From reading many of the articles written about the upcoming season, I know that much of it will deal with JJ's backstory and what happened to her the year she left the BAU, my mind went immediately into soap opera land and I thought, "OK, that's how they are going to do it. JJ is going to be in a coma and the episodes are going to be series of flashbacks."
Rather than doing a blow-by-blow recap of the episode, I am going to tell you what I thought at various points of the episode and how the last scene and the preview for next week's episode changed my viewpoint about the episode entirely.
Two days prior to the car chase, the team arrives at the BAU. I enjoyed watching them team arrive at the BAU, exiting their various elevators, obviously tired, and a little peeved about being called in again. JJ and family had been on the verge of leaving for Ocean City, Reid had been in the middle of calculating how fast he could make a hairpin turn in a Prius, to which JJ said, “you don't have a hybrid, Spence.”. Morgan and Garcia get off the next elevator and Morgan says, “weren't we just here?” and then Alex gets off the next elevator and Garcia says to her “You must be peeved!” She says, “I get to Dulles, get through security and am about to board my plane to Boston (and her husband) when my phone rang!” Garcia says “we should ask for a vacation!” and Reid says “from who, the man who works three jobs? Good luck with that!” I love our team's interactions!
Beginning Quote by Rossi: “Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses. ” Amy Tan
There is a lot of speculation throughout the episode about who is going to be the new Section Chief and if Hotch is going to take the job. At the beginning of the episode, Rossi tells Hotch that Erin used to take her paperwork home and asked how long he was going to do double duty. Hotch tells him that they have asked him if he wants the job and he hasn't made up his mind yet. At various points throughout the episode, the team talks about who their new section chief might be.
Morgan tells Rossi that he is worried that Hotch is burning the candle at both ends.
The whole team, less Hotch, talk about it and Morgan says that Rossi said to ask the man himself. Hotch walks in and talks about the case and then tells them that he has been asked to take the Section Chief position, that he hasn't decided yet, but he says the last thing he wants is an outsider coming in and questioning every move the team makes. JJ asks what would happen If he did take the position, and Hotch tells her that then this would be his last case in the field, but nothing has been decided and as soon as he figures it out, they would be the first to know.
Later JJ and Reid talk about the possibility of Hotch taking the Section Chief's job, saying that it sucks but that a desk job might be better for Jack. Reid said that Hotch would suffocate on a desk job and JJ said that he didn't get it. Reid said “Why, because I don't have any kids? I would have (referring to his romance with Maeve from last season)” and JJ said “Spence, you still will.”
From the moment we meet the unsub, he is creepy and a little menacing, and yet kind of invisible to others. Once he kills his victims, he poses them into what the team thinks is a praying pose, which becomes significant later on as does the involuntary finger twitching they show from time to time and the fact that the team profiles the unsub as having a van for transporting the bodies and the fact that we see the unsub using an SUV/van-like vehicle.
On my first viewing, I thought the story was slow and reminiscent of previous episodes, but did have its creepy, good moments. I must confess that I caught myself looking at the clock at one point and thought, wow, only 40 minutes have passed! And I guess that since I have seen every episode of this show since day one, I saw a lot of similarities from previous episodes, but then thought, after nearly 200 episodes, how can you not have some overlap.
I am not saying it wasn't well-done, because it was, but I guess the greater the anticipation, the harder it is to meet those expectations.
There was an interesting correlation that Reid made after he read a report from the coroner. The victims all had parts from the same person in their stomach's or mouths and had all been raped repeatedly and were found in the “prayer” position, that he thought the unsub was obsessed with the praying mantis. The victims hands were all posed pointing down, like a praying mantis, not because of rigor mortis. The praying mantis can kill and eat a multitude of creatures, and the female praying mantis engages in sexual cannibalism, meaning that she will often bite off the head of her mate when copulation is complete and sometimes even during intercourse. The unsub basically sees his victims as the praying mantis, so before they can get to him, he forces them to have sex and cannibalism and takes away their control of the situation. He is mirroring the sexual ritual of the praying mantis, but on his terms, even by symbolically cutting off their heads.
At this point, Camryn Mannheim had only been in two short scenes and I thought it was Cybill Shepherd all over again, what a waste of a name talent.
Here's a quick synopsis up to this point and then the end: Wallace, the unsub, had dated a woman named Heather years ago, when they broke up, he didn't take it well. She got a restraining order on him and Wallace ended up in and out of institutions with an acute delusional disorder. He had recently moved out of his mother's house and saw in the newspaper that Heather was getting married. He nabbed Heather, killed her and kept the head and went on his nefarious murder/rape spree. He continually hallucinated about Heather, morphing her persona onto the people he came across in his daily life.
Wallace worked as a cook at a restaurant. We see him tossing a bag with Heather's head in it into the back of his SUV/van and then once at the restaurant (at a mall), grabbing the bag out of the vehicle when he goes to work. Once there, he starts putting pieces of her in the food for the bridal shower and bridge club luncheons being held there... Ick, ick and double ick!
While the restaurant patrons are finding icky bits in their food, Wallace comes out brandishing a gun and cleaver and calmly says “Good afternoon ladies. Time to eat.”
Mall security comes to the rescue and tells Wallace to drop the gun. Wallace drops the cleaver and shoots the mall cop and runs out to the mall with Hotch and Rossi in pursuit. Wallace gets to the garage and they lose him.
After seeing an APB on his computer screen, a police officer sees Wallace drive by in a black Ford Taurus sedan and calls it in. The car chase we saw at the beginning of the episode concludes. Morgan is able to get the car in reverse and move out of the way and he and JJ arrest Wallace.
Back on the plane, Rossi asks Hotch about the Section Chief job and Hotch says they want to talk to him again. Hotch says he has thought about it, but he doesn't know what he wants. Rossi says that if he wants him to sabotage his chances, just give him the word, he knows who to talk to – reminding all of us, once again, that he knows the right people and where all the bodies are buried.
Morgan and JJ seem troubled and Alex asks them about it. They said that something was off about the unsub, that the restaurant shooting was so chaotic and unorganized but when they arrested him, Wallace was so controlled. So together.
Cut to Wallace being processed at the police station. The tech shows something to the lead detective who calls Hotch on the plane. Hotch tells the team they arrested the wrong person. The fingerprints of the guy they arrested don't match those they lifted from the scene and Wallace's apartment.
Cut to Wallace putting his bag in his SUV, putting on a cap and going into a convenience store. He picks up a few items and takes them up to the counter, his fingers involuntarily twitching. There is a TV on the wall behind him and he turns around and sees a picture of himself on the TV news stating he had been arrested for several murders. He leaves his items on the counter and leaves the store.
Ending Quote by Hotch: Josh Billings said “There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: Twins.”
To be continued…
And the promo for next week: These twins have never met, but they are like each other in every way. We have two psychopaths who have found the perfect partners in each other.
The last couple of minutes of the episode and the promo changed everything I thought about the episode. I am really looking forward to next week (and I hope Camryn Mannheim has some more scenes)!
~~~~Lady of the Lake
NOTE: All the images can be seen full size clicking over them.