S1:E10 – The Popular Kids

Content notes: head trauma, blood, nightmares, Satanic imagery


It’s tough to say which episode this is just from the title, because there have been a handful about high school-age kids murdering one another.  We shall see!  We open on two young, thin, white people — a blonde woman and a dark-haired man — jogging through the forest in what the subtitle tells us is Massanutten Mountain, VA.  They take a break, because the woman has a stitch in her side.  She encourages the guy to keep running, they kiss, and he jogs off.  I notice that this must be an awfully old episode since she’s wearing a Juicy velour tracksuit.  She hears noises in the woods as she ties her shoe, she looks around and calls for the guy, then runs off.  I would never jog in those Juicy pants because, as we see here, they really aren’t designed for exercise and they look like they are falling right off this poor girl.  She finds the guy’s body, then looks up as we see black shoes step into the clearing.

Cut to bodies on a gurney, cops, and yellow tape.  Someone calls over the sheriff, and we a skeleton.  The sheriff looks further and says “we’re gonna need a lot more than the crime scene folks.”

Cut to Reid pouring sugar in his coffee, and Morgan making fun of what he supposes he does in his spare time, like watching Star Trek and laughing at the physics mistakes or working on cold fusion.  Because those are only things LOSER do, right Morgan? Especially cold fusion!  I mean, who would want to find out that everything we know about physics is wrong while solving our energy crisis and becoming wealthy and famous beyond your wildest dreams?  That’s not as cool as grinding on some hot chicks at a club or whatever, right?  Anyway, Reid explains to Morgan that Star Trek TOS had very few actual errors considering when it came out.  He then goes on to ask about nightmares, and says they are happening every night, about their job.  Morgan is like “I’m not sure I’m the right person for you to talk to,” because you know, feelings diminish his powers or something jesus I hate him.

Elle tells them they have a meeting, and we cut to the team in the conference room.  Two bodies with similar head wounds, but doesn’t seem like something the BAU would ordinarily get involved with?  Well, Hotch says, there are some extenuating circumstances that may cause concern.  “Satanic cult,” Gideon deadpans.  Reid looks adorably surprised, and we get a shot of the supposed Satanic cult indicators, a pentagram cut into a tree with “Satan Lives LOD” carved underneath it.

Credits.  Plane quote from Sir Peter Eustanoff (sp?) about dreams and nightmares.

The team discusses the history of Satanic cults, that none of the abuses likely ever happened, and the ensuing panic that swept across the US.  Reid is wearing a fetching purple scarf (the actor went to NYU so this makes sense).  They clarify that while there are people who consider themselves “Satanists,” there has never been an authenticated case of a Satanic ritual killing in the US.

The team arrives onsite. Reid, JJ, and Gideon look at the area the skeleton was and look over the supposed Satanic ritual location, while Elle, Morgan, and Hotch talk to the local cops where the other body was found.  The fresh body is a local football hero, and the “Satanic” area has a lot of melted candle wax.  They try to figure out what “LOD” stands for, and JJ says she will get Garcia on it as soon as she gets some cell phone signal.  A hysterical woman arrives saying her daughter was out jogging with the boy and is missing.  Reid’s hair and scarf are enjoying their floppiness together.  I’m very pleased that we are finally getting some increased hair floppiness!

s1e10 reid hair scarf

The team wants the sheriff to use volunteers from the community for a search party because they figure it’s someone local, but they don’t want the sheriff to know that just yet.  JJ appeals to his sense of community and the knowledge of the local folks, and JJ, the sheriff, and Reid head back to town to muster up a search party.  The local reverend meets them at the station, looking suspicious, and heads out to call his congregation for the search party.  Reid talks to the sheriff’s kid, who is studying Nietzsche, which seems a bit unusual for the town.  The kid kind of indicates he’s only playing football to appease his dad, and is interested in profiling.

Back at the crime scene, the volunteers have arrived, and are getting instructions.  It seems like everyone is suspicious, and Gideon says that “this type of unsub can’t resist injecting himself into a show like this.”  JJ heads back to the station to fax Garcia the sign-in sheet to get the lowdown on them.  Most people are relatively well-off, with minor “dark secrets” like tax evasion and adultery, but nothing serious,Garcia tells us.  One guy was arrested for assault with a baseball bat, though, similar to the victims!  He’s with Elle, so we cut to Elle and this creepy white curly-haired guy.  He creeps up behind her as she fixes her boot and scares the crap out of her.  Elle is kind of an asshole to him as he tries to talk to her; he seems creepy but maybe not all that bright.  Suddenly they find a note pinned to a tree about Satan commanding a virgin sacrifice at the next full moon.  It has blood on it!  Seems legit.

