Summary: The BAU searches for the final victim of a killer who commits suicide. The clues to her location – and why he killed himself – can be found both on his skin and in his long rambling journals.
Last week brought us another interesting episode –one in which (if you’ll pardon the obvious pun) the truth was more than skin deep. On a first viewing, it was a typical CM episode – a bit dark, a bit strange and kind of creepy.
A second viewing of this excellent episode penned by show-runner Ed Bernero revealed a chapter deep not in the emotional mythology of the show, but also one that showed a healthy respect for the pre-established traits of our beloved cast.
In this episode, we were treated to an Unsub who was truly depraved. He brutalized his victims and than immortalized them on his skin. In many ways, this felt like a final assault upon them – a way of owning them even after he had killed them. And yet, almost inexplicably, he showed care for another creature – his unborn child. So much so that he killed himself to protect the existence of both it and his partner.
His partner – a horribly damaged woman who had suffered abuse at the hands of every man she had ever encountered – was trapped in the vicious circle of this torment. She desperately wanted the Unsub to return to her even as she admitted that he, too, had nothing but hurt her. And when she gave birth to a baby boy, her hell began anew. A sad and pitiable character, she was.
The best parts of the episode were the lovely character bits. JJ doing a press conference again. Morgan saying if anyone could get the media to chill, JJ could. Emily and Morgan pawning their work off on Reid. The poker game at the end. All fantastic touches that remind us why we love this show so. We know these characters, we embrace them and when we see scenes that are familiar and familial, we feel like we are a part of the experience – these folks are our Wednesday family.
I think the only thing I would point out as a missed opportunity would be the end scene with JJ wondering if the child of a killer could ever be okay. It would have been lovely to remind them of Jacob’s child Riley from Riding The Lightning. I’ve always believed that the show pushes the audience heavily towards nurture versus nature philosophy. Reminding us of Riley would have been a nice nod to the past as well as a reminder that genetics alone do not determine destiny.
All in all, another great episode.