An old-fashioned shingled home stands amidst the tall trees and greenery of the Virginia countryside. Outside, the air is peaceful, still, the breeze fluttering the leaves. Inside, there is panic, children screaming, and a young woman searching for a way out. A white panel truck drives away down the barely discernible drive, past the long wooden fence, while, in the basement, the camera that sits snugly against the only window in the solid metal door, records every shriek, every tear. The elaborate camera sits on a sturdy tripod in a large underground chamber. The rough stone walls are in sharp contrast to the beauty that hangs there - da Vinci's Last Supper, his Mona Lisa, the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Parthenon, and the unbelievable grace of the nautilus shell. All divided into sections, lines criss-crossing, spirals highlighted. Even the metal door that locks in the victims reflects the same underlying grace and structure. But the dark haired woman and the four children can only see the inside of their metal prison, and, crying, she slams her hands again and again against the thick glass in front of the camera.
Dr. Spencer Reid and SSA David Rossi stand before a large group of college students at Strayer University in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is part of their job to advise these students what kinds of opportunities they can expect if they seek employment with the FBI. While Reid concentrates on a BAU agent's extensive post-graduate work and comprehensive study of case files, Rossi interrupts, casually explaining that the BAU is only one of many sections within the FBI, and any student, graduating in any discipline, is eligible to apply to the bureau. A young man asks Rossi what he studied in college, and, as Rossi answers, an older man, long white hair and white suit making him stand out in the crowd, enters the room. Rossi flippantly tells the young man that he majored in Criminal Justice because Sport's Appreciation was full up at his community college. Reid's list of degrees, including PhDs in Mathematics, Chemistry and Engineering, leaves the students speechless, and the white-haired man studies him intently. Explaining that he is currently pursuing a BA in Philosophy, Reid attempts to tell a joke about existentialism, even over Rossi's muttered advice, which falls flat among the college students. The agents themselves are left speechless when one student blurts out, "Did you ever shoot anybody?"
Behind the piles of case files on her desk, Agent Jordan Todd, taking over for JJ Jareau while she is on maternity leave, addresses a grizzled detective. Det. Garrity has brought a case for the BAU's review, and reacts with anger and frustration when Todd misspeaks, telling him that if the team is "interested" in his case they will advise him. He grabs the file from her desk and begins to storm out as she attempts to explain that the BAU might not be able to help. "They sure as hell couldn't hurt," he insists, but he is interrupted by SSA Derek Morgan, who happened to be passing Todd's office. He explains that the presence of the BAU is not always helpful to an investigation. Garrity is desperate - the woman has been dead for three months and her mother calls him every day. Morgan gently advises the detective that he understands - he's been there on the Chicago PD - and that if they find they can help he will call the detective himself. "We'll see," Garrity looks at Morgan's outstretched hand but refuses to shake it as he leaves the office.
Todd is also angry. Morgan had no right to burst in and take over her consultation. Morgan was only trying to help, but Todd resents his interference, and his claim to call the detective "personally" - that is her job. Morgan stands for a moment, looking at her, murmurs, "You're welcome," and leaves the office.
The students mingle with Reid and Rossi in the hallway after their recruitment session, and Reid wonders again why the Bureau insists on sending him on these university tours. Rossi jokingly advises him they are there to make the FBI look "cool," to encourage students to join, and existentialist jokes only appeal to Sigmund Freud. As they hurry down the stairs, the white-haired man approaches Reid and comments on his existentialist joke, his voice very soft and unhurried. He introduces himself as Professor Rothschild, and flatters Reid on his presentation, saying that he is a very effective recruitment tool. He hands Reid a folder containing photographs. As Reid scans through the photos of frightened women, he begins to get a bad feeling. Rothschild explains that these are seven murder victims who have never been found because the killed used acid to dispose of all of the evidence. Reid asks if Rothschild killed all of the women, the man simply replies, "There is still time to save the others, though - five more." He steps closer to Rossi and Reid and whispers, "In a little less than nine hours, five more are going to be dead unless you can find a way to save them." He tosses the stack of photos into the air and they fly apart, twisting and turning, scattering down the carpeted stairs.
