Criminal Minds 1510: And In The End...

Things start weird as we see the first team scene from the last episode of season one, where everyone was going to take a long weekend to themselves before the Fisher King showed up! Then it's back to the present, where comatose Reid runs around, trying to talk to people! This leads to Garcia turning into Erin! Nice to see her again, huh?

But will Thomas Gibson be back? Probably not.

Erin announces that he's on a psychic journey of self-discovery, and tells him not to be afraid! Then Reaper shows up to taunt him about all the people he got killed! Seriously? Reaper is here? The lack of Thomas Gibson is going to be inexcusable if he doesn't show up.

Personally I'd like to see Frank one more time, but I know that's a stretch. What other cameos will we be getting, I wonder? Ian Doyle, please? I guess we'll find out after the credits!

Criminal Minds 1509: Face Off

Well, this is it! Second-last episode of Criminal Minds ever! This should be a blast, right? Before I get started, though, can we take a second to mention how ridiculous the last scene of last week's episode was? They had Faceoff talking about how beautiful the woman's bone structure was, and wanting to preserve her face forever! Except bone structure is what's behind the face. Once the face is off, it's just a flat mass, as we've seen time and again. Shouldn't he have been complimenting something about her skin? Unless he's collecting heads from now on?

I guess my point is that the writing on this show has sunken to the point where they can't even make killers be creepy in a believable fashion.
Now, on to the episode!

We open on Joe's basement, where he's built an obsession wall to Faceoff! Apparently the guy has killed again? Maybe the woman from last week? This should be bigger news, given all those FBI agents he murdered that time. Joe also seems to dump a package of diamonds on his desk, and I have no idea what that's about. Maybe they're intercutting between the two of them to show us that obsession is similar no matter what it's chasing?

For some reason Joe has put a sketch of the guy up on the wall, even though they have pictures of what he really looks like. It's like that scene in H20 where there's a sketch of the Michael Myers mask on the wall, because the filmmakers have forgotten that A: You can get a photo of it, it's a regular mask you can buy in a store, and 2: they have actual photos of what Michael Myers actually looks like - he was in a state institution for years.

More craziness between Emily and JJ - it seems that JJ was offered a job as head of the New Orleans FBI, which is just a bad call on the FBI's part - neither of these women have any leadership skills to speak of, and putting them in charge of things - be it the FBI, BAU, or a field office - would lead to disaster. So of course that's what's going to happen.

Over at Reid's house the rest of the team is hanging out - apparently Luke and his doctor girlfriend broke up because of that time a sniper murdered his friend (her patient). Yeah, that's going to be a drag on the romance, I'm guessing. So what's the endgame here? Are they pairing him up with Garcia? That would come out of nowhere, but the show is ending, and anything is possible!

Garcia actually has a job offer! A silicon valley firm working on climate change! This would be a terrible job to take - I won't get into it here, since there's plenty of show to discuss without this nonsense, but suffice to say that joining a firm trying to profit off averting global disaster isn't going to be a good fit for her, morally speaking. Unless she's lying and the job is with a group of hackers working to bankrupt and destroy oil companies, in which case more power to you, Garcia.

Okay, things just got really depressing. Joe starts talking to Mandy to go over what he knows about serial killing in the hopes that they can track down faceoff, but it's not Mandy he thinks about, it's young Mandy, played by Ben Savage. I was hoping against hope that they would manage to convince Mandy Patinkin to actually come back for a cameo in a flashback, but I guess he really, really, really doesn't want to. Or it was a contractual thing with his show.

They decide the key element to catching Faceoff is 'why didn't he kill Joe when he had the chance'? Obviously because that would have taken time to do, and the team was on top of him. The show thinks there's more to it, though, and announces that the real reason is that Faceoff thought Joe reminded him of his father, a man that Sharon slept with as part of a con who later died! But what if she lied about who the father was, and Faceoff wants to track him down?

That's kind of a stretch, but this is the second-last episode, so why not.

