I couldn't decide whether this was the worst or one the best episodes of Criminal Minds. I spent the first ten minutes crying my eyes out. The show begins as people in a small town are entering a movie theater for a night out. A teenage couple out on a date, an older couple getting out of the house for the night and a mother and her young son out having some quality time together. The movie being shown is the classic The Blob. A little scary and unintentionally funny. We see a shadowed figure walk in and dump gasoline all over the lobby and light a fire. Everyone panics and discovers they're trapped, the emergency exit has been barricaded. Everyone in the theater perishes. This is not the first fire that claims lives in this small town and the sheriff calls in the FBI. The team realizes immediately that this not your typical serial arsonist in that he has intentionally killed. They can assume that the unsub is a local. He knows when and where to make the biggest impact. What they can't figure out is why and that's the key to identifying the unsub. Being such a small town and knowing how rumors escalate into vigilantism, Hotchner has Garcia delve deep into the lives of all the victims. This affects Garcia in a way she could not imagine. Normally she's on the outside searching for the facts, now she's uncovering everyone's dirty laundry. The team figure out that the unsub is likely to be someone who grew up there and left and has now returned for some type of revenge. And they figure out the actual target is one man, the owner of the local bar who has just gotten married a few days prior. The victim's wife, Tina, and her brother, Tommy, cam to live with their grandparents after their parents were killed in a fire. Tommy had an unusually close relationship with his sister and he became a pariah in the town. Things got so bad he had to be sent away to a boarding school across the country. Now Tommy has returned and he wants Tina back, ew. Tina wants nothing to do with Tommy and the BAU and police are able to apprehend him. This was a disturbing and compelling episode. I almost turned it off during the first fire. Knowing that a little boy died was almost too much to bear. But something just kept me tuned in. the incest thing was yucky but made it interesting. And a fine performance by Michael Rooker as Police Chief Carlson. And Kirsten Vangsness was top notch. Garcia is my favorite character on Criminal Minds and we got to get a little deeper into her soul to see what keeps her going in a world filled with evil. Garcia cracked the case!!!
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