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We start this episode of Criminal Minds with a woman coming into her home and immediately pouring a glass of wine and lighting a cigarette. Suddenly she feels woozy and panics, dumps a powder (salt) into her glass and begins to vomit. However it's too late and she begins to fall down only to look out her glass door to see a man in black breaking in. Here is where it gets weird, the man walks right past her into her living room and turns on one of the worst love ballads on earth. Yes folks, this rapist does his best work to the Karate Kid song "You're The Inspiration."
Emily Prentiss is sitting in therapy, her doctor telling her it's their last session. She has even stopped biting her nails, for three days. Her therapist tells her that she never had a chance to mourn her own death, that in faking her death she may have lost someone she loved, herself. She should consider that.
The round table rooms awaits and Penelope Garcia is telling the team that Seattle needs their help on the Piano Man case, a serial rapist. Twelve victims over five years, with no care about age or race. He brands his victims around the wrists and neck with piano wire. It is assumed he administers drugs to their drinks since he keeps them each at least 12 hours. This man is going back and attacking his survivors. Apparently he is after their fear.
Prentiss arrives on the jet and only her boss SSA Aaron Hotchner is waiting for her. He tells her he wants to talk about her psych evaluation. Emily feels there is nothing to discuss, because she has a clean bill of health. Little does she know Aaron has read it over and notices that she says she is dating a man named Sergio (that is her cat). He worries her behavior is affecting her job by overcompensating. She is in a hurry to regain everyone's trust. He just wants her to come to him if she has a bad day.
Agent Prentiss and Agent Jennifer Jareau are re-interviewing the Piano Man's victims looking for a connection to find how the unsub is drugging them They all have a a similar story about their attack. They quickly notice all of the victims smoke, which they decide is how the unsub is drugging them.
Agent Spencer Reid and Agent Derek Morgan are at the missing victim's home talking to her husband. They are looking at her MP3 player noticing that the last 20 plays are deleted. It looks like he brought his own music. Penelope finds the song through the in-house computer system and plays it, the husband gets upset and asks them to turn it off. He says that the song always bothered his wife.
A waitress (played by the stunning Dina Meyer) is in a bar and a man begins to play "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on the piano. She walks over and asks him to stop, when he doesn't she slams his hand in the piano stating she does not like the song. She then goes in the back and begins crying. We find out her name is Regina Lambert, the first victim of The Piano Man.
Back at the office Prentiss asks one of the victims if there is a song she can't stand. She replies quickly that yes, there is. They then ask her about why she said "No one believes a slut who cries wolf" earlier. The victim says she doesn't remember anything and wants to leave.
The team notices that each victim seems to have a piano ballad that upsets them. Spencer says that The Piano Man most likely plays these songs during the torture and it causes a Pavlovian response. Soon after this we find the body of the victim from the beginning of the episode.
We're back at the bar and Regina seems a bit tipsy walking out to the parking garage with the man who was playing the piano. He is concerned about her driving drunk and she says she'll sleep it off. She then turns to him and asks for a cigarette. He makes her promise not to tell his wife, laughingly.
She then says "I never knew why I hated that song so much. But tonight you helped me figure it out. You did. That's the song you played when you raped me." And she sticks a tazer straight to his heart. This victim, well, she isn't going down without a fight! This is true Dina Meyer style and I'm thrilled she got this roll!
After a quick scene regarding a neoprene glove and how the unsub must be allergic to latex, we're back at the Regina's house. The piano playing man wakes up at a piano literally strung up with piano wire. He begins shouting for help and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is played over a radio. She walks into the room and asks him if he likes her outfit, it was the one she wore when he raped her. He is very confused and says she has the wrong man.
Prentiss and Hotch are at the station and get a call from Garcia. She has found an orderly that was at the hospital when each of the victims came in and then accessed their insurance records after they left. They will check him out.
The abducted man is still pleading his innocence. He says he learned that song to propose to his wife. She says "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is a crap song to propose to. He responds that it wasn't "Total Eclipse of the Heart." He played another song (and begins playing it) and she says it is the same song. He says it was written by the same guy and that is why she is confused.
The victim that Prentiss and JJ were speaking with comes back, scared that The Piano Man killed a victim and worried he could be coming for her. She is ready to talk. She tells them that he never played a song or even sang a song. He also never tied her up. When he was done he bashed her head into the van. However apparently it doesn't occur to any of the FBI that this wasn't the same rapist. I think that was bad writing.
