Criminal Minds 1216: Assistance is Futile

We're back in jail for the opening! His protective custody friend was beaten up, and he offers to help! You don't know anything about this guy, Reid, don't make the mistake of assuming his virtuous because he's a victim. Then Reid visits with JJ to catch up! Specifically, he wants to know what the case the team is working on is, since that will help him forget that he's in prison! A guy is killing women in New York by smashing their arms and legs until they die!


At the morgue, we learn that the victims were high on alochol and MDMA - so is he finding victims at raves, or drugging them himself? Also, the victims weren't sexually assaulted, just had their bones broken. Which again, ugh.

The morgue scene intercuts with a terrified victim screaming and struggling against a gag and bonds! Because that's absolutely something we needed to see! Interestingly, the killer has X-ray pictures on the wall, and images of faceless models that he's sketched out his breaking plans on. Oh, and he held the latest victim for a week, which suggests he's got a decent amount of space to himself. Will that be a lead?

Eric and Joe bring up the space issue, which is nice. More importantly, they wonder why the killer gives women a party drug and gets them drunk before shattering their bones. Is he trying to minimize their pain?

Then a detective walks in and announces that her son has a journal filled with fantasies about smashing women's bones! Could he be the killer? If so, maybe the team could take a week off?

In prison, we get some bad news - the drug tests didn't show any Scopolomine in Reid's system, so they have no way to prove Scratch was involved! I hate to tell you this, guys, but finding it in Reid's system wouldn't have proven Scratch's involvement either. Reid has a history of drug use. And he knows every component of Scratch's cocktail, so any prosecutor could just claim that Reid decided to make it for himself as a recreational drug.

Would it be a great theory? No - but it's a more logical theory than Reid's story about a magical hypnotist stabbing a woman and then shoving the knife into his hand - especially when Scratch left no physical evidence anywhere in the room during said brutal stabbing.

At the police station, Joe is a dick - as usual - and tells the woman that they don't have enough resources to talk to every crazy lady from off the street. He's terrible. A lot. Also, what were you doing with your time? Sitting around wondering about a guy's motives. At least this is a lead.

The mother takes the team to her son's crime dungeon, which includes a giant wall collage featuring art about broken bones and damaged women! Finally, this is enough to convince Joe that it's worth telling Emily about. You know, mother character, if you didn't want to waste a bunch of the police's time, you could have brought in photos of the wall.

Then visiting hours are over at the prison, and everyone's sad! But hey, at least they got to spend a few hours together!

As Steven and Emily check out all of the bone breaking porn in the basement, Joe and Eric interview the mother! She's understandably distraught, but the team reassures her that she couldn't possibly have done anything more than she's doing now. Other than, you know, getting her son therapy years ago, when this psychosis was developing. Not that they say that, of course.

Eric then asks the key question that's going to help them track down her son: What was he like growing up?

That's right - no 'what's his phone number', no 'please call him for us', no 'where is he staying and likely to be right now'. Instead, they want to start with his childhood. It's no wonder these people only ever save the third victim.

She remembers that when the son was 13 and she was repainting a room, she fell off a ladder, and instead of helping, he stared at her open fracture and laughed at her. Why wasn't he in therapy immediately? That's the craziest reaction I've ever heard. Did he also knock her off the ladder?

The team wants to know that as well, but the mother can only guess! So definitely yes. At least they have a lead for Garcia - maybe the son has gone back to the apartment building they were living at that time, since that's where his broken bone fetish got started!

I've heard worse theories! Usually from this team.

Anyhoo, the building is condemned, which would make it a perfect place to store and torture victims!

The team searches the building, and inside the old apartment they find a woman tied to a chair, her fingers broken into strange angles! So, unless the mother turns out to be the killer in a huge twist, is this the easiest case they've ever dealt with? When was the last time someone just told them who the killer was at the start of the episode?

Time for a brief prison interlude! Reid has to learn not to try to intervene in every act of cruelty he sees, lest he get himself killed for failing to mind his own business!

The team takes a look at where the latest woman was held, and then it's time for a profile! Wait, why are they doing a profile at all? You know the guy's name and face - just blast it all over the city to every cop and over every news station. Offer a big reward for the guy's capture, and let the tips roll in. Why are you worried about his psychology or MO?

JJ goes to visit Garcia to check on how the case is going. Apparently the latest victim is still in surgery? Was it not just her fingers that were broken? She didn't seem to have any other injuries that I noticed. They then talk about how fragile Reid is, and how he needs to be out of prison immediately! I'm going to agree with them about that one. Of course, I want to know that Harold is up to first.

The next day, there are still no leads about where the killer is! So the team decided to check the club that the latest victim was abducted from, and also ask the mother where the killer might have gone! Eric gets a full rundown on the mother's marriage, then moves in to talk about the killer. She refuses to admit that he could have used alcohol or drugs, to the point where she suspiciously clams up! She describes her son as an awkward weirdo who had no friends - so how did he become the kind of person that can talk women into accepting a drink at the club, and then negotiate them out the door when they're drunk?

We then see the killer in a bar, ogling some ladies and drinking some kind of medication with a beer. That can't be a great idea. Then he notices that his face is all over the news, so he flees into the night! An understandable reaction - although I don't know why he's just finding this out now. Shouldn't his face have been all over the morning newspapers?

We follow the killer back to his car, where he cranks up the tunes and sips some water! I guess he's taken MDMA, rather than a medication, as I'd assumed. He waits for the bar ladies to leave and then attacks them on the street!

Then it's back to prison - this case sure is taking a while, huh? - where Reid is concerned that his buddy who was being bullied the previous day has mysteriously disappeared! Harold tells him that this is no place for sentiment - he'll have to get hard if he wants to survive. Which is what he told him last scene as well. Reid is not a quick learner.

We find out that the team has been updated about the latest kidnapping (only one of the women was taken) and then things get really disgusting, as Garcia delves back into women with broken bone injuries. They find a woman who fell off of a rooftop during a rave, and then the killer came along and started molesting her broken body in an alley! Could he have taken the latest victim back to that site?

Then the mother disappears - are we finally going to discover the secret about her son that she's been keeping this whole time? Eric goes to see her at her house, and tells her that it's not her fault that her son is such a monster. Of course, that's a lie, she could have gotten him intensive therapy, and didn't. Still, I get why you have to seem like you're not blaming someone if you want them to help you. She finally confesses that she's the one who's responsible for the killer's love of MDMA - she was giving it to him therapeutically so that he would stop being such an isolated creep!

The team mulls over more about his psychology, until Garcia finds out the address of the abandoned building where he found his first victim. Then psychology goes out the window and they charge over there, guns drawn! Somehow, it's night again! This has taken them such a long time!

Anyhoo, they find the guy on the roof and he kills himself.


Eric gives the bad news to the mother, who collapses in agony! Then we get a bizarre scene in Quantico, where Joe Mantegna, the actor, wanted to hang flag commemorating the Cubs' world series win in his office, and the writers were like 'but your character is from Boston, Joe', and so they have him say he's hanging it to support a buddy of his who died in Vietnam, and who was from Chicago.

But if you were that much of a baseball guy, why didn't you put a Red Sox pennant when they won the World Series, Joe?

Oh, and Reid gets beaten up in prison.

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

A little! They checked locations that the killer had a strong connection to, which fits broadly into the category of profiling!

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

Checking any place that a killer has a connection to is also integral to normal policework.

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

3/10 - It's super-weird that they didn't look into earlier victims sooner. Then again, they frequently don't bother doing that so we can get fifth-act revelations, so who am I to judge?

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