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'Criminal Minds' recap: Garcia's quest for personal redemption

Season 10 | Episode 2 | “Burn” | Aired Oct 8, 2014

With Jennifer Love-Hewitt’s introduction in the books, we turn to another case. But instead of limb-loving weirdos, Garcia wrestles with ghosts of her own as a new murderer uses an ancient poem as inspiration for his own fiendish crimes.

After a flashback of Garcia’s life-saving gunshot from the season 9 finale, we open in a jail. A hooded convict is taking the long walk to the electric chair. As they strap him down, we see Morgan is in attendance but when the hood is lifted, it’s actually Garcia up for execution. But have no fear, Penelope fans … it’s all a dream!

Back at the BAU, Garcia explains her constant nightmares to Hotch. The man she shot, Greg, is on death row, and Garcia feels she’s responsible for landing him in the clink. She feels compelled to confront him and explain it wasn’t her intention. Hotch is a bit skeptical, but since she has vacation time, he agrees to let her take it.

Upon leaving Hotch’s office, Garcia runs into Morgan and explains her decision to see Greg. She’s been lobbying the governor for his release. She’s strongly against the death penalty and feels the need to prove she’s not a killer to the person she almost killed.

Morgan thinks it’s a terrible idea. In his mind, Greg is a monster with multiple murders on his rap sheet, and deserves everything he’s getting. Garcia begs him to have her back on this, but Morgan stands firm. She’s going to have to “wash Greg’s feet” all by herself.

With Garcia off to Texas, Kevin steps in to present the latest case to the BAU team. Two bodies have been found in Seattle—one strangled and dropped off a cliff, another drowned in mud. Reid comments on the “hands-on” manner in which they were killed. Problem is, there doesn’t seem to be much of a connection between the murders. Some theories are tossed around as the team heads off to Seattle.

Episode 2 - Group

As the team flies the friendly skies, we cut to a creepy guy in a lab coat standing over a water-filled bathtub. Inside the tub is a bound and gagged victim. Wearing goggles straight out of The Fifth Element and hearing voices, the odd-looking doc attempts to strangle the tub-man, but when he resists, the attacker settles for an old-fashioned hammer. One good smash and we hit the credits.

After the opening quote, the team sorts through the evidence of the third victim. This one appears to have drowned. Despite having the same “oral mutilation,” there’s no obvious connection. Hotch, fearful this could be a spree, gives his orders.

Before landing, Reid asks Morgan where Garcia is. After Morgan tells Reid he’ll explain in private, Reid asks if she’s sick. Morgan’s response? It depends.

Back in Texas, Garcia is waiting to see Greg in the prison yard, where she learns something chilling. Greg is set to be executed the next day.

Meanwhile, Reid and Morgan head to the medical examiner to take a look at the bodies. At first, the results are inconclusive. Even though all of the finishing blows were contusions from a blitz attack, the killer had plenty of time to finish the job. The victims’ hands were all tied. Not much makes sense until Reid discovers the “oral mutilation” isn’t random. The killer slashed Roman numerals on the inside of each of the victim’s mouths. They have three, four, and five there, which means two more bodies have yet to be discovered.

As if on cue (okay, it was on cue), we watch the unsub build a crude coffin while numbers spin through his subconscious. The game is afoot!

JJ, while interviewing one of the victim’s sisters, learns the murdered man was a decent, loving person who mentored troubled kids.

Thanks to the interview, we get our next link: All the victims were strict mentors of teenage kids. Hotch deduces the unsub must have a problem with strong paternal figures.

Back at the prison, Garcia finally lands at the check-in window and asks to see Greg. The guard checks the list and informs Garcia that she’s not on it. Garcia pulls every FBI card she has, but the prisoner still has rights. If Greg says he didn’t want to see her, then it’s too bad for Garcia. Unable to get through, she leaves him a note.

While Garcia gets the cold shoulder, Kate and David are trying to find out how the unsub lured his victims. Kate believes he or she uses a classic “bump-and-rob” technique. When David asks why nobody stopped, Kate comments how she used to work on a “bump-and-rape” case with no witnesses. People don’t see anything unless it’s on their phone, she says.

Episode 2 - Kate - David

(Quick Hewitt note: To the relief of many, Kate is not over-featured in this episode, but she still makes an impact. I like her spunk and wit. She’s not comedy relief, but she injects a lighter attitude to the team. Here’s hoping she deepens as a character.)

