The show’s entering its 9th season and will celebrate its 200th episode, but the show continues to develop the show, its characters and push the bar with the cases they investigate.
The first episode in a 2-parter opens with J.J. and Morgan racing after the unsub, eventually catching up to him but leaving us on a cliff-hanger as a car plummets towards them and we flashback to two days before when the team first get the case. It’s not fully clear how long it’s been since the 8th season finale, but Hotch is doing double duty with as head of the team, as well as picking up Strauss’s paperwork. He reveals to Rossi that he’s been asked to take over the job full time, a role that would take him away from field jobs. The underlying concern of Hotch potentially leaving the team is present at different moments through the episode as the team struggle to comprehend Hotch taking a desk job.
The case for the week is an intriguing one as well; the unsub is killing females and placing them in a submissive, praying position. The team later find that the unsub is obsessed with the praying mantis insect, except that he subjects his victims to eating human body parts before killing them. His rage stems from a girl who he used to date, but who dumped him and Wallace (our unsub) never got over it. The episode draws to where it started and JJ and Morgan escape the oncoming vehicle unscathed. The team head back home, with Hotch’s decision still looming over them. There’s an unsettling feeling as something isn’t sitting right with the team – then Hotch gets a call. It’s the wrong guy.
Turns out Wallace has a twin, Jesse, who was put up for adoption just before he and his brother Wallace turned 3. He’s quite successful, basically everything that Wallace isn’t and after some swish words from his lawyer, the police can’t follow him. The team focus on finding out everything they can about both boys and the family they came from. After much digging and with no help from the boys’ mother Carla, the team find their father living alone and suffering from a psychotic breakdown. He turns out to be quite harmless and probably the nicest out of their broken family unit.
After kidnapping Wallace Jesse tries his hand a becoming a killer, telling his twin that he hopes they can kill Jesse’s friendly dog walker friend together. It’s unnerving to see that their genes really had an effect on both men even though they lived and grew up separately. The boys connect after so many years; a flaw in their mother’s plan who seems to struggle with her own demons. Carla is quite narcissistic, craving validation and love as a mother – she picked Jesse to be put up for adoption simply because Wallace as a child in one moment told her that he loved her. Ever since then he has been a disappointment, causing her trouble and never quite living up to her expectations. After Jesse unsealed his adoption records he contacted her, and they hatched a plan to kill Wallace.
A tense stand-off in the church ensues as mother and sons are united; however Carla’s original plan backfires as Jesse turns of her and Wallace in turn aims his gun at Jesse. There’s a struggle and one of the twins is killed as the team enter. It seems Jesse has come out unscathed, but the team aren’t convinced and rather than wait for finger prints they try and tell by his behaviour. They soon ascertain it is in fact Wallace and you visually see the disappointment in Carla’s eyes as she is driven off in a police car over Wallace being alive.
Another case closed for the team and as it turns out Hotch no longer needs to make a decision regarding Strauss’ old job. His offer is revoked as it is believed he is better working with the team in the field, a happy occasion for all, although it would be interesting to hear what he would have said if the offer was still in play but I guess it may be something we never know.
Overall, a really interesting double episode season opener, the idea of twin psychopath killers is something I don’t think has ever been covered and it’s a great way to start the season.
“If you arrest my client again – lawsuit; if you harass him –lawsuit; if you follow him – lawsuit; if you sneeze in his general direction – lawsuit.” (Jesse’s lawyer, Criminal Minds, 9.2)