Criminal Minds 1604 - Pay Per View

The episode opens with the Mastermind (MM, Elias Voit), cleaning up after allowing adorable pupper Moose to snack down on a guy just because the man looked like MM's horrible neighbour. Like, I get you were angry, but your whole thing is elaborate planning – maybe put up some plastic sheeting to minimize cleanup time after the chomping is complete?

While cleaning up a pool of blood in the least efficient way possible – for the record, you use something absorbent like a big sponge or paper towels to get most of the blood, then only bring out the bleach and scrubber when dealing with stains – MM has a vision of someone named Cyrus (based on the subtitles) in the pool. This leads to a fantasy of Cyrus talking to him, and explaining that it's his rules that MM's serial killing revolves around, which is why he's able to keep from getting caught. Cyrus is played by that actor from Grim, Prison Break and a hundred other things whose name I'll look up if you'll wait a second-

Silas Mitchell is his name! This is not the character from the container in the first episode, but these are his rules – so what is that guy's involvement? I'm going to go ahead and assume that my inability to recognize faces has foiled me yet again, and it was, in fact, MM in that first scene of the first episode – which is kind of puzzling, since if that's the case, he looked older in that scene than he does in the main show, which is set 17 years later.

Then, as if we didn't have enough reason to hate this guy, we then see him load up a syringe with Pentobarbitol, which is what vets use to put down animals, and murder Moose with it! You monster.

Over at Quantico Tara and Emily are debating about how to approach Green, the guy who was trying to kill MM because he thinks that MM was responsible for the death of his sister. Although that's just conjecture at this point, since his sister disappeared from DC back in 2007, and MM was working out of the Pacific Northwest at that time. They also wonder how Green found out about the murder frat, and why he thinks MM killed his sister. Answers I'm sure we'll get an answer to soon!

Also they mention that he worked in PsyOps, which is weird, since last week I could have sworn he was a special forces guy who spotted for drones, which is how Joe identified him via the lingo he was using. They send in Garcia to talk to Green, since her specialty was always talking to the families of victims! Actually, no, that was JJ's specialty, but the show's long since forgotten that, but it does remember that Garcia was briefly involved in a support group, so here we are.

More importantly, though – Garcia is who Green reached out to, and when face to face, he says that he feels betrayed that she gave the info to the FBI. What was she supposed to do with it, though? Garcia's response is that she works for the FBI, so why wouldn't she do that? Except no, Garcia, you didn't at the time he sent the files. In fact, you were very adamant about the fact that you wanted zero association with the FBI. Lying to a guy first thing is not a great way to build trust.

Garcia brings up his sister, which causes Green to shut down – she is very bad at strategic interviews! Then she suggests that the only way he won't spend the rest of his life in jail is if he helps them. For what, exactly, would he be jailed? Like... it might be a federal crime of some kind to buy a bomb online, but you didn't catch him with a bomb, so I don't know how you'd prove that's what he was doing. Green refuses to talk, so Garcia gives up immediately.

Over at the LaMontagne house, Jr and JJ are chatting about the kids and breakfast and it's all quite cute. Josh Steward remains the most natural actor I've ever seen. They start to kiss but are interrupted by a life insurance salesman from Walmart Financial, which is as awkward a bit of product integration as I've ever seen. And... now that we know that Walmart paid money to be mentioned on the show, does that mean they were paying money to have characters talking about serial killers using their parking lots to dump cars? Interesting marketing technique!

Emily and Joe chat about the aftermath about last week – it seems that the bomb kit was buried for five years! Wow, firebomb materials that still work after five years? I wonder what kind it was – a ton of flammable materials break down super-fast. Then things get weird, as they announce there were no 'persons of interest' captured on the CCTV at the park, but assume that just means that MM knew how to avoid them. Except... how are they defining persons of interest here? And weren't there cameras all over that street, given that this is DC? They have no idea what MM looks like, so how can they say he's not on camera?

