S1:E9 – Derailed

There’s kind of a lot going on in this episode, content note-wise, so please let me know if I’ve missed any.

Content notes: psychosis, ableism towards people with mental illness, mention of suicide, gun violence, mention of abortion.


We open on the BAU, JJ and Hotch are talking about Elle, who is off to Texas to conduct an interview with a child murderer.  We cut to the train, where we see a variety of passengers and see their thoughts/memories — everyone’s got a dark secret, it seems.  There’s a young woman off to get an abortion, a middle-aged guy whose wife is leaving him, a young black man who has a drinking problem, you get the idea.  The middle-aged guy has a gun in his briefcase, we see.  Elle calls Gideon and they have a really short and pointless conversation where Gideon reminds her of how best to interview this killer and then is like “listen, I’m swamped, gotta go, ttyl.”  They get cut off and Elle goes back to reading The File.

A different middle-aged white man is being whispered to by a white man over his shoulder.  They are looking at Elle’s file and the whispery guy says something about where they are “really” going.  Suddenly the train screeches to a halt!  A train security guy notices Elle’s file and discreetly informs her, as a fellow law enforcement person, that there was a suicide on the tracks.  Suddenly, the guy being whispered to attacks the security guard, grabs his gun, shoots him, and attacks Elle!  He gets Elle’s gun and we cut to credits!

Cut to JJ, Reid’s somewhat floppier hair, Morgan, and Hotch looking at security footage from the train.  Reid notices that the hostage-taker has tardive dyskinesia, a type of facial paralysis that can result from long-term antipsychotic usage.  Gideon arrives and is the first person to notice that Elle is one of the hostages.  Aren’t these guys supposed to be, like, observant?  Like, Reid noticed a particular type of facial paralysis but not someone he works with every day?  Ok.

Robert Austin Bolton (sp?) on belief possessing the mind.  No plane footage again!

The team arrives in Texas and reviews the situation on the ground — local SWAT, snipers, video feeds from the security cameras, etc. Morgan gets Garcia on the phone and asks her to “run facial recognition software” on the feeds so they can learn about the hostages.  Morgan cuts off the flirting because for some reason, THIS is a really important, no-flirting case, unlike all the other murders and kidnappings and whatnot that are apparently ok times for flirting.  We learn that the hostage-taker won’t speak to anyone, although they got a phone onto the train, and keeps asking for “the higher authority.”  Nobody knows what that means but the team decides to try to put on a show to convince him they are the higher authority.  Back on the train, everyone seems pretty scared.  On my couch, my littlest cat is having really adorable kitteh dreams.  It turns out one of the women is the man’s psychiatrist and her and Elle strategize a bit while the pregnant lady pukes.  Poor thing.  Morning sickness is a real bear, so I’ve heard.  We start to get the idea that the guy who is speaking to the hostage-taker behind him may not be, you know, real.

The team arrives and talk to the locals.  Reid and Gideon talk about how they can negotiate with “psychotics.”  So that’s nice and dehumanizing.  Hotch tells the locals that they will try to negotiate but if there’s any indication that he will kill himself or the hostages, they need to go in and take over the train car.  Gideon tries to come up with a way to negotiate while Elle and the doctor back on the train try to calm down the hostage taker.  Hostage taker has the pregnant woman call out and Gideon tries to convince him to negotiate.  Oh god I know where this is going, the lady isn’t going to get the abortion after all because something something life is precious.  Sheesh.

Gideon finally gets the hostage-taker on the phone, who says he wants “it” removed, and seems to indicate he thinks everyone on the train is “an agent.”  The team tries to figure out what to do about removing “it.”  Is anyone else picturing It from Camazotz?  No?  Ok then.

Back on the train, the hostage-taker complains about the heat and the young black man with the drinking problem is all like “well what did you expect?”  That guy is really just being the most helpful.  The hostage-taker’s doctor keeps trying to calm him down, and the team viewing the video feed notices scars on his arms where they suspect the guy has been trying to remove some kind of government monitoring device from under his skin.  This is, according to Reid, a pretty common delusion.  Garcia calls Morgan with the details on the people on the train, and Morgan briefs Gideon.  We already know a fair amount of this information thanks to the “dark secrets” flashbacks from early on.

Back on the train car, the hostage-taker’s imaginary companion tells him that they’re all out to get him etc etc., while the young drunk kid basically makes everything worse.  Reid and the team decide to try to use sleight of hand to remove an imaginary chip from the delusional hostage-taker.  This seems like a SUPER bad idea.  Morgan tries to keep Reid from doing it because Reid is a wimp (ok he doesn’t say that as such, but you know that’s what he means), and Reid has to explain to his fucking macho-addled brain that he can’t teach Morgan a skill in 30 minutes that took Reid his entire life to learn.  Shut UP MORGAN.

