The old fable we see unfolding on Criminal Minds takes many forms, but it goes something like this: A dangerous creature, like a poisonous snake or scorpion, asks someone for help, and promises not to strike.
It is against her better judgment, but she takes a risk. She picks up the snake and takes it across the river, then... ouch! "But you promised!" she cries. "You knew what I was when you picked me up," hisses the snake as it slithers away.
It was, after all, a snake. What can one expect? And a serial killer, likewise, is a psychopath. Can you expect anything good to come out of working with one?
We see this dynamic developing on the CBS show, which will air its Season 11 finale on Wednesday. The BAU agents tap a serial killer (Antonia Slade, creeptastically played by Frances Fisher) for help in finding a crazy unsub at large. This mystery man sent a package to Antonia containing the bloody clothes of two boys that were kidnapped, but we learn they are still alive. BAU agents visit the diabolical Antonia in her solitary confinement prison, where the unsub sent the package as fan mail. Agents question her, hoping for information on his identity and whereabouts. They are newly lacking colleague Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), but are still doggedly pursuing their crazies.
It's a scenario straight out of the 1991 movie The Silence of the Lambs, in which Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) of the FBI taps the cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), for information about the at-large serial killer named Buffalo Bill. Antonia, like Lecter, is a mental health professional gone bad and knows how to manipulate people.
It's a precarious situation for the agents. The only person who potentially has the information they need is a psychopath who has nothing but leverage, and can demand almost anything. The agents are desperate to save these boys' lives, and she knows it. So she exerts her control by demanding personal confidences from agents, demanding a transfer to a prison in her home state of Kentucky and insisting that agents remove her handcuffs on the airplane.
This particular unsub killed himself when the boys were rescued in the recent "Devil's Backbone" episode, but we got hints that he was connected to other people. Antonia had whispered something in the man's ear. Then, in the episode's final moments, Antonia gives this ominous warning: "There's a storm coming, Agent Hotchner, and you're about to be swept away."
Since Criminal Minds comes full of surprises and twists, it is anyone's guess exactly what that storm is and how it blows. But I bet that Antonia is the one directing the foul weather here. She already has reason to be ticked off at the BAU agents and want revenge, because they lied about promising the prison transfer. I could see Antonia tipping off her outside contacts and leading the agents into an ambush and a cliffhanger. Perhaps the The Silence of the Lambs throwback continues and a lone female agent, probably Aisha Tyler's Dr. Tara Lewis, is trapped in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game. Maybe Antonia will escape and do the deed herself.
You could call the agents foolish to trust the most untrustworthy of the human race, risking all kinds of harm, and it would be. However, let's be honest: Does anyone have a better idea on how to get critical information in this situation?
No, I don't think I do.
I can only hope that in the real world, Charles Manson and his ilk aren't getting fact-finding visits from the FBI.
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