On tonight’s episode of Criminal Minds, the team heads to Oregon to investigate a string of ritualistic murders with the help of a local cop (guest star Robert Englund). The episode also marks Matthew Gray Gubler’s third time in the Minds directing chair.
After a woman’s body is found in an abandoned psychiatric hospital, the team wonders if they might be dealing with satanic killings. But once they get to the location, it is clear that the UnSub is familiar with the layout of the building and the team thinks the UnSub may have been a patient at the psychiatric hospital. (As it turns out, the UnSub’s mother was a patient in the hospital prior to her death.) The team realizes that the UnSub must be living in some sort of elaborate fantasy world and seems to be killing on dates that correspond to the satanic calendar, like Good Friday.
The Devil’s Wife
James-the-UnSub is taking his kill-orders from his deceased mother via hallucinations and carrying out the mission she started before she died. The UnSub’s mother was convinced that certain women were the devil’s wives and it was her job to get rid of them. While finishing his mother’s mission, the UnSub takes a page out of the Salem Witch Trials to torture and kill his victims. He drowns the women in a test to see if they survive the ordeal. If they live, they must be consorts of the devil and he kills them by sewing them into dresses laced with nicotine so they are poisoned to death. (Not a very nice way to go.)
Creepy Brotherly Love
James-the-UnSub has a very paternal relationship with his younger sister. He has complete control over her and does not want her to be influenced by the outside world. He also has some very un-sibling-like feelings for his sister, as we see throughout the episode. After one of his victims proves to be ‘innocent’ (she died when he drowned her) James’ mother tells him to kill his sister because she is the final devil’s wife.
The UnSub puts his sister into one of the poisoned dresses and sets her up as bait for the “devil,” whom he plans to kill. The team arrives at the UnSub’s home and saves his sister, but the UnSub mistakes Hotch (Thomas Gibson) for the devil and the two get into a physical fight. In the end, the UnSub is killed when he gets knocked into the Silence of the Lambs-like well where he drowned his victims. The episode ends with the UnSub’s sister beginning to suffer from similar delusions to those that plagued her mother and brother.
This episode was a bit unusual for the series and while it was nice to see the show take some risks, I missed the team interaction, of which we got very little here.
(Image courtesy of CBS)