Criminal Minds -- Bug Boy
Let my fear become yours...
A lot of episodes of Criminal Minds have turned my stomach, but this is the first one to make me have the willies. If I see too many bugs crawling I start getting the creepy crawlies and start feeling they're crawling on me and I start itching in response. So when I saw the scene at the beginning where the unsub throws a bunch of cockroaches on his latest victim, I thought I saw a bug crawling towards my foot out of the corner of my eye and screamed. It was only a piece of dirt on the rug.
The episode opens with this mad driving while texting and he almost runs down a man in the road. It's just sheer luck he doesn't hit the man. Then he tries to do the decent thing and get the guy out of the road, but the man keeps swatting something invisible away asking to get them off. Let me tell you if what had happened to him happened to me I would probably have died of fright. Unfortunately, the man pulls away from the hands of help and walks right into the path of a car and dies.
The man killed is named Albert Stillman and the unsub drove him insane my trapping him in a metal coffin and throwing bugs all over him. At first, Albert's editor seems suspicious because he won't let an autopsy be done on Albert, but he's actually trying to protect the man's good name. Albert was taking downers for his back and he doesn't want the authorities trying to make Albert as a strung out drug addict. As it turns out Albert's editor isn't the only one who thinks bad of the authorities.
Meanwhile the unsub sees bug crawling under his skin and pinches one off and pulls it out of his arm with a pair of tweezers where he keeps it in a test tube. Tres disgusting and stomach turnings. Then he watches a vid of him torturing Albert.
The team discovers a man name Dr. William Suri was called from the same phone that called Albert. Suri is tied to a chair with duct tape. When he tells the unsub he's delusional and there's no bugs crawling inside him, he tosses Suri into a metal coffin and tosses a bunch of roaches on top of him. He believes Suri somehow corrupted his grossly taken blood sample. Suri is found later shot in the head.
Next the unsub goes to some bug phobic the government is plotting against us support group. He becomes attracted to a woman there declaring that society wants to make her sick. He introduces himself to the woman, telling her he believes what she's saying. He takes her home and they have sex where they start enabling each other's delusions.
Meanwhile Hotch questions the head of the group, Miss Randall. She's a paranoid about the government as everyone else is. She also has her own phobias and constantly wears gloves. Hotch manages to get through to her when he asks how old her child was when it died. This cracks the ice and her mouth open as Lisa tells Hotch about Jane.
This, unfortunately, sets the unsub Leo on Lisa's trail. He abducts her and duct tapes her to a chair, while the team tries to get Jane to tell what she knows about Leo, but she's deep into her delusions and having found a soul mate and she won't believe anything bad about him.
It turns out Leo worked at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and that's where he became convinced he'd been infected and had bugs inside of him. They gave him vaccinations to appease his phobias, but that only made them worse.
Luckily the team figures out where Leo's lair is just as he's putting spiders on Lisa to make her face her secret bug fear. Rossi shows Leo there's nothing crawling on him or inside him and then punches him out before getting the spiders off of Lisa.
The case ends with Jane still trapped in her delusions refusing to believe Leo ever did anything bad and that it's all just a government conspiracy. Meanwhile Lisa's experience with Leo proves to be cathartic for her as she removes the gloves she always wore and will hopefully start living a normal life, again.
Some of the team seemed to have a hard time understanding how someone could develop phobias like the ones Lisa's group has. Me, on the other hand, can well understand it. When I was a kid I watched an episode of Night Gallery where Laurence Harvey had this fly fly into his ear and before it came back out it laid eggs in his brain. The last vision you see of his is of him holding his head as the flies hatch inside his head and he starts screaming at the buzzing sound. To this day I freak out if a bug tries to fly near my ear. And I swear on some level they know of my fear because they always seem to be flying at my ear.
Everyone has some secret fear. Even the precious team who sometimes act like they're perfect and so far above the people they deal with. Their fears haven't been exposed or exploited. And I'd like to see how sane they'd remain if what was done to the victims had been done to them. Or if someone found out what their secret fear was and exploited it. Somewhere along the line some of the members of the team have become so full of themselves that it borders on them coming off as being insufferable.
I'm not sure what the whole thing about the driver texting while he was driving and narrowly avoiding killing Albert was about. If they were trying to make a statement about texting and drving it was a pretty watered-down message. But I'd love for them to have an unsub going around whacking drivers that were texting while they were driving. Although I doubt the network would greenlight that, since they probably have a lot of cell phone companies that pay for advertisement on the network.