S1:E21 – Secrets and Lies

Content notes: domestic violence, torture, suicide, gun violence


Greetings!  Hope everyone’s summers are going better than ours here at Casa Ethyl.  On top of the injuries and illnesses of our human and furry family members (oh yeah, Spousal Unit broke a finger last Thursday!), it’s fully one zillion degrees here, and we have no a/c, which makes recapping on my laptop incredibly unpleasant!  Let’s get going while it’s still rainy and cool outside!

We open with a shot of a factory as seen from across the water, and we’re told we’re in Baltimore.  A taxi drops off a dark-haired, dark-skinned woman and two children with a suitcase.  The woman tells the children in accented English that she has to meet a friend, and a car pulls up.  A middle-aged white man gets out and loads the family into his Volvo, one of those really boxy ones that some people like.  We then see the man getting ambushed in his apartment (or maybe a hotel room), then the next scene is him tied to a chair, being tortured. He says “you’ll never find her!” and then we cut to his body being untied and a suicide being staged, complete with a note.

Cut to Gideon making a call to a mysterious someone about the “death of our mutual friend.”  Gideon arrives in the BAU conference room where a grizzled old white man is waiting for him.  Gideon tells him that he doesn’t believe it was a suicide, and the other man tells him that the dead man was in the CIA, and that he believes there is a mole in his unit who had him killed.  He asks for the BAU’s help to find the mole, but to keep things “strictly in-house,” i.e., no judge or anything, and I guess no oversight.  Super.  Cut to credits.

The team, including Garcia and JJ, arrive at the BAU at 2:30 am, wondering what is going on.  Hotch and Gideon update the team: The dead man was a CIA agent, and we learn it was the CIA who made it look like a suicide.  He was protecting a witness, the woman we saw earlier, who was violently assaulted by her Saudi diplomat-slash-terrorist bankroller husband.  The wife gave the CIA information on the terrorist connections, and the CIA extracted her by faking her and her children’s deaths in a car accident, but the husband found out from the mole and is looking for her.  Hotch tells the team they need to get this mole as soon as possible without anyone figuring out what they are up to.  We get a glimpse of them hiding in a shipping container, then the team arrives at the CIA.

We meet the older wrinkly grizzled guy, then a couple of other CIA folks whose names I can’t get down quickly enough — two thin black women, and a stocky balding white guy.  Back at BAU, Garcia and JJ have the CIA in Garcia’s office, where her computers have been taken over by CIA computers or something.  The CIA guy tells her “she’s on a list” so she can’t go with the rest of the team to I guess CIA hq.  Garcia tells JJ she wants to find out the truth about Princess Di’s death, which JJ says may just be the kind of thing they mean when they say she’s “on a list.”  Heh.  The CIA guys will be hanging out with them while they work the case to make sure they don’t misuse the CIA computers, which I’m sure Garcia will love.

Gideon profiles the unsub, saying that this person has no respect for their own life or anyone else’s, and that something significant must have happened to them to get them to turn away from their country, their career, and everything they believe in.  Garcia videos in and shows Gideon some surveillance footage of Gideon and the dead undercover agent from 3 days before he was killed.  They watch for a minute, and the undercover agent is asking who called the meeting, and what they wanted.  Reid non sequiturs to say that the mole list has been narrowed down to 16 candidates, all of whom are in the unit they are with (counter terrorism maybe? I don’t know.).  Hotch says that the mole must have an exit strategy, and that now the BAU is blocking the exit, so they had better work fast.

Gideon has a confrontation with one of the CIA agents, a thin black woman, who says his evaluation took her out of the field.  Gideon stands behind his evaluation, and tells her there will come a time when she can’t follow orders, and she says he’s wrong and storms off.  Back in the conference room, Morgan notices in the videotape of the discussion between Gideon and the undercover guy that the informant is sitting with her kids in a nearby car.  Gideon notices he says that only 4 people could have called the meeting, and Gideon notes that that isn’t true, and wonders if that’s a clue about the mole.  Garcia tells Gideon that only 4 agents were in Saudi Arabia, the 4 agents we met when they arrived at the unit — the grizzled director guy, the woman who talked to Gideon about her eval, the heavyset white guy, and the slender black woman with curly hair.  The team goes through the four candidates, and it doesn’t sound like we learn much to lead us to the mole, since everyone sounds by turns suspicious and heroic.

