Original Air Date: Nov 30, 2016
Caitlin- Senior Staff Writer
I recall mentioning that the last episode, as one directed by Matthew Gray Gubler, was bound to be creepy. And it was. But it turns out tonight’s was much, much creepier. After forcing Hotch into witness protection, Peter Lewis, AKA Mr. Scratch, is not leaving us alone. And, once again, his methods are advanced and deeply psychologically disturbing. This time, he targets Tara, but his inexplicable desire to torment her is only very nearly as alarming as his method of doing so.
We get a brief glimpse of her, yelling at someone in a panic before flashing back 24 hours to see how this all began. Emily is just settling in as unit chief, and as Tara comes in to wish her well, she tells both Emily and Garcia about her brother- the kind of guy who’s been hitting her up for money all her life. Garcia doesn’t keep the secret for long- something the team saw coming- but it doesn’t really matter, because Tara’s already on her way to meet said brother. But the man who approaches her is a stranger- a stranger saying he’s Gabriel.
The immediate instinct is that this is a prank, but it gets serious quickly. With this man insisting they’re family, Tara is forced to bring him in, but unable to talk to him. JJ takes her place and interrogates him- but everything he says, including things he shouldn’t know- is spot on. Tara’s father says Gabriel found a new job lobbying for online gambling, but the partner supposedly involved doesn’t even exist. Only Mr. Scratch would go to these lengths against the BAU. In tracking down his location, Tara and Luke find only a video of Gabriel being attacked as a gas mask is strapped over his face.
Knowing what their enemy is capable of, the team has all their family members placed under protection. We learn that the man posing as Gabriel is named Desmond. He has dissociative identity disorder, and Mr. Scratch has somehow actually been able to program him into this state. Disrupting that could cause a psychological debate, so now Tara must play into it. It starts awkward, but then just gets painful- especially when Tara must both inform her father and make him identify with this man as a son in order to get a clue that may save his real son’s life.
And then, in the middle of all of this, we get a scene (triggered by a special kind of rope Gabriel was bound with) where Emily and JJ must confront the owners of a sex shop at their home, in the middle of a moment of- well, anyway, back to the angst. Desmond reveals secrets Tara never knew about her brother- like the fact he threw away a chance at Yale was not his own laziness, but his father’s bout with alcoholism. Despite Tara’s devastation, she manages to identity the meaning of the newest clue- a Bible passage about the prodigal son.
With Peter Lewis holding Gabriel, ready to kill him, both the BAU and SWAT teams go into action. Tara tries to comfort her father. Emily is determined not to let someone else the team loves be taken away. But when the BAU gets to Gabriel, he’s locked in a terrifying contraption. In one moment, Tara throws herself in front of a gun that never goes off. In another, a bomb is disarmed. But that just triggers a whole new trap. Gabriel is pulled away just in time- the ground where he and the team were moments before is showered with shooting nails, like the plague of locusts from the Bible.
While you catch your breath, the Lewis family (no accident, I’m sure, that these characters and Mr. Scratch share a last name) are reunited. And so, at least, Emily kept her word to keep anyone else from dying. But Mr. Scratch is still out there, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. At least we got a fantastic performance from Aisha Tyler and the guest stars in this episode- and, per Emily’s word- we’ll soon be getting another member of the team as well. I do hope they stop at one more, though. Despite all the changes, I like our group just as it is.
Next Episode: Scarecrow