Criminal Minds 1305: Lucky Strikes

In Florida, a group of teens stop at an under-construction rest stop for a bathroom emergency! One girl goes in and finds a dead body with its fingers and legs removed, and a pentagram carved into its chest! It's another satanic ritual murder! Could Jamie Kennedy have found an acolyte to his evil ways? Oh, and I won't bother with a screenshots or a video, because the producers obviously knew how garbage the effects look, and cut quickly so we wouldn't notice it, but wow, are the effects around the body atrocious.

Between the missing legs and the fact that the victim's jewelry was laid out in a pattern, Joe and Emily come to an immediate conclusion - Jamie Kennedy is back and killing again! Hilariously, JJ explains that people called the guy 'Lucky' because he kept falling through the cracks. Only no, that was just the title of the episode. No one called him that.

Garcia flees the room, because she's traumatized by talk of the murders. In case you need a reminder, it's in the aftermath of this case that someone tried to murder her for nonsensical reasons!

They talk about how Jamie's been in the crazy bin for a decade, so he can't be the killer! How many of the details of the case were made public, though? If the missing fingers and strange arrangement of a items was kept secret, then you've got a very small pool of suspects to draw from! Let's keep our fingers crossed, because it won't be too hard to investigate a handful of cops and people at the asylum where Jamie lives!

Ensuring that it's completely impossible to make their already-ridiculous 'wheels up in 20' edict, Emily calls JJ over after the briefing to chat about something - but we don't find out what just yet, because the show cuts over to Jaime being brought lunch! Will it contain human flesh? No, but Jaime claims that he's already full when the food is offered, so he obviously knows about the new murders!

On the plane, we discover that the victim was a sex worker whose pimp reported her missing! They also decide to track down the woman who was rescued from Jamie, since her life may be in danger.

In Quantico, Garcia is still freaking out like an hour after she left the conference room, and when she leaves the bathoom she finds that JJ has stayed back to comfort her while she works through the situation! Garcia finds that condescending, but JJ tells her that her PTSD is totally understandable. This is kind of hilarious, given that it's coming from a woman who refused treatment for her own PTSD, even after it led her to murder a guy!

Emily and Eric go to the police station, which it turns out is being run by a former FBI agent that Emily knows, but is not familiar to me. Apparently the cop from the previous episode has retired in the interim. They decide to keep the case quiet so that the copycat won't get a chance to thrive on the media attention. Couldn't that backfire, though, and make him do more extravagant and public crimes to get the attention her craves?

At the morgue, the ME finally gives them the important detail - the victim was fed five fingers by the killer before she died, just like Jamie Kennedy used to. And that wasn't included in any press reports, so yes, the narrowing of the copycat list has begun!

When Reid and Matt get to the asylum, they learn that the doctor in charge thinks that Jamie might be innocent, so she's approved letting him out to visit his sister so long as he's chaperoned! Somehow they don't ask the doctor how she can possibly think he's innocent when the cops found pictures of dead women in his house, a freezer full a human meat, and a living woman that he actually abducted. What is her justification for this theory?

Back at base, we learn that the fingers are all from a single woman, so there's only one definite other victim. Then Matt and Reid arrive with the 'supervised home visits' news, and this leads the team to think that Jamie could be the killer, after all! How, though? Supervised home visits aren't furloughs - they don't just let you out for the weekend. You're taken to a house to visit for X amount of time, while at least one person waits nearby, then you're taken back to the asylum.

It would have taken at least a day to find a victim, butcher her, then move the body out to a rest stop off the beaten path. Also you'd need a vehicle and a private place to do the butchering. Jamie has access to none of these things. They also tell us that because the supervised visits were part of his treatment regiment, the doctors felt no need to tell the cops about him being out of the asylum.

Here's the thing, though, he wasn't found not guilty by reason of insanity was found not capable to stand trial. So he'd never get out. The minute that Jamie was sane enough to know who he was and what he'd done, the government would immediately put him on trial for serial killing. There would be no way he'd ever be let out for any amount of time, because the moment he was considered to be sane enough to not be locked up, he'd be locked up again in jail.

It's telling that the only examples of murderers getting out of asylums are John Hinkley (who was let out after 35 years, much longer than he would have spent in jail if he'd been convicted of attempted murder) and the Canadian bus decapitator, who's not relevant because Canada's laws are different than America's. The idea that people 'get away with murder' by pleading insanity is an urban myth.

Things get more ludicrous, as Jamie's lawyer arrives and announces that she's suing the FBI and demanding Jamie's immediate release, because there was never any evidence linking him to the crime. He was just set up and manipulated by the real killer, who's only just now reappeared after a decade! First off, Jamie confessed. Second off, photographs of all the victims with his fingerprints all over them. Third off, freezer full of human corpses. Fourth off, a woman testified that he kidnapped her, locked her in his basement, and prepared her to be eaten.

What does this lawyer think constitutes evidence in this world? Still, the team decides to investigate the possibility that Jamie had a partner!

While on stakeout watching Jamie's sister's house, Matt asks if the team ate any human meat during the search. Reid responds that he doesn't like 'group food', which means nothing. Inside the house, Jamie offers to not come back any more, since he's causing trouble in her life. Then he goes up to the attic and menaces her son, telling me not to mess with his locked cabinet of stuff.