We see the family in the shipping container again, almost out of water, and then their lantern goes out.  Back at the CIA, Reid tells the CIA folks that they may want to not profile the woman and instead profile the guy who hid them, which honestly sounds like a good idea to me.  Reid says he’s a control freak who would have put them somewhere that he could control access to.  Morgan talks to the woman who had an issue with her evaluation, and she shows off the powers of the CIA satellites by peering in at Morgan’s house and his dog, who is named, seriously, you guys, his dog is named Clooney.  This fucking guy.

Anyway, Morgan talks to her about how she felt about staging the suicide and she gets kind of annoyed, and says she is totally fine with her job, thankyouverymuch.  Elle talks to the other woman agent, who gets angry and hostile when Elle asks her about her recent divorce, losing custody of her kids, getting taken hostage while on assignment, etc.  Elle tells her that the mole would have to have some kind of triggering event, like, oh, whatever happened to her when she was taken hostage that didn’t get written down.  The white agent steps in to say she was with him during the death of the undercover agent, and his wife will confirm he got home late that night.  Wooof, I guess being in the CIA together creates a level of intimacy or something irresistible, because this dude is WAY out of her league.

s1e21 out of her league

Anyway, director tells them this isn’t the time to discuss this but that they will be hearing from him about it.  They wander off, shamefaced.  The woman goes into I guess the server room, where she sits down at a computer to look up something, which apparently upsets her.  Suddenly, all the screens go blank, and her neck is snapped from behind by hands wearing white gloves!

So now we have 3 agents who are possibly the mole — one guy having an affair with the dead woman, the director, and the woman who had been taken out of the field.  Hotch calls them into the conference room and tells them what happened.  White guy gets pretty het up, and the woman gives him a pretty suspicious look.  The director tells them to try to focus and get back to work.  The two of them storm off, leaving Gideon and the director alone.  Gideon profiles the guy a bit, in a goodnatured way; they’ve known each other for 20 years so Gideon has a pretty good line on him, blahblah father issues, loves his kids, etc.  Director isn’t sure what to think, since he’s so close to the unit, and they talk a little about losing agents under his command, which he honestly doesn’t seem that sad about.

The woman agent is being hostile and aggressive with Hotch and Morgan, and basically tells them to get lost.  They take a call at her desk from Garcia, who tells them that the virus that blanked out the CCTV monitors originated from the white guy’s computer, which he claims was planted.  Garcia calls back and tells them that the undercover guy, John Summers, ordered his own psych evaluation from Gideon.  The team discusses this, and figures that he must have known he was in danger and was specifically trying to get Gideon and the team in.  Maybe they have missed something said on the tape of him and Gideon.  We cut to the informant, who is leaving the shipping container to find water, with scary music.  She tells the kids no matter what do not leave the container.  Uh oh.

Back at the CIA, the team is watching the tape.  John is telling Gideon about how he has to hide things from people he thinks are friends, and uses a lot of boat metaphors.  Garcia and JJ think this might be a clue, and figure out a connection between John and a shipping company, and locate the shipping container yard near Baltimore.  Suddenly, Garcia says that someone has hacked into the feed!  Someone else knows where the woman is!  Cut to the woman, Aliyah (sp?), arriving back at the container to find a man holding her kids at gunpoint!

