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'Criminal Minds' fan recap: Stealing faces and hiding crimes

Season 11 | Episode 9 | “Internal Affairs” | Aired Dec 2, 2015

If last week was Hostel, episode 9 of Criminal Minds was Silence of the Lambs. From face stealing to a deeper dive into hit men, drug cartels, and the Dirty Dozen, last night’s episode was full of tension, intrigue, and season-long plotline building.

This week’s tangled web of government agencies and serial killers starts in an El Paso bar. We’re introduced to a scruffy looking lady who’s meeting an overly perky soccer mom. The mom chastises Scruffy about not meeting her “sign-up quota” and encourages/threatens her to try harder. As a shaken-up Scruffy leaves, Soccer Mom calls “George” for advice on what to do with Scruffy. Answer? The usual.

Hotch pours over the evidence in season 11, episode 9 of Criminal Minds

But before we can make sense of the bar scene, Hotch is called to meet NSA Director Axelrod. Calling in a favor, Axelrod wants the BAU to jump into a case involving some DEA agents: one dead, two missing. They were investigating an underground drug cartel called “Liberta” and have since disappeared. Fearing a mole in the DEA and suspecting Assistant Director Bernard Graff, Axelrod wants Hotch to investigate. The bonus? This may also link up to the hit men targeting Garcia. Hotch reluctantly agrees to take the case.

The case
Three weeks earlier, a DEA agent was found dead whilst wearing somebody else’s face, à la Hannibal Lecter. Given the location and the symbolism of the skin mask, the team immediately thinks it’s the work of a drug cartel. Hotch stays in town to do the cyber sleuthing while the rest of the team head to El Paso. Wheels up!

Meanwhile, we get our first glance of Sarah (the aforementioned Scruffy) and John, the two missing DEA agents. They’re tied up and battered in a dusty barn. A mysterious figure walks in and forces John to chug salt water. Torture Is part of this unsub’s game.

Garcia presents the case in season 11, episode 9 of Criminal Minds.

The investigation
As the team flies to Texas, Hotch meets Graff. Graff is wary of why Hotch is involved in a DEA case, but gives him every courtesy. Hotch also meets Agent Mitchell, Graff’s right-hand lady. Despite some niceties back and forth, it’s clear Graff is hiding something.

Meanwhile, Tara and JJ meet with Lopez, the head of the local DEA in El Paso. They learn Liberta is run like a pyramid scheme and a member code named “Ben Franklin” is the connection between their online presence on the Darknet (where Garcia’s hit men operate) and their “on the ground” operations.

JJ and Tara interview the bar owner in season 11, episode 9 of Criminal Minds.

After JJ and Tara bully the opening scene’s bar owner into IDing Sarah, we learn the deceased DEA agent had the face attached to him. More gruesome than a simple drug cartel message; it looks like the work of a serial killer.

The profile
We’re looking for an American serial killer who’s using the El Paso drug cartel scene as a cover-up for his crimes. Should have a history of mental illness and have hunting skills, crucial in the work of removing somebody’s face from their skull. Somebody in Liberta may be funneling victims to him, possibly those who’ve had a hard time filling their pyramid-scheme recruiting quota.

Like clockwork, our unsub walks into the barn where Sarah is being held. In a moment of pure terror, the unsub reveals he’s wearing John’s face! Sarah freaks out as the unsub explains that he wanted to feel what John felt about her. It’s all around disgusting and terrifying.

A terrifying present awaits Sarah in season 11, episode 9 of Criminal Minds.

The ramp-up
After one of the DEA’s undercover agents falls victim to a car bomb, Garcia uncovers a seemingly unrelated case that may be important. In 2012, four bodies were found faceless in El Paso. The local cops assumed it was drug related and buried the case. Maybe there’s a link?

As Hotch is leaving, he gets a call from Graff asking for a meeting. Just after learning another member of the DEA undercover team was blown up in a car bomb, he carefully unlocks his ride and drives to meet Graff. But it’s too late. As Graff gets into his car, he’s shot dead!

While the DEA believes it to be a suicide, both Hotch and Mitchell think it was a murder. Somebody wanted him silenced. She has evidence somebody from the NSA might be the mole that’s putting the DEA agents at risk.

Hotch and Agent Mitchell review the facts in season 11, episode 9 of Criminal Minds.

Thanks to some sleuthing by Garcia, Rossi and JJ bring in Jillian Carter, the soccer mom Sarah met at the beginning of the show. She claims complete innocence and hides behind her high-octane lawyer husband. After some skillfully delivered threats, Jillian admits she’s a member of Liberta (code name Ben Franklin), but doesn’t know who “George Washington” (the head of Liberta) really is. According to her, whenever there was trouble with a member, they were sent to a location to be “dealt with.” The team has an address!

The closing-in
Believing an NSA member is the mole, Hotch confronts Axelrod about the death of Graff. Hotch accuses Axelrod of being the NSA mole, but he throws out a solid alibi. Swing and a miss!

The unsub peers through a crack in season 11, episode 9 of Criminal Minds.

Meanwhile, Tara and Morgan arrive at the location delivered by Jillian. Unable to get a cell phone signal, Morgan leaves the area while Tara searches the grounds. But as she pokes around, she trips an alarm, alerting the unsub!

Once he gets reception, Morgan learns from Garcia that Jacob DeFore, an animal skinner with a psychotic past, is the unsub. He screams back to Tara’s position only to find her incapacitated by Jacob. Before he can drag her away, Morgan appears and after a lengthy chase, shoots him down. Tara rescues Sarah and the main case is closed.

Our unsub sees the BAU in season 11, episode 9 of Criminal Minds.

Afterward, Hotch meets with NSA Director Cochran. Hotch has evidence that Cochran was the mole and has him arrested. Later, Hotch learns that Liberta has disbanded, but new underground cells have appeared in its place. Garcia is a little safer, but not by much.

And she’s not doing great. Holed up in the BAU, Garcia is desperately trying to stave off panic by making her new home more “her”. Hotch, realizing she needs some companionship, sticks around to have a hot-plate dinner with her. In an adorable moment of mutual respect and kindness, the two chop jalapenos and share a meal. Garcia still isn’t safe, but the closing of the case proves the BAU can catch cyber criminals. A ray of hope in a scary situation for our favorite computer-wiz investigator.

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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