Criminal Minds 1605 - Oedipus Wrecks

 Okay everyone, we made it to the half-season ender! Which, honestly, is a weird thing to call it, since we’re taking just two weeks off? When I hear ‘mid-season ender’ my mind goes to a months-long wait to find out what happens next. Like on Better Call Saul. “Oh look, Lalo’s alive. See you in two months!” But this is just them taking a couple of weeks off for the Holiday Break. Not that I’m complaining – more Criminal Minds sooner is always a good thing!

As the episode opens a young woman is led into a fancy house by a guy who tells her that another man will be ready for a moment. This is all scored to the song ‘At Last’, which for me is inextricably linked to the show “Andy Richter Controls the Universe’ which starred… Paget Brewster! Is this something the production staff was thinking of? I can’t imagine how it could be.

Hey, is this the same house that the torso thief was using in episode 1501? Let’s check!

No, it’s just got a similar layout! Completely different in every meaningful way!

The woman – Rose – is there to meet a guy who claims to be the son of a super-fancy lady that everyone knows! More details about that later, I’m sure. She gives up her phone due to a need for ‘discretion’. The characters are nice enough to point out that you even need to do that at comedy clubs these days, so it doesn’t seem too serial killer-y.

The killer starts ask Rose about her recently deceased mother, and Rose starts to wobble from drinking drugged wine. So this actually is pretty close to the opening of 1501! She wakes up tied to a table in a wine cellar, and the killer arrives, wearing metal dentures that he’s planning to use to bite her to death! So… probably not connected to the frat this time? Unless, you know, there was a Jaws-themed case buried somewhere in America.

That’s Jaws the James Bond villain, not the shark.

Now we’re in Quantico, or the environs, as we hear the quote ‘A man start cutting his wisdom teeth the moment he first bites off more than he can chew’. Of course, this is likely the first time anyone has ever heard that quote, because it’s from Herb Caen – and who's gonna read Herb Caen?

And if you got that reference, bravo!

We check in with JJ and Jr, who are at the doctor’s office confirming that he doesn’t have any growths in his lungs – but the tests still suggest it could be cancer! But where? Maybe bone marrow? That’s famously hard to detect! JJ’s understandably annoyed that Jr already checked in with a doctor about this a couple of months ago and didn’t tell her. Which both contradicts last episode and makes more sense – that episode was set over like 16 hours, no way is that enough time for him to get a blood test and hear back about the results.

Back at the office, Penelope complains about having to work with Green on finding out MM’s communications, and then Bailey shows up to oversee the new investigation – we don’t know exactly what the investigation is yet, I guess a bit-to-death corpse showed up? So was the victim significant, or do they already know it’s a rich kid doing the killing?

No, it’s more interesting than that – both the victims, who were bitten and then strangled, so maybe there’s a connection given the outstanding starter kit – were on an app for people dating in DC who work in the government. It turns out Bailey wants in on the case because he dated one of the victims, and wants to make sure his name is kept out of it! I’m not sure that it’s such a huge scandal that a single guy is on a dating app in the year 2022. Then again, maybe he’s married? I’ll look for a ring in his next scene.

Emily agrees to keep his involvement a secret if he backs off of the BAU, and he agrees. Ah, Emily, you do so love using people’s weaknesses to exploit them! The team talks a little about how the bite marks don’t look human – hopefully forensics can get them a lead on that! Also they mention that no, Bailey isn’t married, so again, I’m not sure what the scandal is. If he was worried about being connected to the murder, I get it – but they’re acting like being on an app is in and of itself scandalous.

Also, in ‘this was written by upper class people in LA who don’t know how the rest of the world works’ news, Emily refers to the app as ‘Raya for inside the Beltway’. Now, if you haven’t heard of ‘Raya’, there’s a reason for that. It’s the dating app that just for rich and famous people so that A: they can avoid stalkers, and B: not risk breeding with the poors. Would Emily use it as a point of reference? Probably not. But obviously the writers would, because they all live in LA, where it’s pretty huge.

