‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’: Shakeup At BAU, Plus Rossi Comes Face-To-Face With Real Voit (Recap)


[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 17 Episode 5 “Conspiracy vs. Theory.”]

What happens when the BAU must work with serial killer Voit (Zach Gilford) not only out of his cell and in their offices but also in the field? Nothing good, of course.

When Voit is first brought to the BAU’s offices, Rossi (Joe Mantegna) remains in his office, and the killer, of course, calls him out. “It’s been a long time since my last confession. I’d really like to talk to you,” he says. Prentiss (Paget Brewster) stops Rossi from stepping out, noting that he’s been talking to himself. It’s how he profiles, he argues.

Voit, meanwhile, dares to sit at Reid’s desk as they discuss him reaching out to Damien (David Garelic), part of Gold Star. Part of that includes some computer stuff Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) must do, which means Voit spends a bit of time in her office with her and Luke (Adam Rodriguez)—and remarks on the “vibe” between them before she refuses to spend any more time in an enclosed space with the killer because he smells.

The BAU correctly assumes Damien and Jade (Liana Liberato) have teamed up—he says people are waking up to what happened to kids like them and he has friends he can trust—and, like most conspiracy theories, see the FBI as the enemy. And so Prentiss wants Voit to tell Damien the FBI is onto him after the murders of the strike team and he has information about their investigation he’ll only share in person. Voit has Tara (Aisha Tyler) define the difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory—one is probable, the latter not—then the team applies the logic to Damien. He was groomed and abused in Stuart House, then selected by a private military company who sent him on missions that mirror his trauma, so a 10-year psychological project. But who created him and the others?

Damien does (eventually) respond and agree to meet, but their conversation ends before Garcia can finish tracking him—and Luke realizes Voit sent a secret message via tapping, Final target code name is North Star, in morse code. Voit insists that it’s nothing, just his way of getting Damien to do what he wanted by giving him something more to follow down the rabbit hole. (They still look into it.)

At the same time, Prentiss learns that Politico got her arrest record; it doesn’t matter that the charges were dropped, and it’s only a matter of time before the director finds out. And so Prentiss sits down with Rossi to profile Voit and figure out how he’ll use this meeting (which they know will happen, despite all the reasons it shouldn’t) to his advantage. Now that she won’t be in the field, Prentiss is sending Rossi—and if he senses an opening, if Voit were to run, she wants him to take it (meaning him out). And that’s when Rossi and the real Voit, after the agent had been hallucinating him, come face-to-face.
Voit is brought onto the jet and chained in his seat as the team (including Garcia) watches, then he has the audacity to say, “Wheels up.” And he keeps talking to them, until Rossi sits across from him and tells him if he has something to say to say it to him. Voit says he has something to confess—Garcia records—and talks about thinking about the moment the two would see each other again. Rossi lies and says he hasn’t thought about him at all. Voit’s realized that Rossi must have been so scared when he locked him in the shipping container, so his confession is he’s sorry. Does Rossi accept his apology? The agent says he’ll let him know on the way home, with a finger gun.

When it comes time for the meeting, Tara and Luke are set up nearby, while JJ (A.J. Cook) and Rebecca (Nicole Pacent) are with Garcia watching the cameras on her screens, and Rossi is with a sniper. A van, with Kevlar on the windows, comes barreling right for Voit. They’re able to take out the tires, and out of the vehicle steps a man wearing a bomb vest. Eddie did freelance work for Damien and Jade, and he woke up with it on when he tried to pull out of a sale when they couldn’t pay. The phone on the vest then rings; it’s Jade, to speak with Voit, or she’ll detonate. She’s nearby. He figured out that she draws tattoos on herself, and she tells him she has one picked out for him, a north star, since he lied about it. He insists he didn’t and that he knows why she draws on herself: She’s her own protector.

Meanwhile, the agents determine that the only way to keep Jade from detonating the bomb is to jam all signals in and out of the park, but that means cutting off the call. Voit suggests he and Jade make a deal: Look him in the eyes, he’ll tell her how to find North Star, then she can kill him. Then Garcia jams the signal, and the call ends, Jade walks away, and they get to work on the bomb. Rossi, of course, keeps his eyes on Voit, and with his hands out of view and him backing up… but then Voit looks at Rossi. Rossi remembers his conversation with Prentiss, while Voit remembers the talk on the plane—then raises his hands and gets down on his knees, a clear surrender, at least in that moment. Still, Rossi does punch him before telling him his apology is accepted and walking off.

When Voit is put in the prisoner van, however, Damien uses a badge to get past S.W.A.T. and into the front seat. He’s looking him in the eye: How do they get North Star? (And we have to wonder: Is North Star really something?)
While all this is going on, Prentiss has Tyler (Ryan-James Hatanaka) use his connections to track down Brian (Paul F. Tompkins). Brian tries to demand a lawyer (but he’s not under arrest) and refuses to talk. But Prentiss tells him she’s trying to help him and asks if he knows what he’s up against. Yes, he says, and they warned him she’d try something like this. She points out that these people have beaten him, leaked her arrest record, and want her off the board, and once she’s off the board, she wonders, what does he think they’ll do to him? He’s a “useful idiot.” He pretends he doesn’t know what Gold Star is, even though he mentioned it in their last call, and suggests that she‘s the one who sounds like a conspiracy theorist now.

But as he’s leaving, she asks for his help, as a friend who’s lost everything, and he admits that they gave him four words that are a “get out of federal custody free” card: “Teresa is in trouble.” Who’s Teresa? Prentiss asks. Brian doesn’t know. But Tyler then leaves someone a voicemail, “you might be in trouble.”

While Voit’s returned to his cell (where he seems to want to be) and Tara and Rebecca share a moment in the elevator, Prentiss is put on restricted duty (and dealing with the stress of everything by smoking a cigarette) and Rossi, now in charge, assures her it’s temporary. But she needs him to step up, even if he’s not at his best. After all, none of them are, she points out. She asked Rossi to assassinate Voit in the field, and while it didn’t happen, ever since her arrest, she feels like she’s sold out every value she holds dear, and when you do that, it gets harder to tell the difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. Clearly, Prentiss needs a hug, and she gets one from Rossi.