Criminal Minds season 8 continued with the Matthew Gray Gubler-directed episode 10, "The Lesson," which saw Reid deciding whether to meet his mystery girl as the BAU worked the case.
"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind."
Adam, who had come out of a coma three months ago, had Connie tied to a chair and told Conrad she was perfect. He put a bow on her head and took a picture. As Garcia told the team, Bruce's body was found in a box, folded in half with signs he was hung and restrained, and his hair dyed black. Connie went missing along with her boyfriend, Justin, whose bound was found. Conrad pointed out a man to Adam after he returned to the car with supplies. Adam followed him home and knocked on his window, seemingly covered in blood (which turned out to be fake). He brought him to where he kept Connie and explained that Justin wasn't right. The next one would be better, and he looked away as he cut off her clothes.
The ME reported that the victims were hung multiple times and their bones were perfectly disjointed, dislocated antemortem. Adam had Connie's hands through a wooden block and brought them behind her back and up over her head. Ouch. Reid suggested the unsub was using some sort of medieval torture device, and they had Garcia look into possible sellers, including S&M suppliers with a stretching device. She didn't find anything. Adam played "eenie-meenie-minie-mo" with his victims to choose before hammering a nail into Connie's wrist. And then the latest male victim was found, and the holes in his hands had ripped. Reid noticed the clothing, which was from a nearby thrift store.
They were looking for a male, at least 30, who was trying to perfect a delusion at which he had failed. He had escalated, and they thought he felt his victims had wronged him. Something wasn't working, and the killings were going to escalate. Conrad found Adam upset in a dressing room and told him he was the one ruining it, not them. He needed to pull himself together if he didn't want him to die again. Conrad told him he was running out of time and he needed to find a father and a son. In the thrift store, Morgan and JJ talked to Tucker, who drove away when he told them he was going to look at receipts for the man who bought the clothes. However, that was a bad decision since he went to see Adam, who was painting a mask on Connie's face and called her Steph, and once Tucker mentioned the FBI, that was pretty much it. Adam invited him in and locked the door.
The third victim's jaw was dislocated, and it was Reid who realized that the unsub was dislocating body parts to manipulate them himself, turning his victims into human marionettes. He was using them to tell a story. And then they learned a father and son had been abducted. Adam Conrad as a robber and the father and son as the potential victims Tucker and Connie, set up as puppets, had to save. When Tucker, whom Adam called Mitch, refused to say his lines, Adam told him the father would die if he didn't save himÂ—and shot the father in his leg. Garcia did discover the unsub's identity by looking into incidents involving a father and son and crossing that with puppeteers. Back in the '50s, Adam witnessed his father die in a robbery. His father's puppets were Steph and Mitch. And so they headed to his father's theater, where Adam looked out at a full house and told Conrad it would be right this time.
As he told the audience, it was time for what should've happened in "The Robbery," a family tale of love and redemption. And so the "play" began. As Garcia reported, Adam had asked for his father and acted childish upon waking from his coma. "He's a psychopath who thinks he's a kid again and wants to avenge his father's death," Rossi explained. Adam remembered when it was him, his father, and the robbers, and he had asked the puppets to do something. They (obviously) hadn't. Hotch and Rossi burst into the theater, and Adam insisted they had to stop the robber from killing his father. However, the robber, Conrad, was just a puppet. He wasn't real. His father never told him the puppets weren't real. Rossi told him that he could save these people, and once he put down the gun and puppet, Rossi took him outside, past the audience he saw applauding him. But again, the audience wasn't real either. They too were just toys.
Meanwhile, "The Lesson" also saw Reid's mystery girl tell him she thought her stalker was gone. It had been two weeks without an email or any calls, and she wanted to meet. Though the team noticed something was up, he only talked to Blake about it since she knew about "phone booth girl." While he didn't care what she looked like ("It doesn't matter what she looks like. She's already the most beautiful girl in the world to me."), he worried, "what if she doesn't like me?" He did decide to go meet her, but as he waited in the restaurant, he noticed a guy at another table looking over his shoulder. So he called her and told her not to come in as she reached the restaurant because he thought her stalker was there. The guy wasn't her stalker, but all he was left with was a copy of the book she left with the hostess for him (the same book he had for her), with the quote written inside,
"Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves aloneÂ—we find it with another."
What did you think of Criminal Minds season 8 episode 10 "The Lesson"?
Â© Meredith Jacobs 2012