Criminal Minds
False Flag

Original Air Date: Dec 6, 2017

Caitlin- Senior Staff Writer

The unofficial midseason finale of Criminal Minds gets off to an unusual- and intense- start this week. When we open, the team is already giving their profile of an unsub to a bunch of “truthers” in Roswell, New Mexico. Neither group is too eager to be friends, but the tension hits the fan when a young man, thinking himself the main suspect, stands up while holding a gun. The team tries to calm him, but he winds up shooting himself in the head.

He was right about one thing- the FBI did suspect Doug, and now his friends are angry. One, a woman named Melissa, offers to talk, though only if she’s allowed to record the conversation. She’s very dedicated to her, um, beliefs, but eventually Emily allows the concession. The investigation started when Garcia investigated a string of murders (and possible murders) targeting conspiracy theorists. One of the victims had several secret compartments in his home, all full of guns. Melissa remains sure that this is all the government setting Doug up.

Part of her argument centers on a metal detector the truthers had to walk through and the gun Doug somehow got through it. Here’s a real twist- one of the victims was found clutching a page from “Catcher in the Rye”. Soon, this delves into Melissa revealing just what kind of person she is. She’s one of “those” conspiracy theorists, AKA a person who claims Sandy Hook was a setup, and Tara’s feelings towards here are entirely warranted. Determined to defend Doug’s guilt, the team looks for more evidence. They find out there was more to that book page than they realized. And then Luke and Matt find something else altogether…

…Emily sitting with one of their witnesses, already waiting for them. Bob had supposedly been building a bomb, but there was none to be found. He was, however, leading Melissa’s gang along. And the victim just happened to randomly grab a page from his favorite book. And other guy, with random burns? Explained by a natural chemical reaction. But one of the victims and Melissa knew each other. Quite well, in fact. Now, Tara thinks Melissa was behind everything. There’s no evidence to support it, and she’s personally distracted by the fact she was at Sandy Hook during that shooting. Still, she sets out to prove herself by confronting Melissa head on.

At first, the team has nothing to go on, even as Melissa being guilty shapes up as the most logical explanation. There’s no evidence because she gave it to one of her friends. With some coaxing, he gives up the bullet he was unknowingly holding onto. Melissa is arrested as all the other conspiracy theorists are allowed to go home. There’s a lot to unpack here in terms of some pretty heavy connections to the way people in real life cling to their beliefs no matter what evidence proves them wrong, but there’s some comfort in knowing that our favorite shows can still give us a world where truth wins.

Next Episode: Submurged