Criminal Minds 1321: Mixed Signals

In a medical clinic a doctor is on the phone with her spouse! She stayed late to treat a final patient, so she's alone in the building. Then she notices a door ajar and someone searching through a room with a flashlight! She decides to confront the intruder, while her husband yells to call the cops. He's right, of course - the most likely thing that's going on is someone's searching for drugs, and you should not try to confront a desperate junkie on her own.

She's an idiot, though, so she checks the room, and finds a beardo searching through files. He knocks her to the ground and demands to know where 'it' is!

At the office in Quantico, Aisha and Eric talk about how he's been dating DRGF for three months now, ever since the werewolf episode! So that makes this... April? It's weird how much they want him to fit into the Derek mold, isn't it? Eric asks Aisha if she's seeing anyone, and she says she hasn't since she broke off her engagement two years ago.

Ah, the casual lies of the psychopath - she gains nothing by pretending that she wasn't dumped, but she does it anyway. A fascinating case, this one! So, was there ever a time when the producers were actually going to go down the path that her introduction suggests, and make her a psychopathic academic, like the real-life guy from the seminar at the beginning of Outfoxed? And now that storyline has been abandoned, and Aisha just has no character?

Or was I always just reading into things, wanting the show to do something interesting for once. I suppose we may never know the answer.

Oh, and Reid is taking yet another week off. Seriously, I know I keep saying this, but I really hope everything is okay with Matt Gubler. I keep almost googling him to find out if he's having medical problems, but I don't want any outside knowledge to affect how I react to these episodes, so I can't risk finding out whether he's in Season 14. One week from now, though, I'll check up on the guy.

Hey, do you think he'll get to direct the last episode of Criminal Minds? He definitely deserves the opportunity to do so!

Case time - the doctor was murdered by having a hole drilled into her head. I mean, really, she was killed by not having any sense of self-preservation, but the hole didn't help either. One week earlier, a high school teacher was killed the same way! The team talks about trepannation - could this be a killer with a crazed mystical mania?

In New Mexico, a construction worker arrives on a job site and is immediately clubbed by the killer! Again, he's interrogated and then executed! So yeah, it's a spree, just like always. Weird how sure the killer was that there would be no one around this construction site as he committed this noisy, time-consuming crime.

On the plane, the team isn't able to suss out any connection between the victims, other than them all being partially aboriginal. Garcia is dispatched to find some link between the three! It's doubtful there will be one, though, given how clearly mad the killer is. Maybe the locations are important?

At the police station, Aisha and Emily interview spouses! The widow reveals that her husband had a gambling problem he was struggling to control, and he was 25K in debt! The widower heard his wife die, so he knows that the guy demanded to know where 'it' was! Emily doesn't immediately see the significance of that line, and the widower storms off!

At the morgue, the ME shows them that each person had a nearly identical wound - the killer had a weirdly steady hand for someone drilling into the brains of living people!

Then it's over to the killer's lair, where we see that he's got a board of surveillance photos of all of his victims. So there's nothing random about this! But wait, if that's the case, why did he risk getting the cops called on him by ransacking the doctor's office rather than just attacking her?

The killer looks over the staff photos of a local library, presumably looking for his next victim! Will he do elaborate surveillance of that person as well, or just go straight to the murdering! Probably the second, right?

As the team tries to figure out what the 'it' that the killer was looking for could have been, Garcia calls with financial data on the victims. The teacher got semi-regular deposits of large sums of money, while the construction worker had the aforementioned debts. The doctor had no real monetary issues.

At the library, the killer wants blueprints for a huge number of buildings, but the librarian informs him that he needs permission from the owners to get that. So he asks more angrily, which doesn't get him anywhere. So that night, he attacks one of the other librarians, who didn't respond when he asked about the blueprints. I'm guessing she was deaf, because she didn't act like she was ignoring him.

Weird that the librarian didn't call the cops about the creepy homeless man who was trying to intimidate her. Does that happen a lot in libraries?

When Eric and Aisha get to the scene, we find out that the librarian is, in fact, deaf, but Eric signs, so it doesn't matter! Will they subtitle the sign language? No, he just says everything she's saying out loud. Awkward!

Apparently when the killer found out she was deaf, he touched her ear, said she was lucky, and then left! That probably has something to do with the fact that the killer had stress-triggered tinnitis when he was frustrated at the library. Of course, only the audience knows about that at the moment.

Aisha comes back outside and informs Eric about the crazy homeless guy who wanted blueprints. Did the librarian write down which specific blueprints he wanted, though? That would have been a hell of a lead! Considering that the killer spared a deaf woman, and drilled into the auditory center of the brains in the others, Aisha thinks she has an idea what this is all about!

Time for the profile! The team talks about the 'hum', a Taos-centric phenomenon where people hear a low-frequency sound all the time and it drives them to murder! Apparently this is real thing that started in the 90s, and if so, it's presumably what that Bryan Cranston episode of the X-Files was based on! So the team asks the cops to run down anyone who's complained about it publicly, and also search for guys who look like the beardo - weird that the library doesn't have a security camera, right? Also they should focus on the stretch of land that the killer is interested in, since it might be associated with this 'hum' he might be obsessed with! Or maybe just check it out because he was fascinated by it.