Hotch talks to Reid about his nightmares, and Reid seems annoyed that Morgan told him.  The team delivers the profile and some more background on Satanism and cults in the US.  Reid’s hair lost its floppiness.  Woe.  They explain that they are looking for a charismatic leader who listens to heavy metal music.  The sheriff’s kid says he knows somebody like that, a guy who graduated years ago who still hangs out with high school kids.  Those guys are LEGION I am telling you.  Anyway, there’s a group of them who hang out and get high and listen to heavy metal in an abandoned farmhouse.  They call themselves the Lords of Destruction — LOD!  Let’s go get these heavy metal black nail polish weirdos!  Hotch is SUPER scowly.

s1e10 hotch scowl

Gideon sees a young white woman that he noticed at the search party standing near a tree as the team gets into their vehicles, so he follows the girl.  We cut to some kids headbanging in an abandoned house with some really cut-rate nu metal music.  FBI and sheriff storm in and find the leader standing all crucifixy with crazy face on a table.  It’s cringingly terrible, you guys.  As a once and future goth kid, I’m cringing so hard I can barely watch.

s1e10 cringe

Gideon finds the girl in the church, and they talk about believing in god and the devil, divine retribution, etc.  Hotch, Elle, and the sheriff question the leader of the LOD.  The kid delivers some fairly standard Satanist rhetoric, cringily.  The girl in the church says it’s her fault her friend has gone missing.  Back at the Satanic farmhouse, Reid yells at Morgan about telling Hotch and Gideon about his nightmares.  Reid is worried about losing his job, and Morgan says he won’t, and he knows because he just does.  Oh noes, Morgan has nightmares too!  He admits it like it’s some kind of humiliating confession of weakness, and not a totally fucking reasonable reaction to this terrible job, because of course he does.  He says Gideon helped him with them.  Reid’s hair flop increases.

s1e10 reid floppier

A car pulls up and the sheriff’s kid jumps out, asking if they found the missing girl.  He’s acting all anxious and squirrely, asking if they checked the outbuildings.  Morgan and Reid follow him off to check it out.  The girl in the church tells Gideon that her and her friends found the body and watched it decompose over time, visiting it from time to time.  It was “their thing,” she says.  It reminds me of something….




Meanwhile, the LOD guy claims he has never seen the corpse and the Satanic paraphernalia around it, and despite his assholery has kind of a point about the sheriff wanting to blame someone who’s different.  Morgan and Reid find the outbuilding with a pentagram and “LOD” on it again.  The sheriff and the rest of the team have gone and remember, there’s no cell service, so of course they’re going to investigate!  Morgan finds the girl’s body, all bloodied with her eyes open just like in the nightmares he described.  He tries to call for backup while the sheriff’s kid gets really sad, but no cell signal!  Morgan sends Reid back to the house by himself, and Gideon gets the sheriff out of interrogation and explains the Stand By Me stuff to him, and says that the girl told him that the pentagram and candles weren’t there until recently, so someone is trying to frame the Young Satanists.

Back at the abandoned Satanic debauchery farm, Morgan talks to the sheriff’s kid about wanting to be a profiler.  Gideon gets the sheriff to make the connection between the profile of someone local who wants to inject himself into the case, be helpful, etc. and his son, who was the one who gave them the Satanic hideout.  The sheriff says the kid went up to the debauchery farm, and a deputy comes in saying a gun is missing from the gun locker!  Morgan, meanwhile, uses the profile to try to unnerve the kid, who claims he was trying to help until Reid comes back.  He grabs Reid and says the girl was supposed to be “his” or whatever.  Reid quotes Nietzsche at him and Morgan calls him names to distract him enough so Reid can wrestle away from him and Morgan can tackle both of them and then punch the kid.  Reid asks “what happened” and Morgan explains that the kid is the unsub and of course Reid is like “yeah no I knew that, I meant why did you have to tackle both of us!”   Poor kid.

Plane quote from some playwright about dreams and anguish bringing us together.  Gideon shows Reid a photo of a woman, who was rescued from an abduction as a child by Gideon and his team.  He tells Reid to remember the good stuff that happens as a part of their job, and gives him the photo to help him remember.  Reid closes his eyes as Peter Gabriel plays, which seems like it would be pretty restful, honestly.  I could take a nap with those cheekbones is all I’m sayin.

s1e10 sleepy cheekbones

Overall a pretty decent episode.  I liked the twist with the sheriff’s kid, although the whole “she was MINE” is sexist as fuck.  I get that “in real life,” many murders are committed for just this reason, but I kind of want something more interesting from my monster-of-the-week crime show about serial killers.  I enjoyed the takedown of Satanic panic, which has always been of interest to me.  I wish the heavy metal kids and their ringleader hadn’t been so very cringe-inducingly embarrassing.  The guy’s “Satanic” rhetoric sounded like they just copy-pasted some whining kid from the internet on a Cracked article, and the music was SO bad.


Reid’s hair floppiness rating: definitely a 4 out of 10!

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1 Comment

  1. One of the reasons I’m pretty tolerant of the faults of episodes like the previous one (Derailed), is just because it is different than another serial killer of the week, and I appreciate the change-up.

    I seem to recall that if sheriff’s kids were a minority, they’d be getting a pretty bad rap from CM.


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