S1:E3 – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Content notes: Explosions, amputation, hospitals, prison and incarceration


We open on a guy in a car.  We’re in Palm Beach, Florida.  Again with the sunny skies and green grass while it’s all of 55 and rainy here, ugh.  Car guy gets out and approaches another guy carrying a box to his car, they argue.  First guy makes some threatening comments, turns to leave, then the second guy gets in his car and blows up!  Screaming and flames and opening credits.

We cut to Hotch and Gideon, and we learn there are multiple bombings, so the team is on the case! They discusses the nitty gritty of how the bombs were put together, and JJ comes in to inform them that there is already news coverage.  As they watch the tv, another bomb explodes behind the reporter!  Wheels up in 20!  (Everybody drink!)

We learn that Morgan’s Eyebrows have an ATF background, and he angles to be left behind to study the bomb fragments, and indicates that he still doesn’t trust Gideon. Hotch tells him to focus on the bomber, which Eyebrows really seems to take exception to.  I get the sense from some of his comments that we are meant to see Morgan as sort of distrusting the whole notion of mental health, that he maybe thinks of Gideon as weak for being affected by a traumatic event in the line of duty, and that THAT is why Morgan thinks he’s unsuited to return to duty, rather than any after effects of a traumatic event.  I’ll have to keep an eye on this as I re-watch the series, because I don’t really remember how this plays out except for a vague feeling that Morgan is shown to have trouble dealing with his emotions sometimes.

Plane quote — Samuel Johnson on imitation of others (foreshadowing!).

On the plane, the team discusses types of bombers, as well as the victims, who are all connected by a real estate development deal that went south after some dubious-sounding geology happened.  The team arrives in sunny Florida, and wonder why the guy with the bomb in his car wasn’t bombed in his home like the others. Was he carrying the bomb TO someone or had he just received it?

Eyebrows and Garcia “flirt” and “banter” in Quantico over a big pile of bomb fragments, and it’s super gross.  Eyebrows takes offense when Garcia says he “sounds like Gideon,” which is weird.  Eyebrows then makes some kind of comment about how Garcia got to the FBI that seems to be calling her stupid, and then gets really condescending as he teaches her about how looking at the way bombs are made can tell you a lot about the bomber.  We cut back to these two periodically through the rest of the episode, and it stays at about this level of gross.  I plan to talk more as we go about how troubling their relationship is, but we see clearly the beginnings of it here — Garcia is not “traditionally attractive” (for a TV value of attractive) and is supposed to enjoy and be grateful for the scraps of attention that someone like Morgan (very “traditionally attractive” and “out of her league”) gives her even though they’re backhanded at best and sometimes outright mean.  Blecch.

Hotch and Elle search the house of the guy who got blown up in his car.  They find a toolbox of pretty iffy evidence (wires and timers and what look like some needle-nose pliers), which includes “The Anarchist’s Cookbook,” which I find kind of hilarious in its obviousness.  Gideon and Reid interview the guy who got bombed in his car in his hospital room.  He says that he thinks the geologist scammed them, which sounds suspicious to me, because geologists as a rule are pretty awesome people.  Gideon calls Hotch and they figure the hospital guy isn’t the bomber.  Back in Quantico, Eyebrows explains an unsub’s “signature,” which is another time we should probably drink.  With Garcia’s quirky help (because Tetris is the purview of only quirky computer geeks), Morgan recognizes the “signature,” but says the guy who used it is in federal prison!  Must be a copycat!

Gideon and Hotch profile while CGI scenes happen in the background.  Sigh.  How long do they keep using this?  It looks ridiculous.  They talk a lot to get to the point that the bomber uses the bombs as a weapon to kill people and not to make some kind of political statement, and that the connections between the victims are the key.  I thought we already knew the victims were all part of that shady geology real estate deal?

Gideon goes off to a prison in Georgia to talk to the bomber that caused the disaster in Philly that gave him his mental health issues.  Hotchner gets a call from HQ about dealing with this bomber (Bale? Vale? I can’t quite make it out) and potentially making him a deal.  Hotchner would prefer not to but they may have no choice.  “We need information only the incarcerated serial killer can give us” sounds…..really familiar.  I feel like I’ve read that book already? Anyway. The bomber gives a below-average twitchy serial killer performance, and he and Gideon try to mess with each other.  Bomber makes comments about the event in Philly, Gideon reminds him that he’s locked up and that Gideon put him there.

