Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 17 is all about deception and illusion, as the BAU team hunts down a criminal who seem to be targeting the homeless population.
The show opens up the beginnings of a woman's torture, who turns up to be the latest victim in a series of drowning that the BAU team has to deal with. The Criminal Minds team may be facing an unsub who has a very sadistic streak, as the female victims have died because of water, but the setting is that its in Las Vegas - the driest place you can get in the middle of the desert.
On the other hand, a young man named Finn, who had been looking for his missing sister and ended up looking for a job in a diner happens to meet up with the Master of Deception, Marvin Caul. He offered Finn a very vague job. And as it turns out, it's the beginning of trickery and thievery.
As the BAU team try to figure out where the unsub may be keeping the victims, another young woman screams for help underground through the sewer. The only clue that the BAU team has to go with are "2/10" which was first thought to be a code for how many victims have already been found, but one that is actually a code created by the man behind the curtains, so to speak.
Casinos, illusions, and small-time heists
Marvin takes Finn to the shelter, where it's revealed that an underground team of people have gathered together in what they call "Paradise." This serves as a home for syndicates with a number of methods and tricks to steal, but mostly small-time pickpocketing and snatches.
And then we're introduced to The Doctor, the puppeteer who seems to be pulling all the strings and one who doesn't blink an eye when it comes to executing those whom he thinks steals from him.
Until this time, the viewers are vaguely treated to a guessing game. Is The Doctor behind the killings? What has the syndicate got to do with the victims? And why are Finn and Marvin seemingly at the center of it all?
Behind these questions lies that darkness that Marvin has managed to wrap around Finn seemingly without him realizing it. Between showing off his prowess in hypnosis and feigning ignorance at what is being done to those who "steal" from The Doctor, Marvin seems to know more than what he lets on.
The Doctor who is anything but great
Up until this point in Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 17, it's like a game of cat and mouse-you never know who you should be watching, and what little crumbs you should be following.
It's when Finn vouched for another homeless woman to get her into the group that the wheels started to turn. Apparently, she was an undercover reporter who was bent on writing a story about the homeless and what goes underground. Just before she manages to escape from the enforcer Caesar (who does the dirty work for The Doctor), she gets captured and bound.
Finn manages to find and save the girl with Marvin's help. As the BAU closed in on the underground group and captured The Doctor's henchman, it's revealed that Marvin is, in fact, The Doctor, and that he was responsible for the death of Finn's sister.
Far from being the magnificent performer, The Doctor and Master of Deception was nothing more than a vindictive sideshow magician who couldn't stand the thought of Finn's sister leaving to work for another magician.
The only thing that's lacking from Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 17 is more scenes from Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). Almost everyone is getting some form of focus in the past few episodes, with the latest being Morgan (Shemar Moore) and Garcia (Kristin Vangsness) and their respective new loves.
Considering that cases in Las Vegas are the only times that Reid gets to visit his mother, played by Jane Lynch, it would have been an interesting segment for Gubler fans.
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