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Criminal Minds

Season 4 Episode 20


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Apr 08, 2009 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
682 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The BAU is called to Texas to investigate a serial killer who is targeting vacationing students on spring break on South Padre Island.

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  • good episode, but


    i could tell the woman at the beginning was being played by a man right away, so when we were introduced to jackson rathbone (a pretty guy) i knew who the unsub was.

    otherwise, good episode. though, tbh, i was hoping that there'd be a positive trans character instead of a DID case. here's to hoping!
  • How long does it take for the images of the evil you've seen to go away?

    An unbelievably good episode from a soon-to-be-favorite group of CM newbies show us that there are still stories to be told, both about the evil that men do and about the characters of our profilers. It has been quite a while since a Reid-centric episode flashed across our screens, but this one was worth waiting for. The story was wonderfully current - this is Spring Break for many schools across the country including mine - and perfectly told. I love the "viewer is kept in the dark" storylines, myself, and, recently, there have been far too few of them.

    While some of the scenes we've come to expect, and almost dread in their predictability were there - conference room, giving the profile to the local LEOs, the compulsory cornering of the unsub - the new scenes breathed with life. The bracketing scenes in the psych office with Dr. Reid hiding in the shadows, desperate to help this wounded man, were heart-rending. Yes, he'd met a man suffering from DID before, a very sick man who had tried, in his own way, to save Reid from himself, and, in Reid's own eyes, he'd failed him. This was his second chance.

    I thought the direction and pacing of the episode were as good as I've seen on television lately. It is so difficult to keep something like this from the viewers, so hard to show them enough and yet not too much, but this crew pulled it off. Okay, I got it from the first time we saw Adam and his migraines, but I'm way too tuned in to abnormal behavior. Seriously - this scenario was handled better than I've ever seen it in episodic television. They gave the audience a chance to figure it out, but also gave us a reasonable suspect in Adam's friend at the hotel.

    Reid's character has always been one of the most interesting for me - maybe because I've always been drawn to the geeks - the vulnerable, trusting, hoping for the best while expecting the worst for themselves types. His interrogation of Adam was beautifully written, directed, and acted. Reid was attempting to be tough enough even while he sympathized with Adam. And the eye contact between the two characters across the police station as Adam became Amanda right before our eyes was truly chilling.

    Did anyone else notice the unbelievably great parallel to Tobias Hankel in Adam's room at the hotel? The mirrors he'd placed on the wall brought me immediately to the computer screens in Hankel's farm. And the episode just got better from there.

    Jason Alexander's direction of the rooftop scene between Morgan and Reid was outstanding. Reid stands in the extreme foreground, facing the sun - his eyes squinting painfully. What a perfect way to show us that he is still completely open and vulnerable to everything he sees on this job before any words are even spoken? And behind him stands Morgan, sunglasses firmly in place to shield him from the sun, and from any observation we might make about what he's feeling. Closed. The voice of experience. The connection between these two characters as Reid briefly turns his back on the blinding sun and then faces it again is intense and real. Mega-kudos to all.

    So these cases have an effect on our heroes - we've seen that to some extent in all of them. Sometimes it makes them angry, sometimes it makes them snide, or distrustful, but sometimes it makes them better profilers, and better people. Way to go, CM. I'm still a fan. (Oh, yeah!)moreless
  • College guys are getting murdered in hotel rooms during spring break. Reid realizes that one of their suspects has a disorder in which a dominant personality emerges to protect the real person, by killing people who remind him of an abusive stepdad.moreless

    This was just pure genius. Seriously. The storyline was brilliant and the whole murder to who the unsub really is, was just suspense-filled.

    The episode starts off fine, with the end being the beginning, then rewind 7 days and it begins with the discovery of the body by Adam. And when the BAU is called in and they discover they have a timeline since spring break is going to be over soon and the murderer might get away with the murders. The actor who played Adam/Amanda, Rathbone, plays his roles very well, you really cannot tell the difference because the he plays each completely different. They are really two different people. The voice, the behaviour, the way he acts..it's just genius. And how it's fit into the story, the whole two separate identities disorder, is brilliant. The team discover it's males who behave like alpha males that are being murdered and think at first it's a man, then think it's two people, a man and a woman working together. When they interview Adam, both Reid and Morgan have no idea he's the unsub. And even later, they still have a hard time believing it until Reid figures out the two personality disorder thing, which suddenly makes sense. I really had no idea and this revelation really creeped me out.

    Reid also gets a bit attached to Adam, even visiting Amanda at the end telling Amanda he's looking for Adam. I thought that was nice, and felt sorry for Amanda who only emerges to protect Adam. And it ends.moreless
  • Really is a good show!

