‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ Midseason Finale Leaves 2 Profilers’ Lives in the Balance (RECAP)

Nicholas D'Agosto and Paget Brewster in 'Criminal Minds: Evolution'
Spoiler Alert
Michael Yarish /Paramount+

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 16 Episode 5 “Oedipus Wrecks”.]

We know that the BAU is going to start to get some wins against UnSub Elias Voit (Zach Gilford), who’s running a network of serial killers, but at the midway point of Criminal Minds: Evolution, the agents may have just lost two of their own.

It all begins with the next case-of-the-week: A man using a custom-made dental device (with razors!) to bite (multiple times!) the women he’s killing — and the signs of escalation mean he’s building up to someone. Deputy Director Bailey (Nicholas D’Agosto) previously dated one of the victims — and she broke his heart, as David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) notes — so he takes a personal interest in it. Bailey’s the one to give them a lead: Beltway Elite, a dating app for government employees. Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) takes advantage of this and finds a way to deal with him wanting to shut down the BAU: They solve the case, he leaves them alone.

The profilers correctly figure out the Oedipal of it and he’s remaking his victims into his mother — and it’s next to her properties that he’s leaving the bodies. That’s how they ID the UnSub: Benjamin (as in the one who paid to move ahead of the others in Voit’s network!), son of Senator Martha Reeves (who has him kneel before her after he talks back to her, so we can see why regarding everything about him). Bailey won’t let them directly go after him, but they can talk to his assistant, Mitch; as JJ notes, it’s a bit too easy that they find the dental device in his car. He’s playing them, dancing up to incriminating himself without actually doing so, and they realize he’s not only covering for Benjamin, but giving him time to go after the one victim he didn’t kill.

JJ and (AJ Cook) and Tara (Aisha Tyler) intervene before Benjamin can kill her, but he does send a 9-1-1 message on the Beltway Elite app. Given what they know about him, Prentiss acts just like they know his mother does during the interrogation, lying about having a kid of her own and generally just completely throwing Bailey as he watches. But then Benjamin claims to be Sicarius — he even knows the names of the victims in his shipping container — and tells them there’s “more buried treasure” in Whitfield County, Georgia.

Benjamin can’t be Sicarius, since he was in England when the UnSub started, but they do know now that he’s a key part of his network. The only problem? They can’t question him further because his mother intervenes and insists they let him go; Bailey agrees.

However, the BAU does have Tyler (Ryan-James Hatanaka), the man who infiltrated the network looking for his missing sister, on their side, though he’s Garcia’s (Kirsten Vangsness) “most hated” person at the moment since he brought the hacker back into the dark life she’d left behind. In talking with Tyler, Rossi surmises that Sicarius used the PCL-R to divide people into two groups: wannabes and those who got kill kits. Garcia recalls Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler, who has not returned for the revival) telling her about it: a psychopath check list, to determine how dangerous someone is. That’s how Sicarius built his network.

While Tyler doesn’t recognize Benjamin’s name, the “wannabe cannibal” aspect does ring a bell, of a message with the word “overbite.” Tyler explains that Sicarius needed a benefactor, and in exchange, showed this person how to kill and made a device for him. Benjamin received special privileges, and Tyler knows he and Sicarius talked in a private forum. To find that forum? They need Garcia, and Tyler needs to make things right with her. Off Rossi’s advice, he gives her a cat as a peace offering.

But they’re too late to help Martha. Voit’s waiting when she brings Benjamin home (after the 9-1-1 message on the app), and he gives the Senator’s son five minutes with his mother. He may not have the dental device anymore, but as Voit reminds Benjamin, he doesn’t need them. At the crime scene with her body, Prentiss points out to Bailey that she’d still be alive if he’d listened to her. Now, he needs to stay out of her way.

Garcia figures out Voit and Benjamin were chatting on the app, just as Benjamin’s jet touches down in Whitfield County. He’s a patsy, the team knows, but he’s too dumb to know it. Just as Garcia and Rossi are reading the chats on the app, Voit takes them all down (with a “F**k you try again” message appearing on the screen).

However, JJ and Luke (Adam Rodriguez) do find Voit’s latest hidden shipping container. The rest of the team, plus Bailey, can only watch via their body cams as they go inside, only to find a bomb rigged to go off. Just as they’re running out, it does, and the others lose the feed, left to worry about their friends. Uh-oh!

Adam Rodriguez and A.J. Cook in 'Criminal Minds: Evolution'

Michael Yarish /Paramount+

Elsewhere in the midseason finale, JJ and Will (Josh Stewart) see a doctor about his high white blood cell count. The concern is it could be cancer — and he’s been having tests done for months, she learns. He didn’t want her to worry, he explains. Later, Will stops by to tell JJ it’s just an inflamed thyroid and that can be treated. (We hope he’s telling her the truth!) He also reminds her that he’s had to deal with her having serial killers aiming guns at her. And so she agrees (with a pinky swear — they’re adorable) to call and let him know what she’s walking into.

But just before she walks into that shipping container with Luke, she does call Will … only to leave him a voicemail just saying she loves him. That’s clearly going to mean a discussion when the drama returns (since we highly doubt Criminal Minds just killed off JJ or Luke).

Criminal Minds, Midseason Return, Thursday, January 12, Paramount+