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“P911,” Criminal Minds. The internet is for porn.

We open on a little boy as viewed on film, tinted blue. A pan across and now we look at the camera, which sticks creepily out of the mouth of a mask. Flip back to the camera view, and the boy holds up his GI Joe doll – the doll’s name is Jack and he protects the boy. The boy pitifully states that he didn’t mean to make [the camera operator] mad, and he’ll be good, so please let him out?

The Crimes Against Children Unit, Maryland. A brunette agent looks at footage of the boy, registering shock. “Peter.” She gets up and crosses the room to address another agent, Katie,* and tell her that Peter is back. Katie is open-mouthed in shock, and the first agent, Gilroy, verifies that she has just received a new image.

*I will state for the record that IMDb lists this character’s name as “Amy Cole,” but every time it was said on the show, I heard “Katie.” Normally I defer to IMDb’s greater wisdom, but that would mean changing a zillion instances of “Katie.”

The two agents pedeconference, as the exposition goes that new footage of Peter has just been received; Gilroy got the hookup from a chat room, where she was phishing. Katie gets the attention of the room, giving us the back story that the agency named the boy Peter, they knew of him a year ago, and dammit this time they’re going to find him. Katie delegates tasks, getting Gilroy to start up a messaging session (they use MSN Messenger, by the way). Many acronyms later, they get a website with a live streaming broadcast of Peter. Katie announces that the clock under the image is an auction clock, counting down until Peter will be sold. Oh internet, you so crazy. Katie wants Aaron Hotchner at the BAU.

Over at the BAU, Reid is explaining, for the benefit of his fellow special agents, that 40,000 new child porn pictures appear on the internet each week. Because the internet is for porn. Specifically, child porn.

Reid further explains that some kids get sold into pedophile rings, yadda yadda Nightline shit. Gideon says that Peter had formerly been the subject of a massive search by the Crimes Against Children unit, but disappeared. This time Katie wants him back. The agents wax poetic about Katie, a brilliant agent formerly of the BAU. Morgan is all “I always wanted to meet her” and then Katie comes in with the “really? I heard she’s a bitch!” The agents are duly impressed.

Katie goes further about Peter’s background as a subject. Gideon notes that Peter’s face isn’t pixelated in the images, which Hotchner believes is proof of the Unsub’s confidence that Peter will not be identified in time. JJ asks if they can’t just trace the IP of the website. Oh, you silly girl. The Unsub totally thought of that, so the website is routed through proxy in Belarus. JJ, evidently out of her depth here, ditches to chat with Garcia.

Katie explains that the previous year’s search for Peter got close, but once they’d narrowed the field, the trail went cold. Morgan wants to know how this time is different. This time they have more clues! And Reid. He usually figures prominently in these things. Katie has a plan, has the BAU, and dammit this time they are getting shit done. Gideon looks at Peter’s face in a screen capture, and shakes his head.

Credits.

In a shot overlooking FBI Headquarters, Gideon voiceovers the episode’s grounding quote, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”

Ding! Elevator doors open, and it is Elle Greenaway! Wait, what? How much time has passed between episodes? [Ed: Apparently four months, but I got that from the internet and not the episode itself.] The last time we saw her, she was lying in a hospital bed, only just having regained consciousness after a life-saving surgery. And now here she is at FBI Headquarters, hair all hacked to shit.

Reid walks by, but stops when he notices Greenaway. She comments on his haircut, and he likes hers, too! Liar. Reid is like “sooo… you’re… okay…” and then Hotch comes into the hallway, rescuing Reid from his social awkwardness. Hotch says that he wasn’t expecting her back until next week, but she lies that she received a text message about a case. You know, I doubt that’s very secure. Maybe they should try another method of communicating sensitive information. Greenaway is all “please! Yesterday I found myself looking forward to a soap opera!” Reid: “ooh, which one?” Hee. Do you think he’s for Days of Our Lives, or more of a General Hospital type?

Looking closely at Hotch, I realize that for the last episode either they were wearing wigs, or they filmed it back with the season finale from May, because now the entire cast in fact is sporting their spiffy second season haircuts. Hotch crumbles like a cookie, and assigns Greenaway to hang with Reid and do, you know, whatever.

