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Criminal Minds -- Will The Real Replicator Please Stand Up
Original Airing: February 27, 2013
The Replicator took center stage as he/she was the case the team investigated this week after JJ was sent flowers with a note that said, “Zugzwang.” It was what Maeve’s stalker said before she died. Then several copycat murders were committed where the victims’ eyelids were cut off and they were drained of blood. The fact that The Replicator was going on a killing spree and killing several victims in the same way, when previously each victim had been killed in a different way, kind of rang a warning bell that perhaps this wasn’t The Replicator, at all.
When the team discovered that several of the victims had been nurses, they connected the unsub to a case that took place 15 years ago. It was a case involving the stabbing of 4 nurses in Pittsburgh. The culprit was a man named, Jack Lee Kempler. Before Kempler was caught the wrong man was arrested; a man named Donnie Bidwell.
Even though, Bidwell was cleared, his arrest ruined his life. He got attacked in a bar and hit on the head, which caused him to have seizures. His business was destroyed and he had a nervous breakdown. The team, at first, believes Kempler’s execution five months ago is what triggered Bidwell to become The Replicator, and then they think it’s because his wife divorced him five months ago. However, when Bidwell is questioned, while he admits to the killings involving cutting off the eyelids of his victims and draining them of their blood, he has no clue about the other killings before that.
When Bidwell finds out about the other killings he lawyers up and demands his one phone call. He calls someone and after that he takes an overdose of his seizure medication and kills himself.
Rossi is the one who figures out Bidwell wasn’t The Replicator; The Replicator had manipulated Bidwell into committing the murders to fool the BAU that he was The Replicator. They trace The Replicator’s lair via the prepaid phone he was using to contact Bidwell and find another victim waiting for them with pictures of them all over the walls and “Zugzwang” written all over the photos and walls, as a Tony Bennett song plays in the background.
I wondered if Bidwell was really The Replicator when he placed a phone call to someone. I’m surprised it took Rossi to figure it out. You’d think Blake, who is supposed to be as big of a brain as Reid would have realized that, herself, by his reaction when she was interviewing him. Which brings me to some suspicions about Blake, herself.
I know it’s a million to one odds against The Replicator being Blake, but you have to admit there was quite a coincidence between Blake and Bidwell. He got falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit and Blake took the fall when the wrong suspect was arrested in a case. They brought that fact up again as Strauss once again tried to apologize to Blake for what she did in the past. And how would The Replicator know about “Zugzwang” unless they were possibly there when it was said. Or all the details of the cases the BAU investigated. It makes you wonder if The Replicator is someone on the inside. You have to admit none of this started up until Blake joined the team.
The motive the team thought Bidwell had for targeting the BAU was because of his false arrest ruining his life, but wouldn’t Blake have the same motive? The FBI let her take the fall for the wrong suspect being arrested. So wouldn’t she want revenge against them for her own people betraying her?
It might add some interest to The Replicator, which hasn’t been that interesting up until now. Seeing glorified extras being killed and pictures being taken of the team hasn’t really made for edge of your seat tension. It hasn’t been as interesting as when that serial killer was stalking Hotch. The fact that he’d already almost killed Hotch added a real big risk factor, and so far The Replicator has been missing that risk factor. If one of the BAU’s own was the unsub it would take this story in a whole new direction.