Naturally, the cabinet is the altar where he prays to Satan. This is the worst anyone has ever done at supervising a home visit. How have the cops not found this already? Once they identified that Jamie could possibly be the killer in this case, why didn't the immediately get a search warrant and scour this place for evidence?

The next day Jamie goes to church, along with Matt, while Reid and Eric stay at the house to chat with the rest of the family! Somehow the sister thinks that Jamie is innocent. Despite the room literally packed with corpses and the woman who testified against him. I know you want to stick by your family, lady, but this has bled over into full-on delusion.

Garcia and JJ watch Derek's original interrogation of Jaime, and reference the fact that he said he had a 'smart friend' who tells him what to do, and that Derek knew his name. Now, at the time, he was pretty clearly talking about Satan, because that was one of the episodes of Criminal Minds which argued that demons are real. Are they now going to say that the priest was his partner in crime?

Joe then asks why Garcia hasn't found the woman who survived Jamie back in the day, and Garcia freaks out, because she's PTSDing pretty hard, and obviously shouldn't be working this case. Instead of getting another analyst to work the case, though, they just let her storm off and the important work simply doesn't get done!

Up in the attic of the sister's house Eric and Reid find the base station for his ankle monitor, and point out that he could have just plugged it into a portable power supply and carried it with him. Except wouldn't any power interruption have been immediately reported to the police - especially when there was another one a couple of hours later? Or have they got him locked up with complete garbage technology? The show keeps acting like it's totally up to the hospital when Jamie comes and goes, but he's there on a mental hold before trial - the fact that it's been a decade doesn't change that it's still just a mental hold before trial.

Then they find his satanic altar, and go to talk with him at church. Oh, and at church, he's harassed by the mother of the woman who he killed and turned into chili. If only she'd brought a gun and shot her, we could have sped things along!

If it's the same church as before I can't tell, since we only see a basement meeting room, and the priest isn't there.

At the police station, they talk to the woman who Jamie kidnapped. She discusses how hard it's been to forget the situation - she even moved away and changed her name! Hey, what about her husband and two sons? Remember them? I guess the show doesn't! They point out something weird from the earlier episode - if she was grabbed during the day, why was the car only pulled over at night!

They try to make hay out of this, and have her say that the car was parked in a building when she first woke up. Here's the problem, though - the woman was noticed as being missing almost immediately, and we see the cop who pulled Jamie over get the alert about her disappearance in real time, which is why he didn't hear the pounding on the inside of the trunk. So there couldn't have been the kind of giant time lapse we're now hearing about. And she heard a train going past the building that they were in.

Also, they have her say that Jaime said 'we' a lot and she heard footsteps upstairs while she was locked up. This is all new to the episode.

Jamie now says that he simply picked the woman up at a warehouse and rubbed her legs, because that's all that his friend told him to do. The friend that he refuses to name or describe. He also turned a woman into chili and fed that chili to people... but he's eliding over that part. And, you know, the freezer room full of slaughtered women.

Then the lawyer comes in and says the interview is over! I don't know how she thinks that she's going to get him released when he's not willing to name his accomplice. Also, just being an accomplice to a cannibalistic serial killer, if that's what happened, doesn't get you out of jail. You were still an accomplice serial killer.

Garica finds a warehouse that could be the one Jamie was talking about! That night the original victim is walking to her car is clubbed by a mysterious killer... but who was it? Wait, why was she all alone? You've established her as paranoid, and now she's even more so because the killer is back in the news. How could she possibly be ambushed?

Reid and Matt rush over to the warehouse and search it, finding the first victim of this latest set! She's missing at least her fingers, explaining where the fingers in the next victim's stomach came from!

In a nice touch, Derek drops by the office to chat with Garcia since she's having so much trouble! Based on his dress, yeah, he's now just a full-time house flipper. Good for him!

We get some info about the newest victim - she disappeared six weeks ago, while Jamie was locked down! At the same time, her wounds are hesitant, like it was someone's first try at murder, and the legs weren't cut off. Could the major differences be proof that this is a copycat? Oh, and while the legs weren't missing, someone literally took a bite out of one of them, trying out the whole 'cannibal' thing. And she doesn't have any fingers in her stomach, so she was probably the first victim.

It's only when the find out about the amateurish mistakes the killer made in copying the MO that the team finally gets to the conclusion that they should have jumped to from the start - that Jamie has a disciple. I'd ask why they dismissed this theory earlier, but that didn't happen - they just never brought the possibility up.

Emily and Joe talk to the first victim's fiancee, and asks if there was anyone creepy in her life. She says that her little brother has a history of mental problems, and he's started to pull out of it by going to church every week! Which church? Jamie's, of course! I mean, I'm just guessing that, because this show is terribly written. They seriously don't ask the woman which church her brother goes to, instead, Emily and the local cop walk out of the room and ponder whether they might be parishoners at the same church.

You could have just asked her that, dummies!

