Criminal Minds -- The Preying Mantis

Will Hotch leave the BAU?

Several months have passed since The Replicator case wrapped up with the death of Strauss. Hotch has been doing her job since her passing and his own as head of the BAU in the interim. Now he's been offered the job permanently. So Hotch needs to decide if he'll stay or go with the BAU. Morgan has an opinion and it's taking the job would be the worst thing that could happen to Hotch. While JJ can understand the lure of taking the job since it'll mean he can spend more time with Jack.

Everyone's attention soon turns to Glendale, Arizona. The girl downstairs is fed up with all the noise coming from he neighbor's apartment above her head. Corinne stomps upstairs not realizing there's a woman inside tied up and gagged on the floor trying to drag herself to the door. Nerdy Wallace Hines arrives and shoos Corinne away promising to keep the noise down. Then he enters his apartment and shoots her in the heart with a gun. My only question is I didn't notice a silencer on the end of the gun. So wouldn't Corinne had heard the gunshot go off?

She's one of several victims Wallace has posed after death in the praying position. I'm sitting here watching this thinking this is all there is to the case. Just some nerdy little freak going around kidnapping women then shooting them in the heart and posing them in the praying position. What was I thinking? Just thinking about what happened next makes me sick to my stomach anew. He's also feeding all his kidnapped victims, in particular parts of a human head he keeps. As I write that I feel like gagging. But it only gets better from there. It's the head of his high school girlfriend that he cut off and keeps in his refrigerator. But here's the show stopper. Reid realizes his whole ritual is to mimic the Praying Mantis. When a Praying Mantis mates the female bites off the head of its mate while having sex.

Anyway the story goes that Wallace's girlfriend Heather dumped him when she was 16 and he didn't handle it well. He came over to her house going crazy and he was institutionalized. Somewhere inside his twisted little head he became convinced she was the human equivalent of a Praying Mantis. That she's bitten his head off.

The years passed until one day Wallace say Heather's wedding announcement in the paper and he kidnapped her and cut off her head. Then he proceeded to kidnap more women who he saw as Heather and forcing them to eat Heather's head.

Creepiest moment of the episode had to be when Wallace imagined Heather climbing all over the ceiling like she was a Praying Mantis. What kind of mind thinks of stuff like this?

Wallace's psychosis seems to be getting worse when his mother drops by. When he goes to work at the restaurant where a bridal party is being hosted he takes Heather's head with him and puts parts of her in everyone's food. When that isn't enough and he starts seeing Heather as every woman there, he tries to force them to eat Heather. When things reach critical mass in the restaurant Wallace runs out and the BAU and local police department start a man hunt for him.

Strangely enough a cop sees Wallace driving by in the car and says the perp has been spotted. Morgan and JJ almost get into a fatal car accident chasing him down and apprehending him. On the way home in the plane both JJ and Morgan are troubled by the arrest. They both feel Wallace was too calm when he got arrested. That's when Hotch gets a phone call saying the Wallace Hines arrested doesn't match the fingerprints for the Wallace Hines who was in the restaurant. That's right ladies and gentlemen. There's two of him. If there was ever someone you wouldn't want there to be two of, it's him. I wonder if his twin is as big of a whack job as Wallace is.

In a convenience store Wallace hears the report about his arrest and gets out of there fast before the clerk can see his face. Yep, the Preying Mantis is still on the loose to prey upon more unsuspecting women he sees as Heather as a To Be Continued got slapped across the screen as the episode fades to black.

I kept thinking Wallace's last victim would be Corrine the blonde neighbor whose always knocking on his door telling him to keep it down. He even warned her the next time she came to wrap on his door would be her last. So I was pleasantly surprised when the supposed final shown down happened at the restaurant instead. I'm guessing that little scenario will be on the menu for the conclusion of this episode.

Of course the whole thing of the twin getting arrested instead of Wallace doesn't seem to be an accident, but from Wallace's shock it wasn't something he planned. It makes me wonder if his mother was behind it. Camryn Manheim is kind of a big named guest star to just play the bit part she did on this episode, so something tells me she'll be having a bigger more significant part next week.

When the twin got arrested he could have easily revealed he wasn't Wallace but he didn't. He wanted everyone to think he was his brother. And while he's fooling everyone his mother can track down his brother. But does she really think she can control her nutjob son? He's just going to keep on killing more women until he's caught and stopped and put where he can't hurt anyone else.

Well, this is actually a new twist. I think this is the first episode where the BAU thought they were done with the case, only to have to go right back and finish the job they started.


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