External airplane shot, cutting to the interior just in time to see Katie stumble from turbulence. She starts technobabbling about finding the boy through phishing, what the Crimes Against Children Unit (hereafter: CAC) does in chat rooms, yadda. She stumbles from more turbulence, and Gideon psychoanalyzes her – a fear of flying is linked to deep-seated issues of control. And here I thought it was linked to deep-seated fears of crashing to a fiery death. Katie is like “anyway” and then explains how we crazy kids these days talk on the internet. Introduction to Acronyms 101: LOL, IMHO, F2F… I’m thinking it’s just about time for a STFU, but no luck.

Hotch gets up to speechify about the categorical division of pedophiles – situational or preferential. Photos swirl around him in that annoying effect, as he explains that situational predators take the opportunities presented, whereas preferential offenders make their own fun. The image being swirled, by the way, is of a smiling young boy seated at a piano, with a man, obviously an instructor, behind him. While I’m puzzling out what this boy has to do with anything (nothing), the images switch to pedophiles at work, doing such subversive things as using sitting in their cars, or drinking coffee, but always accompanied by a laptop. Computers are of course the root of all evil. As Katie goes on about how pedophiles are getting more adept, she actually shakes her computer at the word “monsters.”

More turbulence as they try to profile the offender. JJ and Garcia pop-up via webcam and ask about releasing an image to the media, which Katie vetoes, as she doesn’t believe the Unsub knows that the unit is aware of the auction. Gideon questions that, but Katie states that the pedophile community online assumes that they have anonymity. They don’t expect to get caught. Hotch passes on that Reid and Greenaway should examine the room that appears in the Peter videos to check for details and clues.

Over at the CAC, Gilroy meets up with Reid and Greenaway. Reid & Greenaway are being hooked up with warrants to review chatlogs.

Online Listing Service, Ohio. In the office, people are milling about, phones are ringing, and one young guy is chatting with his feet up on the desk. He is of course the owner, because the internet is the exclusive domain of young people. And perverts. Morgan comes in all “FBI!” and so CEO Guy gets up and looks somewhat sheepish. Katie wants to see the chatroom databases, and everyone is very serious. The internet is serious business.

Cut to streaming video of Peter in his cell-like room, which Reid and Greenaway are analyzing. Gilroy announces that Katie has scored the chatlogs, and those pop up on screen. Hundreds of IP addresses scroll by, while Greenaway duhs that they’re only concerned with one address – that of username HUGZ, potential would-be Peter merchant.

Back at Online Listing Service, office lackeys look on nervously as CEO Guy rues the loss of that final frontier of free expression, the internet. For demonstrative purposes, Morgan gets on a computer and pretends to be 12 year old Suzy, using about fifteen million smiley faces in his message to the pervy-room, and that’s all the bait they need for dozens of messages to pop up right away. Intriguingly, Morgan seems to type his original message in Yahoo Messenger, but the responses are over MSN Messenger. How does that work?

Meanwhile, Katie is all “SSL PROXY ROUTING IP JARGON!” and CEO Guy is all “I’m just the middle man! Not my problem!” until Gideon gives him the stink-eye, and announces that his problem is that his websites are hosting the sale of a child. CEO Guy is appropriately chastened.

In Garcia’s lab, she geeks about encryption and other stuff, reiterating that Garcia is a 1337 H4X0R, as they finally come up with a money trail. In the process, they find another website, titled “Young Love” and showing a young boy of about 15, bound to a chair and looking plaintively into the camera.

Cut to the suburbs, as the FBI agents tumble out of their massive black SUVs and storm into a house. Upstairs Mr. Young Love is listening to rock music, remaining tied up, and listening to a disembodied voice call him a bad boy. Do you see what’s going on here? Because I do. Just give it another few minutes for the BAU agents to catch up.

The agents bust into the room, helpfully identified by the door placard as belonging to “Kevin.” Kevin is all “what are you dooooing” as Gideon announces that he is now “safe.” Kevin unties himself, re-dresses, and drops some attitude on the agents. They establish that the house belongs to Kevin’s father, though Kevin prefers the term “bastard.” While Gideon ponders what is incredibly obvious to the audience, the action briefly moves to Peter locked up in his cell, emphasizing the difference between the boy who is playing captive for money, and the boy who actually is captive.