Now it's over to Faceoff, who hands a guy a briefcase of money to find his father! This sleaze must be the most trustworthy sleaze on earth, because no matter how much money is in that briefcase, it pales in comparison to the amount he'll get from the government for telling them where Faceoff is.

Then Faceoff gets a call from his latest girlfriend, who wants to move in with him! Is he staying in the same mansion from the season opener? I'd have to check - it might be that all mansions look the same to me.

Just in case it wasn't clear, this seems like it's the girlfriend's mansion from last week, and he's already killed her - he invites the new lady to move in once he's had a day to clear up all evidence of the crime.

Oh, and the way he's killing without anyone noticing is that now he incinerates bodies in a basement crematorium, rather than burning down their houses. So maybe this is actually his place? I can't imagine his girlfriend would have had one of those. Or been okay with her boyfriend installing a cremation oven in her basement, which she would have had to have been, since that takes a while to do, and only killed her just now.

But how would the most wanted man in America get a house? This is very puzzling.

Maybe we'll get an explanation of the housing situation after the opening credits?


Criminal Minds 1508: Family Tree

The episode begins on a sidestreet as a man in a sports car negotiates with a sex worker. What kind of sports car? I don't know! The logo on the front is vaguely shield-shaped, is that Porsche? Just checked - Porsche does, in fact, have a shield-shaped emblem, but so do Ferarri and Lambourghini, so I've got nothing. I'll lock in my guess as Porsche, but it's 1/3 and I'm only sticking with it because it was my first thought.

I would do terribly on The Price is Right.

The woman shoos the john away - apparently he tried to pay for sex with stamps! Now, depending on the size, a roll of stamps can easily be worth 50$, but I agree with her - this isn't a barter system we're living in. A creepy guy watches her from across the street in a pickup. Does he have evil intentions? Have you ever seen an episode of Criminal Minds?

He walks over to the second sex worker and asks her if she'd like someone to help her escape her life of depravity, which is a deeply condescending question to pose. He imagines her saying yes, but of course she doesn't, which presumably has marked her for death! Oh, and the killer has a gimpy leg, and the first sex worker full-on saw him and his car. So they've got leads!

We cut to the killer dragging the sex worker's body through the woods to a cabin, where he prepares it somehow with a knife, then buries it in a shallow grave. All the while he rambles in voice over about how he's really a good person, and he's only doing this because he has to. But who cares? He's a murderer.

Then it's over to Quantico, which is introduced with an establishing shot of DC! They've got just three more chances to get this wrong, are they going to take every one of them? On one level, I hope that they do! On another, it would be nice to finally see a part of Quantico that isn't the Marine base!

Turns out I was wrong, and for the first time in ages, they're in DC! Emily is meeting with someone about possibly becoming the director of the FBI! Yes, the woman who used to murder people for Interpol and faked her own death. That's exactly who you want in charge of the famously scandal-averse FBI.

The crazy part is, if they'd offered it to Hotch, this would have made total sense, but Emily? Not at all! Wow, is this going to screw up her relationship if she takes the job! At actual Quantico, a way more important job opportunity has sprung up! JJ might be moving to New Orleans for a field office job! It's a huge step down in her career trajectory, of course, but it would doubtless be way better for her marriage. Garcia and Reid are both upset by the news, obvs.

Time for a rundown of the case! The killer has the MO of murdering a 'respectable' man, then killing a sex worker soon after! Also he disfigures the corpses. It's not important how.

Then things get super disgusting, as the killer records a 'please catch me' message onto a tape and prepares to mail it - then starts making an ear necklace! Is he going to send that along with the tape? Maybe! Am I sad that I had to tell you a detail about the mutilation? Definintely!

Got to say, when I heard the title of the episode I thought it was going to be about the Face/Off killer - what with his whole psychosis being about his relationship with his mother. But no, I guess they're going to wrap that up in one episode next week?

Guess we'll find out after the opening credits!