"Let us consider that we are all insane, it will explain us to each other - it will unriddle many riddles." Mark Twain
Jordan Todd storms into Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner's office at the BAU in Quantico, and demands to understand the chain of command. While Hotchner looks on, confused, she fumes, insisting she can do this job. Hotchner doesn't disagree and she rushes out, meeting SSA Emily Prentiss in the doorway. "What's wrong with Agent Todd," Hotchner asks. Prentiss doesn't know but she offers to keep an eye on her. Hotchner asks Prentiss for a piece of documentation that is missing from one of her reports, and, after commenting that he never sleeps, she hurries out to get it.
When Hotchner answers his cell phone, he is surprised to hear SSA David Rossi tell him about the man that approached him and Reid at the college claiming to have killed seven women. He and Reid, along with two policemen, are escorting a handcuffed Rothschild to their SUV as Rossi explains the situation to Hotchner. Rossi feels these is something not-quite-right about Rothschild - he isn't just a "confessor" or a "wannabe" and he has sent the photos to Garcia so that she can check them out. Hanging up, Rossi turns to Reid and tells him not to forget a word the man says the entire time they have him.
Analyst Kevin Lynch is visiting Penelope Garcia in her office, not quite agreeing with her assessment of "Tank Girl" as the ultimate super hero. Although "Tank Girl" has many good qualities, such as her interest in flatulence, nose-picking, and explosive vomiting, he is not convinced, and leans down to whisper, "Superman can fly." An abrupt knock at the door sends Lynch hurtling backwards, loudly stammering his thanks to Garcia for that "stuff-thing" as Hotchner walks in. Garcia tells him he doesn't have to lie, and Hotchner agrees - he can visit any time that Garcia is not busy. He turns to Penelope and tells her about the photos that Rossi is sending, explaining what little he knows about this possible case. Garcia begins banging keys on her work station as Lynch stands, looking awkward. Finally Hotchner turns to him, "Kevin, she's busy now." Lynch apologizes and leaves.
Attempting to get their strange captive to say something substantive, Reid begins a conversation with the man. He asks him if he is professor at Strayer, but Rothschild denies it. He then tells Reid that he is surprised by his new interest in Philosophy. Rothschild believes that there must be right and wrong answers in order to understand perfection. When Rossi pointedly asks the man if he's having fun, Rothschild insults him, telling Rossi that he's read his books, and that he doesn't have the intellectual capacity to understand what is going on. Rossi claims that Rothschild's words will not "piss him off" - he asks the man why he decided to turn himself in. Rothschild answers, "Imagine what the world would have missed if da Vinci never showed his work."
Asking a simple question seems so...simple, but Prentiss's casual "How's it going?" to Todd earns only a snappy "Why?" in response. Todd tries to apologize, gesturing at the hopeless backlog of work that is piling up around her office, and Prentiss takes a moment to explain that the job can be overwhelming at times. Todd takes a breath and decides to exude only happiness and calm for the rest of the day. Prentiss laughs. Todd asks if there is a reason for her visit, and Prentiss mutters about waiting for a supplemental report for her case file for Hotchner. Smiling, Todd reminds her that it would not come through her office. Prentiss returns her smile and tells Todd that she's around if she needs any help.
Reid and Rossi escort Rothschild through the BAU bullpen just as a news report plays loudly on television. A young woman named Kaylee Robinson and four of her daycare children were abducted that morning in Loretto, Virginia. Rossi asks if these are the five future victims that they might be able to save, and Rothschild turns to him and asks, "Are you pissed off yet, David?" Rossi takes him into an interrogation room.
The children are crying and Kaylee Robinson frantically tries to find a way out.
