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The Thirteenth Step


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Drama/Crime/Mystery/Thriller, USA, 2011, 42 min.

Synopsis A young couple, Sydney and Ray, discusses the possibility of marriage as they enter a convenience store. The store clerk jokes about how awful matrimony can be, which doesn't sit well with the pair of 20-somethings. Almost simultaneously, they pull HUGE guns from their belts and open fire, killing the clerk and a few patrons. Back at BAU headquarters, the team looks into the case. "It may happen again," Rossi notes. "Spree killers often repeat themselves." Unfortunately, Rossi is probably correct.Sure enough, Sydney and Ray toss a lighter at a gas station, blowing the place sky high in an ENORMOUS explosion. "I love you, Ray," Sydney coos. A regular Bonnie and Clyde, these two. Days later, the BAU team arrives on the scene, where eight people were murdered. So 14 total since the spree began. "They're aroused by the adrenaline rush," Derek notes. Quips Rossi: "So this is just foreplay." Exactly. The team finds rice scattered throughout the store. It doesn't take long for a theory to be floated that the male-female killing team was recently married -- and might be "celebrating" their honeymoon. The store clerk, meanwhile, was "sodomized with a tire iron," suggesting that he -- for whatever reason -- might be the source of the killers' anger.Cut to Ray, who has stopped in on an area alcoholic's anonymous meeting. He tells the shocked group how his father was an alcoholic who molested him. When the group leader suggests that the Ray needs to "let it go" lest it rule him, the bad boy becomes angry. He pulls a gun and OPENS FIRE. Sydney enters the room and joins the violent fray. Many are murdered by the gleeful pair. Sometime later, the BAU team arrives. Reid suggests that the unsubs might actually be working through the AA steps together (in their own way). Perhaps they even met at an AA meeting. "Our unsubs are killing surrogates that represent those responsible for deep-seeded wounds," Derek explains to the local cops. Reid explains that one is likely a psychopath and the other a sociopath.Ray and Sydney, meanwhile, decide to "go to the source" in their search for closure. The plan leads them to the home of Ray's father, a drunk and a rapist. Ray immediately pulls a gun on not-so-dear ol' dad. Hotch, meanwhile, asks Garcia to cross check the names of those people who visited the Web site for the massacred AA group with anyone from North Dakota, where the team believes the pair is from. The name Ray Donovan emerges. Bingo. Cut back to Ray, who demands his father to "take the ninth step" and admit to his wrongdoing. But dad, along with mom, claims that Ray was never molested -- and only put into foster care because of drug issues. This makes Ray FURIOUS. "I didn't touch you," dad cries. "I swear it!" When Ray hesitates to pull the trigger, Sydney does it for him. BANG. Dad dies. Mom screams. Sydney is clearly the psychopath.Hours later, the team arrives at the Donovan family trailer. Emily gets a text from a Sean McAllister, who also called earlier. She ignores it. In the meantime, Derek suggests that the married couple might have their first fight as Mrs. Donovan reveals that Sydney shot Mr. Donovan, upsetting Ray in the process. Indeed, Ray and Sydney fight. Ray strangles Sydney -- and the violence turns her on. The fight quickly becomes a sloppy make-out session. Gross. Cut to the BAU team, who have identified Sydney as the female shooter thanks to Mrs. Donovan's testimony and a quick check of marriage-license filings. Turns out Sydney has a long history of drug and alcohol abuse -- and was sexually abused by her father. "Sydney's father is next on the list," Emily theorizes. The man lives in Spokane, Washington.Sure enough, Ray and Sydney arrive in Washington, where they visit a gas station. The store clerk is none other than Sydney's papa. "I want you to touch me," Sydney tells her dad. "You still like it? What's the matter, daddy? You don't like the way I look?" Terrified, dad apologizes for hurting his daughter -- and explains that he has found God. Sydney laughs. She tells Ray that her father used to molest her in the back room of the store. Ray then jumps the counter and begins to savagely BEAT the man. Just then, a little girl enters the store. "What are you doing to my dad!?" the girl cries. Ray takes dad into the back room of the store and SHOOTS him. The pair then grabs the little girl, Sydney's half sister, and takes her hostage. Just as they emerge from the store, the BAU team arrives. A SHOOTOUT ensues -- and Sydney is SHOT in the process.Ray and Sydney retreat. Now it's a standoff with the little girl being used a hostage. The press soon arrives. Hotch calls Ray, who demands liquor and tickets to Aruba. A suddenly gentle Sydney tries to strike up a conversation with her half sister. The not-so-touching family moment is interrupted by Derek, who arrives at the front door with booze. The pair takes a few healthy swigs. Later, Derek calls Ray -- and explains that Ray's former girlfriend was murdered. Ray denies it, claiming his ex simply OD'd. Derek presses, saying that the girlfriend was given a large dosage of heroin by Sydney. "Sydney joined alcohol support right after you and Amy broke up," Derek says. "Sydney saw that you still had feelings for Amy so Sydney needed Amy out of the way."Ray doesn't want to believe it, but when Sydney avoids the question -- and begins to make sexual advances as Derek says she would -- Ray comes around. He begins to choke Sydney, who barely puts up a fight. Seconds later, her body goes limp. Sydney is dead. "Enough is enough, baby," Ray mutters. Outside, the door opens and the little girl races out. Derek pulls her to safety just as Ray, driving an SUV, BURSTS from the attached garage. Sydney's dead body is in the passenger seat. Ray OPENS FIRE and the BAU team FIRES back. Ray is soon hit. And hit again. And again. He dies. Case closed.But not the episode. Emily meets Sean McAllister at a bar. He explains that a criminal named Ian Doyle has "vanished from prison." Asks a suddenly concerned Emily: "Do you think he's headed here?" McAllister doesn't answer, which is answer enough. Uh oh.

Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski  

Starring Joe Mantegna, Paget Brewster, A.J. Cook, Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, more...

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