Hotch is on the Exposition Express: Kevin’s dad is in jail, so Kevin sells the only thing he has – himself. He’s a street hustler on the information superhighway, y’all. Kevin somehow had a copy of the Peter video, and while Morgan snits that Peter is a boy who is actually in trouble, all Kevin can do is spit out a “Boo. Hoo.” (seriously, he says that). Katie can’t crack the password on Kevin’s computer, and Kevin is all “you’re the FBI!” and generally stinks the place up with his rotten attitude. I kind of want to slap the little bastard, but Gideon is about to break him.

Morgan points out that what Kevin is doing is prostitution, to which Kevin responds that he’s a minor and “doesn’t really know what he is doing,” and anyway no one touches him. “Anymore,” says Gideon, who goes on to say that Kevin’s dad beat him constantly. Kevin’s attitude is sobered, and with a wee guilt trip from the agents is persuaded to unlock the computer and provide the transcripts. The guy who sent Kevin the video of Peter goes by the screenname of “Mehtevas.”

Peter cam. He whines and asks to please be let out. Cross over to headquarters, Greenaway watches the video, notes that Peter has everything he needs to live, so he never has to leave the room. At this point Reid finally notices that Peter’s room has no door, meaning that the room has been built around Peter, and suggesting that the Unsub expects to be considered a suspect.

Chez Kevin, agents are getting the dirt on Mehtevas, a local who is always wanting to meet, except that Kevin “doesn’t do that.” Until now! Smell the delicious boy bait! Cut to a man with a white beard, sipping coffee and tapping away on a laptop. He receives a message from “HUGZ” (aka Kevin), which says “MEHTEVAS? MIS U F2F 2DAY?” because, you see, no one on the internet can spell.

Back at Headquarters, Greenaway and Gilroy realize that when video of Peter was being streamed over the internet a year ago, he was in a different room. Greenaway says that something had to have happened to stress the Unsub into changing Peter’s conditions. As they all watch the video, we cut to Garcia’s lab, as she identifies Peter’s new shirt as being from the Tadpoles (“knot-tying, compass-wielding, boy-stuff”). She and JJ catch the unit number on the sleeve of the shirt, and while JJ is still thinking this through, Garcia is already after unit registration files. That’s how she rolls.

Reid, Gilroy, and Greenaway look up an address in Alexandria, and surprise surprise, it’s near an elementary school. At this point I am like “$20 the suspect is a ranking school employee.” Just sayin. Greenaway decides to break Hotch’s orders to sit tight and rest up, choosing to head for Alexandria.

School bell rings, and Mehtevas walks through the crowd of small children. Kevin loiters against a wall, until finally they meet. Mehtevas asks “don’t you love that sound?” and Kevin says “Excuse me?” Mehtevas clarifies: “children.”

The audience cringes.

Kevin confirms that this person is in fact Mehtevas, and the creepy old pervert moves closer as Kevin looks like he is going to be having a shower with bleach and a brillo pad. Finally he gives up and runs, and as Mehtevas calls after him all “did I say something wrong? HUGZ??” the FBI pull up to make the arrest. ID reveals that Mehtevas, also known as “Hayden Rawlings,” is not only an employee of the school, but in fact the principal. DING DING I WIN!

Kevin is shipped off to Social Services. Fare thee well Kevin, as we will hear no more from you! Katie has an emo moment. Greenaway and Reid pull up just after the action has ended, and after Hotch tut-tuts Greenaway for busting into the field, she and Reid head in to search Rawlings’ office. By the way, Greenaway is wearing a gun holster over her t-shirt and has a piece on each side. It’s pretty hot.

Rawlings’ office highlights include a library of child psychology books (and the revelation that he has a doctorate in the subject), family portrait, and general lack of computer. As Reid goes through drawers he finds that one of them is locked. Elle picks it, and Reid asks if they taught her that in FBI school. She quips that they taught her that in Brooklyn. A laptop in a padded case is pulled out.

Doc Rawlings is being guided down the hallway by Morgan, Katie, and Gideon. Students and faculty in the hallway stop to stare. Gideon whips out a picture of Peter, as Rawlings asks how anyone could hurt him. Rawlings/Mehtevas, of course, only wanted to help him, and that’s why he sent the picture to Kevin/HUGZ – because Kevin might know him. Morgan isn’t buying what the pedo is selling, but before he can do some righteous damage, he is demoted to office searching with Reid and Greenaway. Gideon will handle it.

