Criminal Minds

Season 2 Episode 7

North Mammon

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 01, 2006 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (21)

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  • Three teenage girls are put in the worst situation of their life.

    This was a very good episode when three teenage girls who are best friends are kidnapped and they have to choose which one should die which is the worst decision they could ever be put in and the unsub says that he will let them go when one has died The kidnapper seems to be one step in front of the BAU until the girls decided who to kill because they thought she would die first but the kidnapper makes them do it with hammers but it turns out it isn't the sick girl who was killed it was the one pushing them to kill the sick girl The kidnapper does stick to his word and he lets them go but I think he was just happy to see them make the decision The kidnapper had to know then that they would identify him which they did and Gideon and the team went to his house and he was just sat next to the dead girl and he obviously didn't seem bothered he was caught.
  • A story that transcends beyond the frame of a "usual" episode

    This might be one of my favourite episode of Criminal Minds yet. It certainly moved me to sign up for just to write a review!

    In the small town of North Mammon, where the people are a tightly knit community, that is, they thought themselves to be. The residents of the town are fanatics of football, and an important game is coming up. Just after a pep rally, three best friends, Polly, Brooke and Kelly head to Brooke's empty house to sleep over. They end up kidnapped and are told that only two will survive. With Brooke sick with fever, Kelly attempts to persuade Polly to flip on Brooke. The final outcome is surprising. The scene where two girls emerge from their captivity, a violin soundtrack plays, which I thought was perfect for such wordless, numbing emotions.

    I know some people disagree with the way the BAU handled the case (they haven't exactly cracked it in time), but I think if they did solve the case before a girl dies, it would've been just an ordinary, heroic save. It is with the BAU's failure that defines the episode. Speaking realistically, not all cases are solved within the pressured time period, and often result in carnage and casualties such as it is seen in this episode. I give my hat off to the writers of the episode, they have done a magnificent job potraying human nature at it's best and worse.

    The unsub in this episode might be the worst yet, although his death toll may not triumph over other brutal cases, this unsub has damaged his victims the most. By giving them a choice that they didn't know had existed, equipping them with weapons, he didn't need to lay a hand on them as the girls fought each other for chance of survival. The pyschological strategy was effective. Remember, these are three best friends who knew everything about each other, who loved each other like sisters. If it were three complete strangers, the effect wouldn't have been that profound. To be given a choice to live for killing a loved one, the gilrs jump at it. What they don't realize is that the outcome of their descision would haunt them forever. The survivers would have to live with the fact that they took matters of life and death into their own hands and savagely murdered their friend for freedom. If this wasn't en episode, if it were longer, we would see the aftermath, which is as brutal as the killing. The girls would live with the knowledge forever, being judged by their victim's parents, their own parents, who would not see them differently?

    This episode has brought food for thought for me. Human nature is ugly, without a doubt, but just how much can one take? Would you have done what the girls did in their position? Maybe you would say you wouldn't, but such a scenario is unpredictable. Only with such pressured circumstances that one's true self is shown, the curse of being human, to be fueled with a head and heart that only lives for itself. All in all, humans are all selfish, all in search for the one thing that matters most to them, money, love, life. We would do anything at all costs, only to find that later, regret will seep in and eventually, the one who benefited the most would be the dead girl.
  • The most psychologically scarring episode yet.

    Episodes like this are why I watch Criminal Minds. In this episode the unsub is a psychological sadist set on destroying the town that turned it's back on him. JJ finally gets a chance to shine as her public relations background is put to the test trying to keep the residents of a small Tennessee town focused on helping the investigators rather than lashing out at eachother.

    As time wears on the residents move from being unwilling to discuss anything about eachother with the BAU, to lashing out accusations at one another. In the end the BAU is not able to catch the unsub before the deed is done, and the victim who died may well be the lucky one.
  • Exactly how did the BAU help local law enforcement in this episode?