They jump to the conclusion that it was all a setup, and MM wanted Green to get caught by the cops since he'd figured out Green was the mole – but there's a flaw in their reasoning: why would MM go to DC if that was the case? He's done all of this starter kit stuff to separate himself out from the murders, and suddenly he's traveling to the site of a bombing? If he was going there to kill the mole, and the team interrupted his plan, that would make sense, but if he was setting the guy up to get caught – which there's zero evidence to suggest – why would he put himself in the same Time Zone as the FBI?

Joe points out that there are still two outstanding kits – one in Indio, California, the other in Rockville, Maryland – which is close to Rock Creek Park, which was the title of that terrible Criminal Minds episode about the lady who had his son's wife kidnapped to help his political career? Oof, that was a rough one.

I'm still not entirely clear why they're having trouble finding these cases – if they hadn't been picked up yet, they should have been in the ground. If they had, they should have been in places connected to the would-be killers. So shouldn't they have leads? Oh, and in case anyone forgot, the cases are for acid and strangulation – so let's see how that plays out!

Then it's over to Miami, where a couple checks into a nice hotel, only to get notified that their remote cameras have been turned on! The killers – there's two of them, and they use face-blurring technology of some kind – have a strange theme: they break into the house of people who are away, bringing a victim with them – in this case a guy in a uniform – and kill the victim while the homeowners watch.

You know, this reminds me of a terrible Rogers ad from years ago, which pointed out that their home-monitoring cameras used the wireless cell phone network, so even if lines were down you could still check out what's going on in your house. Perfectly good message, but the way they decided to get it across was to show a cable line that had been manually cut on the outside of house, and then pan across to let us see a little girl running in through the front door without unlocking it. The homeowner seemed happy to see that the camera still worked without an internet connection, but was strangely unconcerned about the likelihood that a criminal had broken into the house just before the child god home.

Luke drops by Garcia's lab to talk about Green's backstory. He was apparently the last person to see his sister alive, and only has fuzzy memories of the day in question. But we just heard that she was last seen leaving her apartment with her boyfriend, a man named 'Lewis or Lee' – so is he the one who saw her? And he's seen her killer, which he believes is MM? Also, the sister had a two year old son when she disappeared, and he just graduated from high school based on the photos they show!

The team gets a briefing on the case – the uniformed guy that got killed was from the security company – apparently the killers took control of the house's system to get an officer out to check on the house before triggering the remote camera alarms. Because this happened in Germantown, which is near Rockville, the team thinks it might be related to MM's frat! Although last week they were looking for people based on kits related specific kill methods, and this wasn't about acid or strangulation, it was just about defeating home security systems, which is what the kit from the first episode was about.

This is all very confusing.

Garcia yells at Green until he agrees to do a cognitive interview in the hopes of remembering something important about the last time he saw his sister. She's wearing cat ears the entire time, which is hideously unprofessional, but I love it. No one has yet asked him what he hoped to achieve by sending Garcia the transponder codes.

Also, his sister's DNA is not in the container anywhere, so maybe she's still alive! Which would be more encouraging had there been ANY DNA in the trailer. Other than the actual bodies the whole placed was sanitized to an absurd degree, remember? Maybe just say she wasn't one of the bodies?

JJ is at her desk when Jr calls to mention that he loves her. They had better not be setting us up for tragedy, because this is a shockingly healthy relationship they have.

Then it's over to the killers, who are breaking into another house to prepare for their next murder broadcast! They prepare the house for murder, but discover that the couple's flight has been canceled! The dominant member of the pair says that's fine, he doesn't mind abandoning their entire theme at the drop of the hat! Or maybe they won't? We're shown that the house has a safe room, so maybe they're going to get the couple to hide in there, and then make them watch a security guard get killed through their in-room camera feed?

We see the interview – apparently he was, in fact, the last person to see her alive. He was there to babysit, but then MM freaked out when he saw that another person was at the apartment, presumably because he hates witnesses, and stormed out. The sister then asked Green to meet her and MM at the restaurant they were going to, but he flaked out, and later that night got an accidental call from her on his phone. Did she want him there as backup when she broke up with MM? We may never know!

Now that he remembers everything, Green announces that he just 'stumbled' onto MM's network during the lockdown, and heard MM bragging out killing his sister! Then he announces that remembering is worse than not, and wants to be locked up. Again, not sure you actually committed a crime there, buddy.

