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Criminal Minds -- The Firefighter
I feel like a veritable watering pot these days. The end of this episode had me crying like a baby. And the day before that I was crying when I was watching The Long Island Medium and this woman was talking about the two babies her had that died. And I can't blame it on it being that time of the month.
Chad Mills is a third-generation fire fighter. When he went in a burning building without protective gear to help rescue some homeless people he got TB from one of them. He was dismissed from the fire department. Instead of accepting the blame for not using protective gear, he began targeting the homeless in some twisted revenge on them for what they’d done to him.
It didn’t help that Mills’ had obsessive-compulsive disorder and he was a germaphobic. His was of avenging himself was to kidnap homeless people and burn them alive, then place their charred corpses at the beach in Santa Monica.
Lindsay Lehman is one of his unfortunate targets. She’s sitting on a bench singing to make money, then he gets her to get in his car where he stabs her. The next day her charred remains are found.
His next victim is Jeremy, an artist, who made the mistake of touching him on the sleeve. Mills drowns him in a vat of bleach.
Meanwhile Rossi’s publisher, Amanda, tells him the dedication page is missing on the latest book he’s written. Rossi apparently doesn’t know who to dedicate his book to. When he’s in the field investigating the crimes against the homeless he spots his old sergeant from the marines, Sergeant Scott, and discovers he’s now homeless. When Rossi confronts Scott he disappears when Rossi has his back turned.
It seems Scott and Rossi are fated to meet again, as Scott shows up telling the team that the man Mills drowned in bleach was named Jeremy. The team tries to warn the homeless to be careful because someone is targeting and killing homeless people.
As fate would have it when Mills’ targets another homeless woman named Sarah, Scott is sleeping behind some crates and sees the whole thing going down. Scott rushes over to try and save Sarah and Mills stabs him before taking off with Sarah.
Scott survives the attack with minor injuries. Rossi lectures him on his drinking. Rossi wants Scott to focus in hopes he can help them figure out who the unsub is. In hopes they can find Sarah before it’s too late. By closing his eyes and visualizing what he saw, Scott is able to help Rossi figure out the unsub is Chad Mills and in just the nick of time to save Sarah.
Mills is forcing bleach down Sarah’s throat when the team arrives. Mills manages to escape, but Sarah is saved from being his latest victim. Unfortunately, Mills decides it’ all Scott’s fault he got discovered and all his fun was ruined, so he kidnaps Scott.
Mills decides to go back to burning people, but instead of killing Scott, first, he intends to burn him alive. That when the team arrives. The team pretend to leave and then sneak back and get the drop on Mills. They manage to rescue Scott, but Mills doesn’t intend to go to jail, as he sets himself on fire.
Can’t say I felt a bit sorry for Mills. His killing spree happened because he couldn’t take blame for his own actions. If he had worn protective gear he wouldn’t have caught anything from the homeless people he rescued. His inability to accept responsibility for his own actions is what caused this whole mess.
Meanwhile, Rossi can’t just abandon Scott to return to the streets to live. He tells Scott he joined the FBI because of him. Then he asks what Scott is running from. Scott confesses he wasn’t the one who saved him when he stepped on a land mine; it was a fellow soldier named Hernandez. The government insisted Scott take credit for saving Rossi and gave him a medal of bravery, while they gave nothing to Hernandez for saving their lives. It was a PR move to garner support for the war. Rossi gets Scott to clean up and they go and watch as the medal that should have been given to Hernandez is given to his grandson.
Rossi tries to get Scott to get his life back together, and finally knows who he wants to dedicate his book to: Scott and Hernandez.
The revelation that Hernandez was the real hero and Scott has been punishing himself for going along with what the government ordered him to do is what made me cry. It was just such a sad and tragic story. The one who died and who was the hero wasn’t even recognized and the one who was recognized was so guilt-ridden he was ruining his life over it.
Hopefully now that the truth has finally come out Scott can get his life back together.