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Criminal Minds
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Season 10: Episode 2 - Burn
Posted on Oct 9, 2014 12:00am

You’d never suspect Garcia, with her cat’s eye glasses and flowered tights, to have something in common with the UnSub. But in BURN, both Garcia and the UnSub are carrying around some very heavy baggage that they need to let go.

Garcia is having nightmares in the days leading up to her former attacker’s execution on death row. Derek urges Garcia to give up her guilt. This man, Greg Baylor (Potsch Boyd) tried to kill her. She owes Baylor nothing. But Garcia is a kind soul. And a guilty one. She tells her boss, Hotchner, she needs some time off and uses that time to go to Texas to see Baylor before he’s executed.

Meanwhile, the BAU investigates their latest UnSub, this time in Seattle. There’s been a string of killings, from a drowning, to strangulation, to a hit and run. There seems to be no connection – except all the victims are fathers with sons the same age, and the killings are following the sins laid out in Dante’s Circle of Hell. Apparently, the UnSub has some serious daddy issues.

Their first suspect is a disturbed high school student who’s blogged about Dante’s Circles of Hell. But he’s not the killer – he thinks women were killed, when all the victims were men. The BAU traces the student to his former mentor, an English teacher well versed in Dante who grew up with a violent and abusive father. That’s their UnSub.

Derek and Jennifer catch the UnSub just before he’s about to kill his next victim. It’s a close call, but they convince the UnSub to drop the gun and stop the killing spree. It’s not his victims that he’s killing. It’s his abusive father, who already passed away months ago.

Back in Texas, Baylor asks Garcia to attend his execution. He has no family or friends willing to witness his death. At first, Garcia balks, disturbed at the prospect. But then she realizes what Baylor, her former attacker, needs. His life was troubled. He killed many people. But if she witnesses his death, it somehow validates his humanity. He lived. He was a person. Everyone’s life has value – even a murderer.

Garcia abides by Baylor’s wishes, watching his execution from the viewing box. There, she’s able to hear his last words: "Thank you.” In the end, both Garcia and the UnSub learned the same lesson. Sometimes, the hardest person to forgive - is yourself.