That night, two more guards are lured out to the panic room couple's home, and as predicted, the killers murder them while the couple watches from their hiding place! Oh, and they're wearing face paint that confuses digital cameras-

I wonder if Penelope will be able to decode that?

I feel like the security guards should have been way more cautious – they mention things being dangerous, but they're not acknowledging just how dangerous. Literally one day earlier someone in their area lured security guards out to be murdered while manipulating the the security systems. Yet the minute they arrive at the house they split up so that they can be more effectively killed, which is exactly what happens.

The team arrives at the house just before SWAT breaks in, which creates a problem. We're told that SWAT arrived three minutes after a 911 call – but Germantown is 20 minutes north of DC, and Quantico is 20 minutes south – no matter how many traffic laws they broke, it would have taken JJ and Tara at least half an hour to get to the scene. Were SWAT just hanging around outside until then?

They secure the house and discover the killers are long gone, having left the security guards in the panic room, and presumably kidnapped the owners, although we never actually saw them in the house.

Tara, JJ and Joe talk over the details of the case – Tara mentions the face paint that fools cameras, so that's neatly explained! Although, I've got to ask – wouldn't that only work on low-resolution black and white cameras meant for surveying large areas with fisheye lenses? Wouldn't home cameras be much higher resolution and likely in colour? I'm far from an expert in this area, of course, so this could be 100% accurate.

They make a strange statement, announcing that since the killers were performing the same acts both nights, the choreographed killings must be recreations of something that happened to them. Now, I haven't checked the numbers, but something along the lines of 70% of the killers you caught performed the same choreographed actions over and over again, and in maybe three of those cases it was because they were recreations of something that happened to them. So this is a hell of a leap.

The team gives their profile – it's probably two brothers in their twenties who suffered a trauma related to home invasion! At the same time the killers are waiting for people to leave a house before breatking in to menace a sleeping woman inside!

The killers are quickly identified – a house was broken into 10 years ago, and the father of the family dragged one of the sons inside with him before locking the door. Two murderers threatened to kill the mother and other son if they didn't open the door and bring out the money hidden inside, but the father refused and the mother was killed. So presumably the guy who left just now is the father and the woman who's going to be threatened is the new wife?

Yes, that's exactly what's happening, but the team gets there in time to arrest one brother and shoot the other. Interestingly the guy who doesn't get shot threatens to cut his own throat, but can't go through with it. So I guess MM wasn't that great at picking out suicidal people after all!

So... we never got an answer about what happened to the couple that canceled their flight. Seems like a weird thing to never mention again.

Joe talks to the surviving brother, who claims to know nothing about the frat! So despite there being a missing starter kit within twenty kilometers of where this murder happened, this had nothing to do with MM!

Now we check back in on Luke and Green who have apparently been hanging out this entire time? Luke wasn't anywhere near the case of the week – never even stopping by to help out with the profile, which is a little strange. Green backed up all of his communications with MM, and he offers to turn them over so long as Garcia is kept out of the case – he can't trust her. Still waiting to hear what you wanted her to do with the transponders, Green.

Now it's back to Jr and JJ, and we're following up on the insurance agent scene – he did a physical and may have cancer! While I feel personally betrayed by this, I'm blown away by Josh Stewart's performance in this scene. Just a master at work.


So, how useful was profiling helpful in solving the crime this week?


We finally got a positive number this year! That said, the idea that they could have made the assumption that the killers were recreating something that actually happened to them was a crazy reach – and since a search for similar crimes would have led them directly to the killers much faster, I can't only appreciate the team's work so much.

Seriously, though, what happened to the couple whose flight was canceled? Given that the killers' entire motivation was about people hiding in panic rooms while their loved ones were murdered outside, how did that not come up in the episode?

Also, why did the killers attack a second set of security guards? I understand doing a single test run to make sure that the plan would work, but why not go straight to your actual target after the first killing? It's almost like the killers knew how Criminal Minds episodes are structured!

Hopefully we'll get back to MM next week, in what might be the mid-season finale!

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