S1:E4 – Plain Sight

TRIGGER WARNING: This episode is about a serial rapist.  There are no descriptions of sexual violence in this post, but I tried to put the rest of the post behind a cut.  I’ll do this for any episodes that involve sexual violence, so as not to ambush folks who may be scrolling past.  Please please please let me know in comments if the cut doesn’t work!  I’m still new to WordPress!

Content notes: Home invasion, mentions of rape, injury to eyes


We open on a suburban neighborhood in what we are told is San Diego.  Jeezy pete, what are these guys trying to do to me?  It SNOWED here last week and here we are, sun and blue skies.  Oh well.  A bird flits past, and we zoom in on nice homes, lawns, and palm trees, and a super nice house.  A thin white woman is doing step aerobics and listening to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”  We cut to an open window and a black gloved hand!  We see from the intruder’s point of view as he moves through the house, grabs a knife, and creeps to the bedroom where the woman is exercising.  A hand turns the doorknob and he enters the bedroom and grabs the woman.  Cut to cops walking around and the woman’s body on the bed.  Words in lipstick on a mirror.

Cut to Reid’s birthday celebration at the BAU, complete with a goofy hat and trick candles.  Hotch and Gideon remark on how smart he is.  Reid comes over to Gideon, who asks him if he’s having fun, and Reid snarks “yes, definitely having fun” while rolling his eyes, which is a delight.

s1e4 reid hat

Hotch receives a call and party time is over.  Six women have been murdered in their homes in three weeks (that is kind of a lot even for this show you guys).  We are told that the unsub glues his victims’ eyes open, hence they call him the “Tommy Killer” after the Who musical.  I’m not totally sure I get it, since the guy in Tommy was blind, but what do I know.

Plane Quote: French poet whose name I am not familiar with and so can’t spell on looking in the mirror.

Plane discussion on the details of the crime, which I’ll spare you since it’s kind of gratuitous and not relevant to the plot.  They talk about the lipstick writing on the mirrors.  Of course, Reid knows it’s a ballad from the 1600s, written as a dialogue between a woman and death.  Reid remarks on how weird the internet is (remember this for future episodes when Reid claims he doesn’t know how computers work!), and Morgan makes another nasty joke about how Reid can’t get a date (because he googles weird things on the internet? come on, son).  Reid’s hair is STILL doing this slicked down and tucked back thing!  It’s so bad!

s1e4 reid hair

Middle-aged white woman picking lemons off her own lemon tree (hahah California is sunny!), and the team walks into a super dark police station. Gideon stands in front of the boards full of photos and hears voices while bad CGI happens and the photos fly around him.  Sheesh.  Morgan and Gideon go to one of the crime scenes, Reid analyzes the ballad’s lyrics (only the death parts it turns out, go figure).  Cut back to the woman with the lemons, cooking in her extremely nice kitchen.  Door opens, intruder attacks.  We learn in the next scene that the husband interrupted the attack and the attacker fled, hooray!

Gideon has some more ridiculous CGI graphics at the crime scene while Morgan and his eyebrows climb through the window and examine the house; they determine that the unsub spent a lot of time in the house breaking things and staging the crime scene.  Back at the station, Elle and Hotch handle the latest victim, who claims the attacker was black, which Hotch says is pretty unlikely, as interracial sex crimes where the attacker is black and the victim white are fairly unusual.  Elle asks the victim to talk alone, away from all the men who are surrounding her (not a bad move, men are pretty much the worst), and once the woman collects her thoughts, they talk about the attack.  She tells Elle that her attacker wore a ski mask.

Reid tells Gideon and the Eyebrows about something weird about the ballad lyrics on the mirror — the ballad is quite long, but the unsub is only using bits and pieces from it, which seems weird if it’s part of his “signature” (everybody drink!).  Gideon thinks the unsub started writing the lyrics when he wasn’t getting enough media attention, which JJ confirms.  Gideon says they are ready for the profile, and he wants to make the unsub contact them.

The team give the profile with some more bad CGI scenery behind him.  They explain that the unsub is someone who you wouldn’t notice (like a repair guy or delivery guy), and that as a result of that, feels inadequate and invisible. He also feels and out of control in his life, is “under the thumb of a powerful woman,” and is white. When they get pushback from the local police, they explain that the black attacker of the woman who got away is not their killer, and was just an unfortunate coincidence.  However, they plan to arrest this attacker (a guy who delivers groceries) and claim he is the Tommy Killer to make the unsub angry and draw him out.  They put on a big show for the press, walking the guy past the press conference and all, and call Garcia to get ready to trace the expected call from the unsub.

