Criminal Minds -- The Family That Pays Together
Can I say how grateful I am for Criminal Minds putting the family's names on screen when the team visited their homes. I was wondering how I was going to correctly spell the Yamada family name. At first, I thought it was Amotto, then I thought it was Umatta. Thankfully, I got Acklin on the first try.
The episode started out with Hotch at Jack's game and his girlfriend, Beth, telling him she'd gotten a job offer in New York. Hotch basically told her he wasn't going to ask her not to take the offer and stay and said they could conduct a long distance relationship. In short, while he likes Beth, he's not ready to make any kind of long term commitment to her that asking her not to take the job would entail.
This week's case started out with a man dressed up like a homeless man coming up to two road workmen telling them about some bodies laying nearby. When the man disappeared afterwards, I thought he was the unsub. At one point I even wondered if he was going to kill the two workmen. As it turned out, the homeless man was just what he seemed; a homeless man and the unsub was only interested in families.
The unsub reminded me of an old cartoon I used to watch as a kid. It was called Yogi And Friends. It featured all the most popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters traveling around in this flying ark looking for the perfect place. Only the unsub was looking for the perfect family. He became enthralled with a family he thought was perfect as a young child, only to discover they weren't so perfect, after all.
The unsub targets families with a mother and father, a teenage daughter and a younger son. He plants cameras in their house to spy on them to see if he's finally found the perfect family he longs for. Unfortunately, when he sees that they're flawed he breaks into their home and goes after the son. Using the family's concern for the safety of the son, he's able to kidnap the entire family and take them to his lair where he places a very sick version of Truth Or Dare with them.
He keeps 11 year old Braden with him and tells him he'll give him three guesses why he's done this and if he guesses wrong all three time, he'll kill his family. Braden guesses two times and won't guess a third. Later, Braden manages to pick the lock on the room he's being kept in and escapes. Unfortunately, the unsub catches him.
Mike and Deborah and their daughter, McKenzie are being kept in a room together. The unsub goes after Mike first. He shows them that he has Braden's tutor, Vanessa, tied up and demands Mike tell his family the truth about Vanessa or he'll kill her. Seems Mike has been having an affair with Vanessa. The unsub shoots Vanessa in front of them all. Deborah wants nothing to do with Mike after finding that out and blames him for them being abducted.
Next up is McKenzie, who the unsub makes admit she's been taking her mother's pills. Deborah turns on her next, and McKenzie returns it in kind by telling her what a lousy mother she is. Something Mike tends to agree with.
But Deborah turns out to be the worst one of them all. Deborah is given a choice to save the life of McKenzie's boyfriend or to get a stack of cash. She doesn't even have to think about it. She picks the cash. She says she's doing everyone a favor. However, when the unsub turns the tables on her and shows her Braden strapped to the chair, he says she chose for her son to die, she's not so callous and soulless in her choice for someone to die so she can have a stack of money.
The unsub offers to spare Braden if they'll all kill themselves. Deborah tells Mike to kill her but he can't do it. So she grabs the gun and shoots herself just as the team surround the unsub's house. Turns out the gun was loaded with blanks. The unsub claims he was just trying to show the Acklins to be grateful for what they had.
The unsub is a man named Arthur Rycroft. He was the one to claim he discovered Scott Yamada's body. I agreed with the team that he had no intention of letting the Acklins go. He killed the entire Yamada family. I doubt Scott Yamada did anything to be deserved to be punished. He would have most likely done the same to the Acklins.
One thing though, maybe I missed it, but I don't recall them saying what triggered him to start killing these families or if there were just these two families he killed or if there were others. The place he had set up in his home would have taken some time to build. And we saw in one scene where he was already spying on another family planning to target them next. It kind of left me feeling that not all the i's were dotted and not all the t's were crossed.