On tonight’s episode of Criminal Minds, the team heads back to CA to investigate a string of home invasions where entire families were murdered.
FBI School with Morgan
Morgan (Shemar Moore) is teaching a class for new trainees and several of them mess up during the session. Morgan is very hard on one of the trainees and Prentiss (Paget Brewster) asks him if anything is going on.
Morgan claims everything is fine and it is not his job to befriend his students, but Prentiss still seems concerned. After hearing so much about Morgan’s teaching skills in the last episode, it is nice to see him in action.
Man on a Mission
When the team examines one of the crime scenes, they realize things do not add up. Originally thought of as gang-related killings, the team recognizes that the UnSub used forensic countermeasures to cover up his crimes and left behind drugged men to take the fall.
The men the UnSub set up are all men of color and the victims are all white families, making the crimes look racially motivated. The agents figure out that these are hate crimes the UnSub has committed in an attempt to create a race war within the community, and the UnSub is dedicated in this mission.
A Truly Bad Politician
While the murders are happening, there is also a mayoral race going on and one of the candidates is using these crimes to help his campaign. The candidate — Clark Preston, an apparent racist — may be involved in the murders, as the UnSub worships Preston and would do anything for him.
As it turns out, the UnSub is acting under Preston’s orders because he sees Preston as his savior. The UnSub and his family were victims of a home invasion when the UnSub was a child and Preston has been taking care of the UnSub financially ever since.
The team discerns that Preston groomed the UnSub into the killer-on-a-mission he has become.
Like an Old Western
After Preston rejects the UnSub, he decides he needs to step things up and targets the woman who is running against Preston in the mayoral race. Morgan, Prentiss and JJ (A.J. Cook) arrive at the woman’s house and have to split up to cover all the exits.
The agents exchange fire with the UnSub and Prentiss is shot in the arm. The UnSub then takes the woman hostage and Morgan has to play hostage negotiator. Morgan tells the UnSub that the men who killed his family were paid to do so by Preston so Preston could buy the UnSub’s childhood home at a cheaper price.
Morgan explains that Preston does not care about race wars, just about making money. The UnSub is not convinced and draws on Morgan. Luckily, Morgan’s reflexes kick in and he kills the UnSub before the man can get a shot off. Preston is then arrested for his part in the murders.
Strange Bonding Session
In the traditional final plane scene, Morgan apologizes to an injured Prentiss. She points out that Morgan did nothing wrong, he just made a tactical decision. Morgan still feels guilty because Prentiss once again got hurt on his watch. Prentiss tries to convince him that neither incident was his fault and all Morgan can do is what he thinks is right. She then brings up the Doyle attack and despite the seriousness of that situation, the two friends are able to laugh about it.
Though I enjoyed the Morgan-and-Prentiss scenes in this episode, I did think it was a bit odd that they were able to laugh about Emily’s almost-death. Given that they constantly deal with horrible things on the job, they have to keep things light when they can, but this did not seem like something Prentiss should have teased Morgan about. What do you think? Were you bothered by the final scene or did you laugh along with the characters?
Best Tweets About the Episode
(Image courtesy of CBS)