Criminal Minds : Evolution – Season 1 Episode 1 “Just Getting Started ” Recap & Review

Just Getting Started

Criminal Minds: Evolution  Season 1 Episode 1 starts with a flashback from 2005 in Yakima County. An unsub is keeping a shipping container in the middle of nowhere; he drags a victim inside and proceeds to kill them. The shipping container is discovered in 2022 and the police call in Tara from the BAU to help with the case. In the container, there are multiple mummified bodies.

Tara calls Luke to ask if he can fly to Yakima. Things have changed since we last saw the BAU team. Budget cuts and bureaucracy have led to each member of the team taking on different cases on their own. Luke tells Tara that unfortunately, he can’t fly down to help her. He is currently helping Rossi by holding the fort down when he investigates a case in Virginia.

Rossi is working on a family annihilator case in Virginia and it has been hard for him to get a break in the case. Emily is managing agents and dealing with the endless bureaucracy being shoved down their throats. Agent Reid and Agent Simmons are away on classified assignments.

Rossi is struggling not only with the case but personally, he has been through some tough times, especially after the pandemic. JJ is also struggling to balance work and family and feels like she is missing seeing her children grow up.  Rossi calls her to touch base and ask for fresh eyes in the Virginia case. He has a gut feeling that the unsub will strike again.

In 2022, another unsub breaks into a home when the family is sleeping and kills the parents kidnaps their teenage daughter but spares the infant boy. Rossi realizes the unsub is evolving and he calls JJ and Luke to help. Rossi is not in a good place and he is taking it out on his team, lashing out and scolding them over minor things. His teammates are worried about how he has been dealing with the grief after his wife died.

The team secures CCTV footage of the home invasion from the family’s neighbour and gets a BOLO for the car the unsub used. They also issue an amber alert for the teenage girl. They get an alert and find the car used in the kidnapping but it proves to be a dead end. The unsub sold the car online and dropped it off at Walmart. The guy who bought the car didn’t meet the unsub but the victim and didn’t realize she was in trouble.

They realize that the victim doesn’t know her parents are dead and the unsub is threatening to circle back to them to make her do his bidding. They try to find the connection between the two victims of the family annihilator and find that both girls only used an online platform that was created to give teenagers a safe space.

Luke thinks they should call Garcia to help but JJ argues that they promised not to. Luke insists and pays a visit to Garcia, who is enjoying her life away from the BAU. She is not happy that Luke is asking her to be involved but still helps. She and Rossi get into it when they differ in the possible age of the unsub. Emily worries about Rossi and reminds him that they are there for him and that he can depend on them as he grieves.

Their differences aside, Garcia and the team works on finding more about the unsub. They discover the two victims spoke to a 19 yr old whose parents ODed on drugs. He has since been looking to recreate a family and might possibly be their unsub. They get his address and head there to arrest him for questioning.

Elsewhere, the Virginia unsub brings his victim to his trailer home in a secluded area. He tells her that he is saving her from her parents. She realizes that he already killed her parents and she tries to get away from him. They have an altercation and a shot is fired. The girl gets out holding a gun just as the police get there.

Overwhelmed, she tries to commit suicide but Rossi talks her off the cliff. While investigating the crime scene, they learn the unsub shot himself and discover a kill kit in his belongings. They think he might have someone older who is training him to kill. As Tara watches the news, she sees the kill kit and texts Rossi telling him that their cases might be linked.

In the meantime, Emily is working hard to get Tara to take the Yakima case because once again bureaucracy. The Deputy Director, Bailey wants the DEA to take over the case and focus on the missing girl. Emily pushes back and insists the killing in Yakima was not done by drug cartels but by a serial killer. Emily wants Tara to expedite the evidence and the container to the BAU headquarters but getting clearance for that is difficult.

Tara questions if the killings in Yakima stopped in 2020 because of the pandemic. She asks Emily to pull some strings to transfer the container to Quantico after learning that both unsubs had a kill kit. Rossi argues maybe, Tara’s unsub was the one training the Virginia unsub.

The episode ends with another unsub in Whitefield County, GA burying a kill kit.

The Episode Review

Fans asked and practically begged for the return of the BAU team on their screens and Paramount+ has delivered. The team has evolved from the last time we saw them and that is okay. Change is normal and it is a good thing in most cases.

It breaks my heart to see Rossi overwhelmed with his grief. The last time we saw him, he was a happily married man. It is unclear how his wife died but we might learn the specifics later on in the show.

The pandemic put all of us through the wringer but I bet none of us thought about how it affected serial killers. Based on this first episode, we are in for a dark, psychological thriller that dives into a network of twisted serial killers. Are you ready?

Next Episode

We’ll have a full season review for this one up after the series has concluded!

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