages to keep her from telling her father! The plot deepens!

JJ and Emily go to talk to the daughter, who tells a story about how her mother sent a text saying she was very disappointed in her! Oof. Then they ask her about the blackmail, and she claims she just threatened the guy to get him to keep him away from her mother, so as not to destroy the marriage any further. Did she extort money, though? That's what the lover suggested.

The daughter explains that the father had recently kicked drugs, and the mother had broken up with her lover, who had moved on! So what could have motivated the murders? I mean, we know it's someone in the daughter's life, but for the team this has to be frustrating.

The team talks about their complete lack of suspects, and is generally baffled by the whole situation. I'd ask why they haven't tried to track down the gun yet, but then I remembered that this is America, so that would probably be a needle in a haystack type of situation. JJ and Emily talk about how they definitely think that the daughter is innocent, and then mention the 'disappointed in you' text that the daughter got, and how it would haunt her. Weird thing to mention twice. So, is the daughter lying about the text, and that's a clue, or was it sent after the parents died, and it was from the killer?

If they don't do something with it, it seems like that line was a waste.

Then Joe makes the observation that it seems like he should have come up with ages ago, since he doesn't know anything about the picture of the daughter that was scratched up, that maybe the killer wasn't targeting that family at all, and just wanted to kill any family. Given that your guys' whole thing is serial crime, why is this just now occurring to you? There's just three possibilities - the family was specifically targeted, the daughter hired a killer, it's a psycho. They dismissed the second theory but never even raised the third as an option.

That night, there's another killing! The teenaged son hides in a closet and dials 911 - but before we get into whether he survives or not, two things: One, we see that the killer has once again sliced through a window screen to sneak inside, despite the fact that this is November in Minnesota, and perhaps you should be closing your windows, oh, and also the news was filled with stories today about the family that was massacred when a killer snuck in through an open widow. How did this not change your home security behaviour?

Two, we get a look at the killer's legs, and it seems like it's a kid yet again.

Now, for what happened - the teen urinates in fear and the killer sees it, giving them a chance to shoot him through the closet door. I'm not sure why the teen didn't go out the window - he lives in a one-story house, after all, but it's not my place to criticize the dead. This time.

Turns out he wasn't killed, though! That was just a dick move by the people going to the commercial who wanted us to think he was! Thanks for the emotional whiplash, show! When Eric finds him in a the closet, he asks the obviously terrified kid to show his hands, just in case this is a trick and he's the killer. This is the kind of things cops actually do, and it's smart - that's why the whole prison break could have never happened last year.

Now that they know that the killer pointedly left one child alive in both cases, the team realizes that this whole thing may be directed at the surviving teen! But who could hate them that much? Time for a profile, where the team once again shows that it doesn't know what a 'family annihilator' is! They use the term generically whenever they're talking about someone who kills a whole family, when really it's a specific term meant to describe a parent (usually the father) who murders his whole family, often because he feels like a failure and can't accept their imagined judgment. This was exactly the case with Mitch Pileggi back in Season 4.

It's not a term to throw around whenever a family gets killed, no matter how cool the writers think it sounds.

The team doesn't see a particular connection between the high school and the killings, since the only connection is that both teens go there. Here's the thing, though - the two survivors share nothing in common other than the school they go to. The killer had to pick both of them out somewhere, and isn't the only thing they have in common the most likely way for that to have happened?

We go over to the high school, where there's a counseling session for students and teens. Like 20 of them, because extras aren't cheap. It's led by an ineffectual counselor who everyone derides! Could he be the killer? He's older than I guessed, but he's a super-spindly guy, so who knows?

Okay, I guess he is the killer? He sees a kid get tripped by a jerk, and glares at the jerk with madness in his eyes. Is he killing the families of bullies to teach them a lesson? Garcia finds evidence to back that up when she searching the school files - both survivors were complete dicks!

This naturally leads to the assumption that the killer is someone who works at the school and was mercilessly bullied as a child! Probably the beanpole, I'm guessing. But would that make him a red herring? Because he seems a little old to be playing tragically loud music in a basement and attacking photos.

The team asks Garcia to track down any other school bullies, so they can be warned about their place on the hit list! Then they bring in beanpole to talk to them! He says that the school doesn't take bullying seriously, and so they talk about the fact that he was bullied, which leads to Reid telling a sweet story about turning childhood adversity into positive career trajectory! How inspiring!

The counselor points out the six biggest bullies in school, and while five are easy enough to get into protective custody, I guess they couldn't get the sixth on the phone, because JJ and Eric have to drive all the way out to their place! When they get there, it's a reversal - the killer just dropped by and shot the teen bully, rather than doing the whole family nonsense!

When JJ, Eric, and Reid see that the bully's room was trashed, and he was beaten with a trophy, they decide that the killer is so juvenile that they must be a fellow teen! This is played like it's a revelation, but you only assumed 25-35 because you thought the crimes were sophisticated, and you don't believe anyone under the age of 25 could manage that. This is something Reid, of all people, thinks.

We see two teens driving home, and one of them is into the murders, and the other one thinks that the killer has gone too far! Can you guess who the killer is? Yeah, it's the angry kid. Who was inspired by Donald Trump to commit his crimes! That's not an exaggeration by me, BTW. He says that bullies are terrorists, and according to 'some politicians', the only way to deal with terrorists is to murder their families. So yeah, the show is saying that Trump inspired this mass-murder!

Fun note: This episode aired one day after he was elected president! Awkward.

The team discovers that the bullying teens were such extreme bullies that they have a list of victims too long to investigate! Fear not, though, the anti-bully club at the school is having a meeting, where the anti-murdering kid is talking about how angry teen is the killer! The other kids don't believe him, and then the killer shows up!

Garcia finds out about the anti-bully squad, and when they notice that all six of them are in the same room in the school, the team runs over to check on them. But the killer has already abducted everyone! They ask Garcia where the killer was most viciously bullied and then have her lead them to the site!

In the basketball court, the kid is planning to murder his friends! They aim guns at him, but tell him that he doesn't have to remain violent just because of the way he was bullied! He flashes back to the brutal assault he suffered, and it's so violent that you'd think the kid would have been charged with a crime, but I guess this town just sucks?

Long story short, Emily asks the guy to put down the gun, and he does! Which isn't much of a twist, since he doesn't actually want to kill his friends at all.


Back at Quantico, Garcia has more treats for Eric's dog, who is named 'Roxie', and somehow no one noticed that when Garcia says that name it soundly almost exactly like it does when she says 'Rossi', making everything really confusing.

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

I don't know that it was? I mean, they caught the killer, but didn't actually stop anything. What I mean to say is, if they hadn't shown up at the school, the killer would have tied up all of his friends and then killed himself in front of them. They saved the killer's life, but that's not much of an accomplishment.

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

I feel like local cops would have been more in tune with the bullying part of the plot, and focused on that earlier?

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

0/10 - I know this looks weird since they caught the killer, but I reserve the score for when the team doesn't affect the outcome, or the killer escapes. In this case, the killer was taken down by his friends, who confronted him with his madness. Whether he committed suicide or was arrested is not super-relevant to the score, since the killing spree was over either way, and it was the anti-bullying squad that got it done.

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