As Rossi removes his handcuffs, Rothschild tells him that it isn't his fault he has a lower IQ, it is genetics, not education, that determines intelligence. Morgan slips the man's suit coat from him and lays it over the back of a chair, and Rossi notices a strange pendant that hangs around Rothschild's neck. It is a spiral, with a series of rectangles within it, but Rothschild claims that he simply got it at a fair. Leaning over him, Morgan recites Rothschild's rights, but the strange man ignores him until Morgan slams his hand down on the table. Calmly, Rothschild tells Morgan he doesn't want a lawyer, and then he immediately turns back to Rossi, telling him that "the game" must be played by people of higher intellect. Rossi observes that Rothschild has a nervous habit of tapping his thumbs together, rhythmically as he speaks. Rossi and Morgan turn to leave, and Rothschild stares into the one-way glass, telling them to bring Dr. Reid back when they return. Watching through the glass from the other side, Reid murmurs, "I never have any normal fans."
Rossi and Morgan join Hotchner and Reid as they gaze at Rothschild. Rossi believes that the man's "God complex" will cause him to eventually give up something about the location of Kaylee and the children. In order to push him into revealing something before he hurts them, the agents must find out something about the previous seven murders - something that Rothschild won't expect them to find out. If they can identify the seven victims, and take those names into the interrogation room, that might shake him up. Rossi explains that they will need to "reverse profile" those crimes - from the unsub to the victim instead of the other way around. Turning back to look through the glass, Rossi glares at the calm, smiling face of the killer.
Kaylee tries to calm the children, smoothing their hair and holding them, but she hears a noise - a hissing noise - and realizes that some kind of gas is being pumped into the long metal chamber. Without any warning, five oxygen masks drop from the ceiling and she hurries each of the children to a mask, the older children helping the younger ones, until they are each breathing oxygen.
In the conference room, Garcia has compiled a list of missing women from across the country, but there are over 1000 names. Reid can narrow it somewhat - Kaylee was abducted at 9:30 that morning, and Rothschild had the time to take them and hide them somewhere and still make it to Strayer two hours later. He must be local and have a house or other structure large enough to house his victims. Reid thinks back and remembers that Rothschild came into the lecture late, so the time frame is more like two and one half hours. Garcia will work up a map, using the variables they know such as Kaylee's abduction from Loretto at 9:30, and Rothschild's arrival at the lecture at noon.
Rossi stands up and begins making a list of what they already know about Rothschild on the board: he's obsessively neat and clean, he did extensive research on Rossi and Reid before confronting them, he abducted five people and still got to the recruitment session on time, he seems to target brunettes based on the photos and Kaylee Robinson, and his fingerprints are not on file. That fact alone means he's never been arrested, been in the military, or been a teacher, even though he introduced himself as a professor. Garcia will also look into grant recipients who meet his description. He's a narcissist and a psychopath. Hotchner tells Todd to call the Loretto PD so that the BAU can consult on Kaylee's abduction - he advises her to be nice as the local police can easily say no. Todd and Morgan's eyes meet as Hotchner tells them both to head to Loretto - the antagonism from earlier that day still runs between them.
When Rossi turns to Prentiss for help with the interrogation, Reid interrupts, asking what their strategy will be in the interrogation room. Rossi abruptly tells Reid that he will not be in the interrogation room - that's what Rothschild wants, "he wants to play with you," Rossi advises. That is the last thing that they should allow. While Prentiss lowers her eyes, not enjoying the confrontation, Hotchner agrees with Rossi. Rossi, Hotchner, and Prentiss file out, leaving Reid alone in the conference room.
Sitting at her computer terminal, Garcia wonders aloud if there is a mathematical formula for figuring out how far Rothschild could have traveled from Loretto, Virginia at 9:30 AM to still make it to Fredericksburg by noon. After a few minutes of thought, she stands up to go look for Reid for help, but turns back to her screen when an Incoming E-Mail message pops up. The email is from an unknown source and is simply a link to a website: http://www.goldenrat.net. She sits back down and opens the link to find a streaming video showing Kaylee and the children inside their metal prison.
