Criminal Minds 8×10: The Lesson: Recap and Review
Criminal Minds 8×10 “The Lesson” Synopsis: A ritualistic killer is hunted after male bodies are found that have been physically altered. Meanwhile, Spencer Reid gets anxious over finally meeting his mystery woman.
Criminal Minds 8×10 “The Lesson” opens in Winslow, Arizona, three months ago. An elderly patient at a health care facility is complaining to his male nurse. “Every time I wake up I’m sorry I didn’t die.” The man says. When his health care aide doesn’t agree with his view, the patient becomes hostile and verbally attacks and insults the man who has his life literally in his hands. The nurse comments that he could just up the morphine and it would be all over. The elderly patient insults him further obviously hoping to incite the man to kill him. A satisfied smile forms on his face when the nurse makes the adjustments to the equipment. Suddenly a bandaged patient in the next bed sits up screaming in pain. “You’ve been in a coma sir, just relax.”
In another location, I the present day a dwarf enters saying “She’s screaming I’m worried someone’s gonna hear her.” After a brief discourse between “Mr. Conrad” (the dwarf) and the other man, we see a woman crying, bound and gagged in a chair.
The scene cuts to Dr. Spencer Reid in a phone booth. He and the woman on the other end of the line talk about favorite authors and then she tells him that she thinks her stalker is gone. She says that she actually went out without a disguise. She finally tells Reid that she wants to meet him. Spencer is silent. “Did you hear me Spence?” she asks. He says that he heard her; she tells him that she thinks it’s time.
In the BAU office, Penelope Garcia briefs the team on two recent murders. The first body was found three days ago; the man had been hung repeatedly and his joints dislocated so that he would fit into a custom wooden box. Yesterday a couple, Justin Marks and Connie Foster went missing and today the body of Justin Marks was found; he had also been hung numerous times, his joints were dislocated and he was found in a custom wooden box. Both men had their hair dyed black.
Meanwhile, Connie is with the killer and asks him about Justin. He refuses to tell her anything as he gets her ready; he places a big blue bow on top of her head and then backs away as Mr. Conrad looks on, mocking her tears. The man grabs an old camera and says “Say Cheese” before he takes her picture.
Quote: “Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind.” William Shakespeare
The Criminal Minds team discusses the particulars of the abductions. The first male was alone when he was taken. The second was with his girlfriend. What changed, what drives the UNSUB to choose his victims? They speculate that the UNSUB dyes the victims’ hair because of a desire to have a man that looks a certain way.
In a parked car the UNSUB tells Mr. Conrad that this time he has to pick the right one; a man that is the right size and has black hair. They spot their target and follow him home. Then the UNSUB bangs on the door; he’s covered in blood and asks to come in and use the phone. The victim lets him in thinking there is an emergency. (Hint: never let a blood covered stranger into your house!)
The BAU team arrives at the crime scene to see Justin; they’re told the crime scene is exactly as it was found. The victim’s nails are painted red; J.J. says the UNSUB was trying to emasculate him. The ligature marks on the man’s neck show that he was hung repeatedly based on abrasions and bruising.
Connie struggles in the chair, trying to escape while the house is empty, but she falls over and hits her head on the floor. Her kidnapper comes in and helps her up. He says that she needs sleep; she has bags under her eyes. Connie asks about her husband. He tells her that Justin wasn’t right but the next one will be better.
Mr. Conrad comes in and asks if he should set up. The kidnapper tells him yes and then tells Connie that he will have to take her clothes off now; it’s the only way he can work. He uses scissors to cut off her clothes as she cries.
The Medical Examiner discusses the bodies with the BAU investigators. She says that the victim was hung repeatedly over the course of about twelve hours. There was a chemical called Ketamine in the victims’ system. The bones were dislocated anti-mortem and the bones of both victims were dislocated the same way.
Spencer Reid speculates on medieval torture techniques. As he describes how “the rack” was used to torture people, we see Connie with feet bound to an anvil on the floor and her arms locked in a make shift wooden stock behind her back. Mr. Conrad tells her to concentrate on the floor. The wooden stock is tied to a rope which draws her arms up behind her back and over her head as the UNSUB turns a wheel. Connie screams as she is racked until her shoulder blades can be seen popping out in her back. The UNSUB is delighted with the result.
Meanwhile, Garcia does searches on torture equipment and turns up nothing useful. Spencer speculates that the UNSUB may have to build a rack himself, and she searches for the materials that would be required.
Mr. Conrad says “They’re ready” His partner says “I hope it works this time.” Connie and the next male victim are tied to their chairs; their limbs hang useless from their bodies. “Why is he doing this?” Connie asks the man next to her. “I don’t know.” He replies.
“Eeny Meeny Miney Moe…” The killer holds a spike over each wrist in turn as he recites the old child’s rhyme. When he ends with Y-O-U, he pounds the spike through flesh and Connie screams.
The next body that is found is wrapped like a gift. There is tissue paper stuffed between the victim and the sides of the box as if to keep him from breaking. This time there are wounds in his hands, wrists and feet. It is obvious that the holes in the hands ripped and so the wrists were used. Hanging and crucifixion, they begin to think this is based in religion. The clothing that the victim is wearing bears a tag from a local shop. Boehner Brothers is a vintage clothing store; the team will follow up on the lead.