At the CIA, all is hustle and bustle, how can we figure out which container, can we send in a SWAT team?  No, because this guy has diplomatic immunity so this mission has to fly under the radar.  Gideon says it’s not the other woman agent, Gina, and sends her with Morgan on a chopper to the shipping yard.  Gideon hands Hotch a note while he reassures the director; Hotch asks the white guy to come with him and takes his weapon.  The director is surprised, and Gideon tells him that it’s not surprising since he betrayed his wife and his unit so betraying his country was easy.  Back in the conference room, the white dude, apparently named Kruger?, sits, looking upset.  Reid takes over one of the satellite stations from the woman working it and locates the family in the shipping container, noting four hot blobs, and says they are too late.

Ok hang on here.  There’s thousands of containers at this shipping yard, they say so.  It takes our team a while to find the right one even with heat-sensing satellite assistance.  So how does the husband/terrorist/asshole guy find them before the CIA/BAU team?  Huh?

Back at the shipping container, the guy threatens the woman and she tells him not to hurt the kids.  Morgan, Gina, and some other agents split up to find them.  In the conference room, Hotch shows the white dude the note, and says “this is our one and only offer,” and the guy says they’ll have to do better than that because he’s not the mole.  Morgan and Gina call Reid to get him to direct them so they don’t keep running in circles.  They finally locate the shipping container, and Gideon tells Morgan it’s FBI jurisdiction and he’s in charge and to go ahead and make the arrest.  Inside the shipping container, the husband has a gun at his wife’s head.  Morgan and Gina storm in and he puts the gun down.  Morgan tells him his diplomatic immunity is worthless since the container hasn’t passed through customs and they aren’t officially on US soil.

Suddenly, Gina pulls her gun on Morgan and tells him to disarm!  Gideon talks to Gina over the comm link, and Gina asks the Director what to do.  He tells her she knows what to do, as she has the gun pointed at the man.  Gideon argues with her, while the director argues with Gideon about who’s in charge.  Morgan tells the mom to cover her kids’ eyes, and Gina asks her boss to make sure he cuts the feed, and says all she’s waiting for is an order.  He gives the order to cut the visual feed and “take him out,” and we hear four gunshots.  The director turns and thanks Gideon, who asks him why he turned against everything he believes in.  Gideon tells him that his answer to his question about losing his team members gave him away.  He says but I thought it was the other guy, and Elle shows him the note Gideon gave Hotch, which says “we know it’s not you, Bruno is the mole.”  Bruno says “yeah but without the Saudi guy, you have nothing on me.”

Cut to the shipping container, where the Saudi guy is being taken away in handcuffs while Gina apologizes to Morgan, saying she had to figure out if she was right.  Just like the old gypsy woman said!  Just like what Gideon said about following orders!  Gina says she knew it was Bruno because Gideon believed in her (ok?), and because she knew there was no reason to kill someone who knew as much as the Saudi guy unless it was to protect the mole.  Reid tells Gideon and Bruno that Mr. Saudi Wife Batterer is alive and well, and Bruno gets all assholey and cocky, dropping all pretense of concern for his team and the woman, and says there’s no way he’s going to prison with all he knows.  Gideon isn’t convinced, and takes his gun.  Bruno tells him the consequences will be harder to live with than he thinks, and saunters off.  Asshole.

Back at the BAU, Garcia is hoping to use the last few minutes of her access to the CIA’s computers to find Prince William’s phone number.  WTF, why would she want the weird-looking one’s number??  (This was, of course, years before his fairytale wedding to the beautiful and glamorous Kate Middleton, who is wayyyyy out of his league.)  She gets close but can’t find a pen before the access is shut off, awww, poor baby. The team packs up at CIA and reviews that the undercover guy was basically the one who called them in and the director had to go along with it to see how much everyone knew.  Morgan flirts with Gina some, then we see Gideon back in his office picking up a newspaper with news of the director’s “car accident” (just like Aliyah!).  We get a quote about telling the truth being a radical act, then we cut from some basic adult contemporary music to some very heavy metal stuff for some reason.  Shazam couldn’t pick it up so I don’t know if it was an actual song or just a sting written for the segment.  It was weird.

