Criminal Minds 8×09: Magnificent Light: Recap and Review
Criminal Minds 8×09, Magnificent Light, opens with a flame burning in the darkness and a voice informs us “Your life is about to end; you will all die.” The voice asks if we want to continue in the darkness or share our Magnificent Light. The stage lights come up and the crowd cheers as the motivational speaker takes the stage. The Speaker continues saying that everyone will be reborn as “your true self” to spread “our magnificent light on this world.” Barry Flynn engages the audience and names individual attendees as he continues to talk about the gifts that exist within all of us. He talks about the dreams of audience members as he calls out their names and the spot light falls on them.
Cynthia Strobel walks with Barry Flynn, telling him how glad she is to have met him in person. He sees her off and then an assistant approaches to tell him he has more autographs to sign. Barry looks at the number of people waiting and says he needs some private time. The aide tells the disappointed crowd and Flynn leaves; a hooded figure is seen exiting the backstage door, following Cynthia.
Cynthia arrives home and puts a Barry Flynn CD into the player; she goes to the kitchen and pours herself a glass of wine. Coming back into the living room she sees a man and says “Oh my God, What are you…” she screams as she is attacked and cut with a blade shaped like a wide arrow.
In the hall outside the BAU office, Garcia talks to Morgan about an invitation he received to a dinner at the British Embassy. Morgan says he won’t be attending; Garcia offers to go with him even saying she’ll wear her contacts. Morgan says no one is going as they enter the office.
Garcia briefs the team on the two murders they will be investigating: Lincoln Bell Friday night and Cynthia Strobel last night. Both were killed in their own apartments and the thing that seems to link the two is the method and a message written on the walls in blood: “Hear your evil See your evil.” Lab results aren’t back on whether the messages are written in the victims’ blood. The team discusses their insights in a “roundtable”; no witnesses, the break ins were probably planned and seem methodical; there was an element of rage because each victim had over thirty stab wounds. The team heads to Seattle.
Criminal Minds Quote: “A Great deal of talent is lost to the world for the want of a little courage.” Sydney Smith
On the plane the BAU team discusses the differences between the victims and the fact that they never would have crossed paths. He went out of his way to kill these victims and the murderer showed no remorse; Reid says it’s as if he couldn’t kill his victims enough. According to the forensics specialist, the carotid and femoral arteries were cut on both victims. She tells Rossi and Reid about the curvature of the blade. An agent comes in and lets the team know that the message on the wall was paint, not blood.
The neighbors’ report that Cynthia was out all evening and no one knows where she was. The team finds the CD of Barry Flynn and a ticket stub. That leads them to the theater and they question Flynn’s manager. She doesn’t know until answering most of their questions that Cynthia is dead. She admits that not even his family knows where Flynn goes when he wants his quiet time alone. She tells the team that he usually rents a hotel room or apartment in every city.
Flynn is seen in a bar and a man sits down, introduces himself as Ricky, trying to pick him up. They make small talk. He asks if Flynn wants a tour guide and they finish their drinks to leave.
The BAU team discusses the fact that Flynn has been missing since Cynthia Strobel left the theater. They also learn that Lincoln Bell was a follower of Flynn and that’s the connection to Cynthia.
Garcia gives them the low down on Barry Flynn; he is really Harold Kerwin; he had some assault charges years ago, spent twelve years as a car salesman. Then he disappeared into the desert for three years and came out transformed into Barry Flynn. Soon he was selling out venues as a motivational speaker. Garcia hopes he isn’t the UNSUB because she likes him.
The team discusses the fact that it doesn’t make sense for Flynn to kill his own followers. Reid says that some public figures exhibit psychopathic tendencies; the team is wondering what would trigger him. An agent lets the team know that Flynn’s car has been found outside of a bar.
Barry Flynn awakens; he’s handcuffed to a bed. His CD is playing and a man sits in a chair. The man rises holding the murder weapon. “You made me do this, Barry Flynn.”
The CSI team is at the bar along with the BAU; they realize what kind of bar it is and understand Barry’s need for secrecy during his “private time.” He may have been afraid his sexual preference would hurt his image. They find blood that’s the same type as Flynn’s. The team finds a 100 decibel personal alarm near Flynn’s car; his manager said that he carried it with him all the time. The team speculates that he must have realized something was wrong but was knocked out before he could activate the alarm.
Flynn is not the UNSUB, he is a victim. The team talks about how Barry may have met his “extreme fan.” There is still a chance that Barry is alive.
The UNSUB tells Barry Flynn that it was his influence that made him see he had to use his gift. He talks about his gift and said when he was a kid everyone thought it sounded weird. “4 months ago I was fired; middle aged loser, no prospects.” He tells Barry that his name is Carl Finster. Barry tries to identify with Carl “I can see you’re in pain.” He says, Carl says he’s not. Barry asks Carl to take the cuffs off so that they can talk; he says he won’t try to escape.
Carl calls Barry a liar. “I need you to hear me out; I’m your biggest success story.”
J.J. briefs the taskforce on the UNSUB, suffering from Erotomania. He is obsessed with Flynn. Reid and Rossi elaborate on his condition for the team. His infatuation probably started from afar, but he really believes he has a relationship with Barry Flynn. The team guesses that the UNSUB is a male in late thirty’s early forty’s with poor social skills who spends much of his time alone. Morgan says he probably neglects his job to spend his time living in his delusional fantasy world.
Hodge says the two victims may have stood between the UNSUB and the object of his devotion. Reid elaborates that the murders have a ceremonial quality and the messages may have been for Flynn. He may believe that he is already in a relationship with Flynn. Flynn may not live up to that expectation so the team must act quickly.
