We open inside the hottest dance club in Atlanta. The hottest of the hot dance, drink and then drink some more. A pair of pretty blondes notice an apparently gorgeous guy approaching. The man whispers something into the ear of one of the women and she seems more than a little bit intrigued.
And that's unfortunate because what we just witnessed was a flashback. The intrigued woman, Vanessa Holden, was clubbing with her sister Ashley before being brutally murdered. But wait, it gets worse: The girl was gutted and then left to bleed before her throat was slit. "So he disemboweled her and didn't kill her for four hours," Rossi says. Jordan points out similar cases in the past year, but involving prostitutes. All the victim's were found with ammonia under the fingernails. "He's making them clean up their own murder," Derek says.
Cue opening credits! Welcome to another episode of "Criminal Minds" guaranteed to give you nightmares.
As the team flies to Georgia, Rossi wonders how the killer goes from stalking prostitutes to a socialite -- or, as he puts it, from "loser to Don Juan." "We have to build two profiles then," Emily says. "One for the unsub who kills prostitutes and one for the unsub who goes to clubs." Hotch agrees.
The team arrives at the Atlanta police department to find that a). there is no DNA evidence at the crime scene; b). no one single description from the club matches another; and c). the family has stopped cooperating. In other words, a real winner of a case. Might be the first time in show history that the team flat-out strikes out. Only time will tell (another 51 minutes actually).
Jordan, Derek and Hotch go to visit Mrs. Holden, the matriarch of a very powerful family. "This man is a monster," Jordan says. "And we can catch him but we need your daughter's help." Mrs. Holden reluctantly agrees and the team meets with Ashley. The girl describes the man as "hitting on us but making a joke about it at the same time." Sounds like the unsub, a "rocker" type in silly hat, was a real pick-up artist.
Back at headquarters, Emily theorizes the unsub would have to go somewhere to change himself so thoroughly. Where did he learn to act the way he does with socialites after slumming it with prostitutes for so long? Rossi points out an ad in an alternative paper promising to teach men how to "pick up chicks" next to ads for the prostitutes who ended up dead. Could be a lead. Besides, what else do they have to go on?
A few words from our sponsors later, another victim has been discovered. This time, the victim was not disemboweled, but pushed out of an eight-story building. Also: the cleaning supplies weren't organized in the same meticulous manner. "I think there might be a new pattern emerging," Reid says. Also: the man changes looks but always manages to obscure the same area above his left eye. Hotch theorizes that the man has a scar or a birthmark and tells Jordan to release the information to the press. In the meantime, Emily returns with news: the only pick up artist that encourages his clients to dress "like space cowboys" is a man called Viper.
Derek, Emily and Hotch visit this Viper, who wears a big, furry cowboy hat and talks about being a "predator" with women. "Will you listen to that language," Derek says. "He's training serial killers." After the class, Viper reveals himself to be the cockiest, slimiest dude east of the Mississippi. He not only openly hits on Emily, but also refuses to hand over the names of his students. But does that make the man a killer?
Later, Rossi introduces Hotch to Melissa Foster, a local waitress who recognized a sketch of the unsub on television. "I gave him the scar," she says. "I was a prostitute." The woman says the man came to her apartment and did little more than pace and rant, calling her "the help." When the John attacked, Melissa slashed him above the left eye. But it wasn't the pain that made the man flee. "It was the mess," Rossi says.
The team briefs the local police. The man is white, in excellent physical shape and probably works as a low-level cleaner somewhere -- as the help, if you will (and I know you will). Cops will infiltrate the clubs later that night to keep an eye open for suspicious behavior. In the meantime, someone needs to profile the Viper by studying his verbal cues "up close and personal." Any takers? "Oh this is really going to suck," Emily says.
More than a few words from our sponsors later, Emily sits at a table at a club, putting out the vibe. That vibe attracts none other than Viper, who starts by laying it on thick and continues by laying it on even thicker. Suddenly, Jordan appears in a slinky cocktail dress. The Viper is clearly thrown off his game. What game are our girls playing? It soon becomes clear: They're baiting the dude. Emily says she can't figure out what the killer learned from Viper. Jordan says she wouldn't even let Viper on her Facebook page. Viper snaps, explaining that he teaches his students to "squash" women who act like queen bees.
Emily and Jordan leave the club and call Hotch. "Our unsub knew Vanessa Holden," Emily says. "It's Viper's first confidence-building exercise. Find the source of your first rejection and make her pay for it." That's why the unsub stopped killing prostitutes. "He took Viper's class and decided to confront Vanessa Holden," Emily finishes.
Hotch and Rossi go see Mrs. Holden and Ashley. Did Vanessa have a former boyfriend/ lover with a cleanliness issue? Mrs. King's eyes light up. A former housekeeper's young son was caught playing doctor with Vanessa one day. "I did what any would parent would do," Mrs. King says. She spanked the boy, humiliating him. "His name was Bobby," Ashley says. Mom also remembers the name of the cleaning service.
Cut to later in the evening. It's last call at the club Derek and Reid visited earlier in thatnight. A man with a scar above his left eye hits on an attractive blonde at the bar. The bartender recognizes the man from the sketch Reid showed her and rushes into a back room. As she dials Reid's number, the unsub comes out of nowhere, punching her in the face! Cut to commercial.
Back from commercial hell, Reid and Derek show up at the club to find the bartender missing. "He has her," Reid says. Back at headquarters, Garcia has finally located Viper's attendance records. She looks for a "Bobby" and finds 23 instances. "Pull the mothers names and cross reference with work and home addresses," Hotch demands. Bingo. Our unsub's name is Robert C. Parker -- and he lives five miles away.
Cut to the team approaching a dark apartment. Inside, the psychopath forces the bartender to clean the floor. "The help doesn't talk," he says as he tapes her mouth shut. Derek bursts through the door, knocking Robert C. Parker to the floor. The man is taken into custody.
Suddenly, Hotch hears something from a nearby bedroom and moves to investigate. It is Robert's mother, who is hooked to a dialysis pump. "Where's Robert?" the woman cries. "I need to be changed." Cleanliness may be next to Godliness, but sometimes it's just too much of a chore.