Back after an off-week, “Broken”, the latest episode of “Criminal Minds” that aired on Wednesday, Feb. 20, was worth the wait.
The show opens in Austin, Tex. with girls having a good time at a bachelorette party at a local bar. One of the girls, Michelle, heads to the parking lot where she sees a man waiting by his truck and asks “Hey there cowboy, got a light?” He takes her up on her implied offer and soon they’re seen making out hot and heavy. He drops his pants and she realizes he’s having a little trouble so she decides to dump him, but he won’t take no for an answer.
The BAU team is called in because of two murders that seem to be related and the report of Michelle’s abduction, since all three disappeared from social events. Craig, the male victim, disappeared from a fraternity party, and Heather, a veterinarian, was at a speed dating function before her body was found in an alley. After examining the time frame, the team determines that the unsub had both Craig and Heather less than 12 hours before killing them, so time is running out if they want to find Heather alive.
Craig was found fully clothed, which could mean the killer was showing remorse, possibly because he knew the victim. When the team arrives, Michelle’s body had just been found so they go directly to the scene, where it’s determined that she bled out where her body was dumped.
All three victims were wearing a watch, but the time had been changed by the unsub. The watch Michelle was wearing was nondescript, not one that she would likely have been wearing with a sequined dress. Photos that one of her friends had taken with her cell phone at the party confirm that Michelle hadn’t been wearing a watch earlier that night, so the killer putting a watch on her wrist is another significant piece of information that might aid in profiling the unsub.
Craig put up the most fight and was harder to control. He had bruising on his back which wouldn’t have been so severe if he’d been clothed, so he must have been naked when beaten, then dressed post-mortem. That behavior shows remorse, and that Craig was probably even closer to the attacker than originally thought.
Agent Blake (Jeanne Tripplehorne) visits Craig’s dorm and talks with his roommate, who is pretty close-mouthed. She questions him as to why he is packing up Craig’s personal effects and not waiting for his parents, and guesses that it’s because there was something that the roommate didn’t want Craig’s parents to find. She was right – she found a photo of Craig holding hands with another man, and realizes that his family didn’t know he was gay.
The BAU team is still trying to figure out the significance of the watches and why they were set to incorrect times. Was 6:22 a warning of when the next abduction would take place?
Scene moves to a bar, friends doing shots, then later shows one of the men coming out of a shower, saying “I gotta say, that was one helluva welcome to Austin.” He’s talking to a man who apparently is having trouble realizing what that he’d just had sex with another man. He tries to comfort him about it, rubbing his back while saying “It’s a good thing you met me. I’m a great teacher.” The distraught man has a flashback of a woman rubbing his back saying the same thing when he was a teenager, which sets him off. Doug, an accountant from Boston, becomes victim number four.
With info they know so far, the team profiles the killer as a white homosexual male in his late 20s who is suffering from an identity crisis, who has probably repressed all sexual urges for a long time before he fell off the wagon. Male serotonin levels fall after having sex and if he’s already having self-esteem issues and realizes what he’s just done with a man, he might have sought out women that he feels he should be attracted to, but when he can’t get aroused, it enrages him further. It’s likely that he suffered years of abuse, either emotional, physical, or both. They should focus on a broken home, and one where he was exposed to bigotry.
We see a flashback of the unsub as an adolescent, saying that he likes a friend, who is also a boy, which angers his father. More flashbacks show him with a prostitute who tells him she’s going to make him a real man, that she’s a good teacher. He punches the mirror as he relives the scene.
The latest victim’s watch was reset to 6:59, and Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) attempts to use that number along with the other times to come up with a formula that makes sense. He subtracts one number from another and manipulates the numbers in various ways in an attempt to find a pattern. He settles on 6:22, and has Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) search for things that might have happened on June 22 that could be significant. She finds all sorts of weird things, but nothing matches up. Matthew 6:22 in the Bible is mentioned, which speaks of with lights and eyes, which doesn’t seem to line up with anything either.
Leviticus 18:22 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination. Bingo. The time of 6:22 wasn’t significant, but the translation to military time of 1822 fits.
