Criminal Minds: Evolution – Season 2 Episode 2 “Contagion” Recap & Review


Episode 2 of Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 starts with an unsub enucleating two victims. At Stoneward Penitentiary, tensions rise as Jennifer grapples with Voit’s uncooperative nature.

With time running out, Luke proposes a new strategy-exploiting Voit’s longing for his family. Despite Voit’s attempts to reach out to his wife, his letters remain unopened, hinting at a deeper family dynamic.

On the other hand, Tara and Garcia bond over having to work with their exes.  At the same time, Tyler approaches Rebecca, asking her to sign off on a mission to talk to a “guy.” The guy in question has information about the escrow accounts used to pay the strike team.

According to Tyler, the friend discovered that the escrow firm has an office downtown and he wants to find out who is running the office. He wants to stake out the office and interview the people going inside. Rossi convinces Rebecca that he will keep an eye on Tyler to make sure he does things legally.

The conversation is interrupted by the new case. Emily has been keeping tabs on cases that overlap with Goldstar’s M.O., and they have a new case.

Emily thinks it will be foolish to take Voit’s words at face value and assume Goldstar is in hiding after completing his mission. She wants the team to look into the new case as it fits Goldstar’s profile. Rossi offers to join her, and Tara agrees to keep an eye on Tyler during the stakeout. 

As for Luke and Jennifer, they put on a charade infront of Voit. Voit doesn’t buy it but still starts talking to Jennifer. Jennifer starts slow, trying to reel Voit in.

The cat-and-mouse game starts in earnest and drags on for a while. However, Jenifer gets the best of him, and Voit agrees to read the files on the recent case.  He quickly changes his mind after realising the crime scene photos are not included. 

Jennifer asks for Emily’s opinion, and they agree that Voit is doing a power play and wants to keep them on their toes. Luke and Jennifer think that Goldstar learned how to cut the lingual artery on the tongue from Voit.

Goldstar used this technique to kill his last victim, and they have also seen it on the bodies in the shipping container.  If they can tie Voit to Goldstar and prove they exchanged killing techniques, it will prove Voit is Sycarius. 

As Jennifer and Voit continue their psychological warfare, Jennifer corners Voit to admit he talked to Goldstar on his network. However, Voit insists they only talked about social contagion (the spread of behaviour based on what one is exposed to).

Unfortunately, Voit sees Jennifer’s game when she brings up the lingual artery and refuses to talk to her anymore. In fact, he gets his lawyer to make a legal request that she stay away from him.

Away from Voit, the new case has Emily and Rossi tripping in different directions. Emily is confident that the unsub is Goldstar, while Rossi thinks it is not.

As they investigate, Rossi comes clean and admits he is hesitant. They get into an argument when Emily thinks they are ready to give their profile, and Rossi cuts her off. She argues that Rossi would have never second-guessed Hotch. After talking it over, Emily suggests they follow the case and prove who is right. Rossi and Emily realise they both have confirmation bias and don’t walk to work with Voit, but they have no choice.

It turns out that the unsub is a young man who was abused at a behavioural modification programme. The victims used to teach at the school and were killed for revenge. As they dig deep, the unsub strikes again and takes a woman. This time, the unsub leaves the victim’s daughter as a witness.

The daughter explains her mom saved all her emails and Garcia uses this information to narrow down the behavioural modification programme linked to all victims. A little digging into the programme, and they find a boy named Aiden Keller who fits the description of the unsub. 

Elsewhere, Tara and Tyler stake out the escrow building, but it proves to be a waste of time. A few hours into it, Rebecca joins the two, and Luke struggles to survive another argument between the exes.

After spending the whole day waiting in vain, Tyler lies he is having stomach issues and sneaks into the building. He finds a few passports of the same man under different names. In the car, Tara and Rebecca finally call a truce and things seem to settle down between them. They remain unaware of Tyler’s sneaky behaviour, and he never fills them in. 

After Voit’s lawyer files a petition against Jennifer, the team hold an online meeting to discuss their next step. Rebecca warns the BAU team that the Director is already thinking of replacing them if they fail. Emily sends Luke in and asks him to act like he is scared of Voit. 

After Garcia tracks down, Keller, Emily, Rossi, and the SWAT team rush to save the latest victim. On the other hand, Luke ignores Emily’s advice and approaches Voit from a different perspective. His method works, and Voit sees him as the only one who has been honest with him.

This gets Voit to open up to him, saying Jennifer never asked the important question of why BAU is investigating a national security threat. Voit claims the team is out of their depth as Goldstar is more than a serial killer or assassin. 

Luke asks for more answers, but Voit claims their little profile won’t help them find the answers. According to Voit, Goldstar is a conspiracy theorist who was abusively groomed and indoctrinated by training to believe a lie.

Voit argues that by Goldstar killing the strike team sent after him, he became even more dangerous and free to spread his ‘infection.’ Voit argues this is why Madison will stop at nothing, even forcing the BAU to work with a serial killer to bring Goldstar in.

The scene shifts to Emily, Rossi and the local cops rushing to save the female victim from Keller. Keller accuses the female victim of abusing him when he was in the programme, but this seems like a surprise to her.  Keller insists that it happened while the victim begs for mercy.

Emily and Rossi get to Keller in time, but he threatens to kill the victim when Emily mentions Goldstar. Rossi is forced to kill Keller to save the victim. A few minutes afterwards, Garcia calls Emily and informs her that she wasn’t able to find any link between Keller and Goldstar.

We circle back to the prison, where Luke and Voit are having a serious talk. Luke wants to know what they are missing, and Voit asks him to come closer. We have no idea what he says to Luke, but the latter loses his cool. He pulls Voit through the bars, and Jennifer and other officers are forced to intervene.

The episode ends with Voit refusing to tell Jennifer what he said to rile up Luke so badly. Instead, he asks her, “Who is infected now?”

The Episode Review

This episode was one of the best intense psychological thrills we have seen on the show so far. Zach Gilford is quite an impressive actor, and his ability to quickly switch his facial expressions to convey the character’s psychopathic tendencies is incredible. 

Based on what we know so far, it is safe to assume that Goldstar is creating a network of killers by making them believe in different conspiracy theories. He is also just getting started, but it makes us wonder why he didn’t come for Madison, too. Technically, Madison was part of the people who ordered a hit on him.

We are also curious as to why he went rogue, did it have to do with his interaction with Sycarius? We have to be cautious with Voit; it is highly possible that he is the start of the social contagion.  Lastly, what did he tell Luke? Luke seemed angry and in denial, but Voit kept saying you know it is true. What is true? 

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

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