Criminal Minds 1507: Rusty

The episode opens with an establishing shot of Washington DC in the midst of the flowering of the cherry trees! Which puts this episode's setting somewhere in the neighbourhood of mid-March, 2020! This means we're about two months after last episode, and a full seven months since the season started, as the first episode was set in September 2019! I'll say this for the show - they're committed to showing us a full year in these characters' lives even if they just have ten episodes to do it in!

Of course, this does create the impression that the world of Criminal Minds is a place where a known serial killer can walk into a Federal building, murder four agents, and then drive out and go uncaught for more than half a year. Seriously, how is the face/off killer not a priority here?

For some reason Emily is picking Garcia up in DC because her car is in the shop. Which is weird, because Garcia definitely doesn't live in DC. We're pretty sure that Emily does, because of all of that talk about her buying a condo downtown, but there's no reason that Garcia would elect to live a 45 minute drive from work when she didn't have to. Maybe her garage is in DC for some reason?

We then cut to an hour later, as they enter the office, and Garcia is still chatting about a show they both like! Oh, that hyper Garcia, we love you. Emily finds a bouquet of flowers in her office, and for once it's not sinister - they're from her boyfriend Andrew, the FBI guy from that crazy stabber episode! She's not happy to see them, though, and hangs up on him when he calls! Which is kind of cold, since that means he knows he was sent to voicemail, rather than being able to think she was just away from her phone. Cold, Emily.

JJ enters the office to remind Emily about a budget meeting she has that morning, and also ask about the flowers, which Emily is nervous about! I'm more concerned that anyone is hassling them about their budget. These people catch between 10 and 26 serial killers every year - I know that the private jet isn't cheap, but how could the cost not be worth it in PR value the team offers alone?

After the meeting she considers calling Andrew back, giving us time to wonder who this 'Steve' character is who calls her more frequently than her boyfriend but she never answers the phone:
Before she can decide an agent shows up to summon her to a meeting with the director of the FBI! The weird part is that he asks her if she's 'got a second' to go over her numbers. Except the director works 40 minutes away in DC, so a lunch meeting with him is going to take up most of the rest of the day.

Then again, the people making on this show have no idea where the characters work, so this isn't a huge surprise.

Then it's over to a breakfast meeting where a guy is having a meal with Mary-Lynn Rajskub of 24 fame! It seems that she's walking him through the process of adopting his niece, who currently lives with foster parents! I guess the kid's parents are dead? Anyhoo, Mary is attracted to the guy, but he's having none of it! In fact, he seems filled with disgust at the very thought of spending a moment longer with her than necessary! Is this guy a killer? Weird way to introduce him if he is.

Then we see a creepy weirdo watching the guy from a car across the street, and following him down the road in a 50-year-old station wagon! Wow, that is not a good vehicle to tail people in, buddy. It's as close to unforgettable as you can get.

We immediately cut to a dingy room somewhere - the weirdo has killed the guy and cut off his head! That was abrupt! He shows off the head to a camera, and then we pull out to reveal that the team has been watching the footage in the briefing room! Not the kind of stylish transition the show used to be known for, but not terrible, either!

We get some random nonsense from the team trying to establish that they can be sure that he's an organized offender with a specific goal to his killings. Reid also feels that he can detect a 'lack of empathy' in the man's voice. This is preposterous, of course - the entirety of the video message is a guy holding up a severed head and saying 'everything you know is wrong - this proves it'. That's not a message I'd associate with a planner, show. That's more the kind of thing a schizophrenic on a spree might have said.

On the way out of the office, we learn what the stress is with Emily! Andrew has been transferred to Denver, and she's not down with a long-distance relationship! What an amazing coincidence that this new case is taking them to his neck of the woods!

Then we get a look at the mine where the killer is hiding - he enters, carrying the severed head and an axe, and we discover that he's killing people because Baphomet tells him to!
Yup. Just the prototypical organized killer all right.

Seriously, how are you all this bad at your job? Maybe we'll find out after the opening credits?

