WARNING: This review contains spoilers
The BAU team is taken to Boston in this week’s episode of Criminal Minds. ‘Drive’ features an unsub who is “punishing” people for what he hears while they’re in the process of getting a ride from him. According to David Rossi, “Taxi cabs are like confessionals”, and this unsub is torturing and decapitating each victim’s head as a way to make them “pay for their sins”. The show has done things similar to this in the past; unsubs “punishing” people they think deserve it. This unsub leaves the bodies in public places so that they will be seen by many, but what is he doing with the missing heads?
I’m not a fan of seeing who the unsub is immediately because it takes the guessing and mystery out of it. To my dismay we saw the unsub before we even cut to the opening credits. We see him walking a woman (soon to be his third victim: Amy Gibb) to her door. She is grateful at first until he starts questioning her and then tazes her to gain control. The next time we see her she is screaming, begging, and apologizing as she watches him slide a bucket under her head to catch it and realizes what is about to happen. Criminal Minds very rarely has me looking away from the screen, but this episode had me doing just that.
This episode was very gore heavy, which I didn’t mind because they did manage to balance the team side of things in well enough. This is obviously a crime show we’re talking about, however, I prefer when we get the main character side of things, and when we get to see them work out the profile. Side note: the earlier seasons are FULL of this. I highly recommend. Watching them solve these cases is what makes this show a 10/10 — not the gore. Tonight was a decent balance of both, most of the time it’s one or the other. I was happy to see lots of profiling left in.
JJ is the one who suggests torture when she and Rossi are looking at the first two victims and learn that each of them had broken knuckles. Each of the victim’s phone logs show that they called for a driver in an app called Zimmer but then canceled it minutes later, leading them to start investigating the types of people who sign up to drive people around on this app. When they learn that each victim was involved in some kind of unethical situation, Reid makes the connection that he’s leaving the bodies out as a way to publicly shame them.
Meanwhile, the unsub finds his next victim when a man (Anthony Simmons) gets into his car after his original driver is late and thanks him with a, “You just saved my life.” Oh, the irony. Things go smooth until he talks on the phone with someone and the conversation strongly implies that it was someone he was having an affair with. Anthony’s wife goes to the police station the next day insisting that her husband must have been taken by this killer since he didn’t come home the night before. When she tells JJ and Tara his last known whereabouts they don’t match where the others were taken. That’s until JJ and Garcia check where his phone was last located and learn about the affair and that he wasn’t where he said he was.
Garcia ends up finding an elementary school principal who was arrested for child abuse when Hotch tells her to check for schools that engaged in corporal punishment. Going with their theory that the unsub could have been a student at that school in the many years the principal was there, she then cross checked that with people that attended that school in the past 30 years and who also had accounts on the Zimmer app. When the principal committed suicide after being caught it enrages the unsub that he won’t be punished, and started his murdering. We see that the unsub keeps the victim’s heads in his fridge and calls it the wall of shame, similar to the pictures the principal used to keep on his own wall of shame. Hotch and Morgan get there just in time. The ending is very intense and quick, Morgan attacks the unsub as Hotch stops the blade just in time by pushing something in to block it.
This overall was a really good action packed episode! The characterization was amazing, and it wasn’t solely focused on one character, each person got their fair share of screen time. Reid actually got in a few of his rambles he’s known for. Rossi and Tara bonding over their love for cars at the beginning and then continuing at the end was a nice little touch, and a nice contrast from the contents in between both of those scenes.