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Criminal Minds Season 4 Episode 20: Conflicted

Criminal MindsIn this episode of Criminal Minds, Twilight’s Jackson Rathbone plays a cross-dressing sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder who rapes and murders frat dudes. That plotline does not even approach the ludicrousness of some of the things I’ve heard go on in Stephenie Meyer’s books. At least there were no babies chewing their way out of their mother’s uterus.

Episode Summary

The BAU goes on spring break together! Okay, not really. They travel to the Texas gulf coast because two college guys were raped and killed in the same hotel during spring break. They’ve got to solve the crime soon, since spring break ends in two days.

After a third murder, the team theorizes there are two killers working as a team. Their profiles outline the killers as a woman and a man; the woman seduces the victims and ties them up, then the man takes over and rapes and kills. The BAU hone in on Adam and Julie, a handyman and the hotel manager. Garcia explains that Adam was brutally abused as a child and Julie, who used to volunteer in a halfway house, met Adam, gave him a job, and let him live in the hotel.

The investigation is stymied when both Adam and Julie pass lie detector tests with flying colors. However, Reid looks into some things Adam said about having migraines and blackouts. He speculates Adam has Dissociative Identity Disorder and is acting alone. Meanwhile, a suspicious Julie finds evidence of the crimes in Adam’s room and confronts him, but she’s pushed off the roof. She survives long enough to tell Hotch that Adam called himself Amanda before attacking her.

The BAU races to find Amanda, who has gone to kill the stepfather who abused Adam. Reid is able to get her to release the stepfather and she’s going to kill herself, but Reid points out that will kill Adam too and Amanda exists to protect Adam. Amanda drops the knife, but not before telling Reid that she’s put Adam to sleep forever, for his own good. Later, Reid talks to Amanda in a psychiatric hospital and begs her to let Adam out but she refuses.

High Points

The opening quote, stated by Reid, was by Terry Pratchett. The awesomeness of that cannot be textually rendered.

Matthew Gray Gubler did a brilliant job conveying Reid’s connection with Adam and his desperation to help him, especially after his experience at the hands of the similarly-afflicted Tobias Henkel.

Although the DID “twist” was rather predictable, the way it unfolded was nicely done. I particularly liked the non-linear scenes with Reid questioning Amanda at the start, middle and end of the episode.

Low Points

The split between Adam and Amanda seemed more like schizophrenia than DID to me. Then again, I’m just an armchair psychiatrist.

Jackson Rathbone did a good job at playing Adam and Amanda, and he has the slight build to be believable as a woman, but his giant adam’s apple and perpetual stubble really stretched credulity.

Rossi, never one of my favorite characters, was particularly annoying in this episode, especially when he self-righteously lectured another hotel employee for not sharing an incident that happened with Adam. Yes, it was an important clue and yes, withholding information is bad. But there’s no need to be a smug twat about it.

There was not enough JJ and Prentiss in this episode.

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