I really, really enjoyed this episode despite some logical inconsistencies.  Kind of a play off the “closed room” mysteries, where everyone is potentially guilty, lots of intrigue, double-crossing, misdirection, coded clues, and suspense.  Lots of representation from women of color being awesome, too.  And, with as much Gideon as we got, he was pretty likeable and un-assholey and insufferable, so that was nice.  Reid’s hair, alas, continues weird.

The next two episodes are the Fisher King episodes, which I have kind of a love-hate relationship with.  They’re pretty thick so I’m not sure how long the recaps will take me.  Stay tuned!


Reid’s hair floppiness rating:  3 out of 10, this kid needs to look into some different product and maybe some dry shampoo I’m telling you.

Even Reid wonders WTF is up with this.

Even Reid wonders WTF is up with this.


S1:E20 – Charm and Harm

Content notes: abduction, misogynist violence, mentions of stalking, sexism, some workplace bullying behavior


Sorry for the delay!  I threw my back out over the weekend and have not been able to be comfortable sitting/laying down/standing for any length of time for a couple days.  Anyway, this episode has just the worst title ever, doesn’t it?

We open with a view of wine being poured into a glass, a steak being eaten, and a man’s voice talking about how great scotch is.  Already he seems terrible.  I’m surprised to see he doesn’t have ironic facial hair!  Anyway, the camera cuts to the table’s other occupant, a woman tied up with a gag in her mouth!

We cut to the BAU, where Elle is hanging up the phone.  Morgan and Reid ask her about it because she “hates the phone,” and she’s elusive.  Morgan tells her she must have a boyfriend, and she gets a little defensive as he won’t let it go.  Ugh, Morgan, maybe your coworker’s private life isn’t your business, ok?  Maybe she’s defensive because it’s none of your damned business.  I would be so happy if I could live in a world where I never ever felt obliged to discuss my private life at work, you guys.  Luckily JJ comes by and disrupts the fun to gather the team into a meeting.  We learn the guy at the table is Mark Gregory, a serial killer in Florida who killed four women.  The local authorities know who he is, and have DNA evidence, but the guy got away before they got him, and has kidnapped another woman.  He keeps them for a couple days, then drowns them in hotel rooms.  The team is heading to Florida!  Credits.

Plane quote: Voltaire on people using words to disguise their thoughts.  Ok?  I mean, I get that it’s part of the whole “unsub uses disguises” thing, but he actually disguises himself using disguises, not words.

On the plane, the team reviews what they know about the unsub, who is in real estate after bouncing around jobs after college.  Reid notices that a lot of serial killers have careers in photography, something about voyeurism, which is a weird thing for Reid to notice?  His hair is really long in this episode but still all slicked back, which I do not care for.

s1e20 meh

Anyway, the team arrives in a warehouse in Florida, which is the temporary FBI field office and has a ton of chain link fencing as well as maps and photographs.  So that’s weird too.  We learn a lot of graphic nasty stuff about how drowning works, then learn that the unsub had personal connections to the women he killed.  The team splits up to interview the business partner, update Garcia, etc.

Hotch and Elle talk to the business partner, who doesn’t have much negative to say about the unsub, who is his best friend.  He tells them he’s a “ladies man,” but had an ex wife before they met.  Hotch and Elle get Garcia on the ex wife angle.  Reid and Gideon go to the unsub’s house, which is weirdly devoid of personality, and has two dog bowls and no dogs (supes weird).  Lots of suits, a collection of driver’s licenses, watches, suits, etc.  Reid says he’s a chameleon who reinvents himself for each client.

We cut back to the unsub, a view up through water of him holding someone under while they struggle.  A knock at the door and room service enters, while the unsub tells them his wife didn’t eat her steak because she wasn’t feeling well and is now having a hot bath, ew yikes.  He tips the guy and he leaves, none the wiser.  I always wonder about those side characters.  Wouldn’t it be super fucked up to realize at some later time you totally talked to a guy who was in the middle of murdering someone?!

