Criminal Minds
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Season 10: Episode 13 - Nelson's Sparrow
Posted on Jan 29, 2015 01:00am

One of the BAU’s own is killed trying to solve his final case. So the BAU band together to solve the case on behalf of their fallen colleague, Gideon.

Rossi and the rest of the BAU hadn’t talked to Gideon in years, since he left the force. Yet, Gideon’s influence still loomed large over all of them. Spencer was the most torn up, unable to hide his emotions. Everyone is determined to do whatever they can to nab this UnSub and stop him from killing again.

Years ago, when Detective Rossi was Spencer’s age, his partner on the BAU was Gideon. One of their first cases involved a woman abducted from Roanoke, Virginia. The case was never solved but it continued to haunt Gideon and Rossi, to this day. Yet, when they hear that Gideon was murdered in his own remote cabin, the BAU go on site to see if they can crack the case by doing the same trick Gideon used to pull, getting into the UnSub’s head. As Derek recalls, Gideon used to say, "I’m the UnSub. How’d I do it?”

From the layout of the cabin and the gunshots, the BAU can tell that Gideon was shot at close range. A killer could have shot him from outside the cabin, but this killer wanted Gideon to know who he was. This kill was personal.

Back in the 70s, on one of Gideon and Rossi’s first cases, the UnSub abducted a local woman from the same area, in Roanoke, Virginia. Now. The BAU learns that the UnSub kept his victim captive for almost 40 years. When his hostage recently died, the UnSub was forced to get a new victim, bringing Gideon and the BAU back on the case.

The UnSub’s passion is bird watching. Both women he captured were housed in his dank basement, among a slew of birds in birdcages. He even treated his victims like birds, feeding them worms, gluing feathers to their pictures and breaking their legs if they disobeyed him.

Hotchner and the rest of the BAU realize that Gideon got involved in the case again, once he heard of a new abduction in the same area, with similar circumstances to his first case, years ago. This time, the UnSub lured a trusting young woman into his van, saying that his dog was hurt. But the only one getting hurt was his victim, when the UnSub conked her over the head and took her home in his van.

Once he got her there, he tortured her, confining her to a wheelchair and trying to force-feed her worms. When he held a live bird in his hands, he ordered his victim to tell him to kill the bird. Scared and feeling trapped, she yelled at him to kill it. And he did, snapping the birds’ neck. The UnSub tossed the dead bird into the young woman’s lap, letting her know that she would soon suffer a similar, if not worse fate.

Eventually, through her online research, Garcia tracks down a troubled man in the area born to a schizophrenic, teenage mother and then raised by his wheelchair bound grandmother. A situation bound to traumatize anyone, especially if the UnSub also had a history of mental illness. His name is Donny Malick and the BAU is convinced that Donny is their UnSub.

They head to Donny’s remote cabin, guns drawn. Yet, when Rossi comes face to face with his friend Gideon’s killer, he does something strange. Rossi puts down his gun, making it look like he’s surrendering. But it’s all part of a plan. Spencer ends up shooting the UnSub from the back, killing him and enabling them to free Donny’s latest young victim.

There is some feeling of satisfaction for the BAU, for killing the UnSub that murdered their beloved friend. But the UnSub’s death doesn’t bring Gideon back. And if there’s one thing that the BAU knows, it's that there will be another UnSub to track down and another crime to solve, sooner than they wish to admit.