Criminal Minds 1506: Date Night

Just five episodes left! And this one starts with people coming out of a movie theatre that seems to be showing Ben-Hur! Like... maybe the silent one? It's a really, really, retro poster is what I'm saying.

Turns out it was – a father and daughter walk out of the theatre, talking about whether or not the black and white film was boring! She proves to be a philistine, while he appreciates long takes et al! Suddenly a creepy woman walks up to them and asks if they know what happened to Susan! Who she is seeking. Desperately, presumably.

Then things get creepy when the father finds a flyer on his windshield – it's a missing persons notice... for him! Hey, just like way back in season... I want to say 3? I'll check later. The flyer accuses him of being the murderer of the aforementioned 'Susan'! So that's what that whole thing was about! Neat.

He suddenly notices that there are flyers taped to posts all around his car! While he's distracted the lady returns and holds a gun on his daughter, demanding that they all get into the car! Hey, remember when the show did that whole thing about how you couldn't control two people getting into a car with a gun, and it didn't make any sense? I wonder if this episode will reference that?

We don't find out, instead cutting directly to Reid's apartment (somehow he's seems to be still living in the same place despite getting a nurse murdered down the hall. You'd think that would be the kind of thing to get him to move), where he's tidying the place up before Rachel arrives! I don't know how offended I should be by the fact that the establishing shot shows the Washington monument. There's just a handful of episodes left – it's a little late for the show to realize that these people don't live in DC.

Rachel has arrived to get coffee, and we get a funny joke about what the two of them consider fast vs slow in a relationship, but then he gets the call to go to work! Also, Emily tells him there's something significant about the case – but we don't hear that part of the conversation!

So, what's the twist? The lady wants Aubrey Plaza released from prison in the next 24 hours, or he kills the father and daughter! Hey, does that mean the father is Aubrey's long-lost dad, and Susan is her mother, who he killed? Probably not, but it would be nice to get some resolution on that story, huh? I guess it's back to scenes with the two of them baiting one another, huh?

As Aubrey's led into the building we get a recap on her character, in which they conveniently omit the fact that she was a professional murderer who was part of a cabal of elite assassins. Seems like that would be worth bringing up. Instead they announce that she was a black widow who seduced and murdered men – possibly in the hundreds! Of course, they have no reason to think that, since she killed people in untraceable ways and kept no records. Also, she was only killing people for a maximum of like eight or nine years, and that would mean killing like 25 people a year to hit a number that could be considered 'hundreds'.

What I'm saying is, they've used up all of their interesting killers, so now they're pretending she's the most dangerous killer they've ever faced. Which is just patently false.

Reid asks her how she arranged the kidnapping with her outside partner, but Aubrey feigns innocence. She claims that she's given up on life, has pled guilty to 73 murders, and is awaiting the death penalty! How does that work, exactly? If she was arrested for murder in either Maryland or DC, there's no death penalty. Did she kill anyone in Virginia? Also where are they getting this number from? The league of assassins weren't keeping a record of all of their murders, were they? What kind of sense would that make?

Wow, this episode just got so dumb! Aubrey complains that they never had sex, and Reid retorts that she violated him in Mexico. Aubrey responds that the hallucination drugs make it impossible for someone to get an erection, just like when they're on MDMA. Which is just... crazy wrong. People have sex on Ecstacy all of the time. Also, it's an incredibly limited definition of sex that requires Reid to have an erection.

More importantly, though, and I can't believe I have to say this... AUBREY WASN'T IN MEXICO. All of that was done by Joe Mantegna's daughter, acting as Aubrey's catspaw. She was in jail the whole time. Does the show not remember that? If not, how?

Aubrey demands a date, and tells him that she does, in fact, know about the kidnapping. Reid says he won't play her game, then immediately goes back to an office and freaks out, because he's still not over the whole 'drugged and raped and sent to jail' thing. Really, who could blame him?

So, will he play along with Aubrey Plaza's sick game? I mean, obviously yes or there's no episode, but let's find out after the opening credits!