The team arrives at the home of the orderly, they find neoprene gloves right away. The orderly tries to run but of course Derek catches him. Morgan's so manly.
Now Regina is certain she has The Piano Man. He sang the songs for her trying to prove they were different, but she remembers the way he sang to her that night. He still disagrees, he is still pleading his innocence. We're really believing him too. He doesn't seem like a man who could hurt anyone. She shoots him through his hand. She wraps his hand and tells him he has 48 hours until gangrene sets in, less if he doesn't eat, giving him a sandwich.
Suddenly he tells her "I didn't do anything to you that you didn't want."
She begins showing him the scars he left behind and what each one means. What each and every scar did to ruin her life in a different way. She asks him why she would have ever wanted that? He explains that she mixed him up with someone else, just like she did the songs.
Prentiss is with the orderly and he immediately wants a lawyer. She uses a tactic to bait him. She tells him the way he treats his dates is much like the Piano Man. Prentiss tries to get him to admit he got a little too rough. He says he never did but it doesn't matter because "No one believes a slut who cries wolf." It looks like we have our man.
Regina answers her phone to find out that The Piano Man has been arrested. The man at the piano begins laughing and she asks him "What did you mean, how did I mix things up?"
He replies that "We've met before, just not the way you remember."
He tells her they slept together. Apparently after her rape when her life fell apart, she went through a hard confusing time. She would go to bars, pick up men, sleep with them and kick them out. She was so confused at the time she can't remember if the story is true.
Meanwhile the team is going through the orderlies music looking for those ballads. He doesn't have anything like it. This spurs Reid to tell a long story that basically means our favorite music is what we listened to when we were 14. In figuring this out we know the orderly can't be our unsub, he is far too young.
Prentiss and Hotch are with the orderly asking him to confess. He explains that he isn't The Piano Man, he just wanted to emulate him. He was also going to go back for his victims, but The Piano Man got there first. His next victim was going to be Regina Lambert. The BAU also figures out that the real Piano Man was trying to frame the orderly for the murder.
Regina is pacing her home and the man is crying out for her, saying he is hurt and needs help. She doesn't know what to do, I mean maybe he is innocent. She shot him already and obviously that isn't good. We see him begin to try and untie himself. At this point she seems to have made up her mind, she grabs her gun and approaches him. Suddenly he rears up and hits her in the face. They begin to fight.
Garcia is trying to reach Regina via phone but she won't answer. Garcia found the video from the night that Regina abducted the man. It's obvious to Hotch that she set herself up as bait when she realized who he was. Hotch tells her to pull the prints and rape kit from Regina's attack to find out if it is in fact the same guy. Apparently there has always been a print but it was inconclusive or something like that. It comes back that the man is Hamilton Bartholomew.
Regina is in her home with gun drawn. She is freaking out and shooting all willy-nilly. Meanwhile the man is making a phone call to police claiming he is being held hostage by a crazy woman. His name is Hamilton Bartholomew.
FBI rushes the house and Regina has her gun pointed at him. Prentiss says it isn't him, her rape kit and his finger print don't match and if she pulls the trigger she'll be killing an innocent man. She really doesn't know what to do, she is certain he is her rapist. Obviously Prentiss is only telling her this to keep her out of jail.
She drops the gun and Prentiss cuffs Regina and is very nice to her. When they get out of the house Regina sees Hamilton being handcuffed and put in the police car. She knows at that moment it was him and she is angry.
Regina requests Prentiss to give her statement to. When Emily arrives Regina wants to know why she didn't let her kill Bartholomew.
Emily says she didn't want Regina to be in prison. Regina argues that if he was dead she would have peace. Regina starts breaking down, telling Emily she has no idea what it's like when the monster from your nightmares comes back into your life.
Prentiss flinches and Regina knows something had happened to her. She asks if Emily "arrested him like a good FBI Agent" or if she killed him. Prentiss tells her that she did not have to pull the trigger, but yes, her monster was dead.
Regina tells Prentiss that her monster is dead, but she'd have to live with hers forever. That is her statement.
We end the episode with Emily arriving at the jet early waiting for Hotch. She is visibly shaken. She tells him she has had a bad day.