Carl tells Barry that he doesn’t hear things the way that most people do; he sees it. The doctor’s said it was like a birthmark; the wires in his brain are crossed. Carl says that he’s realized now that it’s a gift. Barry asks what he’s planning to do; Carl says he will show him.
Back at the command post, J.J. says that if the UNSUB has poor social skills, he must have had help to lure Flynn out of the bar. She is going to let the media know that he may have had a temporary partner. Morgan calls Garcia; she says “If lovin’ you is wrong baby boy, I don’t wanna be right.” She tells Morgan that Flynn has 2 million followers; 100,000 of those are unstable. She tells Morgan that Flynn really helps people and reads the offer on his website. Morgan makes her promise she didn’t sign up.
Garcia changes the subject back to the invitation for the British Embassy and tells Morgan that Madonna and Steven Hawking are going. Reid would kill him if he turned down an opportunity to meet Steven Hawking. Morgan blows her off and then tells her how to cross reference Flynns fan base to narrow down the suspect list.
Carl visits his old employer and downloads a file onto a zip drive. His old boss confronts him; Carl asks why he was fired and is told he had complaints from customers and co-workers. It just isn’t the right place for him.
A man came forward after the statement to the media. A man paid him 200 bucks to get Flynn out of the bar. He says the guy was weird, couldn’t look him in the eye when he talked and kept yapping about a magnificent light.
Carl gets into his vehicle; he has Flynn in the back, bound and gagged. He brags about “I got them, transcripts of the calls I handled.” and Flynn tells him that he has to let him go. Carl says he had a dream when he was a kid, of being a super hero and he had a partner. They killed evil people with a powerful knife; he says he’s going to kill these evil people.
The team discusses the victims and Reid says it’s overkill, like the UNSUB wanted to make sure the y stayed dead. Morgan reasons that the UNSUB may think they were monsters. In the meantime, Carl and Barry arrive at the next victim’s house. Carl goes in and kills the woman as Barry screams from the back of the van outside.
At the crime scene the BAU sees a new message on the wall “Hear your red, See your red.” They reason that the UNSUB is devolving. The woman was divorced and struggling financially she cut up one of her good credit cards. They check her phone and find numerous calls to an 800 number; LUXOR bank cards.
Carl runs into a couple of thugs as he exits a fast food restaurant. One tries to start a fight with him. He tells them they’re lucky he’s busy and then brings some food to Barry. He says they are destined to fight evil together.
Garcia comes up with one name after cross referencing her lists of fans to those with anger management issues and LUXOR bank cards. She says there is a 100% chance that Janet Dodd talked to Carl Finster; the call logs show he talked to her three of the times she called. He was fired months ago. The team decides he is stalking credit card customers.
At LUXOR the team learns that Carl threatened to kill a co-worker; that he went of script, verbally abusing the customers. They learn he came in and copied his transcript files.
The team gets to Carl’s home and clears it. They see the knife and the picture he has drawn. At his office they listen to playback of his calls. Reid diagnoses him with Synesthesia; he has transcribed his calls and put the words in different colors. He has made a hit list.
Meanwhile, Carl and Barry go to the next victim’s house. Howard Jepson. The man says he isn’t Howard Jepson; he’s Steven Caldwell. They’re renting the house and never met him. Carl believes him because his words are white. Barry tells him they should leave; they have the wrong man. Caldwell says if they leave he won’t call the police. Carl hits the man with the gun and Flynn goes to his aide.
Carl says he lied.
Garcia and the rest of the team discuss the list; there are 150 names in the Seattle area. He’s not going alphabetically. Morgan realizes he’s going in reverse order. The team splits between the next two possible victims.
Barry tries to reason with Carl; he asks for the gun. Carl sees that his words change color and asks him how he’s kept his true self hidden for so long. He fires the gun and says no one is leaving. Barry tells him that he has a choice, he has free will, he does not have to do this. Barry says that they have a connection. He tells Carl to take the right action and let these people go. Carl says that Flynn knows nothing about him and slices at him with the knife.
The BAU team enters and starts to talk to Barry; he sees all of their words as white. He tells them he called the police when he saw an evil man and they did nothing. A few hours later a woman and her child were dead. Rossi tells him that the man he reported didn’t kill them and the police caught the killer. Morgan explains that the colors he sees aren’t a reflection of the other person; they’re his own feelings about what is being said. “If you kill this man, you’ll be destroying a magnificent light.” Morgan’s words are white so Carl believes him; He drops the knife and the gun.
Criminal Minds Quote: “The Mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Back in his office at the BAU, Morgan looks at the invitation and contemplates it as Garcia enters behind him, carrying a gift bag. She asks him not to be angry, she did research on Jason Ryder and found out he was Morgan’s father’s partner. She asks if there was a falling out. Morgan says that Jason moved to New York after his father died and was a hero in 9/11. That’s why he’s being honored. Morgan was supposed to speak to honor his own father and froze on the stage. He feels it would be disrespectful to his father if he honors someone else. She tells him to get over it and stop beating himself up; she knows he won’t.
Garcia says that what she brought him is totally pointless now then. She tells Morgan that she talked to Barry about the issue. He sent his boxed CD set and she hands Morgan an envelope as another incentive. Inside is a car key… “You only have it for twenty-four hours.”
The car eats up the street and stops in front of the British Embassy. Morgan gives his speech, starting with a joke; the last joke his father ever told him. He talks about his dad and how Jason Ryder was the only man his father looked up to. Penelope is in the audience, wearing contacts, and dabs at her eyes while he speaks.
As Morgan continues a gloved waiter removes Derek Morgan’s glass from the table and leaves the room, slipping it into a plastic bag. The glass is taken to a room where a picture stimulates a flashback; a man is restrained on a table; marked and dismembered with a saw. The UNSUB goes to post this picture on the wall. Dead victims’ photos are interspersed with photos of the entire BAU team.
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