Green comes in to work with Penelope, and Joe offers to knock his sentence down to ‘time served’ if he helps them catch MM. I remain confused about what crime he’s supposed to have committed, beyond sending tens of thousands of dollars to an offshore account. Which might not actually be a crime. Penelope is a huge jerk to him, bragging about how she doesn’t need his help to get into the MM chat logs, but then she immediately runs into a trap. It’s cute!

At the morgue, we find out that the dentures are razor-tipped, which they say explains all of the damage – this is in direct conflict with the images we saw of the wounds, which don’t look at all like someone was tearing at the flesh.

See? These are all pretty discrete bite marks. It turns out each victim also had their hair bleached – Tara and Luke immediately jump to the assumption that the killer is obsessed with a previous victim – or one that got away, perhaps? They immediately call JJ and tell her to look for another bitten and strangled woman, alive or dead – blonde or otherwise. It’s a weird jump to make – it’s just as likely that the changing of the appearance is meant to connect the victim to someone that he wants to kill, but can’t for whatever reason. They’ve encountered that more than once. I mean, we the audience know that it’s about his blonde-haired mother from the painting in the first scene, but even without that, it’s a possibility worth considering.

They immediately find a sex worker who was brutally bitten, but she won’t tell them who her client was because he’s so powerful. She points out that the guy’s assistant – who brought Rose to the house at the start – was already at the hospital when she arrived, offering 50K and an NDA. So she refuses to cooperate because the killer’s reach extends everywhere. Weirdly JJ doesn’t threaten her in order to get her cooperation, which is something they do a lot. Why pull back now? Oh, and just FYI, the woman has dark brown hair – this is before the bleaching fetish got going.

They then get a mock-up of the dentures that the lab sent over – they’re spiky, and the team assumes no legit dentist would have made them, which is probably true. But since he could pay almost anyone online to make them, it’s not much of a lead. They talk a little about the ‘remaking’ women, and suggest that the killer is probably trying to turn the victims into his mother or grandmother, who either gave him too much or not enough attention as a child. Also that he never passed the ‘oral’ stage of psychosexual development, which is why he loves biting so much. This is just a series of huge jumps in a row, but let’s just let them have them and move on.

Now we cut over to the killer, who’s busy bleaching the hair on Rose’s body!

Then it’s another scene with Green and Garcia – she finally asks him why he came to her for help when there’s a million hackers in the world. We still don’t get an answer. David interrupts to go over one of the chat logs, in which MM was giving people the psychopath test to see if they’re potential killers! Garcia mentions that Reid told her about it – which is the first time he’s been mentioned since episode 1!

Rose’s body then turns up – Luke and Emily go to check out the dump site. Now that they have three of those, they can map out the killer’s comfort zone – but how will they manage that without Reid, whose job it was to draw three circles on the map?

Emily then makes the dumbest leap yet this season, when she announces that the killer must have a personal connection to the empty fields in which the bodies are being dumped. After all, it’s not like someone would drive hundreds of miles to leave a body in a random place to ensure that they had not possible connection to him, is it? What’s that? It’s entirely plausible that a killer with resources would do that because they didn’t want to get caught? Excellent point, me. But I’m sure they’re going to be right.

Whew! Jr shows up at this office and it seems that he has a thyroid disorder which is causing the massively increased white blood cell count! He and JJ promise to communicate better with one another, and it’s incredibly sweet! I don’t know where they’re going with this, but it feels like something bad is coming, and I’m very uneasy!

It turns out that all of the dump sites were tobacco farms owned by a Senator from Virginia, and that Senator has a son with a history of assaulting women! Bailey hears this and freaks out – he doesn’t want the political hassle of investigating someone rich and powerful – but he will let them investigate the son’s staff! I was about to suggest they check if there was security footage of the guy who bribed the sex worker, but that would have been so long ago the hospital wouldn’t have kept it, I’m sure.