Rossi is alone this time as he enters the interrogation room. Rothschild stands, wondering what could possibly be more important that keeps Dr. Reid away from his interrogation. Rossi sits, telling the man that his dry-cleaning is more important, and that he believes Rothschild is simply seeking attention, and hasn't actually had the nerve to commit any crimes. Smiling, Rothschild picks up his suit coat and drapes it over one arm, telling Rossi that he must be free to leave, then. He opens the interrogation room door and gasps - Agent Emily Prentiss stands just outside the door. Rothschild lowers his eyes and back away as she walks towards him. When she takes his coat he turns around and faces the wall. Rossi comments on his problem with women, and how this one response has told him that he could never attack a woman openly - he had to watch their routines for days before striking from behind, just like a coward. He nods to Prentiss and she walks out. Rothschild seems disappointed and angry, telling Rossi that he doesn't even know enough to ask the right question, such as what the rules are. He takes off his watch and places it on the table in front of Rossi. "Two o'clock," he says quietly.
A metal spiral hangs over each oxygen mask. A drop of liquid runs along the outside edge of the spiral and drips onto Kaylee Robinson's arm. She yelps and grabs her arm - it is acid.
"And then there were four," Rothschild quotes.
Kaylee motions the children to stand as far from the metal devices as the hoses to their oxygen masks will allow. The little girl who stands at the far end of the metal room stares up in horror, not even realizing that a metal door has begun to close her off from the rest of the prisoners. She screams in fear, and Kaylee flings herself towards the child, but the door closes too quickly.
Rossi stares as Rothschild continues, telling him that he never promised that all of the victims would be alive in nine hours. In fact, every two hours one of the victims will die.
Kaylee tries to crawl back to her oxygen mask, urging the other children to be calm.
Biting back his anger, Rossi asks if there is anything else he needs to know. Leaning over him, Rothschild whispers that he is rooting for him.
Garcia has brought Hotchner and Prentiss into her office to see the video. It was showing four children when she left, but only three are now visible. They realize that the oxygen masks are there to keep the victims in specific positions within the metal room. Reid and Rossi charge in with Rothschild's "rules" - that one victim will die every two hours. Garcia has found 39 missing brunettes in Central Virginia. Hotchner tells her to narrow the search to 30-year-olds like Kaylee - that leaves 28. Limiting the range to the last five years, that leaves 17 women. Leaving Reid, Prentiss and Garcia working to try to come up with one definitive name to use in interrogation, Hotchner calls Rossi into another room. They stand before the one-way glass, observing Rothschild. Rossi is laconic and defensive, responding to Hotchner's questions about his "progress" with monosyllables. Finally Hotchner suggests giving Reid a chance at the interrogation. Rossi bluntly refuses, telling Hotchner that it isn't about intelligence, it is about building rapport and this is his interview. Holding Rossi's fierce gaze for a long moment, Hotchner nods in agreement.
Driving towards the crime scene in Loretto, Morgan takes a moment to try to get his point across to Todd. He's heard her refer to the BAU now as "them" or "they" and he reminds her that she is a part of the unit, a part of the team. She needs to see it as "we" or "us." She is surprised.
Rossi stands at one end of the interrogation room table, facing Rothschild who stands at the other. Rothschild announces that he was born with an extra Y chromosome, meaning that he was born to be a killer. "Now that's funny," Rossi laughs. That "junk science" was debunked years ago. He goes on to say that killing isn't genetic, it is a choice, and if his victims die, it is because Rothschild chose to make that happen.
In the conference room, Reid, Garcia, Prentiss and Hotchner are compiling a list of possible victims based on the profile they've created of Rothschild. They are up to six.
Morgan and Todd arrive at the daycare center where Kaylee Robinson worked. Todd moves off to speak with Kaylee's husband while Morgan enters the home, noting the colorful children's paintings on the walls. As he walks into the playroom he steps over a strange symbol that has been made out of children's toys arranged on the carpet. He holds his cell phone over the image and snaps a picture - it looks like a circle with a vertical line through the center.
Kaylee realizes there are tracks set into the metal floor and walls at regular intervals within their prison - these might be for additional doors to separate the victims. She focuses on the small boy who stands next to the end of the room - where the door has cut across to cut off the little girl. She motions to him to run to her as fast has he can. He does and she places her mask over his face. She makes her way past the other two children, taking a moment to touch and encourage them, before she takes the boy's place as the next victim. Watching on the video link, Reid notices she has placed herself farthest from the camera.