    I get it, the writers wanted to expand JJ's character and give a female character some screen time - but couldn't they have done that AND write a good episode? The motivation for the BAU to even get involved in this case was laughable. What possible use can they be when the whole idea of profiling is to start with enough data - basically enough victims - to understand the particular mentality of the criminal? The episode proved the point when the BAU was totally ineffectual in finding these girls before the inevitable happened. And the criminal? Couldn't really be considered a serial criminal since this was his first crime, could he? It wasn't even a challenge to catch him as he knew he would be identified as soon as the girls were found - and cleverly hid at the crime scene! Please. By all means give JJ more of a job, but don't sacrifice plot development to do it.
  • Three friends are kidnapped and locked in a small room, from where only two will emerge... And they have to decide which. The team had a rather minor participation, and there's no real "happy ending".

    First off, the premise for this episode sounded interesting, and in relation to the storyline itself I can't say I was disappointed. I did like that J.J. got to have more screen time, and a better participation during the ep. Loved her comment at the end, where she says she doesn't want to be a profiler. LOL. Anyways, it was another one of those episodes where the teams was playing catch-up for most of the hour (up to last minutes and still they were too late), so it just kindda leaves that feeling of something missing. Something that was rather disturbing about this episode was the dilemma the victims faced, and how they reacted, bc in reality no one likes to think what they'd do in such a situation, and it's weird when we see the "victims" in the situation turning on each other. Well, overall good episode, but a bit lacking in the team's investigative ability... Granted, they can't win them all.
  • Three best friends were kidnapped and forced to decide which two of them walks out of alive.

    Here are my views on this episode-

    - We found out that Brooke's daddy is having an affair with a married man and they rendeavouz at least once a month at a local motel. Totally unexpected, kinda sick really. - never expected the Garbage Man to be the killer. That shows you that you cannot trust anyone, not even your next door neighbour.

    - I liked how JJ showed a lot of spunk in this case maybe coz she feels that she can relate to the abducted girls.

    - The twist at the end, when they showed two girls coming out of the cellar all wrapped up in a blanket, with blood on Polly's face and the other girl's identity a mystery until they finally revealed that it was Brooke. Totally did not expect that Kelly would be killed by Brooke in the end.

    Overall, this episode was kinda draggy .. but the twists at the end made up for it.
  • Review

    I would have liked the episode a lot better had the BAu actually done something in the episode. I liked the ability to profile the guy without ever knowing who he was to the end of the episode but the ending just didn't leave me satisfied. The killer gets what he wants, which is never a problem for me if the episode is written that way. However, why would the guy be the one to find the Soccer Jerseys in the trash. That makes no sense. Let me call the cops to try and throw them off, maybe, but they weren't making much progess anyway. I liked the episode overall, just not the way the writers handeled the endgame. I thought it would have been better to have them find the mans house via some random way and have all the three girls live instead of only letting two come out alive. I dont feel as if I got anything out of the epsiode - which is odd considering I loved the first 30 minutes of it and I'm giving it a decently high rating of 8.8. Dunno, thought the writing could have been a bit better for the endgame.
  • A guy kidnaps 3 girls and tells them that they will have to choose who will live

    I thought this episode was amazing! My heart was pounding during the last 10 minutes or so!
    A man kidnaps 3 girls, who are best friends. He locks them in an underground room for 6 days and tells them that 2 of them will come out alive but the other will die, he then tells them that they have to choose who will die and who will survive. We don't find out who the guy was until the very end, and this episode wasn't focused on profiling the unsub at all but more on the families and the girls, which I thought was good. This episode was JJ centered which I loved, as she hardly ever gets recognition. Overall, I really loved this episode!
  • A first episode I ever saw..

    Weird.. I never knew it was part of this serie. I saw this episode almost a year if even not more back and I was so sure it was from other tv show.. ok.. now when I saw the start of this episode it all sounded so familiar and.. and then I got it - wow.. I have to had seen Criminal Minds not even knowing it..

    Anyway, the story is scary and the choice what is given for those girls - oh.. it was horrible but the way the episode was built - all those people who were fighting with each other, blaming each other.. the way the man, like he said, did nothing.. girls did everything. The way he managed to bring them to that level.. very deep and moving and very dark episode.
  • A great episode with a creepy psychological torment and a lot of background on JJ's character.

