Criminal Minds -- The Mountain Man
Twisted family ties
I think this is really the only episode of the show I've really enjoyed, this year. I've been pretty meh about all the others. It made me wonder if I was just getting burned out on the show. Of course, as dark and twisted as this episode was, it doesn't about me and what I like.
The first scene of the episode is very deceptive, especially when you sit through the episode and know what it was really about. It looked like the Unsub was chasing a victim through the woods. What it really was the Unsub's mother about to give birth to him and begin the horror that would befall two families decades later.
Just like the scene with Unsub with the old woman's body. It made me think he'd had her prisoner for years and she finally died. The truth was she was the woman who raised the Unsub and she just died from cancer and he was trying to preserve her body. It was probably her death that triggered the Unsub to go on his killing spree.
The Howard and Lee clans live in West Virginia and they seem to be a modern-day version of the Hatfield and the McCoys. Back in the day they were in competition as moonshiners. Now they've found a new legal product to produce and are competing over that in the present. But what neither family knows is the matriarch of the Howards and the patriarch of the Lees share a dark and twisted secret: they're brother and sister and as teens they were also lovers and are the parents of the Unsub [whose name I don't think they ever revealed.]
The Unsub's first two victims are Malachi and Cissy's sons. Obviously he targeted them because they were the sons the two kept and raise while they gave him away. Why he went after one of the Howard boys' wife is a little less evident. I guess she was a surrogate for his mother. The Howard boy came home to find his wife laying on the floor with a barbed wire noose around her neck and a long chain attached as he drove off and dragged her with him. The Unsub wanted the man to come home and see his wife like that and to try to fail to save her. It was the most vicious of his kills, in my opinion.
The tale of The Mountain Man was also deceptive. It made it appear The Mountain Man was the Unsub and the one doing the killing when the Mountain Main was actually a distant Howard cousin named, Caleb. The Team found out he was being excluded from all the profits the family was making. So it seemed like maybe he was killing off members of both clans for revenge. But it turned out Caleb was living under a different name and that he started a new life with the help of Cissy. That's when The Team realizes that Cissy did the same, and they go over and confront Malachi.
He tells how he and Cissy became lovers as teens and she got pregnant. When she was in labor he ran out on her. That's when the first scene comes in of Cissy running through the woods likes she's being pursued by the Unsub. The person who found her was actually an Appalachian woman who lived in the woods and knew all about Cissy and Malachi's sinful relationship.
Okay, this makes me sound horrible, but when the relationship is consensual can it really be called incest? I always think of incest as one family member preying on another and forcing them to have sex. While it's wrong for full-blooded siblings to have sex, if it's consensual can you really call that incest. It seems like their should be a different name for it.
Anyway, the Appalachian woman took Cissy back to her place and helped her to give birth. When Cissy got a look at the baby she was horrified. He didn't look right. And her comes the reason why blood siblings can't have kids together. The child can be deformed because it comes from the same gene pool. When two people from different gene pools have a baby it may balance out some of the problems in one of the parent's gene pool but when two people from the same gene pool have sex it just multiplies the problems.
While Cissy wanted nothing to do with the baby, and took off afterwards to start a new life under a new name; the Appalachian woman thought the baby was perfect and raised him as her own. Unfortunately, before she died she told him the truth about his origins. Hence his current killing spree.
Cissy was crazy to come back after starting a new life and get herself hitched to the enemies of her family. Anyway, while Cissy is praying to God that vengeance be brought down on the person that is doing the killing, the Unsub kidnaps her. They always blame the mother and let the father get off Scot Free.
The Unsub brings her back to his lair which is the place that he was born and shows her the body of his dead mama and Cissy suddenly knows what it's all about. He makes her confess the whole tale then he prepares to murder her. Cissy buys herself some much-needed time by suggesting he not do it in his home so he won't be caught, and that's when Blake comes upon him in the act of about to kill his bio mama.
I feel like the show was being mean when it appeared Blake might have been drowned by the Unsub for a few moments. Yes, I still don't like her. But I wasn't fooled and felt no shock when she bobbed up to surface. Then she ordered The Team to shoot the water full of bullets to get him. So much for trying to wait til he surfaces and take him alive. Is that because of his origins and she feels he's not fit to live? Blake tries not to let it bother her when they can't find the Unsub's body.
Meanwhile, Cissy and Malachi come out of the police station to find both clans waiting for them wanting answers. Something tells me they aren't going to like the ones they get. Meanwhile in Kentucky a couple is going to spend time in a secluded house in the woods when the Unsub wraps barb wire around the husband's neck demanding their car keys or he'll kill him. Yep, he's still alive. The question is will he make a return this season or just be out there killing whomever he pleases?
Like I said, this is really the first episode this season I enjoyed. Maybe they should let Matthew Gray Grubler do more episodes. This was a classic Criminal Minds case instead of the kinder and gentler ones the viewers who don't like all the perversion and blood and gore and sick twists and who have been happy the show has been kind of watering down some of their episodes.