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'Criminal Minds' recap: Bugs and terrible delusions

Season 10 | Episode 4 | “The Itch” | Aired Oct 22, 2014

Note: To make reading the recaps easier (and more fun), I’m changing up the format this week. Like it? Hate it? Want to hear my opinions on Jennifer Love-Hewitt’s character development? Sound off in the comments and let’s get the conversation started!

Last week’s Criminal Minds put the fear of flying into our hearts. Has anybody booked a flight since then? Not me! This week, the show continues giving us the creeps via small crawly things and a healthy dose of psychotic paranoia.

The setup

We open on a young, distracted driver cruising down an Atlanta highway. Distracted by three failed attempts to dictate a text message (thanks, Siri), the driver nearly hits a man walking in the middle of the road. Shaken, he leaves his car and tries to help but the guy is freaking out. Shaking and screaming, the man refuses help and, to the shock of the driver, gets nailed by a speeding car.

In the BAU office, we learn the crazy person was a journalist who seemed perfectly normal only days before. Since his sudden break from reality defies logic, the team has been brought in to determine if this was a simple accident or homicide.


Next, we cut to a creepy guy in welding goggles standing at a workbench. Is he working on some arts and crafts? Maybe building a table? Nah, he’s just grabbing crawling creatures from under his arm skin, holding them still with forceps and extracting their goop with a syringe. A normal day in the un-sub office!

The investigation

The team’s first job is to learn as much as possible about the victim. Sadly, there isn’t much. They discover he was a hard-hitting investigative reporter (who probably had a few enemies) and he had a pretty solid heroin addiction. Thanks to some cell phone hacking by Garcia, they also learn his last call was to a doctor of entomology by the name of Suri. Rossi and JJ head to the lab.

When they arrive at the lab, they find it in shambles. A smashed cell phone and other clues make it clear Suri has been abducted.

And where is the good doctor? Tied to a chair with the un-sub asking him questions about his research. As the un-sub accuses Suri of “not believing him” and not helping him “find a cure,” it’s clear they know each other. The un-sub has gone to Suri in the past looking for help, probably with the creatures living in his arm.


Later, JJ and Reid investigate the journalist’s body. Reid believes the un-sub was trying to make the journalist feel his pain by forcing him to violently scratch himself. An important clue!

And what’s the best way to make somebody feel itchy? We cut to Suri laying in a hollowed-out tube as the un-sub pours two buckets of cockroaches on his body. I’ve lovingly dubbed this the “bug blanket.” Yes, it’s exactly as horrifying as you would expect.

The next day, they find Suri’s body lying in an alley with a cockroach lodged in his nose. It all comes together for Reid. This was caused by a delusion, not common torture. Time for the profile!

Episode 4 - Garbage

The profile

The un-sub believes he’s being attacked by bugs and is desperate for someone to believe him. The victims were all targeted for these reasons: journalist could tell his story, the doctor could give medical validation. When they failed to deliver, they got whacked. He’s into conspiracies and self harms, despite his calm demeanor. He’s on the hunt for a fellow believer.

After some fancy typing by Garcia and some mental gymnastics by Reid, they find a support group for people who suffer from Morgellons disease. People with this problem believe they have living fibers under their skin and are prone to constant scratching.

The race against time

In the support group of skin scratchers, we get our first full look at our un-sub. After the session, the un-sub introduces himself as Leo to Jane, a fellow sufferer. Promising a cure for her under-skin demons, Leo gets invited back to her place for some blood testing and psychotic hanky panky. He’s exceptional at manipulating people to get what he wants and Jane has fallen under his spell.


Lisa, the leader of the support group, isn’t so forthcoming. When Morgan and JJ question her about the un-sub, she refuses to answer. No way is she going to give information to the evil FBI.

The next morning, Lisa knocks on Jane’s door and hears someone is inside. Jane moves to let Lisa in but Leo violently stops her. After overhearing Lisa answer a call from an “agent,” he realizes she’s not to be trusted. In his mind, Lisa is now working for the “man.”

As their only link to Leo’s whereabouts, they bring Lisa in for one last shot at information. Hotch sits her down and within five minutes, has her figured out. It turns out she lost a baby and that triggered her delusions. Teary eyed, she finally tells them Leo’s name and even better, gives them Jane’s address.


Rossi and Kate barge into the apartment to find Jane and no one else. She’s defiant and tells them they’ll never find Leo. They bring her in for questioning but she still won’t budge. Working against the clock, JJ and Kate resort to “tricking” Jane into giving up where Leo works. It’s a bit sad to see someone’s condition used against them but when lives are on the line, you have to do what you have to do.

And it’s not a moment too soon. Lisa goes to her car and gets attacked by Leo. He has his new victim!

The payoff

In his creepy basement, Leo is grilling Lisa on who she works for. Lisa doesn’t know what he’s talking about but he keeps pressing. He even puts spiders on her body to see if she’s really afraid of them. He simply can’t trust her anymore.

Before he can do any real damage, Morgan, JJ, and Rossi come to the rescue. Working off an address given to them by Leo’s old employer, they try to diffuse the situation. Rossi even shows Leo a reflection of his arm in an attempt to shatter the delusion. Unfortunately, Leo’s psychosis is too deep for reason which prompts Rossi to subdue him the old-fashioned way: a swift punch to the jaw.


Afterward, JJ drops off a distraught Jane at her apartment. Jane is full of anger and despite JJ’s best attempt to help her see the truth, she refuses to budge. The FBI is evil, they’re going to kill Leo and they’ve ruined her life. Back in the office, JJ is upset she couldn’t help Jane, but Hotch gives her good news. It looks like Lisa is on the road to mental recovery.

As we watch Lisa begin to live a healthy life, we’re reminded there are human beings behind the veil of mental illness. Like any sickness, there’s always hope for a cure. Good food for thought in a skin-crawling 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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