As the profile finishes up, we get a look at a picture of the new victim, and the killer's conspiracy wall where he's laid out all of his evidence about the 'hum'! So, what piece of evidence is he looking for when he's killing these people? The crashed alien spaceship that the hum is coming from? Almost certainly not!

Then he heads to the latest victim's house, and attacks him! We don't see the murder immediately, so maybe this is the guy who actually knows something about the hum?

Things get super-crazy at the office as they decide they have to take the belief in the hum seriously, and investigate whether it could be real! Emily says this. Do they not remember the 'False Flag' episode, where we were told everything conspiracy theorists believe is a lie, and they're stupid for believing it? Also, to add insult to injury, Matt chimes in with 'maybe the hum cause the Dyatlov Pass incident'! Oof.

Garcia calls with info about conspiracy message boards! She suggests not reading the comments, which is a line you say about articles on the internet, not message boards, but I guess the point she's making is that all conspiracy people are toxic scumbags? Hot take, Garcia! The point is, she's found Taos' lead hum nut, and sent him over to talk to them!

JJ and Matt go to interview the guy, and he tells them that the teacher sold hum-cancelling boxes to the gullible, which is where all that money came from! But if the teacher was doing that, he must have been advertising his services, definitely online - how did Garcia's search of his online records not turn that up? Is she the worst at her job, suddenly? Anyhoo, the guy tells them that Taos has super-weird electromagnetic fields, because of how their power lines were arranged - could that be what people are reacting to? If so, will the killer attack the power grid?

It turns out that he will - he's brought the newest victim to a master routing station, and tells him to turn off the power to the district that the hum is originating in. Hey, here's the thing about that - how is this electrical station completely unguarded? Even if the victim has ID that can get them through the door, the man he's with is a deranged beardo carrying a cordless power drill. He's not getting through the door.

After the power is off, the killer still hears the sound (because he's crazy, remember), and murders his hostage! Wow, Bryan Cranston was a way better guy than this person. And he was a white supremacist!

At the power station, Joe and Emily wonder how they can possibly find the killer now - shutting off the power accomplished nothing, so what can he possibly be planning to do next? Did you ever find out why he was obsessed with that stretch of land? That seems like a decent lead. Also, you're assuming that the killer murdered the first guy because he purchased and was upset with a Faraday box from him - presumably he paid for that somehow, and had it shipped somewhere. What's going on with the teacher's records?

In his hovel, the killer has a flashback to happy times living with his lady when they first moved to Taos! Which couldn't have been too long ago, because he looks exactly the same. Exact same crazy man beard and everything. Couldn't you have shot the scene with his lady last, and had the guy trim his beard for those shots?

Garcia tracks down all of the local super-crazies who complain about the hum, but none of the men match the description of beardo! So they expand their search to women, thinking that maybe beardo is the husband of a crazy person, who has adopted her madness? Garcia quickly finds the only crazy woman in Taos who complained about the hum and isn't dead or out of state! She mysterious stopped posting online exactly one year before the killings started! They check out her husband and his picture matches the deaf lady's description exactly!

As the team drives out to all of the killer's known locations, they go through the wife's backstory! She wanted to do anything to make the hum stop. They wonder if the husband killed her, but for some reason none of them mention the fact that the guy was drilling in to the aural section of the brain in a really practiced fashion. Wouldn't it stand to reason that he'd had some experience with that, and his murders are themed around what happened to his wife?

A flashback confirms the theory - he found her with a hole drilled in her head, and it caused a psychotic break that gave him the 'hum' as well!

The killer grabs an axe from the wall of his shed, and heads off somewhere. We figure out the where immediately, when it turns out that a married and pregnant couple are living in the house he used to share with his wife! Luckily, Garcia finds out the location of the house that they lived in before the wife killed herself and they rush over there!

Aisha and Eric rush in to confront the killer, and it turns out the family wasn't in danger! He just wanted to smash up the walls while looking for the machine that caused the sound! If this were an E-Files episode, at the end we'd see that there was a mysterious black box hidden in the walls the whole time.

The team tells him they're sorry about what happened to him and his wife! He surrenders without incident.


On the plane back, Aisha and Eric talk about how she did such a good job of connecting to the crazy man! She had a first husband who was destroyed by a pill addiction!

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

I wish I could say it was, but Aisha's knowledge of hum trivia has nothing to do with profiling.

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

The killer's first victim had a concrete connection to the killer that they should have caught right away.

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

1/10 - It's weird, I can understand the teacher, and I can understand the power station guy, but I have no idea why the killer went after the doctor and the construction worker. Like, neither one of them had the slightest connection to the hum, or the killer. So what was the point? What was he looking for?

It's almost as if they both died so that the episode could have a larger body count, and for no other reason!

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