Following the previous exhilarating episode, the BAU team is called to Houston, to search for a serial rapist who has resurfaced and is re-assaulting his previous victims - making them relive their worst nightmare. Additionally, Emily Prentiss tries to come to terms with her own traumatic experiences.
The scene opens up with serial killer targeting his next victim, who seems to become drowsy after smoking. At this point, the serial rapist breaks into her house and rapes his victim. The scene quickly disintegrates and focuses on Prentiss at a therapy session where they discuss about her traumatic experience when Doyle reappeared in her life.
The team reunites with an old case mirroring an unfinished crime. Deemed as the "Piano Man" case, it bundles the elaborate story of a serial rapist, 'Piano Man' that has been on the loose for 5 years, victimizing 12 individuals with no particular trend. His victims were all found to be drowsed with a date rape drug with evidence of piano wire binding their limbs. All previous victims have shown no memory of the event and the question regarding how the victims consumed the date rape drug remains a mystery.
An aspect that really garnered attention was the fact that the cases have elevated to a whole new level, where the previous victims are forced to relive the incident of being raped with victims 2, reported to have been sexually assaulted, while Victim 5 remains missing after her second supposed encounter with the unsub. This gives the team the impression that the Piano Man is becoming careless and is in an endeavor of acquiring more control.
Additionally, before flying off to Houston, Hotch meets up with Prentiss to discuss her therapy evaluation. Hotch worries about her behavior and the possibility that it will ultimately affect her place with the team. Furthermore, he questions whether she is running away from her traumatic experiences, however she reassures Hotch that, it isn't the case.
At the Houston police station, test results come back for the vomit residue that was found at the scene of Victim 5 (Vanessa Campbell) house invasion/rape. Test results come back negative showing no consumption of date rape drugs prior to the disappearance of Vanessa.
The team interrogates the previous victims for any more clues as to who the 'Piano Man' could be. It is discovered that five victims in total report that they have been raped for the second time. During the interview, all victims blacked out during the rape and do not recall any subsequent events. However, the team is attracted to a particular characteristic that all the victims share - they all smoke. Reid and Morgan arrive at the crime scene where Morgan becomes attracted to the home stereo system where the family's playlist has been completely wiped out. The crew conclude that the rapist's M.O is to play a piano piece upon the event of each victim's rape, implanting the victim's hatred towards the song, unconsciously.
The body of Vannesa is found and has been dead for 5 hours. The unsub has never killed his victim before and hence this reveals an obvious evolution in the unsub's M.O.
Meanwhile, a female at a bar is becoming emotional upon hearing a piano piece that a peculiar man is playing. This draws out an emotion response from the female where she becomes drunk and with the help of that peculiar man, she is taken to her car. She asks for a cigarette and the man offers her a stick. While she is looking for a lighter, the female manages to get out a tazer and electrocute the man - the man whom she believes is the serial rapist.
The female kidnaps the man and brings him to her home. She begins playing the music that acts a constant reminder of her rape incident. Additionally, she taunts the man with the outfit that she wore on the day of her rape and detailing extensive illustration of the rape. The man however, refuses to acknowledge that he is the "Piano Man", despite the female's torture.
Back at the station, Garcia find a common link between those women and a possible suspect named Hermie. Hermie is a man that rotates around three hospitals all of which the victims go to. With that said, he also accesses their insurance policies to acquire new information in relation to their location.
Morgan, Rossi, Prentiss and the swat team arrive at Hermie's home. However through close investigation, Reid concludes that Hermit is too young to fit the profile of the unsub as he reasons that at the age of 14, music makes the most impact and imprint due to the development of the individual's personal identity. Hence, the music that the unsub plays at the event of the rape must have had a significant impact on the unsub during this age and thus he must be older than Hermie.
The team attempts to contemplate why all evidence points at Hermie. It is concluded that Hermie is attempting to resemble the "Piano Man" while the true "Piano Man" is setting up Hermie. Hermie tells them that he does not know the "Piano Man" but he knows that the next victim to be raped again is going to be Regina.
The female that abducted the man is revealed to be Regina Lampert, a previous victim of the "Piano Man". Regina Lampert seems to have taken her own matters into her own hands as she takes hostage of Hamilton Bartholomew, believing that he is the "Piano Man". For the foremost, while Regina is confront Hamilton, he escapes her grip and calls 911.
Before she could do any more harm to him, the BAU team arrives to stop her. Prentiss convinces her that Hamilton is not the "Piano Man", reasoning that she will kill an innocent man if she pulls the trigger.
Outside the house, Hotch charges Hamilton on the basis of 12 rapes and 1 murder, due to the matched fingerprints.
Interviewing Regina, Regina blames Prentiss for not letting her pull the trigger. She manipulates Prentiss, saying how she is now haunted with her worst nightmare which brings up much turmoil from Emily's past.
Returning home, Emily becomes distraught and distressed.
This was one of the much better episodes of this season as the episode was able to generate some much needed suspense and thrill especially towards the middle of the episode where, the twist was implanted. It turns out the focus isn't much on the "Piano Man" but rather on the victim, Regina as she takes her own matters into her own hands. This layout is actually quite rare to find in Criminal Minds which definitely did spice up the exteriors of the episode.
Anyhow, this episode does raise some significant pointers of how females should take precaution when accepting items from strangers. Whether it be drinks, food or even a cigarette, it can possess numerous ramifications that can ultimately lead to rape. So for those who watch this episode, please keep in mind that not everyone is nice in this world.
That was my general thoughts, what did you guys think?
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