Continuing their search for previous victims, the three agents pull up photos of the missing women on the computer screen. They eliminate all of the victims who were not abducted while they were going about routine acts and come up with a list of seven women. Writing all the names and locations of the women on the board, Garcia has realized that three of the women came from the same town - Saluda, Virginia. Two others share the home town of Gloucester Point. Reid receives the image that Morgan took of the toys in the day care center and his mind begins putting all of the pieces together: Rothschild comment about "perfection," the beauty of each of the abducted women, the numbers of the victims in each city, the symbol, the locations of the abductions on the map of Virginia - it is as if all of the facts of the case swirl around him, leading him to the obvious conclusion. The Mona Lisa, the nautilus, a sunflower, mathematical formulae, rectangles and spirals - muttering to himself, "1, 1, 2, 3, 5..." he draws the circle with the line through the center on the board. Sprinting off, leaving the other agents' questioning voices behind him, he rushes into the interrogation room and snatches the pendant from Rothschild's neck. "I know where to find them," he snarls.
Hurrying back into the conference room, Reid begins to explain the irrational number "phi" which is based on the golden ratio. The name of the web link 'goldenrat.net' was clearly a clue to this number. He goes on, telling the team that this ratio is found throughout nature, and that our standards of beauty often align with this ratio in the human face - da Vinci, who Rothschild mentioned, used it extensively in his paintings. Hotchner interrupts the lesson, asking Reid how they can find the victims. Holding up the pendant, Reid tells them that the logarithmic spiral that results from the Fibonacci sequence of numbers will hold the key to the victims' location. He turns to the Virginia map that Garcia has displayed on the screen. Pointing to each city with a victim, Reid moves his hand over the map in a spiral pattern - noting that one victim came from Richmond, one from Dinwiddie, two from Gloucester Point, three in Saluda, and five in Loretto - 1, 1, 2, 3, 5 is a Fibonacci sequence - each number is added to the number before it. Even Rothschild's tics - his thumbs twitching- were in a pattern of Fibonacci numbers. Reid asks Garcia to display the spiral from the pendant over the Virginia map - the center of the spiral will be the location of the five victims: Chester, Virginia. Reid believes that this spiral and these numbers will have permeated Rothschild's life so deeply that if they find a city map of Chester, they will be able to pinpoint the exact location of the victims by using the same spiral. Hotchner moves, calling Todd and Morgan to meet them there, telling Garcia to get that city map, and hurrying off to get a helicopter for himself, Reid, and Prentiss. Rossi stands staring at the map, engrossed, and mutters there is still one thing bugging him about the entire case.
Calmly waiting in the interrogation room, Rothschild is making a spiral out of his watch band as Rossi enters. Rossi is happy to tell the killer that the team is headed to Chester, Virginia, and they will arrive long before the next deadline. Rothschild fastens his watch back on his wrist as Rossi continues to question him, still finding it unbelievable that all of these people were killed because of a geometric pattern. As the helicopter takes off, Rothschild explains that the golden ratio is the measure of a perfect human - if he had killed these women it would have been because they were examples of perfect humans. Black SUVs converge on a house in the center of the spiral in Chester.
Rothschild wonders if Rossi knows what the term homo sapiens means. When Rossi admits he doesn't, Rothschild calmly explains that it means "man wise wise" - man named himself doubly wise of any other creature on the planet. The pride of humans to do that - every one should be "eradicated." The killer says that he hates humans just as much as Rossi does. Confused, Rossi tells him that he doesn't hate humans, but Rothschild disagrees - he says it is in his books. In his first book, Chapter 3, page 89, Rossi spoke about seeing the victims of killer William Grace, and how he never would feel completely safe around another human. 1-3-89: all are Fibonacci numbers. Rossi explains that he pities people, he doesn't hate them. Anyone who murders other just to feel power or purpose deserves pity. Rothschild goes on to quote another passage from one of Rossi's books - about society needing the death penalty because it has to feel it has gotten revenge against those who commit horrible acts, even if just to keep the rest of humanity sane. The agents have all arrived at the house that sits among the tall trees, the peace shattered by helicopters and SUVs, agents swarming the area with guns drawn. The door to the interrogation room opens and Garcia interrupts, telling Rossi that the agents have found the house and are going inside. "Vengeance keeps us sane," Rothschild repeats, now standing over the seated Rossi, "You may have your vengeance, as I am about to have mine."
