Criminal Minds -- Cinderella

Life's like a fantasy...

JJ was the team member that got featured in the human interest segment of the show. Her mother was visiting and the two weren't getting on. Her mother started telling Henry about JJ's sister that killed herself and JJ was adamantly against Henry being told the truth about her sister. While her mother was of the mind set that fairy tales only helped kids not cope with reality when they get older. Then this week's case happened and JJ began to rethink how good it is to try to sugarcoat the truth for Henry.

This week's unsub was a woman living in a sick fantasy world of her own where she believed she was Cinderella and every man she met that she took a liking to was her Prince Charming. Only each man she picked as her prince turned into a toad and when that happened she didn't take it too well. This chick had seriously bad taste in men. The son of the man she worked for liked her and he seemed to be a decent guy and could have been her Prince Charming but she never noticed him and was only attracted to rotters.

The first victim to get the ball rolling and the team called in is a man who had a cell phone rammed in his mouth after his girlfriend was threatening to tell his wife about them. This leads to the discovery of more victims with a connection to the University of Montana.

Douglas Clark was stabbed a dozen times. His friend, Terrence Reynolds, tells the team about this strange girl he was dating. The team learns he was secretly taping his sexual conquests and then texting them to his friends. From this the team believes that any kind of behavior the unsub perceives as being sexually deviant marks the victim for death.

Upon further examining of the bodies its determined that gardening shears are the murder weapon and they also find a spiked heel embedded in the victims necks.

Meanwhile our Cinderella is reading a romance novel when a man comes up to her and smiles. Later he's seen tied down to her bed as she comes out of the bathroom with ashes [cinders] smeared all over her face. She starts lambasting him and stabs him with a pair of gardening shears.

When the latest victim is found he's found with an alarm in his mouth and the time is set to midnight. After checking they discover the time on the cell phones were also set to midnight. From that Reid ascertains that the unsub believes she's Cinderella.

Back at her regular job working in a dry cleaner's, Cinderella's boss tells her he's deducting money from her pay for being late to work. Cinderella can't see Jensen's son is interested in her and that he's actually a decent and nice guy. Instead she steals a dress from the dry cleaner that doesn't even fit her and picks up a rat at the local bar. As expected, he ruins her Cinderella fantasies and he pays the price for it.

He tries to force himself on her and she bashes him in the head then impales him with the heel of her shoe. But this time she made a mistake. There were witnesses who saw her with the guy. She stuck out like a sore thumb because the dress she swiped from work didn't even fit her.

The team discovers Cinderella's real name is Claire and hopefully in the nick of time to save Jensen's sons from her. Jensen figures out Claire stole a dress from the shop and his son goes to talk to her. He offers to take her to visit her father's grave, but when he notices the grave she's visiting isn't her father and points it out to her, ruining her fantasy, she goes on the attack.

Before Claire can finish the guy off, Reid shows up and puts on an act for her that he's her true Prince Charming and she buys into it, leaving Jensen's son alone. She even walks calming to the awaiting police car not even realizing she's been arrested and is no doubt on her way to some mental institution since she's obviously too mentally incompetent to be held responsible for her actions.

Ironically her mother was placed in a mental institution at Clare's birth and her father was a pedophile. Then she was put in the home of a foster mother who had two daughters. Which all seems to be the impetus for her belief she was Cinderella. Claire preferred to live in the fantasy of Cinderella than deal with the realities of her own life. This isn't lost on JJ who begins to come around a bit to her mother's way of thinking about telling Henry about her sister.

The funny thing is during the episode I wondered if Reid might have to go undercover and pretend to be Claire's Prince Charming and he ended up doing that at the end to avoid any violence. I even figured out Claire thought she was Cinderella before the team figured it out. Maybe because Cinderella has always been my favorite fairy tale.

I'm not sure why I never really cared for Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. Maybe because of the spell they're put under or something. And in Snow White's case she's a total dimwit to take an apple from a strange and creepy woman. This may be where the whole thing about parents warning their kids not to take candy from strangers came from.

Anyway, it was another interesting episode. I do have to wonder, though, if Claire didn't intentionally seek out love rats so she'd have an excuse to kill them. Jensen's son wasn't a rat but just pointed out the truth that she wasn't leaving flowers at her father's grave and she used that as an excuse to go after him. I guess it'll be up to a good psychiatrist to try and unravel Claire's twisted mind.

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