Katie wants to know exactly how Rawlings planned to save Peter, and having the boy humanized with a name throws Rawlings off. Gideon makes Rawlings sit down, as in the other room Morgan, Greenaway, and Reid try to crack the password on Rawlings’ newly discovered laptop. Morgan reiterates that Rawlings is a “preferential pedophile who is trying to save them.” This strikes a chord with Reid, who realizes that “save them” is “Mehtevas” flipped around. As he flashes a sign saying as much to the agents in the next room, Rawlings strokes his beard, beaten. Man, Gideon didn’t even have to stare it out of him!

Fun with Photoshop at Garcia’s lab. They are still trying to pick out the missing numbers on Peter’s Tadpoles shirt. JJ asks if they can get any closer, but Garcia says that it will just distort the image more.

HOLY SHIT Y’ALL. HOLY. SHIT. I am astounded by the realism of that one line. Clearly the FBI needs to get one of those magic computers like the labbies at CSI have. You know, the kind where you zoom in on a blurry 1 megapixel image and magically get a tight, sharp, focused image, the quality of which is a million times better than the original? Yeah.

Anyway, they do something similar to the magic zoom, and eventually come up with a number and a location for the Tadpoles troupe.

Back in Rawlings’ office, Morgan, Reid, Greenaway, Katie, Gideon, and Rawlings himself finally gather around Rawlings’ laptop. Garcia calls Morgan on his cell, so he goes off to coo sweet nothings into her ear, and Rawlings tries uselessly to pass the contents of his computer off as “research.” Katie is all “less research, more life in prison.” Rawlings finally wants a lawyer, and a deal. No deal!

Katie wants details. Rawlings says that he was contacted by the man who has Peter, and that he didn’t seek him out. Gideon’s subtle goading causes Rawlings to reveal that he bid $8,000 on Peter. To save him, natch. Rawlings is the high bidder. Greenaway spits about inspecting the merchandise, and Rawlings is practically sweating. He has a family, he loves children, he just wants to save them! Katie looks out a window and deals the low blow that he deserves: “in your pursuit to save them, you think you could have avoided having sex with them?”

Rawlings shudders a little, as does the audience, and finally gives up a code to the auction. Katie gets on the computer and writes to the merchant – no one will outbid, so she wants to see the merchandise.

In his room, Peter cries out. Pan across the padded wall, and the man on the other side yells back for Peter to shut up, never looking up from his laptop. What does get his attention is the television, as Rawlings’ arrest (the last we see of the old creep), and mention of a greater pedophile-targeted sting operation, breaks on the news. At the same time, the Unsub receives another message from Katie-as-Mehtevas. Knowing the score, the Unsub shuts down the site and the auction. Back at Rawlings’ office, the agents catch wind of this as well. Gideon looks angsty as images of Peter and the transcripts between Mehtevas and Hugz flash by.

The black SUV of FBIness rolls down the road. Morgan expresses his faith in Garcia, while he, Reid, and Greenaway head to find the Tadpoles troupe in Mount Pleasant. They’re getting down to it, only 2 hours remaining on the auction clock. Hotch, Gideon, and Katie are in a separate vehicle. Katie gets really intense about not losing Peter again, and the passengers of both cars are nervous that the Unsub might end the auction early. Hotch hopes that JJ will buy them some time.

JJ, resident media liaison, is feeding a story to a news agency with the understanding that a boy’s life is on the line. Cut to the Unsub’s house, and the TV is dutifully airing the false news story. The Unsub buys it, and reactivates the auction with an hour to spare. Back in the car, Katie is bummed that she gave up on Peter a year ago, wondering what has happened to him since then. We get another emphasizing shot of Peter in his cell.

In Mount Pleasant, Morgan, Reid, and Greenaway are at a church and showing Peter’s picture to a clergyman affiliated with the Tadpoles troupe. Unfortunately they disbanded before he ever came to the town, and he has no idea of any records – though there might be a picture! Progress!

Cut to the Mount Pleasant Elementary school. Gideon, Katie, and Hotch are scouting for memories of Peter. A teacher (secretary?) goes to check her records.

Church. The clergyman pulls through with a picture of the Tadpoles that includes Peter. There are no records, but Greenaway pulls the picture from the frame to reveal the names written on the reverse. Peter’s name is Charlie.

