I don't know whether to love or hate this show when it makes me cry. Because it did - I didn't even realize it, and maybe I was still tired at that point, but somewhere near the end I had tears on my cheeks. I don't know how it gets me emotionally invested in victims I've never seen before; I suppose I'm probably thinking about what it would it would be like if that happened to someone I know. But between the new mother who never came back (damn your emotional manipulation with the hands-touching-video-images, show!) and the would-be bride whose fiance was still mourning her loss at the start of the episode, I lost it.
God, the killer ("killer"?) here was disturbing. Almost more disturbing than a violent sociopath, with his perverse enjoyment of doing absolutely nothing, save the initial kidnap, and watching his victims work themselves into a mental quagmire until they virtually kill themselves. I found myself wondering a few times, long before he brought it up, if they could just get out of that room, whether there would even be any locks on the doors or if he was trusting their minds to imprison them, convincing themselves it would be futile to try.
I like stories where they find the victims alive. I realize they can't have them too often, but I got really, desperately invested in this one. I'm not even sure why. When they introduced that as a viable hope, and then suddenly took it away, I was devastated, and I don't actually remember breathing through the last ten minutes or so. I just wanted her to be okay. And then she was! Oh, that was satisfying.
This episode felt different, and not just because it was stripped of the usual controversies it likes to spark. With the excess agenda removed, it felt cleaner, sharper, more polished, more focused. That was the main thing, but it also seemed like there was less focus on the detectives' personal lives. Despite how much wasted breath the prisoner spent taunting Lily about her empty life, I still felt like the main characters took a backseat to the plot and the victims' lives, and that was different and good.
Didn't make me jump out of my seat at first viewing, but I think over time it will prove one of the season, if not the series', better episode.
Also: Scotty kicking the crap out of the prisoner was a welcome scene, because I was reaching a point where I wanted to do that myself. Vicarious living FTW.