At the killer’s house, the assistance lets him know that the FBI is looking into him. How did he find that out? Only the team and Bailey know at this point. Unless the sex worker called him? Given how scared she was, that actually makes a ton of sense! The killer is unconcerned and tells him to ‘handle’ it, which he points out that he absolutely is not qualified to do. Then the senator shows up and tells the killer that he’s going to start doing fundraising events to help her. He doesn’t want to, so she exerts creepy control over him making it immediately clear that she’s been molesting him his whole life! Very creepy scene!

Another Garcia and Green scene, where Joe seems to think that MM must have known that Green was after him because he asked too many questions – it was all a trap! Then Green points out that he picked Garcia because, unlike most other hackers, she was super-easy to manipulate because she cares too much about people. Which, you know, good point. Then they act like Garcia turning on the transponders was the only way he got a starter kit – since losing the rest made MM desperate enough for money to sell him one. That’s a hell of a stretch, though – since how could he possibly know about MM’s financial situation?

The assistant then goes into the FBI office and implies that he was involved in the killings. This isn’t entirely plausible, because he literally could not get to where they are. You can drive up to the FBI building in DC and ask questions, but their offices are in Quantico, which is on the grounds of a Marine base – there’s no way to drive your car in there unless it’s expected, and it’s not the first place you’d go.

They find the teeth in his trunk, but he doesn’t admit to anything, and asks for a lawyer – the team realizes that he must be distracting them in order to give the killer time to do something more important. So they call up the sex worker to tell her to get somewhere safe, as she’s the only living witness to his biting-themed crimes.

Unfortunately the killer is already with her, pointing a gun at her head, demanding to know who she talked to. Guess she didn’t call the assistant after all! Oh well. Luckily the team arrives in time to keep him from shooting her. This is incredibly preposterous because, as previously mentioned, they’re in an office building in a marine base near Quantico, VA. If the parking lot the sex worker is in is anywhere other than Quantico, it would take a half an hour to get there. Even if it’s in Quantico it would take ten minutes. So this is kind of a stretch – then again, geography has never been the show’s strong suit.

Bailey is not psyched that they arrested a Senator’s son, and wants him released. Even though he was pointing a gun at a woman and his assistant has the metal teeth. Also he funded the app that he’s using to find victims. She asks Bailey what kind of woman the victim he knew was, and Bailey explains that she was driven and brilliant – so he’s looking for women like his mother! Which… I feel like they already could have assumed?

Anyway, Emily goes in there trying to act controlling and cruel like his mother would, hoping to get a confession. She taunts him and he starts revealing details of some of the early MM victims from the container. Emily counters that he could have had those leaked – if he wants to impress her, he’ll need to offer new information! So he talks about buried treasure in Whitfield, Georgia, which I’m guessing is the container that MM rigged to blow? The point is, all of this information means that the killer is the likely the person who bankrolled the frat – or at least one of them. Is he the one who was demanding to ‘go next’ while MM was dealing with Green? Or was that still someone else? In any event, he sucks at following rules, since he dumped the women in a way that was designed to get his mother’s attention.

The assistant won’t talk – he points out that America is run by the rich who control everything, so what use is a promise from the justice department when he works for a rich family? So at least he gets it.

We’re told that local cops are searching Whitfield, and then Emily sends Luke and JJ down there to supervise. Uh-oh. Did they do all of that stuff with Jr. so we’d be completely misdirected when JJ gets blown up by the firebomb in the container at the end of this episode? If so, that’s a NASTY trick, show. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hard.

Joe goes to check in with Green, hoping that he can dig up chats between MM and the killer. When told that the killer is into cannibalism, Green remembers that there was a rich guy who helped bankroll the organization, and MM made him something to help with an ‘overbite’. Green explains that there was a private forum just for the funders and MM – but he doesn’t know where it is. Which means he’ll have to make nice with Garcia to find it!