As they leave the examiner’s office, Morgan confides in Reid about Garcia’s whereabouts. Reid understands where Garcia is coming from and claims she may be suffering from PTSD. She can barely look at crime scene photos, let alone shoot someone. Reid has dealt with similar issues and knows that the urge to discover why a person does what they do can be very compelling.

While the team stitches a profile together, we see our goggled killer prepping his latest victim. After stuffing a white-collar guy into his handmade pine box, he douses it with gasoline and sets it ablaze. Nothing creepier than watching someone burn alive.

Back in Texas, Garcia is upset by her dismissal. She calls Morgan and leaves a long, impassioned message about how much she needs to talk to him. After she hangs up, a call comes in from the prison. Greg has asked to see her at 2 p.m. the next day.

After some enlightening information at the latest crime scene, it’s time for the profile. The unsub is acting out the nine circles of hell from Dante’s Inferno. Each of his last six killings have been representative of the fates of the poem’s characters. His victims are parental figures who haven’t done the actual crimes. They are symbolic of a larger quest. They also believe he’s taking the journey with a “Virgil,” or a second person. Hotch insists that he’s smart and will continue until all nine circles are complete.

Again on cue, the unsub finds his next victim. Like the profile suggests, it’s an overbearing father yelling at his young son.

Back in the lab, Kevin is doing some digging into the unsub’s identity. After narrowing a list of people who write about and obsess over Dante’s Inferno, he hits on Nathan Chow, a local college student. Hotch and Morgan head to Nathan’s college, enter his dorm room, and discover a stash of handmade explosives. As they’re looking through his stuff, the kid walks in, runs away, and, after a brief chase, gets arrested by Morgan.

Back in the Lone Star State, Garcia meets with Greg. After a minute of nervous thanks, Garcia lets him know that she never intended for him to die. Even though he tried to kill her and Reid, she never meant for him to be punished this severely. After a moment of silence, Greg asks her why she’s really there. Garcia insists she was trying to save him, but Greg feels differently. He’s a murderer who deserves his fate. Garcia is just there to make herself feel better. He sees it as a completely selfish act.

Episode 2 - Garcia - 2

Back in the station, Nathan admits to all of the killings. After failing to answer a simple question about the first murder, Nathan starts stonewalling them with nonsensical quotes from his favorite book. Kate doesn’t get why he would take the fall for somebody else. There must be another motive.

Back in the jail, Garcia learns a new wrinkle in Greg’s story: She was the only one who cared enough to contact him. His bravado is a mask. He called her because he didn’t want to die alone. Greg breaks down and begs Garcia to be present for his execution. Garcia doesn’t think she can and Greg lays it all out. If she doesn’t show, it means she was only there to assuage her own guilt.

Meanwhile, Kevin is looking through Nathan’s life to see who could be the Dante to his Virgil. Hotch discovers a “J-Leu” inscription on Nathan’s copy of Dante’s Inferno and gets the final big clue. Nathan received the book from Leu, who was an old teacher of his. It turns out Leu and his brother were verbally abused by their dad. Leu’s brother eventually committed suicide; this cycle of crimes is Leu’s way of getting back at his overbearing father. Nathan isn’t the Virgil—the memory of his dead brother is.

JJ and Morgan rush to Leu’s father’s house, where they suspect he’ll be. When they arrive, they find Leu with his new victim ready to be buried alive. Whenever Leu hears the victim plead for his life, he sees his father berating him. This mixed mental image is what’s driving him to kill. Whenever he slays an innocent, he really thinks he’s killing his father. After a tense moment, Morgan and JJ talk Leu into surrendering.

Back in her dingy hotel room, Garcia gives Morgan one last call. She admits to the voicemail that he was right. The idea of going to see Greg was a disastrous idea. All she wanted to do was be a healer and an uplifter, but she ended up making things worse. She’s broken and desperate for Morgan’s help, but sadly, she’s all alone. Garcia will have to figure this out for herself.

Night falls as Greg is led to the injection table. After being laid down and strapped in tightly, the judge asks if he has anything he wants to say. Greg looks out onto the audience, sees Garcia, and says, “Thank you.” The order is given, the button is pushed, and as Greg slips into death, tears stream down Garcia’s face.

But a surprise is waiting for her when she gets home. Morgan is sitting on her stoop waiting for her. As the two embrace, we realize Morgan had to let Garcia fall on her own. The good thing is, he’ll always be there to pick her up. A touching end to an emotional episode.

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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