At the school, Hotch, Katie, and Gideon use their records to determine the same thing – Charlie Sparks. They ask about Charlie’s father, but the teacher/secretary lady is unable to identify him. As she rambles about not remembering, the agents just… walk out. Heh.

All of the agents (save JJ and Garcia, back at Headquarters) rendezvous in the street to review what they know. Reid points out the changes in the Unsub and how Peter/Charlie is being kept. They finally realize that the Unsub’s behaviour changed because he got scared – in her previous investigation, Katie got too close for comfort; Gideon points out that she probably interviewed him. She looks crushed. At Headquarters, JJ and Garcia watch the auction clock as the last few seconds count down, and it goes offline. Time is up!

No slacker, the Unsub gets up from his position in front of the laptop, pulls a sledgehammer out from under the couch, and starts hammering through a wall. On the other side of the wall, Charlie shrieks and hides. GI Jack can’t save him from these anger management issues.

Back at the rendezvous, Katie is on the phone – she’d never had a real suspect, just done interviews, and she needs the names. As Hotch needlessly states, one of her interviewees was the right guy. He says it, I recap it. Morgan tells Katie to pass on the information to Garcia, because he is in love with Garcia and will accept any excuse to speak her exquisite name. Or because she’s good at the process of elimination. One or the other, shippers say both.

Agent Gilroy at the CAC gets Garcia on the line, and they start going through names, as the woebegone face of Charlie stares out from a screen capture.

We’re flashing back and forth amongst scenes quickly now, with only a few minutes left in the episode. The Unsub is suited up in a non-descript khaki outfit, with a cap and shades. The attire of unassuming ne’er-do-wells the world over. He rolls a huge trunk obviously containing Charlie out of the house.

Morgan gets off the phone with Garcia, signing off with “thanks baby, you’re the best.” She really is, isn’t she? He fills the team in on what has been learned from Katie’s list of interviewees: only two live nearby, and one is too stupid to have set it all up, and so they head out in search of the man left over.

The Unsub puts the trunk into the… trunk, and gets into the truck. English is failing me. He is clearly impressed with himself as he puts the wheels in motion and pulls out of the driveway, but that’s as far as he gets before those black SUVs pull up on him, lights flashing and sirens wailing. Dude, he is so busted!

Morgan, no friend of pedophiles, easily prevents the Unsub’s lame attempt to escape on foot, and slams him up against a truck. Morgan takes no small amount of pleasure in cuffing the guy, and then seriously throws him into the back seat of a car. Protect the children! Someone is feeling broody! I hope Garcia is up to the challenge. If not, well Shemar Moore can rough me up any day.

Katie runs to the Unsub’s truck and finds the trunk in the trunk (I can’t stop), and there is an implication that she thinks Charlie might be in a million little pieces, but fortunately he is alive and well and intact, shrieking for daddy. All Katie can offer is an “I’ve got you, I know, I know, you’re safe now.”

Interrogation room. Katie and Gideon are inside, but then come to where Morgan and Hotch are watching from behind glass. Katie relays that Peter/Charlie’s real name is Dustin Powers, and he was abducted at the age of one. The team is silent, conveying disgust. Morgan mentions that Peter/Charlie/Dustin’s real mother has been found and is on her way, before exiting the room.

Left alone, Hotch comments that no one has ever done Katie’s job for as long as she has, as suggests that it may be time to get out. Camera on Katie shows her to be clearly tired and worn; physically and emotionally. As the Unsub sends a creepy smile through the one-way glass, Katie adopts a steely gaze and says she doesn’t think she can. She walks out.

In the office, Peter/Charlie/Dustin’s real mother appears. Gideon and Katie guide her down the hall, reminding her that Dustin doesn’t know her, so to be very careful when introducing herself. The route to Dustin takes the trio past every single other member of the Behavioural Analysis Unit, and they solemnly look on.

Dustin’s mother walks up to Dustin slowly, and he clutches GI Jack. From the hallway, all of the agents save Gideon leave so that the moment can be a private one. Dustin’s mother bends down and asks about the toy, so Dustin introduces GI Jack as the soldier who protects him. Mother fights back tears as she reaches out and shakes Jack’s plastic hand – “my name is Jackie.”

Pan down the hall to Gideon, pulling in tightly on his grim face, an expression which betrays nothing. Scene.

One response »

  1. Well whaddaya know! The Internet is also for Penis Enlargement!

    Reply

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