    The interaction between JJ and Hotch on the plane at the end was great. I love the friendship they have with each other; there's nothing romantic between them-it's more like brothers and sister. It's not often that Hotch joins in with the teasing banter the rest of the team is so good at-he's usually the straightman or not present during those scenes-and Thomas Gibson and AJ Cook work well off each other.

    The team, now offically without Elle, was jiving just fine without her. I was never terribly fond of the character of Elle, though perhaps that was because I quickly discovered I liked the character of Emily a lot. Still, there weren't even scripted beats where someone looked for Elle to step in like there were (in future episodes) when Gideon vanished or even when JJ was on maternaty leave.

    The psychological torture the unsub waged on the three teens was classic. Forcing people to choose one to die so the others go free? It's horrifying, and human nature is to refuse, but everyone has a breaking point, a point where self preservation becomes stronger than disgust over what you are being forced to do to survive. Classic psychological warfare. Also creepy on about a hundred levels because, in the same situation, how many people would be strong enough to allow everyone to die-of dehydration, hunger, cold, illness, whatever-instead of taking the life of one? In the animal kingdom it's why the weakest of the heard is always culled first-none of the other animals fight for the sick or elderly animal left behind; they just run for their own lives from whatever predator is about.

    Overall creepy and twisted but with good character building for JJ and the great JJ and Hotch scene at the end-one of my favourite episodes.
  • It was excellent to see JJ having more screen time and being more essential to the storyline in this one but I have trouble believing that the BAU would even take such a case as it didn't, at first glance, even appear that a crime had been committed.

    Don't get me wrong, I liked this episode and I was very pleased to see A.J. Cook more involved in the entire episode as this is somewhat rare. The storyline itself - three young girls being kidnapped and kept in a type of underground concrete bunker- was a good one but the premise on which the BAU took the case was very thin indeed. A friend of JJ's aunt brings a photo to the unit (just about anybody from anywhere seems to be able to walk into Quantico, one hopes the real FBI headquarters have better security.) and tells JJ that she believes her daughter and two friends have been abducted from the small town of North Mammon even though there is, as yet, no direct evidence to suggest that this has happened.

    Surprisingly quickly, the team are on their way to help search for the girls who are being starved and subject to sensory deprivation in order for the unsub to watch two of them beat the third to death, which is his ultimate goal. One of the girls is ill, one is frightened and one is full of attitude but the unsub assures them that if two kill the other, they will be allowed to go free.

    To me, aside from making the local law enforcement see that the girls actually HAD been kidnapped, (they left identical voice messages for their parents)the BAU really didn't help all that much. Much predictable (and badly acted) squabbling by the girls' parents and the obvious mud slinging about whose fault it all was. I was actually pleased when the 'fault' turned out to be with the parents themselves as we find that the unsub had a grudge against them and it was their children who would have to pay for it.

    Of course, Miss Attitude ended up dead whilst Miss Sick and Miss Frightened came out physically unscathed. Naturally, he was caught and all was right with the world.

    I enjoyed this episode because the premise was good and, as I said, great to see JJ getting more screen time, but I can't see any way in the world that the BAU would up wheels and just go and look into a case based on a stranger turning up with a photograph. Or maybe I'm just cynical.
  • Finally, the first real JJ episode! This was an episode that was innovatiev and brilliant!

    Once again, this was an exceptional episode of Criminal Minds, starting with the abduction of three soccer teammates and friends. The girls are told that they must choose which one is to die, and the other two will be able to leave.

    The case is centered around SSA Jennifer Jareau, which is one of the things I loved about this episode! She is a great character fwho got very little screen time in Season Onel. I enjoyed the fact that she was incvolved thoroughly in this episode.

    I also really enjoyed the scenes with the girls captured. While they were horrific and unimaginable, they were also brilliantly done and quite suspenseful.

    This episode pushed Criminal Minds to even greater heights! This was just as good as its predecessor, 'North Mammon', and I recommend this episode very highly!

