In Criminal Minds‘ “Hostage,” the BAU is brought in after a girl escapes from her captor and reveals that she wasn’t the only one he was holding. And the more they find out about the case and see of the UnSub, the more it becomes obvious that he is one that needs to be stopped immediately.
Being Rescued Doesn’t Necessarily Mean a Happy Ending
The BAU is called in after a barefoot 18-year-old Gina Bryant, wearing nothing but a dirty nightgown, flags down a police car in St. Louis. She tells the officer that she was kidnapped when she was 8. (It is later confirmed that she had disappeared 10 years earlier as a foster child.) Gina tells them that she was being held with Sheila Woods, a 15-year-old who disappeared from Nashville seven years ago, and Violet, whom they haven’t found in the missing children’s database.
Her captor’s name is Tom, an “older white dude.” The police find Sheila in the house where he was holding them, and is in the hospital at the moment. Violet and the UnSub were nowhere to be found. The owner of the house hasn’t been seen in 20 years and would be 108 years old if he were alive. The UnSub had told the neighbors that he was her grandson. However, she had no relatives, so it’s safe to assume what happened to her. They do at least have a description of Tom and his van from the neighbors.
Both Gina and Sheila had been grabbed when they were 8, blocks away from their homes, with no witnesses. The UnSub knew their daily routines, meaning he’s patient. The long-term captivity is what matters to him. It’s more about establishing control than just him being a preferential pedophile, but with profiles like this, there’s always a sexual assault component.
After Violet repeatedly asks to stop to use the bathroom, the UnSub first threatens her and then stops. When he puts her back in the back of his van, he apologizes for yelling. “Daddy” has a lot on his mind, he explains.
Once at the hospital, the doctor tells the team that Sheila’s suffering from complications of a miscarriage, which led to an emergency hysterectomy. Both she and Gina have scars on their backs which suggests that they were whipped. And sadly, Sheila dies from her injuries in the hospital.
JJ and Reid speak to Gina, who tells them that she had been at the park the day she was taken to get away from her mean foster family. That’s where she saw Violet, and then Tom came over with a puppy. He offered to let her give the puppy treats, but when they got to his car, it was a van instead and he pushed her in. He would go to his “disappearing place,” but while he took Violet and Sheila, he never took Gina because they were “good.” She wasn’t. She fought, but not so much once Sheila came, because she had to take care of her.
Meanwhile, Rossi and Morgan check out the house and find the UnSub’s “toolboxes” and bondage and torture porn. His room — his closet, drawers and bed — suggest that he is a man who wants total control over every aspect of his life, which, Rossi notes, makes sense for a sadist. And in the yard is the body of the woman who owns the house; he even had the girls putting flowers out there because she liked them. (And that’s why he named the girls after flowers as well; Gina was “Rose,” Sheila “Daisy” and “Violet,” whose real name Gina doesn’t know.)
And the UnSub Is …
Thanks to a sketch of the UnSub, Garcia gets an ID on him: Michael Clark Thompson. The van is registered in his construction company’s name, and his phone last pinged his location near the house. His mother died during childbirth, and his father was arrested for assaulting a prostitute. Kids do what they see, which explains his misogynistic tendencies and violent streak. He’s manipulative. Holding the girls took effort and dedication, so that’s what’s important to him. He gets off on power and control.
Thompson pulls over and throws Violet food. When she asks if they can go save “them,” he tells her to let him sleep a bit and then they will. That’s when his van is spotted, and as Morgan yells at him to get out, he reminds Violet that “daddy” is the only one who loves her. He tries to run, but Morgan catches him easily.
Since Violet was held the longest, her intense trauma bonding to Thompson is understandable. And that explains why when JJ and Reid try to talk to her, she insists she needs her “daddy” and that they need to go. When JJ tries to tell her she doesn’t have to be afraid of Thompson anymore, that they can help her, Violet says that’s what Thompson said they’d say, but she’d be dead without him and he’s the only one who loves her.
As for Thompson, whose wrist was injured in his attempt to run from the police, actually tries to pass off raping and torturing the girls as “discipline.” He claims that he saved them from their parents, that he’s the only one who cares about them. He also mentions that he didn’t kill Clara, the woman whose house he was using. Since the preliminary ME report does suggest Clara died of natural causes, Hotch thinks that Thompson is telling the truth about that.
However, JJ is more focused on how determined Violet was to get out of there. JJ thinks she had somewhere specific in mind that she needed to go and she needed Thompson with her. What if she has a child? It is possible; Sheila did have a miscarriage. But if there is a baby, who’s taking care of it?
Well, it turns out there are two girls out there, in a kids’ room in another basement somewhere, all alone, and running very low on supplies.
Will the BAU Find the Girls in Time?
Garcia figures out who Violet is, and JJ shows her photos of herself when she was younger and with her family. Her name is really Amelia Hawthorne, and Thompson took her when she was 8, 15 years ago. When JJ asks if he ever got her pregnant, Amelia confirms he did — twice — but to her, she got super-sick, her belly got really big and then one day, her “sisters,” Lily and Jasmine, came out. They’re in the “disappearing place,” but she doesn’t know where that is.
When Amelia’s parents show up, she doesn’t recognize them, but her father using a nickname he gave her does spark a memory. Unfortunately, her time with Thompson overrides those memories, and she yells for them to get out of the room. She wants her “daddy.”
With the two girls running out of time, Hotch has no choice but to think about making a deal with Thompson for their location. And what the UnSub wants is to do his time in minimum security, not serve a life sentence and to see “Violet.”
But the BAU uses that last term to their advantage. After bringing him through the hospital hallway past Sheila’s grieving mother (I already know that’s not the best idea) and Amelia’s parents, they take him to see Amelia. She asks if he got the groceries yet and insists they have to go to the store, that it’s near the “disappearing place.”
Even with the FBI in the room, he still tries to manipulate her, telling her that they’re breaking apart their family like he said they would, and they won’t let him hug her before he goes away for a long time. She asks to hug him, and Hotch allows it, and when she remembers what he did to her and her parents come in the room, she remembers her life before, with them. Thompson is no longer the “daddy” who’s the only one who loves her. “My name is Amelia,” she tells him and hits him. As they pull him out of the room, he says there’s no deal.
So, how are they going to find the girls? JJ brings up what Amelia said about the grocery store, and Garcia narrows down Thompson’s list of clients to those elderly or disabled, living within a mile of a store. The first hit has an active Facebook account, but the second one is it, and they find Lily and Jasmine just in time.
Amelia is then reunited with her daughters and with Gina, and Amelia’s parents with their daughter.
However, as Hotch and Rossi take Thompson through the halls of the hospital, with Rossi taunting him with the “friends” he’s going to make in prison, a shot rings out and Thompson falls to the ground. Sheila’s mother puts the gun down, and Thompson dies.
Criminal Minds season 11 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)
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