I’m going to be 100% honest here – I’m loving the interplay between Green and Garcia. It started rough, but it’s really working in this episode. Green goes to talk to her with a peace offering – a kitten! Which is a terrible bribe, as Garcia points out. Also, Green claims that there’s a cat rescue down the street, and, I can’t believe I have to keep saying this, but for the record… YOU ARE IN AN OFFICE BUILDING THAT IS PART OF A MARINE CORPS TRAINING FACILITY. THERE IS A FIRING RANGE BETWEEN YOU AND THE INTERSTATE. THE CITY ‘QUANTICO’ IS A FIFTEEN MINUTE DRIVE AWAY. THAT’S WHY HOTCH ALWAYS SAID ‘WHEELS UP IN 30’. 10 MINUTES TO GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER AND GET DOWNSTAIRS. 15 MINUTES TO DRIVE TO THE MARINE BASE AIR FIELD. 5 MINUTES TO GET SITUATED ON THE PLANE. THERE IS NOT A CAT RESCUE ‘DOWN THE STREET’.

Okay, glad that’s out of my system. Back to the show.

The Senator comes to see Emily and Bailey. She says that if they don’t let her son go, she’ll have the BAU destroyed by the senate judiciary committee! Emily says it’s up to Bailey and walks out. You know, for someone who’s used to playing dirty, Emily is weirdly hesitant to bring up the possibility of public humiliation here. Wouldn’t the press love to know about a sitting Senator pulling strings to get their serial killing son out of jail?

When the Senator and her son get home, MM is there waiting – they had a special code: if he ever dials 911, MM comes running to start the endgame in which the mother gets killed. Yikes!

After the commercial break, we see the mother’s dead body lying on the ground, her face torn apart in the way we were told was done with the razor teeth, but didn’t actually see. Wonder why the mistake was made there, and not here? Since, you know, he didn’t have the teeth here.

By the team the team gets out to the Senator’s house the family plane is already in the air – hopefully the killer or MM knows how to fly it, since that’s another dead body if they don’t. They’re headed to Whitfield! Which the killer is going along with, even though he already told the team about it? Also, now that they know that the killer was funding the frat, they dig into the code of the dating app he also funded, and find MM’s secret forum!

Over in Whitfield, the killer says they can head to a country with no extradition (I’m guessing Ecuador?), but MM explains he’s got something they need to do first. Meanwhile JJ and Luke have arrived at the container – apparently a satellite managed to find two doors sticking out of the ground? Obviously there’s no way that could have ever happened, but again, we’re getting close to the end, so let’s just let them have this one.

Oh, come on show, why are you doing this to me? In the scene were it turned out Jr was fine they promised to be better about communicating with one another, right down to calling before they do anything dangerous. And then Luke and JJ decide to check out the bunker without backup, so she calls Jr  to say she loves him. God damn it show, WHY.

The team watches JJ and Luke go in via their bodycams, and then they see the firebomb that’s ready to detonate – Emily orders them out, but then the bomb activates and the cameras go dead.


GOD DAMN YOU, SHOW. Like, we all saw this coming, but damn, is that a cliffhanger. Are they really killing someone off? JJ was closer to the exit than Luke, so maybe she got out?

On the upside, we only have two weeks to wait?

That is not much of an upside.

So, how useful was profiling in catching this week’s killer?

1/10 – Yes, they didn’t technically catch him, but that’s only because his mother helped him escape. They identified and almost caught him, though! Can’t really credit profiling, though. The killer dropped bodies in places that were designed to humiliate his mother and lead the cops to him. He wanted to get caught, and led the team right to him. The psychology even makes sense, because only by giving himself no other option could he work up the guts to finally kill his mother.

Bad profiling – great episode!

Let’s start the countdown until new episodes now, shall we?

I just checked the calendar – they’re not back until January 13. I was wrong, this is going to be a LONG four weeks.

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