    Excellent work by the actors and the writers, and I hope this calibre is maintained through the remainder of the season! Great work!
  • Its time the writers catch up to the standards of the viewers

    This was such a bad episode and so poorly written it caused me to sign up to just to write this. I really hope the writers read this because they are doing a very poor job and need some direction.

    I can back up my harsh words with no problem. What's wrong?
    1. In a nutshell the group does nothing. They don't find the girls. They are set free by the kidnapper. 2. With all their advanced training, private jet, quirky mistress stationed 24/7 with computers surrounding, they overlook the obivious.

    3. One of the fathers was 'out of town' when the kidnapping took place. Did they follow up on that? Did they ask for hotel receipts, call the hotel, or check out his story in any way?
    No. In fact they don't do anything about it and only discover his story was a lie by accident.

    4. Do they run background checks on anyone? No. They only discover the coach was 'accused' of a sex crime because the only one in town who knew tells them. Even though it happened over ten years before and there is no instance of the coach going after kids in the town, he becomes suspect #1.

    5. The BAU time is looking for something, anything to make a connection. The town is crazy about it's football. It's all they talk about. Yet do any of their stories include the guy who lost his career 'during' the championship game and now collects everones garbage? No.

    6. The cigarette butts. The BAU team runs DNA on them. Do look for other traces? After sitting in a garbage bin you'd think the butts would be loaded with so many other chemical traces it would have told them the butts were planted. What about cigarette ashes on the ground with the butts? No matches? Nobody noticed a flame in the night coming on a dozen times from the parking lot? Oh right, they didn't ask.

    7. The soccer uniforms. This is the one that really got me. The garbage man finds the planted uniforms. Placed there to expose one of the parents is gay The BAU team is looking for every connection, every tie and they completely ignore the guy who finds the uniforms. During a briefing they tell the cops the 'un-sub' has an underground place he'll use for keeping the girls. At the end of the show they have only to mention the garbage mans name and the sheriff blurts out, "He's gotta storm celler". With all their breifings and information flow why didn't the BAU team tell any of the local cops who found the uniforms? 8. The garbageman/kidnapper knows the comings and goings of everyone because how? The three girls don't hang out with him. Their parents don't socialize with him. He's been sifted to the bottom of the food chain so how does he know where the girls will be? How does he know to wait by the side of the house for the lone girl to bring the trash can in? How does he know all he needs is a length of cord and a kitchen knife to capture three athletically strong girls? 9. The wrap up. Here's what really gets me about this episode and the poor quality of the writers in general. - The writers rip off the plot of the movie Saw. - They create scenes that don't do anything to further the story so they can do the special effects. - In this particular episode they take us through a very dark and disturbing plot where a young girl is forced to bludgeon to death one of her best friends with a hammer. The BAU is outsmarted by a garbage man and are helpless to stop it. Lives, friends and families are destroyed. There is no happy ending. So what was the point of this episode? It was so Agent JJ could tell everyone over and over how tough it is growing up in a small town. I understand this is only an hour long show, although they've done a number of two-parters. I know they're writing for the general public and expect the majority of people not to think but to gobble up what ever is put in front of them. You only have to look at what they write to see the truth in this. But these writers had better open their eyes. They're trying to make CM a blend of CSI, Numbers, and a host of other shows all rolled into one. You throw catch phrases and scenes into your story like DNA, interrogations, background checks, etc., but completely gloss over any kind of depth. A good writer can tell a lot of story in just a few minutes. It takes skill which is something these guys fall very short of. Does it sound to you like I'm expecting too much from an hour long show? At first it may. But when you consider that shows like X-Files, Law & Order, Jerico, The Shield, heck even Monk can tell a solid story, makes sense, and aren't riddled with holes then it isn't unreasonable to expect more from CM.
  • When watching the beginning of the show, choose which girl you would kill! Make this episode a game! See if you thought the same way that the girls thought.

