As hard as it tries, this episode of Criminal Minds doesn't quite (okay, by some considerable margin) match up to the stunning 45 minutes or so that aired last week.
Nevertheless, with Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) back on the scene and reunited with the team (YAYYY!!) -- or, in her words, "putting the band back together again" -- things get off to a strong start. Walking back into the office with doughnuts, including Spencer's favorites, it's almost like she never left, and she almost immediately puts her foot in it with Alvez, commenting as she notices the lack of personal touches on his desk -- all while he's standing right behind her.
Found in a 55 gallon drum (anyone else feel claustrophobic just looking at the ultrasound? Okay, just me then...), the latest person to draw the team's attention is Lisa Barclay, although she's shortly joined by another, Sharon Landen, who is soon revealed to be an earlier victim who died the same way. Quite possibly the most horrific part of their murders is that they were still alive while inside the drums with concrete filling up the space around them, and they subsequently drowned *shudders*.
Kim Conte disappears, and it soon becomes clear that the UnSub has found his next victim. She's found a short time later -- his timeline is vastly accelerating, but his methods remain the same: encasing them in concrete and, as Reid soon figures out, drilling a hole through the nasal cavity to insert chlorine into his victims' brains, giving them a chemical lobotomy.
Alone on a stake-out, Prentiss and Alvez engage in more of a conversation, sharing smiles and humorous remarks including "I don't need a manual to profile you" from Luke to Emily, as he hits the mark on almost every comment and judgement he makes about her. He does, however, open up a bit about his own background, commenting that he served in Iraq as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Soon enough, a vehicle pulls up close by, and, as the driver -- a teenager -- gets out, is questioned by Prentiss and Alvez, the real UnSub, Stuart, lurks nearby. Free to go, the teen and his passenger, having planned a make-out session, leave as instructed, and Alvez hits the nail on the head once again when he notes: "he knows we're out here". The pair end their stake-out, returning to meet the rest of the team where JJ's remark that the UnSub won't be able to return to his usual haunt now -- that he "will devolve" -- proves to be correct.
At his house, clearly frustrated, Stuart picks up a family photo featuring himself, his mom Gloria and sister, and smashes it. As Gloria walks into the room and picks up the broken pieces, he asks her two questions: "When are you going to tell the truth?" and "Why did you adopt me?" She responds by telling him that, following the loss of her husband, she wanted another child, and her prayers were answered when she got him. Unconvinced, as she turns away, he hits her with a heavy candlestick, and she falls to the floor.
The following morning, she's tied to a chair while Stuart digs what appears to be a grave pit. He urges her to tell the truth, and she confesses, while trying to undo the ropes that bind her, that she found things difficult after his adoption, particularly since she was a single mom and his sister was 'acting out'. With Garcia's help, the team uncover his sister Lynelle suffered from Kluver-Bucy syndrome, brought on by frontal lobe damage in a car crash and that she had recently started getting treatment for it.
As Stuart and Gloria talk about Lynelle, it appears she's been missing for a while. "I know she's going to come home," Gloria tells him, at which point he stops digging and says "She's never coming back." Further digging on Garcia's end uncovers the truth: Lynelle isn't Stuart's sister at all but his real mom.
Having freed herself from the ropes, Gloria attempts to make a run for it, but Stuart grabs her. "You're a bad mother," he hisses. "Or should I say grand-mother?" A flash-back shows Lynelle and Stuart at the same place the barrels were discovered -- a lovers' lane of sorts -- where he opens up about his feelings, saying "I always hoped you'd want to come here with me", and reminding her that they're not actually related. He admits to having watched her hook up with other guys in the area, and, as he tries it with her, she finally confesses to being his mom. "You should have told me the truth" he yells, grabbing her.
Back with Gloria, Stuart confesses to killing Lynelle. His reason? Not because she had sex with so many men, but, as he says, "because she wouldn't have sex with me." Pushed back into the pit he dug, Gloria finds herself trapped by a grate he pulls over the top. As he kneels down, he reminds her once again, "you should have told me the truth." As he gets to his feet, he looks down on her and says of Lynette, "I'm standing on her right now", and, with that, he begins to pour out the cement down into the pit with a huge funnel.
Fortunately for Gloria, the team arrive just in time, and, alerted by her screams for help, Rossi moves the funnel away, as Luke chases and wrestles Stuart to the ground.
With the case closed, back in their Virginia office, Prentiss invites Luke out with JJ and Garcia to O-Keefe's bar, and, although he politely declines her offer, things draw to an end with the pair quickly and rather quietly reaching an understanding over his mention of the 75th.
Adam Rodriguez can then be officially hailed as a member of the Criminal Minds team, as he closes out the episode with a quotation voice-over: "Three things cannot long stay hidden; the sun, the moon, and the truth - Buddha."