Criminal Minds 1414: Sick and Evil

We see a woman talking on the phone with a friend. She's sad, because she lost her baby (as evidenced by the empty crib in the background, and is envious because the friend has one! Also, there's a killer in the house. She sees him at the end of a hallway locks herself in an office that has a fireplace in it! She grabs a poker to defend herself, but for some reason doesn't bother to push the desk in front of the door.

Instead, she just watches helplessly as the killer unscrews the lock and opens the door. The killer attacks her with a knife, while wearing some kind of two-colour plastic mask! It's a strange choice. Especially because whoever directed this episode isn't up to staging all of this like a slasher film the way Matt Gubler would have.

Joe goes to talk to Emily about his failure to find the conman, but she tells him that he can't worry about it too much - there's plenty of other cases that they need to work on. I'm not sure how the nationwide BOLO and adding him to the most wanted list hasn't helped - not to mention the bounty likely placed on his head by the surviving relatives.

They get a call about a new case! But it's already midnight. Why is Garcia even there to send them an e-mail. Then we see the team gathered around the table to chat about the case - it must be, what, 1AM at this point? Could this not have waited until the morning?

I know I explained in an earlier review why this can never wait until morning, but wow, is this troublesome from a writing standpoint. Like, I know most of you are job-obsessed weirdos, but JJ and Matt both have young children at home. Do they just never see their kids? Jr. and that Lawyer must be the best spouses on earth.

Emily reveals that both victims were clubbed into submission, then tied to a bed and stabbed 22 times in the stomach. Out of nowhere, Joe announces that neither of them were mothers, or pregnant at the time of their stabbing. What does that have to do with anything? Why would you bring that up? I mean, based on that opening scene, I'm sure that's going to be part of the killer's whole 'thing', but there's no reason that Joe should be talking about it already. They weren't stabbed in the womb, Joe.

And if they were clubbed into submission, why wasn't the killer brandishing a cudgel in that opening scene?

They head out to the plane at some point - we're not sure when, because Emily has continued giving people no information about when they're supposed to be at the plane. How is this continuing to be a thing? Oh, right, literally no one working on the show cares at all.

Then we cut over to a hose where a couple is cleaning up after a dinner party. Will the killer finally strike when it's not just a woman home alone? Yes! He murders the couple with a kitchen knife! Weird that people aren't taking more security precautions, what with two women being brutally slaughtered in their homes in the past week. Lewiston may be the second-biggest city in Maine, but less than 40K people live there, so it's not like this wouldn't be huge news.

On the plane, they talk about how crazy it is for someone to do two elaborate murders in a single night. I'll say! Especially since the first murder happened after it was already pitch-black outside, so it had to be after 6PM, since this episode is set in January. Also, we hear that the husband was stabbed 22 times - killed by the first blow, and then stabbed 21 times later on! So they figure the killer must be fixated on that number for some reason. But why?

More importantly, they couldn't possibly have this information - the husband was killed less than an hour ago. Even if the ME could figure out the relative timeline of the stabwounds - which given what a mess his stomach must be, is a big 'if' - there's no way an autopsy has been perfomed yet. They body might still be at the crime scene.

How is the show this bad at timelines? They left for the airport at roughly 1AM, let's say they were in the air by 1:30, and it's a two-hour flight, which would have them comfortably at the airport by 4AM. By the time they get to the police station it's broad daylight, which means it's probably in the neighbourhood of 9AM.

What did they do for those missing five hours?

At the police station in town Emily and Eric interview the widower of the second victim. He talks about how hard his wife was taking the miscarriage, and we learn that it was her sister on the phone who has a bunch of kids!

The widower has a clue to offer - his wife had been hearing footsteps inside the house, and he'd thought she was just going nuts! Could there have been a hider in the house this whole time? They decide to talk to everyone in the neighbourhoods, hoping that someone saw a weirdo stalker hanging around before the killings. Strangely they call it 're-canvassing', but two of the neighbourhoods haven't actually been canvassed yet, because the two murders just happened last night.

When JJ and Aisha get to the murder house, a woman runs up to say that she's a local crime buff, and warns them that the place was the site of a brutal murder 60 years ago where a man stabbed his wife to death with a kitchen knife and then sliced his own throat. Despite the extra detail that the woman was stabbed in the stomach, JJ and Aisha blow her off, assuming that information could have no possible relevance to their case.

Thankfully they have Garcia look into her right away, because they find it suspicious that she knew about the crime this quickly and tried to insert herself into the investigation. They don't mention that the stomach stabbing was a weirdly on-point coincidence, though.

Hey, dummies? If you both thought that this woman might be a suspect or at least know something of value, why did you send her on her way? Wouldn't it have been far smarter to take her down to the police station to hear what she has to say while you look into her? I'm not saying that they've just let the killer go, but it's weird that they think they might have, and don't see any problem in that.

Up in the bedroom, Aisha and JJ look over the crime scene and suggest that the killer may be evolving, because now he's attacking sleeping women instead of clonking them on the head! Then again, he attacked a dude who was awake, and that had every chance of going badly and giving the woman an opportunity to barricade herself in the bedroom, so is it really an evolution?

Also, they find salt in the four corners of the room - did the couple know their house was haunted, or was it the killer's thing?

That night, a lady hears a tub running upstairs and yells at her daughter not to take another shower. Then it turns out her daughter is in her bedroom! The mom tells her to call 911 and then go grabs a gun from a cabinet she keeps in the main room of the house! That was convenient! Most people keep guns in the bedroom. Was she expecting someone to come kicking down her front door at some point?

Because the mother is an idiot, instead of barricading herself in the daughter's bedroom and waiting for the police, she goes to search the house, waving her gun around! Lady, you know that four people have been murdered in your town by people breaking into their houses. Why are you taking this risk? Your daughter is downstairs, woman!

She finds the running tub, turns it off, and then gets attacked by the killer who sneaked up behind her! Some people are too stupid to live. It's just a fact.

Garcia finds a connection between the various victims! Each one of them lived in a house that was thought to be haunted - at least according to the 'haunted houses' section of the nosy lady's website about the town's history! The team asks her for a list of other haunted houses from the website, and she sends it over. Also, the nosy lady has a history of violent outbursts and used to be a nurse! Damn, that would make for a pretty good suspect, right?

She also gets word about the 911 call from one of the haunted houses, so Joe tells JJ and Tara to rush over to that house immediately! Joe then tells Matt to get the rest of the team, because he wants people at all of the other addresses in case there's another double even.

Um... Joe? It's not your team. It doesn't matter what you want. Also, maybe have the cops go to those houses, because they're closer? And also phone the people who live there and tell them to wait for the cops by the front door?

At the house they find the latest woman brutally murdered, and Courtney, the nosy lady, standing in the corner, with blood all over her hands! Damn, that's a bad look, lady.

In an interrogation room, Courtney explains that she tired to help the stabbed woman, and that's why she got blood all over herself! She explains that she'd figured out which haunted houses the killer might have gone to next, and she just got lucky! A likely story! Hey... um... if you'd figured out that all of the kills were happening at haunted houses you profiled on your website, why didn't you mention that to the team earlier in the day? You're a true-crime obsessive who runs a website about this stuff, so you couldn't have avoided making the connection immediately - especially after three murders in a single night at two of the houses.

What I'm saying is, if this lady isn't the killer, or working with them, there's no earthly reason not to tell the team about the connection between the houses. None.

Joe says that he doesn't believe her, but he'll give her a chance to confess to everything she knows in the hopes of clearing herself! Could the killer be another member of the ghost-hunting community?

Meanwhile, Aisha interviews the daughter about the incident. She heard her mom get murdered, and hid behind a chair. She saw the killer wearing a mask, and then saw the killer take it off. It was, in fact, a woman, but according to the daughter, it was not Courtney! Twist! Well, not really - if it had been her, you would have found the weapon and costume at the crime scene, and you didn't - after all, the cops got there just minutes after the 911 call, right?

Actually, how did the killer get away? She had to club the mother, drag her to the bedroom, tie her to the bedposts, stab her two dozen times, and then take a leisurely stroll down the stairs. But 911 was called before the mother even went upstairs, so... how did the cops not catch the killer?

Time for the profile, which serves to restate everything the audience already knows - thanks for that! They've already let Courtney go as well, which seems like a weird move to me. I mean, she probably knows the killer, and has been publicly linked to the crimes, wouldn't it make sense to keep her in some kind of protective custody until they find the killer?

It turns out that Courtney did, in fact, know who the killer was! Garcia calls with a list of other haunted houses that might be targeted for the next killing, and they send her Courtney's list at the same time. It turns out one of the women on it looks exactly like the sketch that was made based on the daughter's memory! Well, that was an easy solve! How is there fifteen minutes left in this episode?

Oh, okay, here's how - we cut to Courtney going to visit the killer! At her university office! She tells a woman on the list of possible killers that she created that the FBI is in town, and they briefly suspected her of the crimes! The killer's response? Head out to a house that she and her husband had 'failed to cleanse' the week before, a perform a ceremony with them!

