Nasty rumors have dangerous consequences.
Cruel gossip resulted in a town under siege on Criminal Minds Season 14 Episode 12.
This episode was especially apt in an era when few people think twice about passing along often fact-free stories as gospel on social media. It's the old party line multiplied exponentially.
In the end, it came down to a simple concept by the unsub: "You took my child, now I'm taking yours."
Unfortunately, this rationalization wasn't just something in Wayne Hollis's head. It was far too real.
It was also another example of why people shouldn't underestimate the damage that unleashed cyber-skills can cause.
That's why it took someone at Garcia's level to determine how those children were getting turned into zombies. I'd heard of subliminal images, but I didn't know the same effect could get accomplished with audio techniques.
It's always nice to have a literary touch on TV with the episode title referencing the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who also beckoned away children, in his case with the intent of having them drown themselves.
Until Garia's discovery, it had just seemed like an inexplicable form of mind control that was causing the kids to walk out of their homes and into the unsub's van.
Obviously, the signals that Hollis used to control the children were short term, as the kids appeared to be themselves after Hollis imprisoned them in a locked container. But by then, there was little they could do to help themselves.
The way they were struggling, I question if the BAU ever would have pieced together Hollis' scheme if he hadn't been forced to improvise.
Since the mayor's son had his cellphone taken away, Hollis had to boldly go to the mayor's house to abduct the boy. It was gruesome how the mayor's wife kept on making dinner even after Hollis bashed in her skull.
To confront the last parent by whom he felt he had been wronged, he went to the park, a very public place. With the BAU in town, that was his one step too many, and he took his own life at the end of his revenge mission.
That part of Hollis' plan didn't ring true to me. Maybe he thought that the BAU wouldn't figure out the children's hiding spot to save them, but that rescue came together very rapidly once they assessed the trace on his body. That was good forensics in a small town.
It was another unsub who had first gotten victimized so that it wasn't possible to fully condemn his actions. These type of cases aren't as satisfying or as clean as those with a perpetrator with a loose screw.
JJ wasn't participating much in the case as she was getting in touch with her past, surprisingly.
A case took JJ back to her home of East Allegheny, Pa., for the first time in 20 years on Criminal Minds Season 14 Episode 5. Going back allowed JJ to make some peace with her past, including her older sister's death, but she had no desire to linger.
Now her mother Sandy, who JJ left behind as soon as possible when she fled to start a new life, wants to make up for lost time. While JJ and her father both escaped that troublesome past, Sandy was still stuck in the old hometown.
So Sandy made up an excuse to visit JJ during some repairs to Sandy's home, while Will and their boys left town to avoid the family drama. Sandy wants to reconnect with her only living daughter, while JJ was content to have left it all behind.
I'm sure Sandy would have liked to have seen her grandsons too, but she got what she got.
As was evident in the earlier episode that Sandy had failed to comfort young JJ while mourning Ros, which led to JJ having to grow faster than would have been necessary under normal circumstances.
Their history made for an awkward visit, especially after Sandy wanted to go to BAU headquarters, which is not exactly a popular stop on tours of Washington. At least both women fessed up to their past shortcomings to make a fresh, if tentative, start.
It was an effective way to grow JJ's backstory without building an entire episode around one character.
To follow JJ's story, watch Criminal Minds online.
Did you feel bad at all for the unsub? How did you like JJ's reunion with Sandy? What would you like to see covered during the rest of this short season?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.