Criminal Minds 1301: Wheels Up

Our 13th season picks up just where the last one left off - with Garcia noticing that the team has been rammed by a truck! All of their phones go dead simultaneously, which must be some kind of a device Mr. Scratch has, since it wasn't that bad of an accident.

Then we see Garcia pacing by the elevators, which is weird, since why isn't she in touch with the large SWAT team that was also on their way to the cabin? Then the elevator doors open and Matt walks out - this is the character from Criminal Minds Beyond Borders that I've thought of as 'Asian Derek' because I haven't watched that show, but since he's showing up here in the first episode, and that show has been canceled, I guess that means he's joining the main show's cast?

Wait, does that mean Eric is dead? Because he was just starting to settle in to the role of replacement Derek!

The two of them drive out to the crash site, which once again has me wondering about the SWAT team that was supposed to be right there. It seems the show has forgotten about them as well, because while they drive, Garcia is calling for backup!

They go to check the cars, and Eric is fine - but Steven has been killed! Damn, that's rough for the guy. Then again, if he'd been any good at his job and found a single lead on Scratch in the half-year he was supposed to be doing that, maybe he's still be alive?

Sucks for his wife and daughter, though.

Is Aisha going to be okay? She's got internal bleeding and is going into shock! Oh, and Emily is missing!

She wakes up on a gurney somewhere, with a mysterious doctor looking after her. He says that they're both being taken care of, which means he might be Scratch's captive as well?

Scratch comes in to talk to Emily, well, taunt her, really. He reveals that her legs have been shattered, and the doctor has attached metal frames and screws to them to hold them in place while the bones knit! Eww!

But is this really happening, or is it just another delusion? Let's find out after the credits!

Yup, Matt is in the opening credits! Good for him, getting moved over to the main show - I still question whether the show needs eight cast members, but I guess he was popular with the fans?

Reid is there when everyone arrives at the hospital, and mentions that they have to call Steven's wife and tell her! This is going to be rough, after all, working in DC was supposed to be safer than his old job.

Joe wants to talk to Reid and Eric before he goes into surgery. He announces that with Emily MIA he's in charge, and orders them to get some baseball tickets from his safe and give them to Matt. Maybe it's some kind of code?

At the accident site, Garcia and Matt figure out the communications frequency Scratch used to activate the trap on the road - perhaps they can trace him back via that same frequency! But how can they trick him into turning on one of his broadcasting arrays?

Now, back to Emily, where Scratch wants some info from her, and he'll withhold morphine from her unless she gives it to him. Presumably the info is 'where is Aaron', but Emily wouldn't know that, so she should be good!

Reid and Eric head into the office and talk PTSD for a moment, then they notice that Garcia and Matt are already in Joe's office! Garcia explains that she thinks Scratch can listen in on their phones even when they're turned off, so she's turned on a jamming device so they can speak freely! You could just take the batteries out, you know.

Locked away in Joe's office is Steven's entire Scratch file, which was all done on paper so it couldn't be hacked! Will they find a clue in there to help them figure it out? Probably, I can't imagine they're killing off Emily.

In the torture dungeon, Emily's ready to talk, so Scratch asks where Aaron is! He says that he's sure she knows, which seems crazy, since she specifically said they all couldn't know in case this exact thing happened. Did she really break her own first rule? Is she that foolish?

Emily maintains that she doesn't know, but Scratch has proof that they've been texting. He threatens to torture her more, so Emily claims that Aaron is in Vermont! That has to be a lie, of course. Actually, it would have been smart for each of them to have a fake location to give up for Aaron if they were ever kidnapped, so that Scratch would be caught even if it cost them their life! That's way too dark for the show, though. The texts do seem fake, though, because at the end of the last one Emily addresses the text to AH - why would you put the initials of the person you're talking to in a text to them? That's so improbable that it's weird that Scratch didn't pick up on it.

Also, 'Aaron' refers to Reid as 'The Kid', which feels a little dismissive. Would Joe do that? Sure. Derek? Absolutely - but Aaron is generally more respectful of people.

In Quantico, Eric gets a call from Steven's wife, and heads off to pick her up. Then Reid comes to the conclusion that the texts with Aaron were, in fact, a trap, one that Steven and Emily were setting, without telling the rest of the team for literally no reason!

But can Reid figure out what the plan was in time? The code for something in DC is 'B-CAP', and I have no idea what that could refer to. They're sort of part of the VICAP program, but that can't be related.

In the hospital, Jr. arrives to check on JJ and Joe! Look, it's the only healthy relationship in the history of the show! JJ asks him if they should give up law enforcement and get regular jobs, and Jr. responds that he knows that working the serial killer beat means too much to her, and he could never take it away! Even if she's only alive because Steven switched seats with her in the SUV.

Eric and JJ then take Traci Thoms (that's who that was!) to see Steven's body, and it's a huge downer! Apparently they've got two kids, and this is going to be a bad day for everyone.

Then it's over to Emily, who theorizes that Scratch wants to kill Aaron so that his son will grow up without a father, the way Scratch did - his ultimate revenge on Aaron! Emily then says she'll die to protect Jack, because she already died once to protect a child she barely knew!

