Criminal Minds 8×11 Perennials Recap and Review
Criminal Minds 8×11 Perennials Synopsis: “The BAU heads south to investigate a fast-moving UNSUB whose signature matches that of a serial killer from over 25 years ago. The team learns that someone is tracking their cases and replicating crimes the BAU is solving. “
Criminal Minds 8×11, Perennials, is a sick twisted piece of work. I can’t decide which was harder for me to stomach, last week’s episode or this one. It didn’t help that I was just sitting down with my dinner when the first murder occurred…
The episode begins in a wooded area with a serene woman giving thanks at an outdoor alter of stone. She collects and lays several items there and when she opens her eyes, her “offering” is covered with maggots. I was just biting into my burger at the time; yes, I knew a murder was coming, but not the creatures on the rock mixed with her flowers and stones.
The killer calls her Patty, even though she swears that was never her name. I wonder at the fear with which she follows his instructions, lying face down on the ground, biting down on the stick; I think I would fight or run.
At the round table, the BAU team is briefed by Garcia. They discuss the way the two victims were killed and the locations, a man in Mississippi, and a woman in Alabama. Both face down in the woods with a chisel through the base of the skull. The only thing linking the victims is the method with which they were killed and the maggots. Flashes of crime scene photos fill my screen… (My burger was very good, thank you very much. It sits like a rock in my stomach for the rest of the show.)
Quote: “I have never yet heard of a murderer who was not afraid of a ghost.” John Philpot Curran
The team discusses the victims on the plane; they couldn’t be more different. Hotchner and J.J. head to Florista’s church while Morgan and Rossi drive to Mississippi to learn more about the first victim. Blake and Spencer are sent to the medical examiner.
The interview with the woman who heads the church is uneventful, but Morgan and Rossi get some information from a moonshiner across the street from Charlie’s house. He says a strange man asked about Charlie, but kept calling him Taylor. He goes in to work with the sketch artist.
The Medical Examiner turns up a clue that is really helpful; flies lay their eggs right on the body of the victim, and the larvae were too far advanced, plus they were around the scene, not on the body. He says that the ME in Mississippi turned up the same inconsistency. He also found animal hair, from a skunk. When the Reid mentions that to Hotch, there were no dead skunks found near the crime scene.
In Pensacola, Florida, the UNSUB sits at a counter in a diner and treats the waitress strangely, calling her Carol; even though that’s not her name. He has a fresh cut on his face that he has covered with a bandage; he seems to think that will help her to recognize him. He asks for a free slice of birthday cake and rambles about birthdays being important. He gets upset when she asks for ID so she gives him the cake just to shut him up. It’s disturbing to know that she is his next victim and the team is too far away to do anything about it.
Blake turns up another link through the Mississippi ME; wood in the teeth and animal fur were found at both crime scenes. Spencer remembers a serial killer in the south with a similar signature; he had the victims bite a block of wood before killing them. “Russell Smith” murdered eight prostitutes 30 years ago, before being killed in a shoot-out. In Florida, Carol/Brianna goes to her car and is startled to see maggots on the seat; her gasp is silenced by a stick across her mouth and the killer telling her to bite down hard. At least the death blow is quick.
Morgan and Rossi show their sketch to Brianna’s co-worker who can describe the killer, the new cut on his face and tells of the birthday cake incident. She also recalls him calling the victim Carol. In the command center, Spencer and the team try to profile the killer further. Spencer has identified the strain or flies that the larvae come from, pinpointing them to the southwest. The mixture of motor oil and animal fur indicates that he got the larvae from road kill.
The next victim has been selected and the UNSUB appears at a suburban home asking for “Ted” who is not there. He knocks out the man who answered the door and walks right in; it is broad daylight. Maybe that is part of what disturbs me; the killer just walks right in. No one sees anything.
The team tries to narrow the search, hoping that the killer was telling the truth about December 11th being his birthday. Meanwhile, the UNSUB is disturbed to find out that Ted, his next victim, is dead. He insists on knowing when and where Ted died. While the BAU team delivers the sketch and their profile to local law enforcement, the killer has tied up the residents of the house, but not killed them. He enters the date that Ted died in a hospital computer search and comes up with a child’s name: Aidan Donohue. He is also able to find pictures of the boy.
The team has narrowed the states where the UNSUB may be from to three southwestern states, based on the fly larvae; Arizona, Nevada, or New Mexico. In the meantime, Garcia has run all the birthdates of the Russell Smith victims and the new ones. As the team sorts out the anomaly in their profile, they start to realize that the date of death of the original victims matches the date of birth of the new ones. That gives Garcia something to work with. The final piece of the puzzle is that the place of death in the former victims matches the place of birth for the new. Rossi realizes that the case is about reincarnation.
The team is able to follow the methodology along with beliefs about reincarnation; the killer is placing the newly hatched larvae at the crime scene to give the spirit a place to go. That way his victims won’t come back in human form, thus breaking the cycle. Rossi takes this to the next level, calling Garcia to find out where Russell Smith died, and when. Then she looks up who was born at the time that Smith died. In the meantime, the UNSUB tells his next victim the story of his birth as learned from his grandfather. Even the kid knows it’s crazy, but the killer believes that he is Russell Smith.
Garcia works on doing the math with the rest of Russell Smith’s victims. There are 22 possible victims; one from Pensacola died thirteen years ago. J.J. finds the trigger, Kessler thought Smith’s old victims were targeting him and reported that to the police but they couldn’t find any evidence of fouls play. They also learn of Aiden Donahue’s disappearance and that Kessler’s car was spotted at a downtown hotel. The team is just in time to save Aiden, but the boy delivers some disturbing new. Kessler threatened to come back for him in twenty years. Rossi thinks he knows where the killer is headed next.
In a local hospital, Kessler asks to be directed to delivery; when the man at the information desk refuses to tell him, he shoots the guy and tries to find it on his own. The BAU team makes their way down the corridors as Kessler checks each delivery room, finally heading to the nursery where a newborn has been placed in a bassinet. He picks up the child, but the team shows up and tells him to put down the gun and the baby. Kessler actually complies, then suddenly picks the gun up and fires two shots, hitting Morgan. He is shot and as he falls, a tin containing the maggots falls from his pocket. He sees J.J. take pick up the crying infant and then the maggots before he dies.
Quote “The Doctrine of the immortality of the soul has more threat than comfort.” Mason Cooley
Garcia meets Morgan and complains about the “bullet-proof” vest that still allowed Morgan to be bruised. She is offering her services for wrapping and un-wrapping Morgan’s ribs when J.J. interrupts saying Hotch needs them at the round table; he said it’s important.
A new threat is revealed; an ongoing investigation that will run alongside their new cases. Someone is replicating crimes that the team has already solved.
Criminal Minds returns to CBS on Wednesday Jan. 16th, 2013 at 9/8c with episode 8×12 “Zugzwang.”
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