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'Criminal Minds' recap: Cinderella killer

Season 10 | Episode 6 | “If the Shoe Fits” | Aired Nov 5, 2014

When you think of fairy tales, what’s the first thing that pops to your mind? Sleeping Beauty? Show White? How about homicidal maniacs wielding weapons made out of footwear? No? After watching this week’s Criminal Minds, you may start reading those bedtime stories a little more cautiously.

We open with a couple discovering an abandoned car in the woods. Where’s the driver? Dead on the ground with a cell phone crammed in his mouth. Something tells me that’s not covered under the insurance plan.

Meanwhile, JJ is having an argument with her mother. While she was out, Henry asked his grandma about JJ’s sister and was carefully told the truth. JJ is angry at her mom’s interference: She feels kids should be shielded from tragedy until they can properly process it. Just as the fight heats up, JJ’s phone rings and she leaves for the BAU with things still unsettled.

The case

The victim is a local college student from an affluent family. Not only was he throttled with a cell phone, but he was stabbed a dozen times with a sharp object. With tension between the college and the townies already running high, the BAU is being brought in to find the killer quickly.

And the phone call came just in time, as we watch a new victim being pulled from another fancy car. Not only does he get a phone jammed in his throat, but he gets nailed with the business end of a pair of garden shears. Very Mortal Kombat.

On the Plane

The clues

On the plane, the team adds up what they know. The crime doesn’t feel like simple vengeance: The stabbing and cell phone are too personal. Both victims came from the same social circle, but that’s where the similarities end. Their only clue is the second victim’s sexual orientation.

After interviewing the victim’s partner, Kate comes in with shocking new evidence. The second victim had a side passion: Taping himself having sex with random girls (without them knowing) and sending the videos to his pals. They conclude the unsub may be preying on people who are “social deviants,” according to their moral code.

Meanwhile, Morgan and JJ check out the bodies. They learn about the murder weapon, plus there’s a wound the examiner can’t explain: Each has a strange puncture on the side of their neck. My explanation? The hickey from hell.

The escalation

As the team combs through the clues, a dashing fella approaches a young lady on campus and delivers a cornball pickup line. She falls for it and the two head off on an impromptu date. When does that ever happen?

Meanwhile, JJ and Reid uncover a pair of crucial clues. The phone alarms were set to go off at midnight, and the mystery puncture wounds came from a highheeled shoe. The unsub must be a woman.

Holy Role Reversal, Batman! The guy with the cheesy come-on is looking like the latest victim. The girl is the unsub!

Next, Kate interviews one of the video recipients to learn more about the victim’s next “costar.” Maybe the unsub was his next plaything. The friend is a cocky brat who refuses to answer questions, and even dodges Kate’s legal threats with his pre-law education.

Luckily, Kate is one step ahead; after a great fib about the video being of an underage girl, she gets him to blab about everything. It’s one of the first “just Kate” interrogations we’ve seen, and it’s a good one. She’s not afraid to dance outside the rules to get the job done.

After the interview, we watch the unsub tie the still-clueless guy to her bed. Around him are childish drawings of princesses in castles, stars, and moons. He’s ready for a hot afternoon, but a snide remark about her kindergarten décor proves fatal. The unsub emerges from the bathroom, accuses him of making beautiful things ugly, and gives him the old garden-shear treatment.

Kate and Hotch

The profile

They believe the unsub is a “female annihilator,” someone who lures men in with the promise of sex and kills them. She probably has a history of sexual abuse. The ash on her victims could symbolize her “rising from the ashes,” and the cell phone timer may be a sick reminder that their “time is up.”

As the profile gets delivered, the unsub, who we now know is named Claire, is having a busy day at her dry cleaning job. She gets asked out by the owner’s son, gets yelled at for being late, and steals a dress from the rack. An eventful afternoon!

Back at the station, everything clicks for JJ. The alarms at midnight, the shoe weapons, and the dresses all lead to one thing: Claire believes she is an avenging Cinderella, and the victims are Prince Charmings who didn’t live up to the role.

As proof, we see Claire get whisked away by a new, handsome suitor. But things turn rough when he goes for a kiss and gets shut down. In true a-hole fashion, he throws her out of the car—but she’s no ordinary chick. Before he can drive off, she smashes him with a rock and stabs him in the neck with a shoe heel. He’s victim number four (although let’s face it, this guy really deserved it.)

As Claire delivers the killing blow, JJ and Reid have a heart-to-heart about her mom. Reid explains that modern fairy tales have horrific origins. While the Disney versions are easier to swallow, they ruin the original intent: to force kids to face their darkest fears. JJ looks at the profile of a killer who’s acting those fears out in an ugly way and realizes her mom was probably right.


The closing-in

As Claire is doing some gardening, the dry cleaner’s son drives up and wants to smooth things over between her and his dad. Claire tells the boy she was about to visit her dad’s grave and he kindly offers to drive her. About as nice of a guy as she’ll ever get!

Now aware that Claire is more delusional optimist rather than vengeful black widow, the team readjusts the profile. Kate then stumbles across the final crucial clue: The ill-fitting dress came from a dry cleaner. Boom! We have a workplace!

Thanks to some sharp sleuthing by Garcia, the team discovers her real name and her place of work, then learn the dry cleaner’s son went off to meet her. Hotch and Kate rush to Claire’s home.

Meanwhile, we watch Claire and the boy at a gravesite. As she reminisces about her dad, the boy notices something’s up. The grave belongs to a woman who died a hundred years ago. He brings this up to Claire, who flips out and smashes him in the head with the vase. Her delusion was just shattered and she can’t handle it.

After Hotch and Kate discover Claire isn’t home, Garcia nails down the son’s location thanks to his phone’s GPS. JJ and Reid rush to the cemetery and arrive on the scene just as Claire is about to stab the boy. Rather than do the classic “put your hands up” routine, Reid chooses a different tactic. He pretends to be her Prince Charming, complete with placing her bloody shoe weapon on her foot. As he leads her to their carriage (FBI SUV), it’s an oddly satisfying capture—a great departure from the usual “cops with guns drawn” conclusion.

Back home, JJ talks to her husband about her mom and how she realizes her mom may have been right. After she hangs up, Henry comes down the stairs and asks for a bedtime story. Instead of a stale fairytale, JJ tells him a brand-new story: the one about two sisters and their wonderful life together. The case of the Cinderella killer has taught JJ the importance of uncomfortable honesty and allowed her to connect to her long-lost sister. It’s a touching end to one of the better episodes of the season.

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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