31.12.19

Criminal Minds 1306: The Bunker

A woman is walking through a parking garage, talking on her phone! Damn it, woman, don't you know that's the most important place to keep your bearings? While she's busy taking a flyer off her windshield, a killer appears soundlessly behind her and covers her mouth, then drags her away!

In Quantcio, which they introduce with an establishing shot of Quantico for the second week in a row, the team talks about Garcia moving to a new apartment! Not because of PTSD brought up by last week's episode, but rather because a guy across the courtyard from her is naked all the time and refuses to close his blinds.

Then it's time for the case! This latest victim is the fourth to go missing in the past few years! At least this won't be a spree, right? Each one was a young professional, two grabbed from garages, one from her house, one off the street - no connections between them other than being in the same age range and having full-time jobs! The question is, does the killer hide bodies well, or are they being held alive somewhere, like in the James Patterson novel!

The second, I guess, because we see the latest victim wake up in a fake bedroom with a fake green field view out the window! The killer has also left her clothes to wear with her name written on a card by them. And the view is actually a large television, not a picture. Neat!

Two women come in to check on her- they're not onscreen long enough to see if they're other victims, though. She runs past them and finds she's in an underground maze of white hallways and identical doors, and the staircase out has a glass wall in front of it! She's approached by a man in a hazmat suit, which understandably freaks her out!

Is this one of those situations where the killer is going to tell women that the world has ended, and they're safe in a hiding place? I feel like Medium did an episode with that plot?

In the briefing room, the team tries to figure out what the women have in common, since they're all different races and looks. There's a doctor, a teacher, a dentist, and a chef! All professions which would be useful after an apocalypse! The team guesses that the killer might hold a grudge against accomplished women because he sees himself as underemployed! They then talk about the logistics it would take to keep women alive for so many years! Not sure why the team is zeroing in on the idea that they're still alive. It's not hard to hide a body where it will never be found. If you own any property at all, it's super-easy, in fact, since no one will come wandering around and find it.

The local police chief comes in to warn the team that the media knows they're working the case, and as a result, a woman who's been looking for her sister for five years has shown up to talk to them! It seems that her sister, who had drug issues, went missing when she was 16 and the mom hasn't given up hope!

Speaking of not giving up hope, the latest victim is banging on the glass wall, hoping to escape, or at least get the attention of someone who isn't a crazy murderer! She's approached by the two women, one of whom, Irene, we haven't seen before, but the other is identified as a doctor, so she could be one of the victims! That's backed up when we see how distraught she is for a moment before starting the chef's tour!

The missing girl's sister comes in to talk to JJ, and reveals that she disappeared just a few blocks from the latest parking garage abduction. Could that be meaningful? According to the sister, the girl was trying to get her GED and working with a social worker to get her life on track. Could that be the killer? Since JJ also lost a sister, she offers to look through the file and check to see if it's connected!

At the parking garage, Matt and Joe find the crumpled up flyer - could the killer have made it to distract her while he approached? No mention is made of the security cameras that the parking structure absolutely must have, if just at the entrances and exits.

Then it's down into the fallout shelter, the chef puts a pen to the doctor's throat, but Irene explains that violence won't get her anywhere, and the doctor concurs. They're underground for good! The chef then faints before she can watch the explanatory video they offer her.

Garcia has found a link in the case! Right after the sister went missing a pregnant teen also disappeared. Just five days after that one, the doctor was abducted, which started the whole 'professional women' chain! They check into other young teens went missing or 'ran away', and find a decent list. Eventually it occurs to them that it might be significant that an OBGYN was kidnapped right after a pregnant girl - maybe the killer is abducting pregnant teens to raise their children in a fallout shelter? I wonder how long it will take them to get there, when the fact that an elementary school teacher suggests that children are being raised.

It doesn't happen immediately, since Emily's first instinct is that the babies are probably being killed!

In the dungeon, the chef is strapped to an examination table being seen to by the doctor! She begs for help, but the doctor, while sympathetic, can't offer any.

Back in Quantico, they go over the details of the case. Could the killer have started a cult, and now he's kidnapping professional women to take care of its members and their children? That's the only logical assumption! But will it help them find the killer?

Unrelated to the investigation: Did the killer really need to kidnap a chef? The other professions I get, but isn't this just him getting greedy? Down in the shelter the Irene takes the chef back to her room so that she can calm down, watch the video, and then meet the rest of the denizens! Then a siren goes off and lights flash, and Irene quickly locks her inside the room!

Notably, hers is Bedroom #5 - That might be Irene and the other three women, but where are the children sleeping?

Irene runs to check on the killer in the control room - and it's SNL's Darryl Hammond! He announces that they have to get rid of the chef! But why?

In the next scene, we learn that no, it was the doctor they had to get rid of. Her body was dumped next to a pond somewhere, and found almost immediately! They left her in her doctor's uniform, and someone had apparently tried to bandage up her slashed wrists. So I guess she killed herself, and because she was the only doctor around, no one had the skills to save her?