Back at the command post, Hotch and the rest of the BAU team give a description of their killer. He is a male over 30; his fantasy involves torture and now crucifixion. They speculate that the woman is forced to watch or participate as the UNSUB strives for perfection.
While the team is being briefed, the UNSUB has a meltdown and shrieks at Connie that she has to do it right this time. He seems to thinks she knows what he’s talking about as he points at Mr. Conrad he tells Connie that it’s “So that he will learn his lesson!”
The UNSUB sits at a lit theater make up table as Mr. Conrad enters; he cries that they’re ruining it. The dwarf calls him Adam and asks if he can tell him something. Mr. Conrad’s voice changes as he yells at Adam. “You’re ruining it. You need to find a father and a son.” He puts a gun in Adam’s hand and says “I’m ready when you are.”
Morgan and J.J. go to the thrift shop where the vintage clothing was purchased. The clerk says he doesn’t recognize the photo and he doesn’t carry those clothes anymore. He may have receipts in the back. While he looks the two say the clothes are very Spencer Reid. Then they notice Tucker White fleeing in his car. .
Blake catches Spencer in a private room where he is trying to think. She asks about “Phone booth girl.” And Spencer says that she wants to meet him; to him she is already the most beautiful girl in the world. He worries that she won’t like his appearance. Blake tells him he should do it, meet her, and not to psych himself out.
Adam has Connie on the floor covering her face with a paper mask and some kind of paste. She says that her parents will be looking for her. He tells her to be still and is now calling her “Steph”; Mr. Conrad lets him know someone is at the door.
Tucker arrives at Adam’s door and tells him that the FBI came to the shop; he says that he sold all eight sets of the clothes to Adam and he wants to know what’s going on. Adam invites him in for tea and locks the door.
Hotch takes the call about the fleeing clerk while Rossi gets a call from the M.E. about the third victim. Not only were his joints dislocated but his jaw was dislocated too. Why would the UNSUB dislocate their joints, crucify them, hang them and then dislocate the jaw? Rossi looks at Spencer and says “I can see the wheels turning, don’t hold back.”
Spencer says that maybe he’s dislocating the joints so he can manipulate them himself. The clothing, the make-up, the holes in the hands, the hanging; maybe the UNSUB is turning his victims into marionettes.
The stage is lit and Connie is dressed up as a puppet. Adam manipulates the ropes as music plays and she “dances” for Mr. Conrad.
The team discusses the new profile just before they’re informed that a father and son have been abducted from a parking lot at gunpoint. Hotchner sends Rossi and Blake to check out the abduction and calls Garcia to check out puppeteers and theater owners in the area.
Meanwhile Adam and Mr. Conrad try to stage a show with the marionettes and the kidnapped father and son. He says they have to do it right this time; they have to “save him from the robber.”
Hotch and Spencer hold a conference call with Garcia as she cross references puppeteers with everything they can think of. She patches in J.J. and Morgan who are at the clothing store with lists of names but nothing matches. She is also to go through the stores phone records.
“Give me your money, give it now.” Mr. Conrad says. Adam tells the father that was his cue and then coaches him on his lines. The son responds as he is supposed to and Adam rolls in the marionettes. He calls the male puppet Mitch but he rebels. Adam drops him from the ceiling and then shoots the father in the knee. He says it’s going to be a full house; so just do it.
Rossi comes in and helps with Garcia’s search telling her to broaden it to include incidents thirty years ago because of the vintage clothing. She comes up with a robbery, a puppeteer and his son witnessed his death. Adam Rain.
The team heads for the cars and Hotch tells Garcia to brief them on the way. In the meantime, Adam is in full make- up as he tells a packed house that this story will tell the truth. The curtain opens and the father asks for help to the gasps of the audience. Then the show begins and the father and son do their lines as they have rehearsed them. Adam sees it all in a flashback.
The FBI comes in during the show; Adam refuses to stop the show until the Steph and Mitch save his father from the robber. They reveal that his “Mr. Conrad” is just another marionette. Rossi tells Adam that his father loved him so much; he never told him the marionettes weren’t alive. They could only move when his father made them move. Adam doesn’t want to believe him. Rossi says that he is hurting these people but he can save them. Adam puts the gun down and the FBI takes him away to the applause and a standing ovation from the audience. He thanks them as he leaves; Rossi looks at the audience and sees that it is made up of props with painted faces.
Back at the BAU headquarters the team heads for the elevator and decide to head over to Rossi’s house. Hotch opts out and Spencer is nowhere to be seen. Before the door closes J.J. says “Spencer’s got a girlfriend.”
Spencer gets ready for his date in front of the bathroom mirror. Maeve gets ready too and we can see she has just as much trouble in that area as Reid. In the elevator hi ties a ribbon around a novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, her favorite author. At the restaurant Reid is led to a table to wait for his date. He suddenly notices a man in a booth who keeps looking at him over his shoulder. As Maeve arrives in a cab, we finally see her face (Beth Riesgraf of Leverage) as her phone rings. Spencer warns her that her stalker is in the dining room. She thinks he is just afraid to meet her. As she hangs up after promising to go, a man approaches the other table. Spencer was wrong; he was just watching for a friend. The hostess brings a package that a woman left for Reid. It’s the same novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Inside is a hand written quote.
Quote: “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone; we find it with another.” Thomas Merton
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