Reid is in prison on Criminal Minds, but as “Alpha Male” shows, he has more immediate problems than the possible 25 years-to-life he could serve if his trial doesn’t go his way.
Also, while the team may be worried about Reid, they do have to travel to Philadelphia to work a case involving an UnSub throwing acid in his victims’ faces. And just like in “Collision Course,” this case shows painful ramifications of rejection.
Reid Could Use a Time Machine to Get Through the Three Months to His Trial
Garcia has put herself in charge of making sure that Reid knows they’re there for him. They’ll send him letters every day and they’ll put money in his commissary account. She’s put together a visitation schedule (and she’s first on the list, of course). However, that’s when Prentiss delivers the bad news: he’s been moved from the police precinct to prison due to overcrowding.
But it just gets worse: Reid’s name may be listed for protective custody, but one of the guards, Wilkins, steps in and has him sent to general population. And when Reid goes up to him to try to correct the mistake, Wilkins tells him he’s where he belongs and wonders if he recognizes any of the inmates in there with him. “He probably put some of them away, didn’t he, Fed?” Uh-oh.
Reid then ends up on the wrong side of some of the inmates when he refuses to back down when one of them takes his stuff, but another inmate intervenes just before things are about to get really bad for him after lights out. That inmate is Calvin Shaw, former FBI, and he was arrested for killing his criminal informant. She was feeding them information about shipments of heroin funneled through Detroit by the Bratva, but then she started knowing things she shouldn’t. Calvin’s gut told him something wasn’t right, and instead of letting her expose their undercover agents to be tortured and killed, he had to make a decision. He couldn’t arrest her, so he had to make it look like a rival to save the agents’ lives. It was the wrong decision, but it was for the right reason. Calvin asks if Reid killed the doctor in Mexico. Reid says, “no.”
Does Reid like to read? Yes. Since he’s not going to get library privileges while he’s there, Calvin tells him to let him know if there’s anything he wants. He even offers him a book. It’s about fishermen in the North Sea, and they all drown in a storm that comes out of nowhere but they fight it. “This is our ocean,” Calvin says. “One day, it’s calm. The next day, there are waves the size of mountains. It’ll be hard at first, but trust me, you shouldn’t fight it. You just gotta learn how to survive.”
When Wilkins brings Reid to the cell next to Calvin’s, the guard warns him not to get too comfortable. And while Reid plays chess — he doesn’t need a board, he assures the former FBI agent — with Calvin, he gets some more advice about surviving in prison. The first rule is to accept that no one is safe. But Calvin seemed to be, Reid pointed out, bringing up how he saved him from the inmates earlier. It’s about respect, Calvin explains.
And while it would mean trouble for Reid if Wilkins tells everyone he’s an agent, it’s not the same for Calvin. He killed a C.I. and he admitted it, so that gets him respect because he killed a snitch. The sooner Reid stops fight, the better off he’ll be.
Time to Brush up on a Dead Language
The BAU is called in after a man and woman have acid throw in their faces in two separate attacks — and that’s after the same thing happened a week before. One of the first victims died. From the surveillance footage of one of the latest attacks, the UnSub isn’t sticking around to see the damage he causes.
There’s no apparent connection to be found with the four victims, other than being 20-something and single. And it’s pretty easy to find the acid used, so they’re not going to find the UnSub by looking at acid sales.
The two most recent victims can’t tell them much, but both heard the UnSub shout something in a foreign language. Both victims also keep a routine for the night of the incident, meaning the UnSub could have stalked them and therefore they’re not random victims and they just don’t know what the connection is to their attacker.
When Garcia looks into the victims’ social media accounts, she discovers that the first two victims attended singles’ nights. They went on different nights, but the UnSub could have gone to both events — and that could be how he’s finding his next victims.
The UnSub does find his next victims, but unlike the other attacks, he goes after a man and a woman together and in broad daylight. A woman walking her dog heard him shout, “et disperdam illud,” and Luke’s years of Catholic school come in handy so he can translate the Latin: “I will destroy it.”
Some People Just Want to Be Loved
The phrase makes Stephen think of an old case from his B.A.P. days, in which the UnSub was enraged when he saw pretty women and couples together. He wanted to stop everyone from having sex, and he was a follower of the manosphere. Garcia come across the No Means Yes website, which has a weekly feature, Alpha Male and Badass Bitch, in which users can mock the chosen candidates on their looks, the sex they’re having, etc. The victims could be dead ringers for the people in those photos.
The UnSub wants to do more than mock people. He wants to destroy them for living the life he wants but can’t have. His rage stems from unrequited love early on in his life, and he’s throwing acid on his victims to inflict maximum pain, both physically and emotionally. He wants both sexes to feel as ugly, as unwanted and as self-loathing as he does.
The No Means Yes site posts new photos, but the next victim doesn’t look like the woman — and there was a woman in the parking garage who fit the description, but the UnSub didn’t go after her. Why?
The victim, Melinda, was meeting a date, George, and they begin to suspect that he could be the UnSub. He’s not, but he does lead them to the attacker. George is a member of the No Means Yes site, and he did post some horrible comments on there, wanting people to think he was a player, but that changed when he met Melinda. He told his friends on the site about her and posted photos of them together.
While the majority of George’s friends were happy for him, some were not, including Alan, a supply clerk at a chemical company. He couldn’t understand why George had someone and he didn’t, seeing himself as superior. That was his trigger, losing his friend with which he commiserated and shared his pain. He even wrote a 118-page manifesto that basically declared, “I’m the UnSub.”
His manifesto also revealed that he’s planning a major attack, and Prentiss and Tara read through it to try to find out where. He was rejected his entire life, with his mother giving up custody after a divorce and his father and stepmother (his former nanny) shipping him off to boarding school. Thanks to a few key phrases in his writing, they’re able to figure out which singles night he’s planning to attack.
Stephen sits next to him at the bar, while J.J., Rossi and Luke are positioned around them. Stephen gets him talking, about how it’s not fair some people get love and others don’t, but as soon as he reveals he knows who Alan is, the UnSub reaches into his pocket for the power sprayer he’s planning to use. Stephen stops and disarms him and Alan is taken away in cuffs.
Criminal Minds season 12 airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of CBS)