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Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders - The Lonely Heart - Review

This week the IRT is sent to Paris because an American woman was murdered and her body staged. Given the importance of the tourist trade between the US and France, the government has made a request for the FBI’s team to get involved.

As I was watching the woman, in the teaser, talk about walking home at night in Paris, I could only think ‘she’s not from a major city’. I was a little surprised when she said she was from Nashville. Later in the episode, a young woman from San Diego, CA exhibited the big city instincts I had been looking for. She knew something was wrong pretty quickly and made the killer work very hard to kill her.

The first victim had her eyes removed and, what I presumed was the instrument used was left in her eye sockets. The second victim had her head removed, and the third her heart cut out and left in her hands. The team spends the bulk of the episode operating under the theory that these women are surrogates for the woman the Unsub actually wants to kill.

While examining the evidence from the first crime, Seger finds a piece of evidence that leads the team to a picture of the Unsub’s car and the fact that he is running a gypsy cab. The Commissaire wants to put out an alert to the public, but the team advises against it. They caution that letting the Unsub know they’re getting close will cause him to become unpredictable.

I liked the Commissaire. He didn’t appreciate the IRT’s arrival but he wasn’t a jerk. He was professional and, though he disagreed with the team’s recommendations, he listened to their reasoning and made informed decisions. He decided to warn the public about the murders and the car. He admits that the IRT was right about what would happen when he did that and takes their advice to increase police presence until the Unsub is caught.

The other prediction that the IRT made regarding the public announcement came to pass as well. The Unsub’s next attack was unpredictable. He killed a French woman and was interrupted when trying to stage her body because he had been forced to abandon his MO.

But this isn’t what turned the case around. It was what he did to the French victim. He stuffed butterflies into her stomach. Seger realizes that the killings and staged scenes weren’t practice runs for the focus of the Unsub’s obsession but love notes, of a sort, to the object of his affection. “I have butterflies in my stomach.” “I’m blinded by love.” “I have my heart in my hands.” “I lost my head.” They need to find the woman the Unsub is obsessed with before the Unsub finds her.

The butterflies lead them to the name of the Unsub, Paul Mossier. They learn that he was remanded to a psychiatric hospital with hands down the worst security I have ever heard of. It defied common sense.

The object of Paul’s affections is an American woman, Amy Wallace, who volunteered at the hospital and got Paul into art. A month prior to the first murder she quit and is due to leave Paris because she’s engaged. The hospital gave Paul Amy Wallace’s address. The MENTAL hospital gave a FORMER PATIENT the address of a former employee. I cannot fathom that that is considered a good policy in any mental institution in the world.

Paul, armed with the address the genius at the mental hospital gave him, showed up at Amy’s door anxious to show her his art project. Amy, not being an idiot, realizes rather quickly that he’s not a good guy to have in her home. Unfortunately, she can’t get away. Her reaction upon seeing the art piece is predictable. Luckily, the police arrive in time to save her.

I liked a lot about the episode. It had a lot of elements that I love about Criminal Minds. I like the twist of having the stage scenes be love notes. My one issue with the show is that I don’t feel as though I’m getting to know the characters. I enjoy procedurals, but I need to like the characters as well and I’m not getting that yet.

What did you think about the episode?

About the Author - Prpleight
Prpleight is a screenwriter and senior software engineer with solid geek cred. When not writing code, screenplays, or watching TV (sometimes she does all three at the same time), she uses her broadsword Bessie to battle evil. She's been a frequent contributor to the SpoilerTV discussion boards for several years now.
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