A friend named Mitchell stops by the unsub’s place, worried that something might have happened to them as the friend they were out with the night before, Doug, was found murdered. Mitch ends up finding the blood on the floor and realizes what happened. His friend Paul, the unsub, is the killer. Paul says it wasn’t his fault, Mitch argues that it can’t be “their” fault because they haven’t laid a hand on him in years.
Meanwhile, the team compiles more clues into useable data and comes up with Camp Willing, a conversion camp outside of Boston that has Lev. 18:22 as part of their logo on their webpage. They go to the camp and learn that everyone has to wear natural colors – browns, and navy blues as long as it doesn’t fade to a lighter shade that might be seen as more feminine. Personal effects of new participants are screened to make sure any music is appropriate, and they’re not allowed to have earrings or anything else that might be deemed feminine, and even their watches are standard issue provided by the camp. If someone breaks the rules, the director said that he couldn’t elaborate because of confidentiality agreements, but the member would receive advanced therapy under the supervision of a senior counselor. The team wonders about a door that they see padlocked.
Another flashback shows a woman strapping a watch on the unsub as a teenager at Camp Willing, saying she doesn’t want him to be late for class. The watch is set to 6:22 (1822).
Back to the unsub’s place, Mitch is trying to talk him into turning himself in, which isn’t working.
While searching records, Garcia finds that Mitchell, a man just reported missing by his employer, was there in 2003. Financial paper trails of Camp Willing reveal that a prostitute named Isabella was being paid by parents of camp attendees. Agent Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) visits her in prison where she says that she didn’t molest anyone, that she had parental consent. Hotch mentions that since she shows no remorse for what she did to these young boys, and that as a professional she probably wouldn’t have trusted the camp to protect her, she must have some other form of assurance of protection. Hotch quickly figures out that the parents were in the room with the prostitute and the boy, that she made them watch what she was doing.
Paul is still arguing with Mitchell, asking why couldn’t he get it up for the Michelle and Heather since he could get it up for the prostitute. Mitch shares his explanation in the best line of the show: “When we were kids, we could practically get it up for tomato soup”.
We see another flashback of Paul in a room at Camp Willing with a prostitute, with his father watching. Isabella is coaxing him along, but Paul isn’t able to perform, so his father jumps up and unzips his pants, saying he’ll show him how it’s done.
Paul admits to Mitch that he screwed up, he thought that maybe the girls could fix him, but Mitch tells him he just needs a little help, he doesn’t need to be fixed. Still waving his gun around, Paul says “You’re right, I’m not the one that needs to be fixed”.
Garcia combs databases to find out who was at Camp Willing at the same time Mitchell was and whose parents made payments to Isabella. There’s only one match -- Paul, whose mother was killed in Iraq. The team heads to his address but no one is there when they arrive.
The unsub has taken Mitchel and gone to his father’s house.
Waving his gun, Paul knocks his father down the stairs. His father insists that he was only trying to save him, and Paul counters that he really means he wanted to fix him, tried to prove all those years that he was broken. “It worked. I’m pretty well broken”.
His father is seen in just his underwear on the bed, when Paul said “… it’s time to see if it works the other way around” (implying that perhaps he can make his father gay by doing the same thing his father tried to do to make him straight).
The team quickly realizes that if Paul is seeking revenge, it must be towards his father, since Isabella is in prison. The scene flashes back to Paul telling Mitchell that he has to do it, and of course Mitch is freaked out and saying no, he can’t. Paul’s father jumps up and grabs the gun, and the BAU team shows up just as gunshots are fired. Mitch was shot in the struggle for the gun, then Paul shot his father. Paul holds Mitchell, begging him not to die. Agent Morgan (Shemar Moore) storms in and Paul puts the gun to his own head, but he is talked down, told that what happened in the camp doesn’t matter anymore, but if he testifies, they can get Camp Willing shut down for good.
Agent Dave Rossi (Joe Mantegna) recites John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”, and says the best way to do that is to put that gun down, and Paul complies. Morgan moves Mitchell’s watchband, which reveals scars on his wrist.
A raid is conducted on the camp and arrests are made. SWAT busts open the padlocked door, and the scene shows boys strapped into chairs with small screens in front of them, presumably showing porn over and over again in an attempt to reprogram their sexuality.
Several lives were lost, and many more broken.
Follow Marie Anne’s talk about TV by clicking subscribe at the top of the page. It’s completely anonymous.