24.12.19

Criminal Minds 1218: Hell's Kitchen

In prison, Reid is going mad because he got a guy killed! Understandable.

Somewhere, in a dark room, a girl is crying. A creep lights a candle for her, because it's her birthday, and asks what her plans would have been, had she not been in a murder dungeon!

At Quantico, Emily comes to see Joe, and asks why he hasn't visited Reid yet! It's because, as always, Joe is a selfish jerk who can't get over himself. Yeah, you feel bad for not being able to help him, but he feels worse because he's in jail. Go and see him, dick.

Time for the case rundown! It's a weirdly sloppy one - we're told that the latest missing girl matches the look of two other girls who went missing in the same part of New York City! Not only is there no explanation for why the cops stopped looking for the killer of these middle-class white girls, they don't even let us know when those abductions and murders happened! All we learn is that they've got two days to save her before the killer's timeline is up!

We get some classic psychobabble, though, as Emily points out that the killer steals 3 liters of blood from the victims, and she thinks that if they can find out why he does that, they'll find him!

How, though? Unless he's stealing it to sell it to someone who knows him, how would that information help? Let's say he's a vampire cosplayer who loves drinking blood. Unless he's told a bunch of people about that, even if you knew that's the reason for the blood, it wouldn't be a lead.

Then, naturally, the scene ends as Emily humiliates herself once more by not knowing how long it takes to drive to the airfield.

We get more with the killer, but who cares!


In prison, Reid puts scratches on the wall to note his 36th day waking up in prison! Then he goes to meet with Joe! Reid talks about how prison would be much nicer if everyone would just admit that they're scared, and not be so confrontational all the time. Great observation, Reid. What about asking Joe to figure out why you're not in protective custody? Because someone has to be actively making that happen.

Then there's a lockdown, and it's back to the cell for Reid! Richard tells Harold that the cops know about the drugs coming in, and they're currently searching for them. But those are the drugs that Reid is supposed to move! How's he going to manage that with so much heat?

In the FBI's NY field office, I'm startled to discover that they have a poster announcing where you are inside the conference room:

This is just crazy, show. Oh, and it turns out that the other two victims were runaways and drug addicts, they just looked super-clean and healthy because the makeup people didn't do a good job. Emily then says that there's a chance the killer has more victims, since murderers often 'build up' to abducting someone like Katie, this missing girl. That's assuming, though, that he knew she was middle-class when he grabbed her. He might have just seen a confused teen walking around without any idea where she was going or who she could go to for help, since she accidentally left her cell phone in a cab.

Couldn't this have just been a found money type of situation? You're acting like he specifically targeted her, when there's no evidence of that.

We somehow get through the rest of the scene without finding out when the other two victims were kidnapped! How? Also they had smashed up ribs, and were killed by blows to the head, so maybe the killer shoves people off of roofs to kill them?

Over to the killer, who's hiding out in his van! We see him test his skin in sunlight, and be pleased when he doesn't burn. He credits this to Katie's blood curing him, not to him not actually being a vampire.

Fun fact - we see the date in his journal, and it creates a pretty big time inconsistency! We're told that Reid's friend was killed 'two weeks ago', right after the end of the Burlington Vermont Sleepwalker case. We know that the date of that was somewhere around the 21st, because Garcia said one of the victims signed a lease 'a week ago', and the document read March 14th. So let's say that she was exaggerating, and that scene was set just four days later (on the other side of a weekend, which would make Garcia's comment make sense), that would put it on the 18th. According to the vampire's journal, it's currently the 22nd. Four days later.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, either the writers or the production people don't care about doing a good job.

Speaking of, I just checked Katie's missing poster, and despite the fact that this scene is supposedly set on her birthday - and it's canonically taking place in March - the production people screwed up again, listing her date of birth as June 15th, 2000!

Come on, show. This isn't that hard, is it?

After checking his skin, the killer uses a false floor in the bottom of his van to climb down into the sewers, where his murder dungeon is hidden! Neat!

JJ talks to Katie's mother! Does she have any leads to offer? No! And neither does her father! We just get a chance to wallow in their misery for a while. Thanks, Criminal Minds.

Down in the murder dungeon, the killer gives Katie some orange juice. She asks him if he has a job, and that's why he leaves every day! He tells a story about a dead lady in an apartment that nobody found! That story again?

In jail, Reid is sad about Luis getting killed, but Harold says he didn't think it would happen. Would he have done anything if he'd known, though? Also, what was Luis in jail for, anyhow?

We get some more facile statements about grief, then move back to the case! Turns out there were two dozen drained women over ten years! We're told that no connection was made because the women already had holes in their limbs from drug use. Except missing a huge quantity of blood is a super-notable thing on an autopsy, especially when they had no bleeding wounds, or sign of blood on their clothes or body. Yeah... these would have been noticed a while ago. Unless the New York ME is just awful at his job.

Down in the sewers, Katie is apparently free to walk around? She goes to the ladder, but can't move the manhole cover atop it! Not that she really tries, though - as far as we can tell, she just puts her fingers through the hole and screams for help. Come on, girl, if you want to escape you'll have to try harder than that!