Morgan is in the basement and slings the camera away from the metal door. Todd stands to one side and turns the key in the lock. Morgan pulls the door open.
"They're never going to make it out of that house, Dave," Rothschild adds, "It was always about your team, your merry band of five, they complete my sequence."
Rossi jumps out of his chair and hits the intercom button, calling to Garcia to get Hotchner on the phone, to tell the team that it is a trap. Rothschild walks slowly towards him, telling Rossi that it is too late, and that he knew all along that Rossi would insist on being in the room alone with him. Garcia responds, advising Rossi that Hotchner isn't answering his phone. Rossi is desperate, telling her to try any of them - it is a trap - they have to stop them. Closer now, Rothschild continues to speak, quietly and calmly, telling him that each human's weakness is arrogance - Rossi's, his. And now, Rossi has lost the game, and his team. Rossi turns away, his face fallen, and asks what he ever did to Rothschild. The man described in Rossi's book as "the face of pure evil," William Grace, was Rothschild's brother. Rossi arrested him. Then Rothschild's fiancée, a beautiful, perfect, woman, sent his ring back, afraid to face the brother of a serial killer. The thoughts came next, images that he couldn't escape, and he began his second life. One thing was missing - revenge against David Rossi, the man who ruined his life. Rossi drops into a chair, in shock, disbelief on his face, wondering how Rothschild could kill all those women because of him. "That's right, Rothschild breathes into his ear, "I killed twelve people because of you. You took my family, I take yours." As Rothschild steps away to gloat, Rossi suddenly looks up and states, "Did you get all that?"
In the observation room, Garcia removes a stick drive from the computer next to the intercom. "Every word, boss," she tells him. Rossi advises her to make copies before they send it to the U.S. Attorney to use as a teaching aid. Rothschild is speechless. Dialing his cell phone, Rossi reaches Hotchner, who tells him that Rossi was completely right about the booby-trap. Rothschild had acid tanks set up outside the house to douse the basement in acid as soon as they unlocked the door. Kaylee and the kids are all fine - all five of them. Rossi knew Rothschild wouldn't kill 10 people that day; according to Reid ten was not a number in the pattern. Rossi got his confession.
Rothschild still insists that they will not find a shred of evidence to link him to the original seven murders, but Rossi is unaffected, standing to fix his coat and smooth his beard in the one-way glass. "I think you'll discover that the videotaped confession has the power to move a lot of jurors." As soon as Rossi turns his back Rothschild attacks, but Rossi neatly pins him up against the wall, one arm across his throat. Calling him by his real name, "Henry," Rossi observes that he waited until his back was turned like a true coward. He promises Henry that he will be there when the lethal injection is administered, and that at that final moment he'll lean in and tell him to say hello to his brother for him.
Outside the booby-trapped house in Chester, Morgan approaches Todd to congratulate her on her first case. She apologizes for her reaction that morning to his help, but he shakes his head, telling her that she was right. As he walks off, she catches up and asks what he thought after reviewing Det. Garrity's case. Morgan gestures at the agents hurrying around the area and tells her he's been a little bit busy, but she won't take that as an answer - he told Garrity that he'd call him personally that day. Morgan smiles and asks if he can ever catch a break from her. She walks off after him, offering to dial the phone for him if he likes, and Reid and Prentiss watch every move. "This is going to be interesting," Reid mutters to Prentiss. "Yeah," she smiles back.
Agents escort Rothschild into the elevator in handcuffs, passing Rossi in the BAU hallway. The BAU agent turns to watch the elevator doors close on the killer, his face calm as he meets the hateful gaze of the serial killer.
"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method that rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." Martin Luther King, Jr.
[recap written by Finnegan77, 11.30.08]