‘Criminal Minds: Evolution’ Recap: Season 16 Premiere: “Just Getting Started”


The Criminal Minds: Evolution series premiere has arrived! The BAU is back in an action-packed episode that introduces multiple concerning characters, including that of Elias Voit.

Elias Emerges

in 2005, Elias is fishing for something in his trunk to open a lock. He gets inside, turns the light on, and drags a body into it with him where he sharpens a knife on a knife sharpener. He walks toward him and slits his wrists.

“how much blood came out before you started to change your mind?”

Flash forward to 2022, and he’s clearly upgraded. He’s got night vision cameras and turns off the security cameras outside. Suddenly, he appears inside of a baby’s room and then heads to the parents, turning off their baby camera and pulling out his knife. A thud is heard that wakes up the teenage daughter who peers out of her door and outside her window. Upon turning around, she faces Elias. The BAU is in Washington investigating what a few teenagers found (Elias’ lair).

Monty Brinton /Paramount+

Limited Resources

Tara enlists Luke’s help in Seattle to check out the active killer case. He wishes he could, but he promised Rossi he would hold down the fort for another week. Rossi is focused on another case and Emily has a lot on her mind with her new promotion.

Prentiss is in a meeting when she’s interrupted by the Deputy Director, Bailey, whom she requested a meeting from. She needed someone because the BAU is exhausted. Without the help of Reid and Simmons, they are crushing numbers. But they’re not at liberty to speak about it — when the two return, they will. He wonders when the last time Rossi visited the office was and if all those cases had finally caught up to him.

JJ is at home, kicking her feet up and catching up with her sons. She finds out her oldest has a boyfriend, and it gives her a real taste of reality and how fast they are growing. Will reminds her it was supposed to happen this way and they are doing their job. She gets an incoming call from Rossi who asks her what she has on Silver Spring. He has a realization and tries to get her off the phone, but JJ insists. She has him send her the case he’s working on in Alexandria, the Westbrook family.

The next morning, Rossi gets a tip and hurries to get ready. Luke and Rossi meet up with the local law enforcement, who tell him they killed the parents and saved the baby but kidnapped the teenage daughter.

Back in Quantico, Bailey asks Prentiss if she wants the entire BAU on the case. Tara is unavailable so he suggests the DEA gets on it because it’s a “cartel dump site.” Luke, JJ, and Rossi wonder why his motive has evolved so much: why is he abducting the daughters instead of killing them? In the back of his car, she’s tied up as he answers a text about a 10k offer for his car. JJ apologizes for Rossi’s blowout on Luke, but Luke is used to it. JJ, however, thinks that enough time has passed and they don’t deserve to be the punching bags anymore. They get the neighbor’s footage back and set out their Amber Alert to catch him. 

Back in Washington, Tara wonders if he stopped killing because they settled in. Prentiss continues to stick up for Tara’s whereabouts, despite Bailey being a clear thorn in her side.

Luke and law enforcement find the vehicle, but there’s nobody in the back. They corner the guy who bought the car and gave the money to Chrissy. While Crissy is trying to coerce RJ to let her go, he turns the car on and the radio up, ignoring her. The only connection they can run on is that both victims were part of SOAR, a safe online meeting place for teens. They know they have to contact Penelope. 


Peeping on Penelope

Penelope is hosting a baking class when Luke knocks at her door. Once they leave, Garcia tries to get him to leave but once he tells her about Soar, which she helped create and encrypt, she grabs her computer. She was big on avoiding stranger danger when creating. Penelope video chats Rossi and JJ, she says the UnSub is in his teens to early 20s but Penelope promises, because she created it, that nobody before the year 2000 can use SOAR. Rossi cuts her off, telling her the UnSub is older. He’s more advanced, in his 40s. Penelope holds her own promising to help but notes nobody talks like that to her anymore, especially people she loves, before she hangs up the call.

Luke and Garcia found a link with a younger man that wanted to find information on his family. Penelope then discovers there are 2 dozen acres of farmland that were taken by the state, RJ was the only survivor of his family. Chrissy asks how he found her. She didn’t tell him where she lives, she didn’t have to. When he wants something, he gets it. Chrissy fights him and he pulls a gun on her just as everyone pulls up. She comes out of the trailer holding the gun in her hands, blaming herself for what happened and holding the gun to her head. Rossi tries to relate to her, telling her about his wife and how hard it is. But her parents would want her to live. JJ and Luke check out the contents of his car. It seems outdated for a 19-year-old, and he couldn’t have done this alone. 

Monty Brinton / Paramount+

Rossi’s Double-Edged Sword

Prentiss thinks he should go home and spend time with his family. Long ago, Gideon told her to make sure she didn’t go private. It’s easier to fall into two modes: silence and rage. And everyone has to find out how to fill in the middle. Rossi notes that was his advice to Gideon, and Prentis says she’s simply reminding him. When you lose someone, let people in instead of riding the waves of grief alone. Rossi thinks she’s a much better person than he is.

Tara sends Rossi photos of matching kill kits they found at their site. They put two and two together that the 19-year-old may have been getting help from the older UnSub. At the end of the episode, Elias is digging a hole while listening to the radio when he hears about what happened to RJ.

Episodes will drop weekly through December 15 when the mid-season finale airs. They’ll pick back up on January 12 for the mid-season premiere, continuing until the finale on February 9.

Haley joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2019 as a Writer and Editor. Her main fandoms include Criminal Minds, Wrestling, and The Walking Dead. You can find her on Twitter @haleyanne_.

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