    Very exciting, edge of your seat entertainment. I liked the way that they took the situation and related it too a real life criminal. It is scary, because if you have a daughter, it can relate to real life and makes you be extra careful about where your daughter goes and who she hangs out with. This episode grabs your attention and holds it til' the very climatic end! The writers knew about the situation and read up on their facts and the actors did an AMAZING job with potraying their parts. I especially liked the choice of music at the beginning.
  • Friends are forced to choose between their own life or their friends... death = life

    Although the plot was fairly obvious and very reminiscent of the movie "Saw", it was none the less a phenomenal episode. The predictable storyline is not what made this so amazing, it is what was said and underlined in this horrible act...

    This is the type of story that can touch, and make anyone shudder. Growing up we have all had the friend(s) that we cannot be seperated from, and the thought of having to choose their life over yours... Kill or be killed... Survival of the fittest..most cunning... Dog eat dog world...where the life of your closest friend means the end of yours.... death = life
  • Not edge of the seat, until it was over...

    Again, this eposide makes you think about the aftermath. I agree, the episode itself was not \"edge of the seat\" material and the plotline was fairly obvious. But what really got to me was the way the episode did not end at the ending. The last words or the UnSub, about how the others will now have to clean up after him, really struck home. How do you live with something like that? How will the parents act towards each other? Who will get the blame? Especially in a small city setting like this, life will never be the same again.

    I shudder to think about it...
  • Knew they would kill the mean girl

    Not a great episode but was ok. Knew the other two girls would kill the witch girl. She seemed a little too eager to kill the sick girl. Knew the killer had something to do with the parents. Teenagers are not smart enough to pull of that kind of kidnap job.
  • This episode was pretty dark. Some people like it and some people hate it.

    I have mixed feelings for the episode. It just wasn't normal. From the beginning of every Criminal Minds episode your subconscious tells you that the hostages will make it out alive. That always happens, right? This episode tore down that sense of security for Minds watchers.
    3 girls, who are best friends, are locked in an underground bunker by a man who knows them. The girls get no food or water and are told that 2 of them can make it out alive, and one of them will die. Inside every viewers mind is that tiny "Yeah, right. The team will break in and save the girls. There's nothing to worry about.", but that isn't what happens. The team makes almost no effort to find the girls and just calms down the girls' parents at the headquarters, instead of going out and looking. J.J. has an enhanced role in this episode, possibly due to Elle's resignation.
    Eventually, one girl is killed by another girl and the viewers' mouths drop in disbelief. This episode may haunt your dreams, so be aware.
  • The ultimate choice. Create or destroy. Love or hate. Kill one of the three of you....

    Football field and what I thought was people protesting turned out to be a pep rally.
    3 soccer girls on their way home in a car, with pizza. One decides to take the garbage container (?) back inside again, and gets strangled from behind.
    Who turns out to be masked, and informing Polly who was taking a shower that she has to do what he say or Brooke and Kelly will die.

    They are locked up in some basement, Brooke still has a cough. They plan to attack the man, all three of them together, but he is listening in and tells them he wants them to chose. Two of them will make it out alive.

    They did cut Elle out of the intro by the way ( credits and picture)

    JJ’s aunt told the mother of one of the girls that she should go see her.
    The girls have bene missing for five days and no one is looking for them.

    The team look at it a little closer and take the case.
    Two girls left a message on their parents answering machine, with the exact same text, scripted text.
    And as JJ points out, there is no way they would have gone on a trip, missing practise, risking their future.
    The message states they will be home by Friday so they have two days left to find them.

    Local police is pretty supportive, but also points out that the girls mother has a history of “mental problems”. Turns out to be depression…

    The team goes to investigate the house. There is no sign of forced entry or a struggle. He got them to cooperate by threat of using force, or there was previously established trust.
    It’s either a close family friend or a stalker. An outsider would have been noticed, it is someone from the community.

    They find cigarette butts at a point that has a clear view of the windows of the girls house.
    They also find Brooke’s car, abandoned, but with a cap inside with the initials KE. Kip England, Brooke’s boyfriend, but he was at the pep rally so has an alibi, it’s not him.

