Sometimes, relationships end. That’s a fact. But when that happens to the UnSub in Criminal Minds‘ “A Good Husband,” people die. But can the BAU intervene before his intended target becomes a victim?
Also, Reid may be back at work and traveling with the team again, but that doesn’t mean that everything’s great at home. Maybe having his mother with him isn’t the best idea, but can he see that?
This Woman Might Never Try to Fix Her Own Car Again
A woman’s car stalls on the road, and she ends up finding a torso in a dumpster. Though the possibility is raised that this could be the work of a killer in D.C. in with a similar MO from 2004, it’s ruled out pretty quickly; in that instance, the victims were prostitutes and that’s not the case here.
They can’t get an ID on the victim due to the dismemberment, and it’s likely that that’s because there’s a known link between him and the UnSub. The UnSub is skilled enough to hunt, kill, dismember and dispose of his victim and escape without being seen, and he has an effective cutting tool and a secure location or vehicle to perform the dismemberment.
While on their way to Palm Springs, Garcia informs the crew that the victim has been identified. Paul’s ex-wife contacted the police when he didn’t pick up their daughter. He had a domestic abuse complaint and two DUIs on his record. Usually, husbands dismember wives, not the other way around, so they don’t really think that the wife is responsible. She also ID’ed him, and usually, guilty spouses don’t want the police to know their partners are dead. They also receive word of a second torso found ten blocks from the first, in a parking lot, either a sign the UnSub is accelerating or was interrupted.
Paul drank a lot, but always alone, and the bouncer at the strip club he was at the night he was killed confirms he left alone. The UnSub couldn’t have known when he’d leave, so he could’ve been a victim of opportunity.
Thanks to an internal cardiac monitor, they’re able to ID the second victim: Brent Miller, who also just went through a breakup and had been spending time at bars. Both victims had relationship issues and were drowning their sorrows. However, while both were roofied, Paul was dismembered after he died, but unfortunately, Brent was alive when the UnSub chopped him up. The UnSub is escalating.
After Mark’s husband leaves him, despite his pleading that Bill made a commitment and Mark will try to get help and will do anything for him, Mark heads to a bar, toasts to relationship troubles with a man and … brings him to his van to chop him up.
When this victim’s torso is found, they note that the UnSub seemed more controlled with this kill. And by leaving it in a more public area in the middle of a gay community, it looks like it was staged for maximum shock value. The victim’s sister confirms that he was going through a breakup, but it was just a fling, and he wouldn’t go off with a guy he didn’t know. She thinks he was killed because he was gay, but while they can tell her he wasn’t, since the first two victims were straight, they can’t tell her why her brother’s dead.
Does Bill Get out of a Toxic Relationship with All His Limbs?
They can, however, give the profile. They’re looking for a local male in his 30s with control issues, who may be gay or bi and harboring a kill fantasy. Until now, he’s sublimated his homicidal issues by controlling his work environment or relationship, and he uses drugs to paralyze and control his victims because he may not be physically imposing himself. The dismemberment gives him the ultimate feeling of power, and it’s also a way of depersonalizing his victims, negating the characteristics that make them uniquely human.
He wants the torsos, his trophies, to be found. He does seem to have a type — blond, healthy, slim — and his victims are surrogates for a current or ex-partner, even maybe a spouse he controlled through non-violent manipulation. He was likely rejected recently, which caused him to escalate to murder to regain a sense of control.
Bill returns to Mark to check on him, but Mark’s just happy he’s home. Once the latest victim is identified and they find out that it’s someone they knew, Mark insists that Bill stay with him for the night because he’s the one who protects him. But when Bill heads into the bathroom, Mark quickly stops him, apologizes for pushing him away, kisses him and leads him to the master bathroom. Once Bill’s asleep in (what used to be) their bed, Mark quickly goes into the bathroom to clean off the bloody cleaver and towels he stashed in the tub.
When he returns to the bedroom, however, Bill’s gone. Mark tracks him down at a bar, watches him talking to a friend, Wesley, and once Bill is gone, Mark talks Wes into having a drink, drugs him and takes him to his van. “You brought this on yourself,” he informs his next victim before striking.
Mark uses this latest murder to his advantage. It made him realize how awful he was, he tells Bill, and he wants him back. He promises it will be different. Bill admits that he feels like he can’t breathe in their relationship, reminding Mark how his 20 calls a day cost him his last job. But Mark argues that what’s happening shows how dangerous things are and that getting married means staying together for life. He even agrees to let Bill come back on his own terms and not push away his friends.
The BAU takes photos of those who show up at the memorial the next day, and after a press conference, speak to those in the neighborhood to try to put together a timeline for Wes. One couple tells Prentiss that he had dinner alone, but he was with a guy in a parking area around midnight. Wes’ partner, Nick, tells them that they had dinner over the phone together since he was out of town but cut it short because Wes was comforting an old friend, Bill, who just got out of a toxic relationship. The problem is he can’t manage to stay away from the guy, who was very controlling. That fits; they thought that the UnSub was recently separated or divorced.
Thanks to the photos they took, they find Bill and identify Mark. Mark’s parents divorced when he was a kid, and his father owned a butcher shop and had him chop up carcasses while he drank. After his mother got custody, he didn’t see his father. Bill wanting a divorce was the trigger for murder. The murders then scared Bill back to Mark, and Mark kept forcing him home with fear. There’s a significant risk of death for the partner in cases like this.
As the BAU is headed to their condo, Bill and Mark are going over the terms of a reconciliation. But when Mark slips up and reveals he knew that Bill was with Wes the night before, Bill realizes he was following him. And when Mark won’t let him leave, Bill realizes he’s the serial killer. He fights back, but Mark knocks him out and then duct tapes his ankles, wrists and mouth. He broke the rules, Mark insists. He needs Bill to hurt the way that he hurts. Mark’s holding the cleaver in his hand when the FBI bursts in, and then it’s just anticlimactic. Mark drops the cleaver, and they arrest him.
Though Mark thinks that Bill won’t be able to testify against him, Reid informs Bill that’s not true. Marital privilege only applies to what Mark told him; he can’t say what he confessed about the other kills, but he can say what Mark did to him. Bill can’t believe he didn’t suspect anything, that he thought he found true love and was a fool, but Reid assures him that he was just being manipulated.
Should Reid Have His Mother at Home with Him?
Reid’s back at work and he’s found an in-home nurse for Diana, but figuring out a schedule that works for everyone isn’t easy. When he checks in with Mrs. Campbell during the case, she once again asks if he’s sure that having his mother home is for the best. Reid says he’s just trying to give her the best possible care and thinks she feels safer and happier with him at home. But the problem is, when he’s gone, she’s suffering, the nurse tells him.
After the case is over, Reid admits to Prentiss that having his mother home might not be working. He’s taking a few days to fly to Houston and talk to the doctor there. But before he walks away, Prentiss makes sure he knows she’s proud of him “because it’s difficult caring for family but it takes tremendous strength to ask for help.”
Did you think the arrest of the UnSub was a bit disappointing? Do you think Reid should put his mother back in the facility in Houston?
Criminal Minds season 12 airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of CBS)