Um... barely knew? You were engaged to his dad for months, and essentially acted as his stepmother. That's cold, Emily. Then she calls over Scratch's doctor and asks him for help - but will he offer any?

Back to Matt and Garcia, where Matt wins his first* Prentiss Award for this line-

First off, the way you phrased that sounds like you never bothered checking in with your Central American contacts - I know you mean that they didn't have anything, but be more careful with your words. Secondly - you never stopped to ask why he was in Honduras? How was that not the first thing you asked yourself? How did you try to track him down at all if you weren't putting any thought into why he was there? what could these efforts have even consisted of? Just phoning random hotels and seeing if they've got a creepy hypnotist staying there?

(*first Prentiss Award on this show - he might have said dumb stuff all the time on Beyond Borders, I haven't watched it.)

Reid's come up with an answer! It seems that B-CAP stands for a hallucinogenic drug that might be a promising thing for Scratch to add to his hypno cocktail! He was probably in Honduras looking for a supply of it, because that's where it grows naturally!

Why don't they know all of this already? If Emily and Steven had concrete leads on Scratch, why were they hiding them from the rest of the team? What could they possibly have hoped to accomplish in keeping them secret? Even if you were worried about compartmentalizing information, you left a complete copy of your files locked in Joe's drawers. Why wasn't all of this stuff just written down in those files?

Over at the torture dungeon, Scratch drugs Emily to put her into ventricular fibrillation, then offers to paddle her back to health if she gives up Aaron's location! She doesn't, which leads to a near-death experience, which we haven't seen for a main character since way back in season 1! I feel like the NDE killer might have had one? I'd have to check.

Ludicrously, the doctor gets her heart started again with the paddles, rather than an injection and heart massage. Which is, you know, not possible.

Garcia and Matt go to check with the local drug supplier, hoping he can give them a lead on Scratch! We see some people tripping, and then Garcia's app notices that Scratch's radio frequency is broadcasting from somewhere nearby! Turns out his server room is in the back! Wow, this guy is not good at operational security, is he? He needed a drug supplier, and he needed somewhere to put his computers, so he killed two birds with one stone. Which would normally be a decent idea, but this drug den is the kind of place that regularly gets busted by bored cops, which means on any given day his whole operation could get randomly taken down.

Also, even after Scratch knew that they had a lead on the drug he was using, he made no effort to shut down his computer facilities in the one place in DC where you can find that drug.

Now, apparently, Scratch is awful at crime as well!

At the hospital, Aisha wakes up and offers some vital information to the rest of the team - she saw Scratch drug Emily in the SUV, and as predicted, she's not injured at all, she just thinks she is! Which means the doctor is probably a figment of her hypno-state as well, and is really just Scratch doing a funny voice!

The team remembers that for Emily, death was dark and cold, so obviously she'd recognize the NDE is just a thing that Scratch was planting in her head. True to their prediction, Emily is able to snap out of her delusion, and freely walk around the torture dungeon. Because Scratch didn't bother tying her up, for some reason! Oh, and the doctor was, in fact, just Scratch doing a funny voice.

As the team rushes to the location that Garcia has traced, Emily uses the fact that Scratch doesn't know she can move to get him close enough so that she can bite his face! Ick! Then Reid, who is somehow closer to the warehouse than the rest of the team? Arrives first and shoots at Scratch without giving him a chance to surrender - just in case we'd forgotten that Reid likes to kill people.

Weirdly the show seems to be acting like Reid has some personal vendetta against Scratch, but Scratch has never actually done anything to him. Aaron, sure. Aisha, most definitely, but Reid? What's his beef - the time Scratch used his name to buy bondage gear?

I get that they're mad about Steven's death, but the whole team would be equally upset about that - Reid is just using Scratch as a means to get over his anger at Aubrey, who he can't shoot. Which is pretty not cool, dude.

The chase takes Eric and Scratch to the roof, where Scratch jumps onto a fire escape that doesn't actually have any way to escape from it. Weird. He winds up dangling from the roof by his fingers - Eric has a chance to save him, but instead lets him fall to his death! So many murderers on this team!


Time for Steven's funeral! Aaron is not there. Which, you know, sucks.

Then, back at Quantico, Matt gets offered a full-time job because Beyond Borders was canceled! Of course, within the logic of the show, it's because his special international response force has been disbanded, because foreigners no longer pose a threat to American tourists, I guess?

And they tell us that Aaron isn't coming back, because he likes being a full-time father! Naturally, that's a complete misunderstanding of the character.

Then, Emily says that 'wheels up' should be the team's catchphrase! Which is also kind of dismissive of Aaron. Great way to wrap up the episode, folks!

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

Nope. They traced Scratch via radio signal, of all things!

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

Well, real police officers would have had backup and support while going to chase down Scratch, and never would have been in this position.

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

1/10 - It's kind of weird that the wrapup of the Scratch storyline was so lacklustre. The man has so many great plans over years, and then he gets caught because he apparently forgot how to crime between last season and this one!

No comments: