Crmiinal Minds 1215: Alpha Male

With Reid in jail for at least three months, how is the team going to survive? Wait, they've got a sixth profiler in the from of Steven, whose only impact so far is that he's been there for weeks and come up with nothing on Scratch! Hey, why did the producers think that the team needed an extra member? Unless they're going somewhere really interesting with him by the end of the season, this feels like a waste - did they really just bring him in because, with the Reid storyline happening, the producers worried that it would seem implausible that the team could solve crimes with just 5 profilers on a case?

Damn, this show has a bloated cast. Is being on Criminal Minds the easiest job in television? Even Emily and Joe only get like 8-10 lines per week, and they're the theoretical leads!

Okay, on with the episode - Reid is taken to jail! They do the standard 'intake' scene we've seen a thousand times. The only interesting part being that one of the prison guard is played by the baliff from Judging Amy, whose name I can't remember at the moment! I'll check the opening credits.

Hey, now that Reid in in Jail, will he get a more sensible haircut? He's looking especially shaggy at the moment. Even for him.

There's a brief scene about the team planning how to support Reid in prison, and then it's off to the briefing room! Two people had acid thrown in their faces last night - they survived, but ick! And there were two others the week before! I wonder if it's going to turn into a spree? Oh, and one of the victims died from inhaling acid fumes. Yikes. I had no idea that could happen! Also, the killer is short and slight - could it be a woman, or perhaps a small man?

Emily once again misrepresents how long it takes to get to the Marine airfield, then mentions again how worried they all are about Reid! Then it's over to Reid, who's brought to a big room with twenty bunks and plenty of prisoners! It turns out the baliff has specifically overridden his assignment to protective custody, in the hopes that he'll be beaten to death in prison!

What is this guy's problem? I guess we'll find out after the opening credits!

On the plane, they discuss the cultures in which acid-throwing are prevalent, but since all of the victims here are young urban professionals it doesn't seem like that's going to be a decent lead. Oh, and the baliff's name is 'Richard T. Jones'. I probably should have been able to remember that.

Most of the team head to the hospital to interview the victims! Must be refreshing to go there instead of the morgue for once, huh? The victims don't have much to offer, other than that both of them had super-regular schedules, so the killer absolutely could have predicted where they'd be on that night. Then again, the guy was meeting a bunch of people at a bar, and the lady was attending a spin class, so the idea that either of them would be alone walking out of the targeted locations is a bit of a stretch.

Also, the lady is sure the attacker was a small man, who yelled in a foreign language - but she can't identify which one!

The team decides to operate under the assumption that the killer is targeting specific people. Not because they have any evidence of that, but because if they assume this is random, they'll have no leads at all, and no place to start their investigation.

Meanwhile, in a park, the killer, a short white guy with glasses, stares intently at a couple making out on a bench, until they flee because he's too creepy! Is he now going to stalk them?

In lockup, Reid notices that his prison-issued clothes and shower slippers have been grabbed by a goon, so he takes them back! The goon goes to attack him, but Richard breaks it up! Presumably he wants the beating to happen a little less publicly.

At police HQ, the team gets a call from Garcia, who's found a link between the first two victims - they both went to a singles night at a popular bar! Could the killer be frequenting that place, looking for potential victims?

Speaking of, the killer splashes acid in the face of that couple, in the middle of the park, in broad daylight. Presumably the screams attract enough attention that all of the witnesses will end up with a better description of him. As for the screaming, it does sound like gibberish, so maybe a latin motto? Those are always weird when spoken aloud!

Luckily a witness heard the phrase, and it turns out it was latin, after all! He said "I will destroy it", which is apparently a bible quote about God being able to do whatever he wants to nations and peoples. It's also a quote from Elliot Roger's manifesto, apparently. This leads to a brief conversation about Jordan Peterson people, which they call the 'manosphere', which is mostly used to describe the collective web presence of anti-feminist assholes. Weirdly, they don't point out that this is more of an incel situation, than a broader Jordan Peterson issue.

Garcia finds a website where incels obsess over the photos of pretty people, and the team notices that all of the victims are suspiciously similar to the pictures on the website! So similar, in fact, that it seems like the killer would have way more trouble finding looky-likeys than he apparently is.

The profile is delivered, and it's predictably useless - notable only for the fact that Emily says that 'this could turn into a spree'. Lady, he's attacked 4 people in less than 24 hours, including two people in a park in broad daylight. This is already a spree.

In the clink, one of Reid's fellow protective custody guys drops by to let him know that he's on someone's hit list! Not because they found out he was a cop or anything, just because he wanted his stuff back. Luckily some nazis show up to offer him protection at a nebulous price! Then Reid finds out that the man across the yard staring at him is Harold Perrineau, star of TV's Oz! He must be playing the leader of the local black gang! Perhaps Reid can get in with him to avoid having to team up with nazis?

Garcia gets a lead on the killer - she's got the IDs of everyone who visits the scummy picture blog! Hopefully not too many of them live in Philly! More importantly, this week's photos (which are essentially targets) have just gone up! Emily wants them sent over, in the hopes that they can get one step ahead of the killer!

How, though? You've got a picture of a red-haired woman, and a picture of a surfer dude. Those aren't the actual people he's going to attack, just visual archetypes. Was your plan to put every red-haired woman between 20-40 under surveillance?

Whatever her plan was, it doesn't matter, because the killer walks right past a red-headed woman to splash acid into a dark-haired lady's face! Why would he abandon the website? Has he found the true target of his rage?

We don't get a chance to find out what happened to the victim because we're due back in prison with Reid! It's night time, which means it's time for the nazis to attack Reid for the crime of not signing up with them. But then Harold Perrineau arrives, because I guess it's super-easy for like seven people to just walk around the prison after lights-out? But why did Harold save him?

In Philadelphia the next day, the team finds out about the latest victim! Wait, why is it the next day? It was broad daylight when she was attacked, how is the team just hearing about it? Shouldn't they have been at the hospital in case she was able to speak?

It turns out that she was on the way to meet a guy for a date! Could he be the killer? No, he's a beardo, but the team still thinks he could be the killer, because they haven't seen the side of the killer's face the way we have. Their suspected motive is that the woman rejected him sexually, driving him to violence - but, and I don't want to be crude here, wouldn't that happen later in the evening? What kind of date would it have been for the killer to be rejected sexually before it even started?

It's good that they're suspicious, though, because the date was a regular poster on the incel website! Where he's bragged about not being lonely any more! Could the killer specifically be targeting his girlfriend to get at him? He gives them a list of people he sent pictures to so that the team can find out!

Reid goes to meet with Harold, who it turns out used to be an FBI agent! And now he's running a prison gang! He explains that an informant he was working with found out information about his undercover people in a drug organization, and he felt his only option was to kill her before she could get his agents killed! He says that his people would have been killed instantly had he arrested her, so he made it look like a hit from rival crime family to protect their cover!

Wait, how did he get caught, then? Couldn't he control the investigation? Also, why didn't the FBI cover for him, the way they do literally all the time, for all of their agents other than the ones that spy for foreign nations?

Checking into the date's friends, they discover that only two of the ones who were cruel assholes about him dating someone live in Philly, and one of them is a chemist! For Tyrell's chemicals, which is probably a nerdy Blade Runner thing from the writer or production people.

The killer has a manifesto talking about a major attack he has planned, so it's up to the team to track him down! Hey, that major attack probably would have worked if you'd just not gone around throwing acid in people's faces. Just saying.

Eric and Joe go to check out his chemistry dungeon, and my first thought is to wonder if it's the same basement as Kevin from the Office's string dungeon a few years back.

Obviously the killer isn't there, but his plans for an acid power-sprayer are! Now they just have to figure out where he's going to use it! Or, if the show was feeling cute, where he's planning to buy the parts for it. It would be funny if they caught him three weeks before his planned attack, but this isn't that kind of show.

Luckily, the manifesto is full of super-obvious clues, with the guy planning to attack a singles night at a var next to a hoagy place with an ATM across the street. See what I mean? Specific! Hilariously, they're only able to decode the Philly-jargon-filled clues in time because Aisha's college roommate was from there! Hey, instead of asking the viewers to accept such a ridiculous coincidence, why not just have a Philly cop in the room to tell them about it?

Anyhoo, Steven sidles up to the killer and gradually lets him know that the FBI is on to him. Then he promises the killer his manifesto will get out if he comes along quietly, so he does! Why did they bother with this nonsense? He was just sitting at a bar, with no idea the cops were on to him. Just grab his arms and drag him out.


Back to jail! Where Reid finally gets his private cell because Harold pulled some strings! What does this guy want from him? For him to confess, apparently? Harold explains that as long as Reid continues to claim he's innocent, people won't respect him - if he starts bragging about his crimes, at least they'll think he's a bad-ass.

Is Harold setting him up to give a fake confession so that he can cut a deal and testify against Reid? That would be a twist!

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

Dear lord, no. They faffed about with profiling for a while, then the killer attacked someone he knew and he was identified literally five minutes later.

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

Totally conventional this week. Although local Philly cops probably would have gotten to the place faster, since they'd already know about all of the Philly slang off the tops of their heads.

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

1/10 - A poor showing for profiling, but I'm interested to see where the Reid story goes!

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