‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ IDs Garcia’s Informant, Plus Voit’s Rules Are Tested (RECAP)

Aisha Tyler, Joe Mantegna, A.J. Cook, and Kirsten Vangsness in 'Criminal Minds: Evolution'
Spoiler Alert
Michael Yarish /Paramount+

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 16 Episode 3 “Moose.”]

The good news: Elias Voit (Zach Gilford) didn’t kill the dog. The bad news: everything else?!

Criminal Minds: Evolution takes us into Voit’s home life in “Moose,” directed by series star Joe Mantegna, just as the BAU is dealing with the fact that Bailey (Nicholas D’Agosto) is doing whatever he can do to shut down the unit. In fact, the latest killer in the network is just what he needs to bring in Domestic Terrorism, the exact unit he thinks should be handling this case since he likens it to a terror cell.

First, JJ (AJ Cook) and Luke (Adam Rodriguez) lose their next lead to the head of the network; they chase an UnSub with a kill kit through the woods, but local law enforcement box him in, leading to him shooting himself. Then, the BAU, while people gather in hopes of finding out if their family members are among the bodies in the storage unit Tara brought back, focuses on what they do have: the previous UnSubs’ phones, with a hidden message platform, and those kill kits.

Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) does a deep dive into that app (which has 558,000 members!) and IDs the UnSubs they’ve already encountered, along with someone (user45125) they both messaged (Sicarius?!) “He’s some sort of terrible Yoda for serial killers, doling out copious advice, everybody’s trying to get his attention,” she tells JJ as she looks at some posts. Over 17,000 others have publicly chatted with him. But it’s the messages she’s reading that help them ID their next UnSub. After realizing that Sicarius is choosing killers to match his kits — adding specific items to match some of his kills in the container they’ve recovered — they determine the three kits they haven’t found (having gotten the others) are acid, strangulation, and fire. Garcia finds a candidate for fire, based on posts, Rossi (Mantegna) determines he’s military based on word choice, and Tara (Aisha Tyler) calls Rebecca (Nicole Pacent) to use her DOJ resources to ID him: Tyler (Ryan-James Hatanaka ), a spotter for drone strikes.

But Bailey uses the fact that Tyler likely has an IED to force Prentiss’ (Paget Brewster) hand to OK a joint operation with Domestic Terrorism. Still, once they track Tyler to a park, JJ refuses to just sit back and wait or let a sniper shoot their only lead to Sicarius, and she and Luke, going against Bailey, move in and take him down. Even so, Bailey gives Domestic Terrorism all the credit during a press conference, then tells Prentiss he’s removing Rossi as head of the BAU. But Emily thwarts any plans he might have to put someone of his choosing in that position by taking it herself, which she can do as section chief. Bailey then points out he can fire her given cause, but Prentiss doesn’t seem worried. She knows he’s just a “hedge fund manager with a badge. You have never done anything. So when my team closes this case, I’m not the one who’s going to have to worry about her job.”

The more immediate concern for the BAU, however, is what they discover about Tyler. He was carrying a fake bomb, and he’d hacked the cameras at the park to monitor the entrances. He was trying to lure Sicarius out. His sister went missing 15 years ago, he searched for her for 10 years, then he stopped. Tara realizes he didn’t join the network, but rather, he infiltrated it to find Sicarius. Furthermore, he had the coordinates for the kill kit on him. He’s also the one who messaged Garcia!

Meanwhile, at home, Voit’s seemingly the perfect husband and father. (Gotta love his “maybe she’s just got us all fooled,” when talking with his wife about one of their daughters.) But he can’t forget about his urges to kill, especially when dealing with his neighbor, Hal, who’s a jerk. He tags along with his son when he’s going around to raise money for his lacrosse team with magazine subscriptions. “What are you looking for, Good Housekeeping? Just pick the one with the football phone and move on,” Hal taunts Voit. (We’re going to take that to be a Friday Night Lights nod.) Voit imagines beating Hal in response. And it just gets worse when he overhears Hal speaking with his daughter and telling her she only got into a prestigious private school because it needed to diversify. But again, he doesn’t do anything.

And this comes as Voit’s now faced with how to pay for that school, since lockdown burned through their savings and he loses his job. He does get some money from one of his followers, Benjamin, in order to jump the line (to after Tyler). But Voit reminds Benjamin that as long as he follows the rules, he won’t have to put a gun to his head.

Zach Gilford and Nathan Ray Clark in 'Criminal Minds: Evolution'

Michael Yarish /Paramount+

Speaking of those rules… Voit relies on them when, after a quick trip to watch Tyler (and see his arrest), he brings a Hal lookalike (Nathan Ray Clark) into his storage container, where he’s been keeping Moose (he didn’t kill the dog!) in a cage. He can’t kill Hal, since that would break too many rules, but he can turn Moose on this guy. (Anyone else remembering Tobias Hankel’s dogs?) But Voit has never done the same thing twice, so Moose might not be long for this world…

In the only happy news of the episode, Tara and Rebecca are moving in together! Yes, Tara freezes when the topic comes up early on, but she later admits it just takes her a little time with relationships because of trust issues. But when thinking she was going to watch her friends get blown up by Tyler, she just wanted to hold Rebecca’s hand.

Criminal Minds, Thursdays, Paramount+