‘Criminal Minds’ Winter Finale Recap: A Failed Experiment and a Major Breakthrough

  • Dec 9, 2015
  • Buddy TV

When it comes to living, what are you willing to do to avoid the inevitable? That’s the question Criminal Minds asks in “Future Perfect” as the BAU hunts an UnSub fascinated by medical experimentation.

Meanwhile, Garcia’s still in witness protection and still hanging in there, but omelets and poker aren’t going to make her forget why she’s in this position. Is there a bright light at the end of the tunnel for her?

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Is There a Drug or a Blood Fetish Connection?

In an opening more fitting for Bones, a couple is frog hunting in the middle of the night in the woods when the woman accidentally catches … a body and falls into the water next to it.

In St. Augustine, Florida, two bodies have been found in a remote wooded area. The female victim was exsanguinated. (The male was not.) Is someone sending a message to a rival drug gang? Is this some type of satanic ritual? JJ’s gut is telling her that it has nothing to do with drugs and everything to do with something like vampirism or a blood fetish.

In another scene, a car pulls up to a cemetery and the driver fixes her makeup before getting out. Another bad date idea? Yes, as she meets a guy in the dark, but she at least makes the smart decision to leave when he tries to blindfold her. Unfortunately for her, he doesn’t let her get too far.

As the team heads to Florida, Garcia IDs the victims: Cheyenne, 23 and George, 71. She was an unemployed waitress and he was a retired steelworker who moved to the area a few years earlier. They both went missing three days ago, but according to the coroner, died less than 24 hours ago. There are no signs of torture or sexual assault, so what was the UnSub doing to them for two days?

Once the team gets to Florida, they find out about the latest missing person, Andrew, who worked at the same restaurant as Cheyenne. JJ channels her old job as media liaison and gets to work convincing the press to tone down the devil-worshiping angle. Also, the ME’s report reveals why George wasn’t exsanguinated; Cheyenne’s blood was put into him. A triangle was cut from his calf muscle, which Hotch realizes could be a tissue sample. They could be looking at medical experimentation, with one healthy, young victim (Cheyenne) and one sick, old victim (George, who had a series of health problems).

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The UnSub leaves Andrea gagged and secured to a gurney next to his male victim before going off to work. He’s an orderly at a hospital apparently hailed for its treatments. Unfortunately, there’s nothing the doctor can do for Eileen, whom she gives six months and the chance for drugs to minimize her symptoms. All the doctor can do is suggest that she and he husband cherish the time they do have together.

Putting the Profile Together

George’s tox screen reveals that there’s a drug for Parkinson’s (introduced after the transfusion) and animal DNA (specifically jellyfish and turtle) in his system

When the UnSub’s latest male victim dies, the UnSub reacts violently, hitting the victim over and over and later smashing his aquarium of jellyfish.

After this dead victim is found, the team is ready to deliver the profile. They’re looking for a male, 25-35, with medical training and access to pharmaceuticals. He’s operating off the legal and ethical grid, searching for a cure for degenerative neurological diseases. It could be personal (he or a loved one is suffering), an attempt to play God or about the financial reward associated with a medical breakthrough. He shows signs of logic and reason, but also an irrational approach to achieving his medical goals. He might appear charming and trustworthy, but he also clashes with authority figures.

As Ben leaves Eileen to rest, the orderly (UnSub) from the hospital shows up. Robert tells Ben that he has something that can save his wife; something a doctor can’t offer. When Ben catches on to the fact that this isn’t legal, Robert asks if he cares if it saves his wife. He explains that yes and Ben agrees. Afterward, Robert tells Ben that they should see results soon, but Eileen will need another transfusion in a few days.

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Garcia discovers that a Mad Scientist Club used to meet in the cemetery where Andrea was taken, and they would get together and talk about experimental ways to cure diseases. A former member tells Tara about the “Magic Man,” a guy who showed up a couple of times and gave everyone the creeps. He called the area a “magical place.” All they have to go on is a first name of either Richard or Robert.

When Robert breaks into the doctor’s office for drugs, she catches him but he hits her in the head with a hammer and then takes her body out of the hospital in a body bag. And no one is the wiser because it’s a hospital, he’s an orderly there and she’s in a body bag. Chilling, really.

Meanwhile, Eileen is doing much better, even feeling well enough to go out for a walk with her husband and dance in the living room. However, the next morning, Ben sees the article in the local newspaper about the doctor being missing.

A phone call to Reid and some theorizing later, and the team figures out why the UnSub is using the animals he is: jellyfish, turtles, sea urchin and a scarlet macaw. They all have a long life span. He’s focused on longevity, not curing a specific disease. And the reason the cemetery is a “magical place” is because it’s near the legendary fountain of youth. 


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Can the UnSub Be Stopped?

Andrea is still alive, but that may not be for very long. After Robert tells her why he’s doing this (When he visited his uncle in a nursing home when he was kid, another elderly patient told him that he was looking at a mirror and he’d end up just like him) he sedates her.

When Eileen gets worse and collapses, Ben calls Robert instead of 911 and the UnSub instructs him to bring her to his lab. Her only chance is another transfusion, he insists.

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By this time though, the BAU realizes that Eileen is on the UnSub’s radar since she missed her doctor’s appointment. It also just so happens that they find out Robert’s name because he used to work at a zoo where a scarlet macaw was stolen. Thanks to a shipment he had delivered, they also know where he is.

While the BAU is on the way, Robert sets Eileen and Ben up in a room next to Andrea’s. Ready to sacrifice Andrea, Ben walks in, realizing just what he signed up for unwillingly, moments before Hotch, JJ and Morgan enter the room. Robert has no choice but to surrender, but he insists he can do his research from prison. As for Eileen, medics are on the way, but it doesn’t look good.

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Garcia’s Witness Protection Continues

Not even a game of poker with Rossi — for fuzzy pencils and cigars — can distract Garcia from why she can’t go home. “This will not go on forever,” he tries to assure her. “I feel like it will,” she admits, adding that she’s scared she’ll be stuck at the BAU like she is because of the people out there who want to hurt her. For now, all Rossi can tell her is that they’ll “take these guys down” and to “stay strong.”

However, at the end of the episode, as Garcia has just decided that ice cream and yogurt is the best way to go, Hotch finds her and tells her she needs to come with him. There’s no time for her to even change out of her pajamas. There’s been a major breakthrough in the case, and they may have found a way to bring the whole network down.

To Be Continued …

Criminal Minds season 11 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

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