JJ and Gideon learn that the hostage-taker was formerly a well-regarded physicist that used to work for the government, which may explain some of his delusions.  His doctor was taking him to a conference as an example of positive outcomes of anti-psychotic treatment.  Back on the train, his doctor tries to logic him while the imaginary companion tells him it’s all lies.  The hostage-taker suddenly starts to imagine her as an angel and then gets more agitated, and Elle tells him to back off or else they won’t “take” “it” out.  Gideon calls back and tells him he’s sending in two people to remove “it,” but the hostage-taker wants only one person or else he will kill the hostages.  Guys, this really just seems like a very, very bad idea.  Morgan preps Reid on dealing with the hostage situation and Reid practices his sleight of hand with a microchip they pulled out of a phone.  Gideon wants to call it off and Reid is pretty nervous but insistent that he can do this.

Reid gets on the train, and Hotch tells the local SWAT team to be prepared to go in if it goes south.  The hostage-taker meets him with the pregnant woman as a human shield.  He gets Reid to take off his bulletproof vest, which he was told not to do.  So that’s off to a good start.  Morgan and Gideon watch the security camera footage.  I really want to go on record again with how bad of an idea I think this is.  Reid pulls out some alcohol swabs and does his thing, acting like a nervous technician, cuts his arm with a scalpel, and pretends to pull out the chip.  It’s pretty convincing I think, and the hostage-taker looks happy.  Everyone else on the train is super confused, and the kid with the drinking problem seems really upset.  Reid tries to leave and the guy yells at him that he can’t leave yet.  He wants Reid to turn “it” on.  Reid is SO FREAKING CUTE HERE YOU GUYS.

s1e9 reid cute

Everyone off the train is worried — Reid was supposed to get right off once he was done.  Reid explains to the hostage-taker that he can’t turn the chip on, and he and Elle improvise that it’s because the chip needs to be in your skin to work  The hostage-taker seems to accept this but won’t let Reid leave.  Gideon calls the train, and Reid tells him that he has to follow protocol from the “higher authority.”  The drunk young kid starts to get agitated and shouty about the government following him, the chip in the guy, etc.  So that’s not very helpful.  All the shouting and phone ringing and stuff starts to agitate the hostage-taker.  Meanwhile, my cat is being even cuter, all rolled over on her back with her pawsies in the air!  The hostage-taker gets more and more agitated and shoots his doctor!

Hostage-taker finally answers the phone and Gideon tries to talk him into surrendering, but he says he’s tired, and that “it all ends today.”  Gideon figures this means he’s ready to kill himself and his hostages.  Elle tries to talk him into letting everyone else go but her, while Reid tries to convince him that the “higher authorities” can help him.  His imaginary companion keeps telling him they’re all lying and the hostage-taker shoots the phone!  Gideon and Hotch tell the SWAT team to get ready.  Back on the train, Reid listens to what the hostage-taker is saying and tries to engage with him within his delusion, tells him he understands the voices, claims he can see his imaginary companion, etc.  Also this happens:

s1e9 strings

Off the train, Gideon and Morgan watch Reid talking to him and it suddenly seems like they have an audio feed, which wasn’t clear the rest of the time.  Gideon is muttering that Reid needs to stop pushing him, but Reid keeps pushing.  Gideon says it’s gone on too long and he’s “going in.”  Gideon, in his insufferable smugness, starts walking towards the train.  It looks like by “I’m going in,” he didn’t mean “I’m telling SWAT to go in,” he meant that he, personally, would be going into the train, by himself, with no vest or gun, to do Things and Stuff.  With his insufferable smugness.

s1e9 gideon

I feel like the BAU needs to start enforcing the rules a little more, what with people not waiting for backup, walking into dangerous situation all on their own, etc.  Anyway, Reid keeps distracting the hostage-taker until the middle-aged guy with the gun in his briefcase shoots him!

Elle doesn’t want to go to the hospital and tells Reid he saved her life and his hair, in its increasing floppiness, is really cute.  The whole scene is cute and Reid is just beyond cute when he’s like “I’m pretty sure I DID save your life AND it’s caught on tape,” all cute hair and cheekbones and cocky grins. Swooooooon.

s1e9 reid cute 2


s1e9 reid cocky grin

Elle asks Reid about what he said, about understanding the voices, and Reid basically tells her that he said what he needed to in the situation.  Or did he?

Overall, not a bad episode, but not particularly compelling in any way.  A couple of scenes seemed like they were added just to pad out the time.  The sleight-of-hand bit made me super uncomfortable, as did the dehumanizing and demeaning way everyone talked about the hostage-taker and his psychosis.  Not quite as “meh” as the previous one, but not nearly as good as some of the others.  Glad we didn’t have to hear about the pregnant woman’s sudden anti-abortion change of heart.  Whew.

Ending quote is Einstein wondering whether he’s crazy or everyone else is.  Yep.


Reid’s hair floppiness rating: scooching up to a 3 out of 10, entirely because of that last scene.

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