Oh, and while she's screaming for help, the show cuts to a wholly unrealted NY drum guy, like from NYPD Blue. That's... odd.

After the commercial break, it turns out that the drumming is just around the corner from the parking lot where the killer works! He keeps his van parked in the lot 24/7, covering up the manhole that serves as the entrance to his hovel. Understanding bosses!

In prison, Reid meets one of Harold's guys, who's going to replace Luis as they move the goon's drugs to another part of the prison with the laundry! How can this go wrong?

Back in the dungeon, the killer sees that Katie has injured her ankle trying to escape! He warns her that she'll break something if she keeps trying that! Is that how the other women died? Tried climbing the ladder when weak from blood less and fell to their deaths? I suppose it's possible...

The team looks at a map of where all of the killer's victims were last seen, and a lot of them were in 'Hell's Kitchen', which is a real neighbourhood, and not just a thing from Daredevil! Perhaps Katie was headed that way when her phone was lost! They'll check cameras headed in that direction from where she was last seen!

Here's a question - why weren't they already doing that? I mean, think about it - they have an exact time when she was dropped off at a given corner. So, watch which way she walked out of frame, find the next camera down the block in that direction, and watch it starting at from the timecode she walked off camera. Unless she was pulled into a van between two of the cameras (like in the terrible Joe's Daughter episode), you'll be able to track her movements. And if she does disappear, then you'll have a lead on the vehicles nearby!

More with the vampire. He talks about how horrible all of the noise in the city is, and how, since he's never been able to stand daylight in his life, he's grown more comfortable sealed away from the world! Okay, so this whole 'vampire' thing is just him being lonely? Cool.

Steven visits with the parents, and asks why the daughter might have been going to Hell's Kitchen - apparently that's where the father lives, and she might have been going to visit him! The father claims to not have known about this, but it's weird that he didn't mention his daughter's frequent trips to the rough part of town when discussing the situation privately with the team. Perhaps he didn't want to blame himself and admit his possible involvement in the situation?

The killer and Katie have a conversation about fate, and they come to an agreement - she gets to wander around the tunnels, and if she can't find a way out, then they were fated to meet one another! I feel like this game is probably rigged, what with it being pitch-black in the tunnels. She gives it a shot, though, springing into the darkness away from him!

In prison, Reid tells Harold that he won't move the drugs - he doesn't have to, now that the new guy has arrived to take care of it! Harold claims not to know the guy, which is a weird play for him to do, especially since the guy told Reid he worked for Harold. Couldn't Harold have just said he sent a guy to keep Reid safe while he was doing the crimes? That's a way better lie. Point is, Reid thinks that Harold is running everything in the joint, and he's no longer going to play the game!

Now back to the team, who's taken this long, seriously, it's been a full day since they found out about the guy stealing blood from women, and it's taken them this long to consider that the killer might either have porphyria, or at least believe it does. How is porphyria not your absolute first guess the moment you hear about any victim being obsessed with blood? It's the vampire disease, for gosh's sake.

Oh, and the cops have found footage of the killer's van at many of the abduction sites - it has stolen plates, though, so that's not going to be much help.

Alone in the laundry room - wow, this really is a terrible prison, isn't it? - Reid is mumbling to himself about the lengths you have to go to in order to survive in prison. All the while, he's mixing up some chlorine gas! This might not go well for a few people, I'm thinking. We see him looking meaningfully at the drugs - is he going to poison them, killing a bunch of goons and their customers?

Checking every video camera in the city finally pays off, when they see Katie walking towards the killer's parking lot, and then not appearing in the footage taken on the other side! So they rush to the parking lot! Which it turns out that the killer actually owns!

The team rushes down into the tunnels and goes looking for the killer and Katie! For some reason, they think it's a good idea to split up! Katie is rescued immediately, but because they split up, Steven gets clonked on the head by the killer!

Then, when he wakes up, he doesn't radio for backup! Instead, he chats with the killer until the killer tries to sneak up behind Steven, at which point Steven turns and shoots him to death!

THE END

When we finally see the killer in broad daylight, he's not really that pale! Weird.

Then, Reid finds his new helper convulsing on the floor of the laundry - the goons made him sample the drugs in front of them, and now he's dying because Reid poisoned it! You just get worse and worse at this, Reid.

How bad? Well, it turns out that the poison doesn't affect you right away, so now dozens of people in the prison - including Harold - are bleeding from the nose and mouth! Wow, Reid. You belong in prison.

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

Nope! There's no way to be kind about this - camera footage and nothing else got the job done.

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

It was.

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

1/10 - Come on, show! Is it really this hard to make their psychological yammering meaningful? If they'd stayed home and the cops had just watched the footage this would have gone exactly the same - only the cops would have brought backup and maybe even taken the killer alive!

Seriously, why did they split up? Half the team stayed in the parking lot, announcing that they would try to 'find another way into the tunnels'. You know, if you'd brought a cop, they could have led you to those tunnel entrances. Just saying.

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