The only episodes I have trouble with on CM are the ones featuring children. ” What Fresh Hell”, ” P911″, ” Seven Seconds”- each of these episodes deals with a missing child, and as a mom, it freaks me out. ” Seven Seconds” was particularly frightening- my middle daughter was six at the time it aired.
So needless to say, ” The Instincts” really got to me. Even the fact that Reid was the central force in the script didn’t make me cry an ocean full of tears.
And Reid. Oh, my Reid. You have grown since season one, and the hell they have put you through has created quite the conundrum. All the torture from Tobias, the abandonment by Gideon, the fact you cannot stop the bad memories in “Elephant’s Memory”- you are finally breaking down walls, and it’s honestly going to make you a better profiler. Really. Trust Hotch in this.
We open on Reid, Hotch, and Prentiss searching a house, guns drawn. Reid wanders down a hall, and discovers a basement. Down they go, to discover the body of a six year old boy. Sad. Both Prentiss and Hotch are almost deferential to Reid… and then a baby shows up. Turns out Reid’s dreaming on the plane. Now why Reid is asleep on the plane at this moment is not clear ( late night Babylon 5 marathon, perhaps?), but whatever, it allows for some Emily ribbing and some Reid deflecting ( turns out Reid doesn’t believe in Freudian dream analysis- although he points out later in the episode ” Jung still has his merits.”) We are going to Vegas, folks- Reid’s hometown. Mom’s still there, locked up at the hospital. But Reid’s working, so mom’s not at the forefront of his mind at the moment. It’s the five year old boys- one who was discovered dead after missing for a week, and the other one who disappeared the day before.
Mom and Dad are reacting ” separate”. Dad is freaked out, emotional, a wreck, what one would believe is the stereotypical reaction of a parent of a lost child. Mom is amost catatonic- what I’m sure is another reasonable, realistic, but not nearly as stereotypical reaction. Both are struggling, but Mom’s not wanting to engage much. Dad will do anything the FBI says.
Reid and Morgan hit the M.E.’s office, and discover that the boy was smothered, his digestive system shrunken, but no signs of malnutrition. No I.V. marks leaves them all puzzled. Rossi and Prentiss, at the dump sit, try to figure out how the child was left in an obvious place without anyone seeing the vehicle ( I love the swipe CM writers took at yhe CSI phenomenon- it is Vegas, baby, and Grissom’s team apparently left a mess for the FBI profilers, making the job a little more difficult).
Ina a particularly touching scene, the mom points out to JJ that she does blame her husband for the kidnapping being allowed to occur ( he encouraged her to allow their son to walk to a friend’s house alone) and that she’s frozen. She had discovered a chocolate bar under his pillow- strictly against the rules, but she left it. ” I don’t want him to think he’s in trouble for breaking the rules,” she says. She asks JJ if she knows the gender of her baby. JJ’s having a boy. Mom chokes up.
The unsub calls- he likes to taunt the parents. And he does a good job. Garcia is unable to triangulate, but discovers the unsub is in city limits. Thank heavens for small miracles- it at least keeps the search focused in the city. Reid and Morgan take over for Hotch and JJ, in case the unsub calls again.
Reid wakes up in the night, and walks downstairs to the basement. He finds a small body behind the dryer. Rossi and Morgan come up behind him. There’s no forced entry. ” Why does that matter?” Reid asks. No forced entry means he knew his attacker. All of a sudden, Reid rips his shirt open and he’s covered in leeches. He screams for Morgan to get them off. Turns out Reid’s dreaming again, and this time, he scared the crap out of our couple with his screams. Morgan manages to calm him down, but Reid knows he didn’t help the situation.
Hotch asked the parents of our new victim to go to the funeral of the previous victim to try and draw the unsub out of the woodwork. Dad is all for any plan, but Mom is angry about having to watch a child being buried. The profile is pretty basic- white male, middle class, focused on the parents, four wheel drive vehicle, remorse- usual babble.
Reid is in the missing child’s bedroom, observing. Reid mentions that he had no dinosaur toys- just books, notebooks, filled with poem and songs. He confides in Morgan that he has had a variation of this dream since he was a young child. Morgan suggests to take time off. Reid actually seems annoyed by the suggestion.
At the funeral, mom uses her natural fear instinct to feel the presence of the unsub watching her. Reid, though, gets the distinct impression that he has been there before. Rossi and Prentiss notice creepy guy filming the funeral with his cell phone. They move in. He is forced to quietly leave as to not to disturb the service. Rossi and Prentiss tear into him at headquarters. Reid is obseving when Morgan brings in a file- Riley Jenkins, a six year old boy who was assaulted and murdered when Reid was four. Riley was the name of Reid’s imaginary friend as a child. In the meantime, our creepy guy turns out to be a preferential sex offender, but not our murderer.
The unsub calls again. He knows the FBI is there now, and demands to speak to them. Hotch takes over. The unsub finally gets to mom, and she steals the phone back and begs for her child back. REid, reading the transcript, deciphers something- the unsub is actually a woman, and possible institutionalized. A new profile- but unalbe to break into complete psych files leads Reid to his mother’s doctor. While the doctor goes to help by talking to various administraors, he gets to see his mom ( the luminous Jane Lynch- genius casting, CM). I love their relationship- he’s brilliant, as is she, but she’s crippled by schizophrenia, and he fears it. The are intellectual equals, but he’s always her baby. He can’t lie to her, although he tries. Mom’s just know. ” We’re animals, Spencer, we feel things”, she tells him. The doctor can’t find specifics, but informs him that release is sometimes predicated on whether they stay medicated. Diana Reid tells Spencer that she went off her meds while pregnant. The Reid clues in. Women overwhelmingly kidnap newborns. If the psychosis is deep enough, a woman might kidnap a child. And she’s breast feeding them.
The rest if the team uses good old fashioned police work and Garcia to use the video tapes of the funeral and find our girl- who had been institutionalized and had just had a baby, who was taken by social services. She’s recreating the loss of her baby. They go off after her, but she’s set a fire with what appears to be a child in her arms. Reid drives up ( Reid drives! Whoot!) and follows the team into the house, and discovers Michael (and how adorable was he picking up that kid!). She throws the bundle into the fire, but it’s baby toys in a blanket. Our unsub goes back to lockdown. Our kidnapped child goes back to mom and dad. Reid asks to stay in Vegas for the night ( leading Hotch to ask Morgan ” Can you think of anything to do in Vegas for a night?”). Reid has decided to stay with his mother for a visit and a sleepover. But he’s dreaming again. This time, he’s alone, no team to back him up. There is a man bent over the body. Reid demands to see the man’s face. The man slowly turns around. Reid, gun drawn, pointed at our unsub, looks stunned as he whispers ” Dad?”. Willaim Reid has popped up again.
Excellent performances by Reed Diamond and Kari Matchett as our victim’s parents. They were toanlly perfect. Jane Lynch, as always, is amazing. Her Diana Reid maybe crazy, but she doesn’t play her as a whack job. The woman has a doctorate, is clearly intellegent, and even years later, can realize her illness needs to be managed by medication, and can recollect that being without it can terrorize her. But I was moved this week by Matthew Gray Gubler- genius he may be, our Spencer Reid, but he’s more complex than geeky beginnings allowed us to believe. And certainly more troubled. Gubler is growing as an actor as well, and his eyes are amazingly expressive. The last shot of him is etched in my memory- the perfect balance of fear and disbelief. Next weeks resolution should be stunning.
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