Back at the FBI fence warehouse, Garcia and Morgan discuss the unsub, and Garcia tells him about the guy’s history and says she located the ex wife, who is still in Florida.  Gideon, Hotch, and the team give the local law enforcement and FBI the profile, and Hotch says he put his dogs in a kennel so that explains that.  Anyway, they say that the unsub is a spree killer, and that he is in a “guided” phase, which means he has a final destination in mind, so we should figure out who and where that is.  He may devolve into a “random” phase, where he picks victims at random and the kills get closer together.  Hotch gets a call that the missing woman’s body was found in Georgia, only he calls her a “girl.”  Hey Hotch, grown assed women are women, not girls, kthx.

Anyway, Elle and Morgan head to Georgia.  Hotch, Gideon, and Reid discuss the details of his most recent crimes, where he used his own name to check into hotels and is operating cash-only, indicating he has no intention of returning to his old life, that this is his endgame.  Elle and Morgan find clues that indicate he used the identity of a photographer to lure the woman to his hotel, then we cut to the unsub in a pilot’s uniform scoping out women in a parking garage.  Hotch talks to the ex-wife, who tells him she was stalked by the unsub after the marriage ended, that she wasn’t particularly surprised he was a serial killer, and says he was controlling and violent, and accused her of cheating on him a lot.  Pretty standard abuser/stalker stuff.

Reid and Gideon interview the unsub’s dad, and Reid tells him the unsub is a narcissist with “split personalities,” which as far as I know is not actually a real psychological thing.  Gideon, with his super profiling skills, notices that the unsub’s mom isn’t in any of the photos and asks when she died.  The dad is really angry and hostile, which doesn’t improve when Gideon asks about whether the unsub blamed his mom for her own death and the unsub’s peeping tom and statutory rape charges.  Back in the unsub’s world we see him talking to an unconscious woman who is tied up, then we hear water running into a tub.  Eep.

We’re back in the FBI warehouse, where there’s lots of plastic and wooden pallets, where is this place and what is happening here?  Is it a regular office that is under construction?  What?  Anyway, Garcia calls with news that unsub’s last vehicle was found at an airport and they find security camera footage of him getting a ride with a woman in his pilot getup.  JJ gives a press conference, while we watch the unsub putting on a disguise as she talks about how confident he is.  His new disguise is a nerdy guy with a limp and bad posture, uh oh.  We cut to Reid staring a glass of water while they talk about why the unsub is interested in drowning.  So intense, so cute, such bad hair, poor dear.

s1e20 reid water

Elle and Morgan are in the car and Elle is yelling at Morgan for being a slob and throwing all his empty food bags and energy drink cans in the back, which is definitely grody but which I definitely am guilty of. The most recent abductee’s body has been found in South Carolina, so they’re on the road again!  They arrive at a cheap motel and wonder whether the unsub has devolved into his random phase or if the cheap motel means something about how he feels about the victims.

Back in the warehouse or wherever, Garcia calls with the details of the unsub’s mother’s death — he was in the car with his mother when it crashed into a lake and she drowned!  Back at the motel, we learn the car the unsub was driving had South Carolina plates, which means he’s switching cars and plates to fly under the radar.  I dunno, it doesn’t sound devolved to me, but hey I’m no super profiler.  Gideon and Reid go back to talk to the unsub’s dad, whose home is extremely devoid of photos of his dead wife, and who is still angry and hostile to them.  I mean, if my son was a serial killer I would be pretty upset and want to help as much as I could, right?  ANYway, Gideon pushes him aggressively until he admits that the dead wife was on her way back from a dalliance with her lover (which she took her 10-year-old son to!!!!!!) when the accident happened.  The dad says he never got the unsub therapy because he didn’t think he needed it??  These people are clearly parents of the year contenders, folks.  Gideon tries to get the dad to understand that his attitudes towards his wife as well as towards the unsub pretty much led to the killings, because the kid is only doing what he believed the dad didn’t have the courage to do (murder his deceitful, cheating, slut of a wife).  I mean, it may be a teensy bit unfair, but a bunch of misogynists have absolutely become spree and mass murderers, so it’s not like it’s totally unrealistic and these people don’t exist in a vacuum after all.