Instead of doing that, they ask Garcia to track him down, and learn that the brother has a history of mental problems, and was bullied as a child, making him a perfect target for Jamie's charismatic madness! The only address they have is a rooming house - which the team dismisses, because he wouldn't be keeping women there. How is that relevant, though? You don't know that he's currently got a kidnapped woman somewhere. For all you know, he's hanging out in his room, waiting for inspiration to strike.

Then Matt looks at his photo and remembers him from the church group! Is this why you didn't have Emily ask the fiancee? So it would look like the team was accomplishing things? He also remembers the killer passing Jamie a brown paper bag, which presumably had the human flesh that Jamie wants to eat more than anything.

Oh, and Reid then enters and lets us know about the victim who's been recaptured. Apparently no one knew until now because she works overnight, and she didn't come home this afternoon? They do mention the husband though, so that's something!

Now it's a race to figure out where the killer's hideout is! They don't have any ideas at all, so they decide to check the one place with a connection to the crime - Jamie's old house, which is coincidentally uninhabited and in really good condition!

The team busts in and the killer confesses to all of the murders, going back ten years, and then slashes his own throat! I'm guessing this is his final attempt to free Jamie, but since no one is going to be told he made that statement, and there's zero evidence tying him to the murders, it won't accomplish much.


Back at the police station, Joe and Eric announce that they're ethically bound to tell Jamie's lawyer about the killer's dying lie, but I'm not sure why. Both of these men have killed unarmed people because they felt it was the right thing to do. Why do they suddenly think that helping a cannibal escape justice and go back to killing is the moral choice? There's no reason that these two men and the victim - who, remember, knows Jamie tortured her - would ever tell anyone.

Still, the team acts like they have to let Jamie go, because the law isn't on their side! Except you have to actively help the law work against you for Jamie to go free - so why are you planning to do that?

Things then get ludicrous, as they're unable to find any physical evidence that Jamie committed the original crimes. How is everyone forgetting about the pile of dead women in his basement? The copycat didn't mention anything about that, and has no proof beyond a statement!

At the mental board hearing - which is somehow happening the same day, the doctors think Joe's opinions are irrelevant, and decide to set Jamie free! Again, they'd be setting him free to charge him with accessory to serial killing, but whatever. Then the team comes in with a warrant to search his body in the hopes that the last victim's fingers are still in his stomach! Jamie immediately tries to attack Joe when he hears the news - I guess he just recently ate the fingers? Because they were handed to him more than 24 hours ago, so there's a good chance they're not still in there.

Although, that said, who knows how good the digestive tract is at dealing with human bones?

Then everyone gets back together in Quantico for a hug! Except for Derek, who I guess could only show up for one day?

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

No. They asked a victim's fiancee who the killer was, and she told them.

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

The killer murdered someone he knew, and then left the body around for people to find. Yes, he would have been caught.

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

0/10 - I know it may seem like I'm cheating to give them a lower score than they deserved, since they did, in fact, solve the crime - but here's the thing, the fact that they almost got Jaime released from the asylum by doing something incredibly stupid costs them points.

There was a mountain of evidence against Jaime. A literal mountain of human bodies. There was no physical evidence of the copycat being involved in the original crimes. Yet the team decides they 'legally' have to report the copycat's false statement.

Weirdly, had the guy just surrendered and claimed to have committed the crimes, this ending would have made sense, but no, the show had to make the team look like idiots, just because it could.

Hey, if he didn't have a partner back in the day, what's with the stopping by a warehouse and the footsteps upstairs in Jamie's house? Why, it's almost like the show butchered the reality of the previous episode for a misdirect, and then when they pulled a 360, they expected us to just forget all of that other nonsense!

Two weeks in a row we've got candidates for the dumbest episode of Criminal Minds ever. That's... amazing.


Cooper said...

I keep pondering the issue of the original crime and the acolyte. He is the younger brother of a young woman (looks early 20's, but I guess possible as old as 30. Younger brother would be MAX 18 years old during the original crimes. He is supposed to be painted as the wiser, manipulative, smarter friend of "Lucky" 10 years ago? I don't really want to rewatch it to see if they say he is older than that...ugh. You know it is poorly written when you get physically angry at the lawyer and the head of the psychiatric facility (who does not have the power they give her here (as you pointed out) I got angry at the team too. Lucky wasn't "careful not to leave evidence" he served Human meat at a BBQ shop and does not seems overly careful or clean in his butchering or holding area.

Cooper said...

okay, scrubbed through the episode. He is in his 30's. Okay, unlikely but plausible.

Unknown said...

The victim at the end was the mother of a past victim who shouted at him in the church not the previously escaped victim. Had they not come clean about the dying confession she might have done, after all she's a church going woman who has no proof it wasn't this guy all along? Don't remember the previous episode and the amount of actual proof they had then tho, need to rewatch it

MetalHippie said...

Been binge reading your reviews since I just now finished season 16. Even though I am a fanboi and will defend this show regardless of some bad writing this episode is just horrendous. I was so excited since Lucky is one of favorite episodes but they just did SOOOO much retconning, and Jaimie's ability to act creepy asf was severely diminished since the first one. I think Seasons 12 and 13 are where they really dropped the ball especially 13. Disappointingly stale retread : (