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'Criminal Minds' recap: Cults, coolers, and JJ's blast from the past

Season 10 | Episode 11 | “The Forever People” | Aired Jan 14, 2015

Welcome back to Criminal Minds! Hope everybody had a fun holiday free of crazy people, unsubs, and psychopathic killers. In this week’s episode, the temperature gets dialed down to below freezing as the BAU investigates a creepy cult—while JJ wrestles demons of her very own.

The setup

Episode 11 opens with JJ throwing hands with her trainer. What starts as a friendly fight turns more aggressive as JJ gets hit with flashbacks from her days as Tivon’s hostage (season 9). No time for self-pity as a text comes in from Garcia. Case time!

JJ recovers from her flashbacks in season 10, episode 11 of Criminal Minds.

The case

A woman’s frozen body was found by the Hoover Dam in Nevada. The team is confused how a body could freeze in a desert until JJ notices a familiar mark on the victim: a burn scar similar to the one she has on her own body. JJ deduces the woman was frozen to near death just be to be jolted awake by her killer.

Meanwhile, a regular schlub is picked up by a creepy guy in a creepy van. (Seriously, why do they even sell those anymore?) The schlub willingly gets blindfolded and is driven to a freezer and locked inside.

The investigation

En route to Nevada, the team pores over the data. The first order of business: find out who the victim is. Luckily, there’s still a bit of time for Kate to give Reed some mess about “estimating” the amount of boats in Lake Mead off the top of his head. Fans of the show know, you never give Reed any sass. Luckily Rossi proves Reed was right. Everyone at home yells, “Booyah!”

After learning the victim’s name is Sarah (and that she had a son), we cut back to the schlub—who is awakened to the sound of applause. He has survived the cold and is told by a mysterious person (maybe the unsub) that he’s officially “one of them.” Ah, yes: a good, old-fashioned cult! And the team quickly discovers our victim was a former member.

Carl gets greeted by his fellow cult members in season 10, episode 11 of Criminal Minds.

The profile

Thanks to data gathered from Sarah’s body, they believe a cult is responsible for Sarah’s death. The group will likely be lead by a charismatic leader who uses their frailties for his own gain. Sarah’s son is probably among the followers. They also believe the cult coaxes a “rebirth” from new members by freezing them to the point of euphoria and reviving them at the last second.

Back at the cult, the leader talks to his flock about fear and rising to the “next level.” One of members breaks down and begs to be sent home. No such luck: he’s dragged away.

Meanwhile, Reid tries to find out what’s going on with JJ. What follows is a heartbreaking exchange in which JJ not only admits to being haunted by Tivon’s torture—she drops a bomb: She was pregnant during her ordeal and lost the child. Reid is shaken yet promises to not say anything.

Back on the hunt, Kate and Morgan learn the cult’s name by interviewing a former member. They call themselves “The Forever People” and they don’t mind going to the extreme for their cause. He’s got the missing fingers to prove it!

On cue, we cut to the freaked-out cult member in the fridge, about to receive another punishment. He gets hit with a fire extinguisher, and BAM. Victim number two!

The ramp up

Back at the crazy ranch, the cult leader is addressing his flock when the BAU walk in. Garcia found the address via the new victim’s checkbook and the team is there to investigate.

Morgan and Kate interview the mother of a former cult member in season 10, episode 11 of Criminal Minds.

While Morgan gets cozy with the leader, JJ talks to one of the members. After a tense conversation about hand injuries, she learns he’s not a member at all. He’s the father of Bobby, Sarah’s son! It turns out he only joined the cult to help his wife and son get out.

After interviewing the cult leader, Hotch believes he isn’t the unsub. He was too shocked by the crime scene photos. Then, after some conversation, JJ hits it again: the unsub is the one watching the kids!

Back at the ranch, Bobby’s dad (Carl) sees the children being lead into a trailer by our real unsub. Carl breaks into the trailer, asks a girl where Bobby is, and—SMACK. The unsub cracks him with a bat!

The closing in

JJ, Reid, and Kate scream up to the compound, looking for the unsub. They barge in, search the rooms, and find the trailer full of kids. JJ learns “Brother John” is the unsub and that he’s taken Carl to his home. Bobby gives her the address and, against the advice of Reid, runs off alone.

At the house, JJ finds John in a freezer with a chilled-out Carl clinging to life. John tells her the room is full of gas and a gunshot will send them all up in flames. JJ calls his bluff and blows him away, Rambo style! Carl survives and, in a very touching moment, is reunited with his son.

The leader of the cult behind the wheel in season 10, episode 11 of Criminal Minds.

Back in the office, Reid has a sad surprise for JJ. Reid called Emily (!!!!) and asked her to gather classified information on Tivon. He thinks the info will bring her closure.

JJ goes into the office and, with terrified eyes, reviews the files. As she reads his story, a tale of rape, death, and a horrible upbringing, she imagines him in the room with her. Her internal demon mocks her: he promises to ruin her professionally and personally. According to him, she’s already falling apart.

As she snaps out of the delusion, JJ tells herself no. He will not break her down. As she walks away with a confidence we haven’t seen all episode, there’s a glimmer of hope in her eyes. JJ is a fan favorite and watching her relive her horrible experience hammers home the realities of living with PTSD. What a difficult yet haunting 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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