    Really we have been missing Reid as he doesn't seem to be the forefront these days. And that he is one of our favorite characters on the show. But lately he has been absent lately. But glad that, he was in this. As when he is at the forefront, he is good. The team try to figure out what is going on, with students that are vacationing on spring break. Are being killed. And why they are being targetted. The Adam/Amanda thing was really twisted. But also really confusing. Even though I have only seen bits and parts of Twilight, Jackson Rathborne, the guest star was convincing. He also kind of reminded Reid of himself. Without the killing though.moreless
  • The murders of young college boys leads Agent Hotchner and the BAU team to entertain the possibility of a male and female serial killing team, such as Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck,but instead they uncover something entirely unexpected ...moreless

    At the beginning of the episode, we see a young woman, in shadow, being interviwed by Dr. Reid. Reid tells the woman that he would 'like to talk about Adam', whom we learn is 'still missing.' Reid appears greatly troubled by this. The woman informs Reid that, in her opinion, 'Just because you caught me, doesn't mean you'll find him ... you're not that smart.'

    We then read that it is 'Seven Days Earlier' and the traditional fun and frivolity of Spring Break on South Padre Island is overshadowed by a series of rapes and murders - of young men. The BAU are called in to help solve the crimes. After questioning Julie, the manager of the hotel where the second body was found, and ascertaining that she had not noticed anything unusual, Rossi,Morgan and Reid then question Adam Jackson, (played by Jackson Rathbone from 'Twilight') the young hotel employee who found the second body. Adam, like Julie, appears to know nothing.

    Profiling the un-sub the next day,the team come to the conclusion that they may in fact be dealing with a 'killer couple' - a male and female, with the woman luring the victims and the male raping and murdering them. After learning more about Adam and Julie, and the fact that they both have a somewhat colourful past,the team feel they may have caught their killers, however, when they both pass lie detector tests, this belief is tested. As usual, it is Reid who sorts things out by theorizing that their 'two killers' scenario may be incorrect, that, in fact, Adam may be BOTH killers; a multiple personality with an alter-ego who committed the crimes.

    Meanwhile,Julie finds some incriminating evidence which links Adam to the crimes, but when she goes to the hotel roof and presses him about it, she is confronted by 'Amanda', a 'woman' with a strong Texan accent, who is clearly the 'real' killer. Amanda is not at all pleased and pushes Julie off the roof. Barely breathing, she tells the BAU team what has happened when they arrive at the hotel. Reid correctly concludes that Adam/Amanda has gone to find the real source of the trouble - the abuser from his childhood. As the young killer holds a knife to the throat of his abuser, we learn that Adam was made to wear dresses and suffer other unimagineable abuse. 'Amanda' finally releases her hostage but refuses to allow Adam to come back. She has decided to protect him fromany further harm. This puts us right back where we were at the beginning of the episode, where Reid is again speaking not to a woman as we first thought, but to Adam, with 'Amanda'firmly in control and intending to stay that way.

    This was a great episode, yet another one not to be missed with excellent performances by all, particularly Jackson Rathbone who did a very convincing job in the dual role.moreless
Thomas Gibson

Thomas Gibson

Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner

Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna

Senior SSA David Rossi

Matthew Gray Gubler

Matthew Gray Gubler

SSA Dr. Spencer Reid

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore

SSA Derek Morgan

Paget Brewster

Paget Brewster

SSA Emily Prentiss

A.J. Cook

A.J. Cook

SSA Jennifer "JJ" Jareau

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The structure of the plane in this episode is slightly different from other episodes. Near the beginning of the episode, we were shown a view from the front left with JJ presenting the case. However, the seats where Morgan and Reid were sitting usually faced the other direction where the team would gather around the table with four seats and Penelope talking from the laptop placed on it.

    • Adam Jackson said he grew up "just across the bridge" in Corpus Christi. To be accurate, he would have lived in Brownsville, Los Fresnos, or San Benito. Corpus Christi is located 179 miles north of South Padre Island, and the drive takes approximately three hours and 45 minutes by car.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Adam Jackson: You've seen bad stuff, right?
      Reid: I have, yeah.
      Adam Jackson: How long before you can close your eyes without it being there?
      Reid: I'm afraid I still don't know.

    • Morgan: Reid, what's eating you, man?
      Reid: We've taken the victim into custody and let the abuser go free. I don't see that as much of a win.
      Morgan: A lot of lives are going to be saved because Amanda's off the street, you know that.
      Reid: Yeah, I just wish I could have noticed the signs in time to save Adam.

    • JJ: I don't think anyone's going to listen.
      Reid: What do you mean?
      JJ: Come on, drunk college students don't exactly want to hear they shouldn't talk to strangers.

    • Reid: Stephen King wrote, "Monsters are real, and ghosts are real, too. They live inside us. And sometimes, they win."

    • Reid: "Light thinks it travels faster than anything, but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always gotten there first, and is waiting for it." Terry Pratchett

  • NOTES (2)

    • Rick Dunkle, the writer of the episode, added some personal touches to the script. Dan Keller's school, Benjamin Franklin University, was named for Franklin College, the school in Indiana where Rick attended for three years before moving to Los Angeles; the Willard Beachside Resort was named for the local bar where Rick and his friends frequented while attending Franklin College; room number 319 where Dan Keller was murdered is the birthday of a good friend; and the Hudson Street Hotel was named as a tribute to Rick Dunkle's father.

    • The music heard in this episode was "Tres Cool" by Jupiter Rising, "Needle in the Basket" by FakeBreed, "We Love What Kills Us" by Bangkok Five, "Rock to the Rhythm" by Dave Aude and DJ Da, and "Sugar Boy" by ProducersLab.