We see the unsub dragging a woman out of her car and into a pool!  He’s trying to drown her in the pool when the manager sees what’s happening and comes running out.  The unsub quickly pretends to be saving her and drags her to the edge, then gets out and runs off as the manager starts CPR.  The girl starts coughing and crying, hooray!  Back in the crime fighting warehouse, Hotch and Garcia talk about the most recent victim at the motel, then they have a call with Morgan and Elle, where Reid and Gideon tell the team the unsub’s mother was likely his first victim, possibly by causing the car to crash.  Garcia starts digging for more information about the crash so they can figure out where he might be headed.  They find some photos of the crash but it doesn’t look like it was serious enough to be fatal.  Hmm.  The local FBI agent tells them they have another abduction, only ten minutes from the motel with the attempted drowning!  Elle and Morgan are on their way, but where could the unsub be heading??

Garcia finds them the closest bodies of water to the mother’s crash, one of which is near the abduction site.  Garcia also finds out that the cause of the unsub’s mother’s death was asphyxia, meaning the unsub, at 10 years old, must have drowned his mom in the car after it crashed!  Yiiiikes.  Elle and Morgan race to the site of the unsub’s mother’s crash and (subsequent drowning) and look for the unsub and victim.  In the victim’s car, the unsub starts yelling at her about her affair, seemingly thinking it’s his mom.  The victim suddenly swerves off the road and drives into a tree!  She lands on the horn, which Elle and Morgan luckily, if unrealistically, hear.  They race towards the sound as the woman gets out and runs for it, only to be ambushed by the unsub from behind a tree!  He tries to drag her to the water but she is struggling and screaming pretty violently, go her!

Law enforcement arrives with Morgan and Elle.  They find the empty car and race towards the water, and arrive as the unsub throws her in and starts holding her down.  Underwater, her hand finds a rusty metal pipe and she smacks him in the head!  Nice going lady!  He falls and they struggle, and the unsub grabs the pipe!  He reaches up to strike her as Morgan and Elle burst out of the woods!  He won’t put the pipe down so Morgan takes the shot, hitting the unsub in the chest.  Hooray!  That’s a lot of paperwork, Morgan!  Morgan calls Hotch to update him as the woman is taken away in an ambulance and the unsub’s dad cries alone in a chair.

Plane quote from a French author whose name I could not hope to transcribe about disguising ourselves and that’s the end.

I liked this episode!  A good stand-alone multi-state bad guy chase with some subtle commentary about how misogyny, stalking, and violence are along the same continuum, which was maybe not explicitly intended but it’s hard to miss today what with all the violent misogynist murderers out there.  Reid’s hair is inexplicable, and we get a fair dose of Asshole Gideon, so you know.  I wish we were getting more stony-faced Hotch antics.  Also I wish Morgan wasn’t such a shithead to his coworkers.  I know none of the things I point out that he does are that big a deal in each episode, but I’ve had to work with shitheads like that and day in and day out, it builds up.  Ugh.


Reid’s hair floppiness ratio: 3 out of 10.  He needs some dry shampoo or something for when they are on the road.

S1:E19 – Machismo

Content notes: transphobia, homophobia, racism, rape, knife violence, what I might term xenophobia against Latin America/Latin Americans


Ok so I know I remember this one and I remember it being very……not so good, on many issues.  Deep breath, everyone.  There are no explicit descriptions of rape in this recap, but I’ll put the recap behind a cut just in case.


Short break

No recap today, sorry.  We unexpectedly had to put one of our cats to sleep yesterday and I’m just not feeling it.  On vacation next week but depending on the wifi situation I may be able to blog.  Stay tuned!