JJ gives a suspiciously well-timed press conference that a housewife sees just before her kid goes to the door to receive a package that is identical to the bombs.  Bomb squad gets to the scene while the mom freaks out and the kid does some pretty terrible acting.  The whole scene is meant to be really intense and scary but it’s just a scene of a guy putting a table under a box, so it’s kind of not.

s1e3 table box

You can’t fool me, intense background music.

Elle tells Hotch about some coin insurance thing that one of the victims had going on that I didn’t really follow, and Elle goes off to interview some coin dealer.  Reid gets Garcia on the phone to track Bale’s (ok I looked it up) internet usage in prison, and they send him a virus disguised as porn in order to track his keystrokes.  First of all, I mean, you must be some kind of dumbass to click on a spam email porno link in the first place, let alone from the prison computer, right?  Wouldn’t the prison computer block porn sites anyway?  Second of all, wouldn’t the prison have some kind of tracking software installed on the computers already?  They watch Bale access a message board for bomb enthusiasts (another site you would think a prison would filter), and they use the message board to try to find the unsub.  One of the message board users is the antiquities dealer that Elle is on her way to see!

Coin guy does a runner as Elle arrives at his house, running over his wife in the process.  Elle and Hotch find not only a bomb making operation but a coin faking operation.  The local PD informs us that they located his antique shop and basically everything there is a fake, “forgeries worth millions,” which is a weird sentence really.  He even forged his bombs!  Gideon and Hotch decide that he blew up the first victim because she found him out, then planted the other bombs to send the cops on a wild goose chase.  So then their profile was wrong, because they said the victims weren’t random, that they were all connected.  Well, let’s not dwell on that too much.  I wonder how we can distract the audience away from this glaring plot hole?  Ooh!

A thin dark-skinned guy with an accent walks into the police station, and we see he is strapped with a bomb with a countdown timer and a piece around his neck like a necklace — he says a guy put the bomb on him at gunpoint and makes some demands (passport, chopper, etc).  The bomber must be close by, so the cops get snipers in place; snipers locate the guy in an adjacent building.  This is a ton more compelling than the little girl with the box, which was never mentioned again. We never learn if it was an actual bomb or not, even. Anyway, the necklace bomb is extremely complex, and the bomb squad doesn’t know how to diffuse it, and the countdown timer is ticking away.  Gideon tries to keep the guy calm but does have to explain to him that they may run out of time.  The bomb-rigged guy doesn’t totally love hearing that.  They put the guy in some kind of ballistic cage? in the middle of a big open-plan office?

s1e3 bomb cage

Sure, ok.

Elle and Hotch and the locals go after the unsub.  Gideon gets a call from Eyebrows about an email from Bale to the unsub about never giving himself up.  Gideon gets on the walkie just in time to tell Hotch and the SWAT team to get out of there, and the unsub blows himself up.  There’s a rather nice shot of Hotch, Elle, and a bunch of explosion.

s1e3 nice cinemetography

Crap! Now how will they diffuse the necklace bomb?  Where would they find someone with the insight into the way this unsub thinks?  I’ll give you a hint:


Gideon and Hotchner ship Bale to Florida (unfortunately there is no straightjacket, dolly, and mask involved) and negotiate in the police station; I sure hope the hostage can’t hear this.  Bale wants a transfer to a mental institution, and he asks Gideon to “confess” that he was outsmarted in Boston and to apologize to the families of the six people who were killed.  Gideon agrees and they put everything in writing — Bale’s lawyer clarifies that if the information is incorrect, then the deal is void.  Hm, I wonder if we should remember that?  Bale insists Gideon state his apology and confession out loud, so he does, with some emotion, while Hotch watches, stoic and unmoved; we can see the hostage in the background, looks like he’s behind some glass so hopefully he can’t hear.

They bring Bale in to look at the bomb, and of course it’s either the blue wire or the red wire.  You would think that something that was going to be blown up and not, you know, serviced at a later date, wouldn’t need color-coded wires.  Bale says it’s the red, and Gideon clarifies again that if he’s wrong, he gets nothing they agreed to (interesting! I wonder what will happen!).  With only 16 seconds left, Gideon tells the bomb squad guy to cut the blue wire! The bomb timer stops!

How did he know?!  Gideon flashbacks to a conversation with Bale about how much he gets off on pushing that button, and how if he had a chance to do it again, he’d have no choice.  Bale goes back to prison, whomp whomp.  Gideon gets to fuck with him a little bit, telling him how much he enjoyed putting him behind bars, and walks away with a smug face. Then credits, with no closing plane quote!  Alas.


Reid’s hair floppiness rating: Still at a 1.5 out of 10, I’m afraid.  Still all sort of slicked down and weird.

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: