'Criminal Minds' Recap: 'Heathridge Manor'

By Lee Allport,

We begin this episode of Criminal Minds, entitled "Heathridge Manor," at Heathridge Manor in 1996 where a woman (Juliet Landau who played Drusilla on Buffy) is reading a child a fairy tale. Some people who look like orderlies come into the room and the woman looks at the boy and says "Look after your sister." She then begins fighting with the orderlies who subdue her quite quickly.

Fast forward to present day and two teens are sneaking into a psych hospital. In one of the rooms the kids find a dead body.

Penelope Garcia is apologizing for her system being down. She provides the case to the team. A school teacher has been found killed, dressed in renaissance clothing and bound. There is a lot of graffiti on the walls of the hospital so the team knows that it wouldn't have been impossible to kill her on site or to kill her elsewhere and carry her here. Dr. Spencer Reid mentions she had limestone under her fingernails, which wouldn't have been used when the asylum was built, which means she was most likely killed elsewhere.

We now see a woman crying out for help. She is in some type of underground dungeon (think Silence of the Lambs "it puts the lotion on its skin" scene). Water is being poured on her and she is very scared.

On the jet we find out the victim, Emma Baker, was divorced with a wild night life. She was gothic and into dark types of entertainment. Possibly they were satanists? Her boyfriend has an airtight alibi so he has been ruled out. They talk about Renaissance fairs and Garcia gets a bit defensive, so I'm thinking she's into that. The team is baffled as they always are in the beginning. They need more information.

Freddy Krueger is playing the police in the town they are visiting. Okay fine, his real name is Robert Englund but type cast is an understatement. Right away, SSA David Rossi realizes that the bed the unsub placed the victim upon was dragged. It's a very heavy bed so he obviously wanted her in the middle of the room.

We're back at Heathridge Manor present day with the same boy, now older. He is having memories of his mother. She is telling him how he is a chosen defender. She wants him to be vigilant and to destroy "them" before they destroy the family.

The M.E. tells us the cause of death of the first victim was nicotine poisoning through her garments. She also had a corset on so tight it left marks on her body and her dress was tied on. She died pretty quickly so she had no time to even try to get out of her clothing. We also find out she was held underwater for some time before her death.

The team goes to see a clothing historian type person you'd see on Pawn Stars. He says the fabric from the dress is not manufactured anymore. It's also a homemade dress. He can tell due to the uneven seams. It wasn't a skilled seamstress, most likely a teen. Now we wonder if our unsub is a teen, or a man with an accomplice who is being coerced.

The boy from Heathridge Manor is James and his sister is Lara. She is concerned about him. She wants to go back to school and he won't allow her to be ridiculed. She is confused by this because she has friends and no one picks on her in any way. She wants a computer and he won't let her have one but says he will take her to the library. She thinks Mother was wrong, but this upsets James. Obviously his sister knows that he is killing women and she has just kind of accepted it in a sad way. She is aware there will be more. She refers to them as "wife."

SSA Emily Prentiss finds some writing on graffiti from the hospital. There are numbers and names and one of the names is that of the victim. She knows that this means there will be more women he hasn't chosen yet.

The woman in the underground dungeon is being drowned. James pulls her out as his sister watches. His sister asks, "Is she..." and then suddenly the woman comes back to life and expels the water from her lungs. He replies that "she's one of them" and then says something along the lines of, "An innocent will die before the wise, but a devil's wife will surely rise." He is then seen sewing her into a fancy medieval dress. Apparently he is a witch hunter.

Her name was Alice Pritchard and she disappeared five days ago. She has no similarity to Emma so we know they aren't surrogates. They notice the attention to detail which is also satisfying some internal desire of the unsub.

According to her sorority sisters, Alice was not into anything dark, she wanted to be a nurse. Garcia calls and says that those names Prentiss found actually were women who disappeared. Spencer figures out that the numbers next to the names fit the satanic calendar for sacrifices.

James's sister has a guest at the house. Her friend has stopped by to pick up some money owed to her and they begin gossiping about boys and such things. James is very rude to her friend and kicks her out of the house. He is not happy to find out that they were talking about prom. He won't allow her to attend and tells her he loves her and would die for her. Because that is what she is asking him to do, bringing on unnecessary danger.

Rossi and Prentiss visit the theater across the street (supposedly they are in Oregon yet earlier in the episode we see that it is the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood) that is putting on a Shakespearean play. They want to check out the costumes. Come to find out, the costumes on the victims came from The Merry Wives of Windsor and were stolen from this theater.

James is talking to his mother who is telling him that his sister is at a vulnerable age where the devil will take notice.

Time for the profile. The unsub is delusional. He thinks he is acting on behalf of the devil. He is a history buff or a fan of Shakespeare. However, he is isolated, between 20-30 and he has a very specific victim in mind. He has a timetable based upon the satanic calendar that is important to him and he is hunting as they give the profile.

Spencer wants to know why the unsub is putting white makeup on these women. It leads him to wonder if it has something to do with the Salem Witch Trials. Reid doesn't think the unsub is worshipping the devil, instead, trying to fight him.

James is poorly hitting on a woman in a bar. It must work though because next thing we know he is throwing her in his Buffalo Bill dungeon.

The new victim's name is Sarah. Garcia finds out that an actress donated all of those costumes because she was in The Merry Wives of Windsor 16 years ago. She was also a patient at the psych ward and died in the fire, though speculation says she set the fire.

James has created a prom for his sister. This is the creepiest kind of sweet. He tells her that Mother told him the end is near, there is only one more devils bride and they have her. His sister is excited to get back to school. He then asks her to dance. For the first time we see she has a fake arm. They dance but she seems very uncomfortable. Not sure what that was about but her brother's hand was slipping down her back.

Rossi and SSA Derek Morgan are talking to the bartender from the place Sarah was abducted. He tells them that she isn't used to getting that type of attention from a handsome, wealthy guy. She was happy to leave with him.

James pulls Sarah from the water and she isn't moving. I swear you can see her breast in one scene, which I'm not sure with how much editing Gubler did on this episode he didn't notice. But I digress. James's sister is very upset that he killed an innocent woman and says she is calling the police. She has finally found her voice. He grabs her and tells her no, she can't call the police because they have to finalize the devil's wives. But she isn't buying it, she says that there will never be a final wife and the charade will go on forever and ever.

The sheriff brings Prentiss and SSA Jennifer "JJ" Jareau to a storage facility with no electricity so that they can find any information they can for the case. They find a file for this woman whose name was Heathridge. She was a textile heiress. She went off her anti-psychotics while pregnant with her daughter. During this time she had a small part in The Merry Wives of Windsor where she convinced herself the other actresses were the devil's brides and she stabbed one. Then she chopped off the arm of her baby daughter in order to make her less appealing to the devil.

James sees his mother and tells her he killed an innocent woman. She tells him not to worry that even the whitest knights have dark days. But it's time for him to kill her. We don't know who "her" is until we see his painting of a woman with no arm. Throughout the show he has been painting pictures of women that he thinks he needs to kill. They are pretty crudely done and look more cartoonish than anything else.

Reid says that most likely the Heathridge kids are carrying out her delusion. Garcia finds the address for the daughter, Lara.

James has woken his sister to tie her up and put her in the Elizabethan clothing. He says that when the devil comes for her he will kill it so that she can live. He then kisses her in a way that brothers don't kiss sisters. This poor girl is such a mess.

The BAU has arrived on scene, I have a feeling this is going to get ugly. Are they who James will think is the devil? As they spread out around the house Lara is upstairs having difficulty breathing.

Morgan has found some type of hidden door outside which ends up being a mausoleum. There is a dead woman inside, most likely the first victim.
Prentiss finds Lara and starts trying to get the outfit off of her. It's hard though because it seems to be sewn on. Meanwhile SSA Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner is about to get into a brawl with James. Your Kevlar can't do much when you're being beaten in the legs by a fire poker. But it's okay, Hotch is a bad ass (you should have seen him take out Ponyboy). He shoves James into the dungeon.

Lara will be okay but the team worries about her. The house seems to breed delusions. We see her answering the door to her house where a man is standing and says, "I've waited so long for you Lara, this time you'll come with me now." However, then another angle shows that no one is actually there at all.

This was a well directed episode. Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays Spencer Reid on the show, did a great job, he really has an eye for this. The Criminal Minds and Gubler fandom go crazy for the one episode he directs a year. Twitter, chat forums and all else light up with excitement. However, not everyone knows that film making/directing is actually what Gubler majored in during college. It's his first love. Acting being a far second, if even a second at all.

I have absolutely no idea why Robert Englund was cast in this show. I'm also a bit embarrassed for him. He had about 10 lines and didn't even deliver them well. The other actors did a great job with their characters, especially the girl who played Lara, Madeline Martin. At first I thought her character was a bit too much "scared bird" but then I realized why she portrayed it that way and it made sense.

All in all, a good job done by all. And now I just hope I don't get slashed to death by Freddy Krueger in my dreams.

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