You can't always escape your past.
The sins of the father ended up ruining his sons' lives on Criminal Minds Season 13 Episode 17.
The best part about this episode: No Barnes. We're done with that mistake of a storyline.
Instead, it was just a case of the week, with a side of social commentary.
This episode was a sad statement about another American industry fading away, in this case, the circus.
When Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus shut down last year, you know that was effectively the end of the line for that once a very popular form of entertainment.
Maybe we need tariffs on video games in order to bring back live entertainment. But I digress.
Brothers Sal and Tony Capilano were clowns, but there's not much call for that skill anymore. Rodeo, kids' birthday parties, that's about it.
Tony's wife Dina had the right idea. In a changing economy, you need to adapt. So Dina, a former trapeze artist, was going to teach gymnastics when they reached their promised land of Florida.
But instead, drunkard older brother Sal talked younger brother Tony into a new use for their skills. Sal committed robberies in clown garb, with Tony drove the getaway car.
Sal certainly tapped into a current zeitgeist: coulrophobia (fear of clowns). Scary clowns are in, thanks to creepy sightings and last year's best-selling movie "It." Let's give props to Stephen King and his 1986 novel that was the source of said movie.
There is just one catch: Sal was killing the fathers in each household, as his form of revenge against his late abusive father. And Tony, whose family was dependent on his meager income, had no idea what his brother was doing.
I felt bad for Tony, who had a supportive wife and a son who adored him, but who got pulled down by his ne'er-do-well brother.
Still, Tony should have cut his losses after Sal disclosed that he had gambled away the money for the stolen items. Since Sal's bad habits had gotten them banned from the legitimate rodeos, he should have seen the writing on the wall. Sure, Sal was family, but Dina and son Mikey had to come first.
It took a little while to get a handle on this murder spree for the BAU. Killer clowns are odd, no matter how you look at it. Clown makeup as a forensic countermeasure made perfect sense.
Except the quality of the clown makeup pointed to an actual, professional clown. Which, as was established up above, are harder to come by these days.
That's where Dylan came in. The 7-year-old who was struck mute by witnessing his father's murder was truly the only lead the team had.
Fortunately, Dylan was in the right hands: Reid's. The wunderkind is still the squad member most in touch with his inner child, so he was a perfect choice to coax information from Dylan.
When Dylan's clown drawing failed to match anything in Reid's directory of clowns (where does he find such obscure reference material?), Reid got Dylan to not only speak but also to come up with more detail.
Clown plus denim plus horse smell, and the BAU was off to the rodeo. Fortunately, Garcia was able to narrow down the number of underground rodeos so that they got there before Tony shot Sal, as he would have been facing a murder charge as well.
Unfortunately, Tony's misplaced loyalty to his brother will result in him missing seeing his son grow up, as he will likely be jailed for much of Mikey's formative years. It's a shame he couldn't testify against Sal for a lesser sentence.
The BAU seemed none the worse for wear because of its forced separation. It was like they'd never been apart.
Criminal Minds was back to being purely procedural this episode. And, you know, it felt like something was missing, with no ongoing storyline cropping up. No Reid in prison, no escaped psychos, no intrusive bureaucrats.
Is this what normal feels like? I guess it's a case of being careful what you wish for.
With five to seven episodes left on Criminal Minds Season 13, I can't imagine that any new storylines will get fired up, leading to a cliffhanger for an uncertain Season 14. I hope I'm wrong.
To see where this season has gone, watch Criminal Minds online.
How soon did you think "rodeo clown"? Did you mind having a case of the week and nothing else? What do you want more of the rest of the season? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.