    Meanwhile the 3 girls are still in the basement, Brooke is getting sicker, and as Kelly ( I think) points out the whole sensory deprivation plan of the unsub is working. They are fighting, and the lack of food, water, daylight is making it all worse.

    The unsub is intelligent, patient and cautious. He fits the profile of a predatory abductor, he will have made a nest for his victims, they well be extremely hard to find.
    He also would not have been at the pep rally, since that was the time the girls left the messages.

    It was coach Haas’ DNA Garcia found on the cigarette butts, who denies leaving them there.
    Brookes dad Pete thinks coach Dan Haas is behind it and attacks him at the football field with a crowbar (ouch, very surprised the guy didn’t break anything).
    He says Haas did it before, he once helped him out by keeping off his record that he was charged as a sex offender for being with an underage prostitute, while he was going through a divorce. And since he was at the pep rally – as seen on two different tapes – he has a water tight alibi. It’s not him.

    A garbage man finds the girls soccer shirt in a dumpster behind the Saginaw Motel.
    The manager of the motel tells the team that Peter Chambers = John Sherman = Brookes dad. Who stays in the motel once a month. But admits that to the team, and continues by fessing up he meets there with a man called Glenn Donahue there once a month. Small town, and he too is married with kids. Gideon has a bad feeling about this case, they’ve got nothing. And he’s way ahead of the,.
    He is trying to implicate Haas and Chambers.

    The girls are still locked up and Brooke is getting pretty sick now.
    Kelly tries to convince Polly, successfully, that sacrificing Brooke is the best way to go.
    No one will ever know, it’s like that team that crashed in the Andes ( Movie is called Alive I think). So Polly shouts out that they have decided. And then two hammers drop…. ( this shocked me so much ! )

    While JJ gets mad at the people in the police office who are fighting and insulting and mistrusting each other.
    ( coach is a pervert, dad is gay, and the mother is a mentally disturbed psycho )
    2 girls are being led out of the basement, wrapped in blankets.. and blood.
    They plan to split them up to figure out which common acquaintance they have.
    And then Polly gets her phone back. ( Of course Garcia immediately gets a location then )
    They are right outside.. Get the parents back, there are only two.

    JJ figures out the unsub must have been on the soccer team long ago and has Polly point him out to her. It’s the garbage man, he blew his knee in the championship game, lost a scholarship to Notre Dame and everyone forgot about him.

    Brooke killed Kelly ( who otherwise would have killed her ).

    He said we had to choose.

    The team rushes to his house, where they find him, smiling, in the basement with Kelly’s body. I didn’t do this, they did, I never even set foot in here….

    Hotch asks JJ if she ever thought about taking the classes, become a profiler, since she did such a good job. She says that although it is nice to be noticed for a change, the job she has now is the one that makes her happy.

    Slightly uneventful where it comes to the characters/team, but the case was pretty disturbing and interesting. N
    o one even mentioned Elle and her leaving, but it was good to see JJ half take over.( I’ve always noticed her though ;) )

    Funny side note : I was writing these notes while watching, and spelled Haas as “Hoss” due to the “odd” pronunciation…. Side note two : Haas is a Dutch word…I am Dutch….stop laughing.
  • Normal teens? I don't think so!

    A pair of heartless soccer girls decides which friend to
    Be killed and kill them as the team travels and
    Decides why they choosed to do it. As one of the moms
    Asks JJ to come with her. A very griping and emotional episode as "normal" teens become killers. Hotch, who I didn't like at first, has been growing on me a lot!
  • How horrible. It made me cry so much.

    What all these girls went through must have been so awful. They had to choose which friend would get killed and do it themselves. Only a true evil monster could do something so cruel. This show is hard to watch but the good thing about it is that they find the psycho who does these horrible things and the families and victims get justice. I just hope that what happens to these bastards in prison is nothing short of hell. Lets see what happens next week. I'll be tuning in that's for sure. This show is a very dark show but even in the darkness there is still light. That's what the show is trying to say I think.