Then the team gets word that another woman has been taken - is Darryl replacing the doctor already, or does he have someone else in mind?

Down in the dungeon, Irene and Darryl fight over their feelings about the doctor. He's mad, she's sad. Apparently they're doomsday preppers, sure that the world's about to end, and this is their way of preserving society!

The team looks over a tape of the victim's abduction. Yes, there's one of those, for once. It's not security camera-based, though. No, a random person was in a car filming the new doctor putting groceries in the trunk of her vehicle, and then Darryl came up and grabbed her! What an amazing coincidence!

Strangely, Daryll looked at a digital clock on the building next to the parking lot before grabbing the new doctor. But why? He didn't move until it read 11:57:30, so the team thinks that number may have some significance to him, since all the women were grabbed around midnight! That seems like a stretch, though. Wouldn't it be crazily lucky that the exact moment that he needed to kidnap this specific woman she also happened to be in an incredibly vulnerable position?

JJ goes to talk to the sister of the missing woman, and asks her whether she knew about her sister's pregnancy. She didn't, but still wants to help! She can't, though.

The team goes over the clock evidence, and believes that they've found a connection, in that each woman was abducted later than the last, always inching closer to midnight - could the killer be obsessed with the Doomsday Clock? That's kind of an absurd concept, since you'd have no reason to think that these women would be grabbable within five minutes of midnight. Since the killers aren't trying to leave a message for the police I can't believe that there's any reason they would do this.

After all that buildup we're cheated out of seeing the whole video, only dropping in for the last ten seconds of it as the new doctor watches. Then, still shell-shocked, she gets brought into the common room to meet all of the cultists! It's overwhelming. One of the women is very pregnant, so I'm guessing she'll be called to act sooner rather than later!

JJ asks the sister if her sister knew anyone who might have brought her into the world of doomsday cults, but she has no leads to offer! Maybe she met someone while busking with her guitar on the street?

Down in the dungeon, the chef and new doctor try to explain to the cultists that the world hasn't ended, but they're too brainwashed to listen! So the chef grabs a knife and prepares to defend herself at an opportune moment.

The team gathers around Garcia as she looks up doomsday preppers online. She narrows it down to people who live in Virginia, and the Matt suggests people who work in engineering, since they're most likely to be crazy! Garcia finds Darryl, who in addition to all of the prepper stuff, has recently been buying chlorofom! The team rushes out to search his various residences, warrants be damned!

Weirdly, there's no information about him owning any land where the bunker is built. How did he keep that off the record? Maybe Irene owns it?

Speaking of Irene, the doctor and nurse take her hostage by tricking her into thinking the chef needed medical help! Wait, isn't that the doctor's job? Why is Irene checking on her?

The team searches all of Darryl's storage spaces, his home and work, and comes up with nothing! Did they really think he would have a dozen people in a storage locker somewhere? So they have Garcia look for his partner, the unknown person who was driving the van.

He talked most frequently with Irene, a counselor at a drug rehab place! Which is how they picked their targets! Also she owns a black ban, so... this is basically over, right? Especially when they find out that Irene owns a bunch of land!

Reid and JJ rush over because they're the closest, but that seems like a weird choice. Why aren't they calling in the cavalry and surrounding the place? You have zero idea what you're walking into. They could have hundreds of guns, and possibly armed guards. But no, two FBI agents are going.

Reid and JJ get out to the property, and are disappointed to discover that there's nothing there! Then it occurs to Reid that the property might be one of those abandoned Cold War facilities the government sells off from time to time. Yeah, that would have been on the deed Garcia looked at. It's not like the woman bought some land and then it just turned out there was a bunker down there. She bought a bunker to own a bunker, so there's a record of that.

Reid and JJ climb into the bunker through a disguised hatch, which then shuts when an alarm goes off downstairs! Bet you're wishing that you'd waited for backup now, aren't you?

Apparently they didn't need the backup, since after JJ and Reid are locked in the entrance suite Darryl drops by to give them a chance to talk to the cultists. JJ uses her knowledge of the relationship between the two sisters to get one of the cultists to turn on Darryl, and it works immediately! They club him into submission, and Irene gives up the code.

THE END

In an unintentionally funny moment, they handcuff Irene before leading her away. Um... team? The handcuffs can wait until she's climbed the ladder.

All of the cultists make it out, and it's a happy ending!

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

I can only give them the barest of credit for intuiting the meaning of the kidnapping times, since the kidnapping times were one of the stupidest writer's conceits I've ever encountered. Just truly shockingly awful stuff.

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

A simple search of people who owned black vans and were part of the prepper community would have gotten them there in a decent amount of time.

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

2/10 - Their best in a while, but still super-weak!

Fun fact: This episode was directed by Aisha Tyler! Much like Joe Mantegna's episodes, I detected no particular artistic style or visual flair. I guess the show needed yet another tradesman to stand behind the camera and call action?

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