We cut to a skinny white dude sitting in shadows, watching the footage on tv, and angrily crushing a can of soda while a female voice yells at him to turn the tv down.  I’m honestly not sure what the point of obscuring the unsub’s face is here, since we know, based on the profile, that we aren’t supposed to already know who he is — it’s not like it’s the chief of police or some big plot twist or anything.

s1e4 skeevy perv

The team and the locals wait by the phones while Reid solves a Rubik’s Cube, because that’s how you know he’s a genius eccentric and not someone who can read a page of instructions on how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  Reid makes some Reid-esque comment about something, and Elle says she is impressed with all the things he knows.  He morosely says that’s why he can’t find a date, echoing Morgan’s nasty comment from earlier.  Elle asks him if he ever asked out anyone, and when he says no, she says “THAT’S why you can’t get a date.”  Well done, Elle.  I hate that Morgan constantly tries to make Reid more “normal,” or at least Morgan’s version of normal.  Especially since Morgan’s idea of helping is being insulting and mean.  You know, Morgan kind of does the same thing to Garcia, only instead of trying to get her to be normal, he kind of exoticizes her quirkiness and treats her like some kind of alien life form that he nonetheless likes getting attention from.  God, Morgan is the worst you guys.

They get a call!  Garcia gets on the trace and they put the yelling angry unsub on speakerphone telling them they are incompetent and he will show them all tomorrow.  Garcia is having trouble tracing the call for some reason, and she’s not sure why.  Everyone is puzzled!

Next day the team splits up and patrols the neighborhood, hoping to catch the unsub doing whatever it is he’s going to do to show them all.  They hope that the unsub’s anger will cause him to slip up.  Cut to neighborhood scenes full of possible unsubs — mailman, UPS guy, water delivery guy, etc.  Gideon and Elle talk and Gideon tries to figure out what they are missing about the way the unsub glues the eyes open.  Morgan and Reid are teamed up and Morgan gets to act like Reid is being weird when honestly he’s being totally normal as far as I’m concerned as they discuss where they should be and who they are looking for.

Elle notices an interesting bird (remember the bird from the opening scene?) and Gideon tells her it’s a grosbeak and not an oriole, which causes Gideon to notice the phone wires just as Elle gets a perfectly-timed call from Garcia explaining that she couldn’t trace the call because it was routed through multiple telephone substations, which I guess are a thing.  The waiting in this episode actually does a fairly good job of building suspense, it must be said.

Gideon and Elle go back to the crime scene that Gideon and Eyebrows walked over previously, and Gideon realizes that the victims were arranged with their glued-open eyes looking out the windows at the telephone poles, and they realize it must be a phone repairman.  Elle calls Garcia to find details and names on phone repairs, and Gideon updates the rest of the team.  They have a name!

We cut to a slender white woman feeding her baby, and the intruder is suddenly there, feeding the baby a bite of food!  That is a legitimately creepy, frightening scene!  Morgan and Reid go to the phone company to track down their unsub.  Elle, Gideon, and Hotch head to the area where the unsub is out doing repairs, where they find the truck but no unsub.  They split up (of course, that makes total sense) to find him.  Gideon finds an open gate into a yard and hears a crying baby!  He peeks into the house and sees a tool belt!  He calls for reinforcements and goes creeping through the house (because nobody waits for backup!).

I’m just going to say here that for as much as I love Mandy Patinkin as an actor, he does not creep with a gun in a way that convinces me he is an FBI agent.  The rest of the team seem much more comfortable with it.

Anyway, Gideon finds the unsub pointing a gun at the woman, and they talk.  Gideon tells him he can make sure everyone will know he is the Tommy Killer, he’ll be famous, he’ll be in textbooks, etc., if he puts down the gun (remember how the unsub feels ignored and unrecognized).  The unsub puts the gun down and they arrest him and untie the woman.  It all feels a bit anticlimactic after all the tense waiting.  Gideon looks out the window at a phone pole and a bird.

Plane quote — Rose Kennedy on birds and being free or something.

Gideon and Reid play chess, and Gideon gives Reid a pair of sportsball tickets for the Washington Racists.  Reid says he’s never heard of them, and Gideon tells him to invite JJ since she’s a huge Racists fan.  So he does just after he checkmates Gideon, and he survives talking to a girl person, Gideon smiles at him in that insufferable mentory way.

s1e4 insufferable

Gideon’s insufferable smugness on this show reminds me of nothing so much as Gene Wilder’s character in Blazing Saddles, the difference being that Jim was a parody character in a parody movie while we’re supposed to take Gideon seriously.

waco kid


Reid’s hair floppiness rating: Still at a 1.5 out of 10, I’m afraid.



  1. This is one of the first season shows I remember most clearly. It really did do a pretty good job of building and maintaining suspense.

    I’ll be watching with interest to see your opinion of Morgan as the show progresses. The character never bothered me in the way he seems to bother you. Or to put it another way, I think some of his behavior toward Reid is misguided, but it never really struck me as mean, or as intended to be mean.


  2. Like I said over at Shakesville, I didn’t have such a negative opinion of Morgan until I started watching very closely as I was writing the recaps. Maybe it’s because Morgan bullies in a way that I’ve experienced, too? I’m a little surprised at how much I’m hating him though tbh.


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