Criminal Minds – Recap & Review – Painless

photo: cbs

Criminal Minds

Original Air Date: Oct 12, 2011

Angelique – Associate Staff Writer

You may leave school, but it never leaves you.

High school alumni are returning to Boise, Idaho to remember the horrific high school massacre that took place ten years ago. Thirteen kids were killed including Randy Slade, who started the killing spree, which ended in a bomb explosion.

The Principal at the time is still working at the school, he put together a four-day event to commemorate the tragic event. On the eve before the first day he’s killed in his house with a bomb similar to the bomb which was used ten years ago. Garcia brings the case to the attention of the team. Rossi tells them that he and Hotch were there ten years ago. They had to physically drag the Principal away to keep him safe. He’s the one who kept the school going after the tragedy.

Because of the familiarity with Randy’s family, the police and the school, Hotch and Rossi have a way in. The first person of interest is Brandon Slade, Randy’s younger brother who is now the same age Randy was and goes to the same school. Upon arrival at the house, journalists crowd them and Morgan gives them Reid’s cellphone number to call if they have any questions. The team has a way in and the mother allows Rossi to talk to Brandon. Rossi figures out that Randy left a list, which Brandon found. He knows who was on the list and he’s happy that the Principal is dead but he’s not the one who killed him.

The team splits up and Reid and JJ are called to a hotel room where one of the high school alumni was murdered. She was on the list, just like the Principal. Slade made everything about the killings about him. He chose who would live and who would die. Hotch tells Reid that they ruled out a partner at the time, but not completely. The fact that this Unsub is using the list makes it obvious that there must have been a partner who knew about it all. Someone who Randy knew would never have the courage to step into the light and take the credit.

This partner was submissive, he would do exactly what Randy told him to do and somehow this Unsub managed to go undetected all these years. The obvious idea would be that this partner is finally staking his claim of fame. The team has to figure out who in the school fits the profile and to do that Emily performs cognitive interviews (I always thought that was Morgan’s thing?) on the survivors of the cafeteria killing. She wants to see if they subconsciously remember something that might not have seemed important at the time. She focuses her attention mostly on one guy named Jerry, some of the details he tells don’t add up. He’s the next person who’s brutally beaten to death with enough rage that the Unsub must have hurt himself.

The team is discussing the kids and their social groups with Garcia, when she finds a possible partner, Lewis. He’s picked up by the police and was indeed the partner during the first killings. But, he didn’t kill anyone. He wanted to come to the reunion to come clean to the other survivors as his last amends – he’s been sober for two years. He also knew that if he revealed that he had known what Randy was about to do all along, that he would be picked up by the police as an accomplice. He was prepared to face whatever he had to face, he just wanted the burden off his chest.

A group of survivors, ten kids in total, were chosen by the Principal to go to other schools. Television interviews tell their story. The team figures out that one kid, Bob Adams, didn’t make the cut and he might be going for his own fame. A group of survivors is meeting at a restaurant and unknown to the others, one of the girls fills Bob in about their location. The FBI finds him in time, due to a credit-card charge at that same restaurant. Emily and Hotch are able to talk him down long enough for him to let go of the girl he’s holding in front of him as a shield. It becomes clear that he was brave enough to face Randy. However, the bomb knocked him out and when he woke up Jerry was telling his story on the news. Bob runs away with Hotch and Emily in pursuit, ever since the bomb explosion Bob hasn’t been able to feel pain. He turns on the team and when Hotch shoots him, he just gets up and comes at him again claiming that it doesn’t even hurt, Hotch is forced to shoot to kill.

Meanwhile, during the case Reid is receiving one phone call after another on his cellphone and is getting really annoyed. Later on it happens again when he’s discussing something with Hotch, Morgan and Rossi. He finally picks up and flips out, completely looses it in a very un-Reidlike manner. It’s obvious that he knows that Derek is the one who’s behind all the calls and tells him that he’ll crush him. And he does, in a big way. On their way back in the plane Morgan sits back to relax with his headphones on when his regular songs are being interrupted by a special broadcast courtesy of Dr. Spencer Reid and a very high-pitched scream. The same thing happens when he picks up his phone. Derek promises Reid that it is on and payback’s a bitch.

And finally Hotch and Emily talk! They talk about her time in Paris. She claims that she spent a lot of time playing online scrabble with a certain girl named ‘Cheetosbreath’. Hotch smiles, turns around to see JJ pacing around the plane eating Cheetos.

The overall topic of the episode was of course bullying, and as a victim myself I was not particularly looking forward to an episode with this theme. I know what it’s like to try to get by with these ‘demons’ from the past still holding you back in one way or another. And what’s even worse is probably the fact that people around you don’t get what an impact bullying has on someone. So I can in a way understand what drives this Unsub and that’s a scary thought. Not one I like to think about too much, but it’s what I always feel when I see a report of a school shooting.

I like that you see these tiny little bits and pieces of the team dealing with Emily’s return and the time she was away. But these are small scenes, so it’s not a constant thing. I like that, I really do. But I am really waiting to see that Rossi/Emily talk. I like their personal talks together and I haven’t really seen anything like that.

Well you got my two cents. Let me know what you liked or disliked about this episode.

Next Week: From Childhood’s Hour

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2 Responses to Criminal Minds – Recap & Review – Painless

  1. Heather says:

    The storyline itself I thought was just kind of okay. However, I loved the episode because of all the team interactions we got. We had Garcia’s flirtiness still, Morgan’s joke on Reid and Reid’s consequent payback, and finally got to hear what happened in Paris to Emily. I enjoyed it quite a bit when the focus wasn’t on the actual case. The case I just found rather icky…the whole cliquey groups and bullying stories and lying to make yourself popular, ugh… it just took me back to a not fun place. But then again, that was probably the point.

  2. Roxy says:

    You totally ignored the Hotch/Jack subplot.Why?

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