Criminal Minds Review: The Leg Whisperer

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Gruesome is as gruesome does. Tonight, in Criminal Minds the team was up against a former undertaker who had a "God Complex" - sort of a compassionate psychopath (though the team were adamant that he didn't fit the definition of that). 

Anyway, the poor man just wanted to help his wife get a new leg, and he had what he thought was the perfect plan for doing so.

CM Pic

With references to Dr. Mengele and his horrific experiments on twins, the team finally figured out that this guy was doing some experimentation by cutting off a leg from one victim and attempting to attach it to a sawed off leg of another. His hope was to eventually smush a new leg onto his wife... who had been without her right one from birth.

Missing from the story was an account of where the mental train left the tracks. Why, after so many years of marriage, did he finally decide it was time to do something about his wife's lack? What made him oblivious to the fact that she was quite all right with only having one leg?

They sure picked the right guy to portray the part of the UnSub. Ray Wise played the oft-smiling demented undertaker in this episode, reminiscent of his stint as The Devil in the TV series Reaper.

I enjoyed the dialogue between the mortician and his wife too: sort of a wink to the viewers. Like that scene in the kitchen:

Wife: Don't worry about me. Worry about those little mice out in your lab.
UnSub: Well I hate to tell you but I've moved up from mice in the last couple of weeks.
Wife: Okay. Whatever critters you have out there I don't wanna know. But if it's a choice between them or the house, well, a couple more might have to give their lives up to science. | permalink

Spooky, and not a little unsettling.

Many cringe when viewing the torment some of these twisted UnSubs put their victims through. At least in this episode the last victim proved to be brave. Her struggles to get off of the gurney seemed to be a mirror of The Bride's struggle in Kill Bill when she was trying to get the feeling back in her toes.

The parallel plot in this episode was intriguing. We see Reid speaking with a mysterious woman, whose face we never get to entirely see. Equally obscure is the nature of their relationship and discussions. The team has proven over the years to be hyper-vigilant to this sort of thing and tonight was no exception. I was glad to see Blake starting to fit in more by doing what any other member of the team would do, and confronting Reid. She didn't let him off of the hook too easily either, and finally gave up when Reid insinuated that a romance was going on, about which he didn't want the team to know.

A little later, Morgan confronted him too, but he immediately went right to the romance angle, culminating with this grinning finale:

Morgan: Play on, playah. | permalink

The truly mysterious discussion - the part that made it seem like more than just a romance was going on - was the cryptic conversations between Reid and the mysterious woman.  What was that all about?  She said to Reid:

I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing this for you. Because I cannot let him hurt you, because if he knew..... | permalink

And that's when she stopped talking - when we all wanted her to continue. Evidently Reid knew, and that was good enough because that's when he backed off. (The full conversation is on our page of Criminal Minds quotes).

You get the sense that maybe the ominous "he" to whom she referred might be the same guy we saw in the first episode of the season; the guy in the darkroom who was hanging pictures of all of the team members. 

At any rate, we learned the following:

  • Reid and the woman talk every Sunday and had been doing so for six months.
  • They've never met in person. 
  • They're both adept at reading body language.
  • Reid had been getting advice on how to manage his headaches. 
  • Rather than call her he sends her a page from a phone booth, and waits for her to call him back.
  • There's a mystery man who they're both trying to avoid - neither of them wants him to find out about "us"

Maybe from this we can surmise that the dangerous guy that they're trying to avoid has access to police surveillance resources - hence the phone booth conversations instead of home to home calls.  There's a secret here, it isn't just about romance, even though she closed their final conversation with "love you!"

What do you think? Who's the mystery woman? Is she married? She's certainly frightened - though it seems she is scared for Reid, more than she is for herself.  Did Reid lie to Blake about who she was - a geneticist? 

God Complex Review

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Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter


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Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 4 Quotes

Mystery woman: I don't know what you look like either.
Reid: Really?
Mystery woman: No. The only intimate side I've seen of you was your brain. When I studied the MRI you sent to me. That's when I said "this is a guy I need to get to know."

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote "When a doctor does go wrong, he's the first of criminals. He has the nerve and he has the knowledge."