On this week’s episode of Criminal Minds, the team investigates a mass suicide at a military academy to determine if the boys involved really took their own lives or if there is something else going on.
Discretion Is the Key
The BAU’s newest case is a sensitive one, as the academy wants things kept quiet and the FBI director, who is a graduate of said academy, is putting pressure on the team. Because it is such an important case, Strauss (Jayne Atkinson) and Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) are joining the team in the field so they can help with the investigation.
The man in charge of the academy, Colonel Massey, welcomes the team, but he is not very forthcoming and does not offer much help in their investigation.
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Five boys appear to have killed themselves while on a mission in the woods, but there were six boys in total and one of the boys is still missing. The missing boy, Josh, was deeply affected by the earlier suicide of a younger boy under his command.
Prior to his suicide, the young cadet, Bailey, had been tormented by the boys who died in the woods, so the team thinks that maybe Josh killed the other boys as revenge for Bailey’s suicide. Unfortunately, as the case unfolds, that theory does not add up.
Sad and Scary
The team learns that Colonel Massey has been using his power to abuse the boys at his academy. It is revealed that Josh knows all of Massey’s secrets, including the fact that his abuse is what led to Bailey’s suicide. Massey sent Josh into the woods to be killed.
Apparently Massey told Bailey’s father that Josh was responsible for Bailey’s death, but when Bailey’s father got to the woods, he took his revenge out on all of the boys, except for Josh, who managed to escape. Later, Josh kills Bailey’s father in self-defense.
The Real UnSub
Once the team realizes what Massey had been putting his boys through, they piece together what really happened and figure out that Massey is a real bad guy and Josh is one of his victims. Morgan (Shemar Moore) and Hotch (Thomas Gibson) manage to save Josh from Massey’s henchman and Morgan arrests Massey for his part in the murders.
Morgan and Hotch Clash
During the investigation, Morgan realizes that Strauss has been drinking on the job and he reports his discovery to Hotch. It turns out that Hotch already knew about Strauss’s alcoholism, but he thought she had gotten help and was working through it. M
organ is angry that Hotch kept this information from the rest of the team and allowed Strauss to put their entire investigation is jeopardy because of her illness. In the end, Morgan and Hotch confront Strauss together and tell her she needs to get help. Morgan agrees to help her seek treatment privately, to limit the damage to her reputation.
This episode felt like one of the weakest of the season. It was not bad, but it was rather uneventful and did not include enough team interaction to balance the slower pace of the investigation. And the Hotch vs. Morgan situation was very anti-climactic.
However, I did like the continuity with Strauss’s personal problems, as we learned there was something going on with her last season. Though I wish it had been something other than alcoholism, I am glad we finally found out what she has been dealing with and that she will now, hopefully, get the help she needs.
Charles S. Dutton guest stars on the next episode of Criminal Minds, in which a boxer develops a habit for violence outside of the ring.
(Image courtesy of CBS)