Criminal Minds -- A Death Of One Of Their Own

Original Airing: May 22, 2013

I want to apologize to everyone for identifying Phillip the self-cutter from last week’s episode as Mark Hamill. Apparently, that wasn’t Mark Hamill. I couldn’t resist peeking at a recap before watching the season finale and I saw them identify Mark Hamill as The Replicator, and I was like, “But he was Phillip last episode.” I even thought maybe he escaped from custody and that’s why they shouldn’t try to take these criminals in alive, because they’ll come back and cause you more trouble. And when I saw Mark Hamill I thought maybe they were having him wear a fat suit and they put something in his cheeks to make his face look fat and he had make-up to make him look older so he wouldn’t look like he did in last week’s episode. I thought maybe they were trying to lure us in a false sense of security that showing Mark Hamill as Phillip would make us stop suspecting he was going to turn out to be The Replicator. See what a sick twisted mind I’ve got?

Even after I was finished watching the finale I was still convinced it was Mark Hamill in last week’s episode. So I replayed it to look at the opening credits. There was no Mark Hamill mentioned but someone named Harrington. So I went over to Internet Movie Database and looked up this Harrington guy and they had a picture of him and I saw it was him who played Phillip. But you know what? Even knowing it wasn’t Mark Hamill, I still think it was Mark Hamill.

Anyway, the two hour finale was actually two episodes put together. The first one was about Hotch’s brother, Sean. He was a bartender at a bar called Club Edinburgh. A girl named Anna was making out with another guy who worked there named Thane when blood started to run from her eyes and nose. It turns out she’d ingested something called Dr. Death. It was a mixture of ecstasy and meth. It causes the victim to boil from within and their blood comes running out of their eyes as they bleed out.

It turns out Sean’s girlfriend also died from the same thing. So do several members at a Rave and a couple having dinner with their daughter. The wine they drank was tainted with it. Sean agrees to wear a wire as he tells Jim Peters and Thane that the police said some wine had been tainted with Dr. Death.

Thane goes to dump the wine he tainted with the stuff and freaks out when there’s a case missing. It turns out Sean sold one of the cases of wine and he later bought it back, But it’s enough for him to be arrested along with Thane, since the wine he sold caused the deaths of three people who drank it.

The unsub is a man named Larry whose daughter died from ecstasy at another of Jim Peters clubs. When he finds out innocent people also got killed, he kills Jim Peters. He killed the courier for Dr. Death at the airport and was pretending he was the courier which gave him access to the drug.

In a very real way, this case was just filler for the last few minutes of the episode. The Replicator is taking a photo of Hotch and it suddenly appears on Garcia’s monitors back at headquarters. All the pictures of the team The Replicator took starts flashing on all the monitors with the word, zugzwang. While this is going on, Strauss awakes to find The Replicator in her room.

The Replicator is with Strauss on the street as she’s walking around disoriented, as the team realizes Strauss is missing. The Replicator forced alcohol down her throat and a watered down version of Dr. Death so it will take longer for her to die. He wants her to die in humiliation and shame with people thinking she fell off the wagon on her own. Rossi won’t believe Strauss went off the wagon and knows The Replicator forced the booze down her throat.

The Replicator taunts Hotch on the phone bringing up how he wasn’t able to save Haley in time when Foyet when after her to punish Hotch. And history repeats itself, as Hotch finds Strauss on a park bench still alive, but it’s too late to save her, as she dies in his arms.

Because of the way he hacked into Garcia’s computer system and knew about Foyet, the team reckons that The Replicator is someone on the inside. They realize Strauss suspected the same thing, as she added a fake detail to the report on the self-cutter aka my fake Mark Hamill, saying he’d carved an eight on the wrists of his victims, and the number eight is discovered to be carved on Strauss’ wrists during her post-mortem.

Meanwhile, The Replicator is targeting another member of the team; this time Rossi. He writes a fake report saying Morgan’s DNA was found on the glass used to force Strauss to drink alcohol. He also taints the paper so while Rossi is reading it he’ll be dosed. The Replicator is such a cool customer he’s able to walk into BAU headquarters and go into Rossi’s office and leave the envelope containing the tainted letter on Rossi’s desk.

When Rossi reads the letter and Morgan enters his office, Rossi pulls a gun on him. Rossi is drugged so he isn’t thinking logically and is accusing Morgan of killing Strauss. Luckily, Hotch enters and gets the gun from Rossi and makes him understand what’s going on.

In the end, it all comes down to that case ten years ago that nearly cost Blake her career. It seems she wasn’t the only one, it also cost fellow agent Curtis his career, as well. When Strauss gave Blake another chance by approving her for the BAU, this triggered Curtis to want revenge, and The Replicator was born, because he wasn’t given a similar second chance like Blake was.

I have to say Curtis had to be the smartest unsub the team was ever up against. He was a biochemist, and a computer hacker. When the helicopter Hotch, Reid and Blake were in was flying towards Curtis’ compound, he hacked into it’s onboard controls and made it crash. He also had a canister planted that knocked everyone on the helicopter out so he was able to kidnap Blake.

Blake woke up chained by several locks that spelled out zugzwang. Then he waited for the team to find her. JJ and Morgan discovered the place was rigged with a bomb and she came back to tell Hotch and Reid who were trying to unlock Blake. Reid warned Blake not to stand up, but of course, she didn’t listen, and they all found themselves trapped in the room as the bomb began to tick closer to detonation.

Luckily Rossi followed and freed them, then he locked himself in a room with Peter. Seconds before the place was about to explode, Rossi said, “Zugzwang,” to Curtis, as he escaped the building. Now that’s how you do it. No attempt to bring this psycho into custody. He made sure he was blown to smithereens.

I still think Blake should have been The Replicator. Having the reason be the case ten years ago but bringing in some nth hour character no one had ever seen before the finale episode robbed it of a lot of impact. I’m sorry, but Blake is useless and lifeless. It would have been no great loss if she had been The Replicator. As things are if you dressed up a mannequin like Blake and sat it in her chair you wouldn’t even notice the difference. That’s how blah this character is. Having her be The Replicator might have made her interesting.

I don’t think anyone thought when they first heard the word zugzwang it would have such importance in this season. Once again, the show didn’t end with a cliffhanger this season, which was refreshing. It used to be just the night-time soaps that used to end with cliffhangers which is the nature of soaps. Then the sitcoms started doing it. And now all the shows seem to do it. Instead of a cliffhanger, the team sat around a table and remembered Strauss.

I heard a cast member was going to die in the finale and the moment Strauss wanted to go with the team on the case, I suspected it was going to be her. I actually shed a few tears when she died, when initially I couldn’t stand the character.

The biggest question is will Morgan be next to fall for someone only to have them killed? Hotch, Reid and Rossi already have and Morgan is the only male character left that hasn’t experienced it. Rossi has actually had two of his lady loves die on him. Last season is ex-wife killed herself because she was dying.

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