Courtney, because she's a moron, agrees to drive out to the middle of nowhere with this woman. Sometimes we bring hardship on ourselves. She even leaves her cell phone in the office, because signals interfere with the 'EMF meters'. Um... then turn the cell phone off once you get there. Why is this woman so gullible? Then again, objectivists exist, so...

Aisha and Matt arrive at the office soon after, and find Courtney's phone. Is she an accomplice, or the next victim? Obviously the second, but they can't be sure of that yet. They start to search the office, looking for a clue about where the killer's going to strike next!

Over at the murder house, Courtney gives us a rundown of its history! A lady went nuts and stabbed her family 15 times each, and then killed herself. Then, some time later, a couple bought the house and the wife stabbed the husband then killed herself as well! Very specific curse on this house, I like it!

Then the killer corrects Courtney, it was actually 22 stabs each. Which Courtney thinks is 'cool', because she hasn't heard the details of the murders, I guess.

Garcia calls the team with info about the killer - she had a lifetime of mental problems leading to violent behaviour, which she always kept in check with drugs. Then she met her husband, a ghost hunter, and quit all of her meds cold-turkey, since she started believing evil spirits were responsible for everything! There are dozens of super-helpful notebooks lying around offering their whole life story, it seems.

So, I'm guessing she killed her husband a week ago, and that's what set off this murder spree? I wonder if finding Courtney and the killer is going to be as easy as checking the notebooks to see what the last entry was. Probably not, because, in all likelihood, she's got her current notebook with her. Unless the planning for their last ghost hunt took up the end of one notebook and bled over into the current one? That would be a big coincidence, but not an impossible one.

Over at the house, the killer chats with a hallucination of her husband, who, presumably will tell her to murder Courtney. Has he been co-piloting the whole murder spree? If so, that's a pretty industrious ghost!

Emily and Luke go over the notebooks - which they've brought back to the office, for some reason, wasting valuable time. They talk for a second about how they don't know anything about the husband, and say that figuring him out will be the key to unlocking the case! It isn't, though - instead they just read the latest journal, and notice that it's not complete - they started work on a house, but never finished it.

The journal still being there makes perfect sense, BTW - they had one notebook per case, and the husband is the one who took notes, so there's no reason the killer would have had it with her.

The team decides to rush over to the house, putting all their eggs in a fairly reasonable basket! Meanwhile, the killer has a fight with Courtney and knocks her out, then ties her to a bed. She prepares to stab Courtney as her ghost husband urges her on, but Joe rushes in and shoots the killer dead before she can take another victim!


Outside, Joe goes to talk to Courtney. They talk about how she's obsessed with the supernatural because her twin sister died, and he encourages her to keep ghost hunting as a way to stay connected to her! Also, she says that he looks 'haunted' by the face-off killer, although she just says 'something'. They're really trying to build this guy up, aren't they? It's not working. I mean, unless they have him show up next week and kill someone to cliffhang the season.

I wrote that down as if doing so can make it not happen - stay safe, Jr.

On the flight back Emily brings Joe some scotch so they can relax with a drink and talk about his condition. Have I ever mentioned how crazy it is that they have booze on this plane? Like... it's a government jet and they're on the job. There should not be any liquor onboard.

Everyone chats about ghosts for a while. Some don't believe in them, others don't! It's not important, either way.

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

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

Nope. Courtney told them the killer's motive and then gave them a list of suspects, and a witness said which one it was.

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

It was!

1/10 - It's shocking to me how incredibly unprofessional the team was this week. A woman walked up to them and explained that the connection between all of the murders was that they were being committed in haunted houses. They blew her off.

You've got a possibly crazy person trying to insert herself into the investigation, and giving you a great lead - there's a good chance she's the killer, and yet you didn't look into her at all. How are you so bad at this? No, she didn't out to be the killer, but if you'd spent an hour talking to her, you would have gotten the names of everyone else in the area who is obsessed with the occult, and when one of them had a history of mental problems and violent outbursts, you would have been on to your killer immediately.

What I'm saying is, that little girl's mother got stabbed to death because the team couldn't be bothered to do their jobs in the most basic way.

You're awful at this, team.

I think it's a sign of how bizarrely bloated this show's cast is that it wasn't until we got to the plane scene at the end of the episode that it really sunk in that Reid was taking another week off. I know they said he was teaching at the start of the episode, but wow, I didn't notice his absence at all.

No comments: