Moving on from a loss is never easy, even for FBI agents.
As they reeled from Jess’s shocking death, the team got a tough case of a man on a rampage over a lost love.
But their own internal issues and grief threatened to overwhelm them, making Incel one of the more powerful episodes of FBI: Most Wanted.
Trying to move on from Jess’s death
The episode opens at a church where Eden Cunningham (Laura Leigh Turner) was preparing for her wedding, only to have Erik Perwin (Liam James McGettigan) come to see her with his newly surgically altered face. He then got down on one knee to propose to her, complete with a ring.
Eden’s reply was to laugh in his face before realizing he was serious. He screamed at her as a bridesmaid laughed, calling her a liar “like all the rest of them” before storming out. Eden brushed Erik off as weird but “harmless.”
Hours later, Eden and her new husband Reid were leaving the church when Erik strode out, shot Reid, and kidnapped Eden as the horrified guests looked on.
At the headquarters, Isobel talked to the team about how hard it was moving on from Jess and let them know a grief counselor was ready if needed. She summed up no one could replace Jess, but they were looking at candidates for a new unit leader. Isobel asked if the team was ready for a tough case, and they said they could handle it.
The team soon hit the road to Rhode Island where the wedding guests were shaken. After watching a video of the shooting, the team knew Reid was the main target and Eden was Erik’s obsession.
The team checked out Eden’s gym where a friend recognized Erik as someone Eden trained, but was confused at his strange new face. It sounded like Eden went too far trying to “flatter” Erik to be a repeat customer.
Erik’s parents, Jodee (Deborah Rennard) and Phil (Christopher Harrod), noted Erik was a smart kid but never any friends. He had dropped out of sight for a few months and they were thrown by his altered face after seeing a recent photo of him looking different.
Erik brought Eden to their old high school football field, making her take off her wedding ring for the one he gave her. Erik’s ring didn’t fit and she punched him before trying to run off, but a furious Erik beat her down and dragged her to the car.
A suspect filled with rage
The team found Eden’s dead body. She had been shot and abandoned by a river, leaving the team to wonder who Erik’s next target might be. Gaines talked to Dr. Joseph Grossman (Mark Torres), who said Erik came in for surgery but he turned him down as it was obvious he was affected by body dysphoria, seeing flaws that weren’t there.
Grossman suggested Erik get help and recognized the man as an incel. The team discussed how incels could become violent and how many of the websites incels frequented encouraged treating women as objects. They became worried Erik would target other women who had rejected him in the past.
Barnes and Gaines arrived at the office of Dr. Reuben Palomino (Grayson Berry), who revealed Erik had just shown up demanding a refund for the surgery “not working.” Erik stole some medical instruments before running and the agents slammed Palomino for not recognizing the signs of an incel. He defended himself, saying he just helped people “find self-love.” The team left in search of Erik.
Erik showed up at a college party and pulled his gun out, forcing the men into a close. He then forced the two women to tape the door shut before pulling out stolen scalpels. The agents arrived after Erik horrifically cut up the women’s faces.
As the team talked, Hana realized that Ortiz seemed to give orders before storming off. Erik found a form online where incels called him a “leader” and posted a message encouraging them to rise up.
A school counselor related she had tried to encourage Erik to meet others, but he became frustrated with people turning him down. She expressed guilt for not being able to stop him as she gave the team info on who Erik might be targeting.
At a massage parlor across town, two women heard gunshots and saw a man storming the place to shoot the women inside. Hana shared the message Erik posted, revealing his online avatar as a male model he wanted to look like. He was escalating and becoming more dangerous.
At the scene of the shooting, there was a slur written in blood on the wall, and five staff members were dead, but their clients were not. Going over the video, the team realized this wasn’t Erik and they had a copycat killer.
Stopping a dark movement
The killer, Jericho Brown (Will Dagger), posted a video confessing to the murders, and warned “the uprising has begun.” Barnes wanted to shut the website down, but Hana snapped that wouldn’t work and the pair got into a heated argument before Gaines calmed them down.
Barnes talked to people who knew Jericho at the clinic he’d been at for sex addiction. It turned out Jericho had used that very massage parlor and became “inspired” by Erik to finally act on his desires.
Jericho’s parents, a pair of true religious folks, had no idea where he was, but their talk of him being “a sinful person” had helped push him to commit crimes. They revealed Erik had helped tutor Jericho.
At a park, Erik saw what Jericho had done but thought it was an FBI trick. He was convinced enough to call for a meeting. The team mused that Jericho and Erik were “two entitled men willing to kill for it” moments before Hana showed the messages between the pair.
Erik and Jericho ambushed a pair of workers to steal their badges. The team realized a fashion show was taking place, which was the perfect target for the pair. Among the models was Chance Robbins (Michael Shartis), the same model Erik wanted to look like.
Erik and Jericho were mingling at the show before Erik grabbed Chance. The agents showed up and shot at Jericho as Erik dragged Chance to the runway. Chance surprisingly fought back and when Gaines said it was over, Erik snapped, “the uprising has just begun.”
He threatened to cut his own throat, with Gaines trying to reach out to him to say this anger was in his head. That gave Ortiz a chance to tackle Erik down and arrest him.
Hana apologized to Barnes for her behavior, admitting she was having a hard time with Jess’s death. Barnes assured Hana she wasn’t alone before they got a text from Sarah.
On Hana’s suggestion, the team stopped by Jess’s home to help Sarah with some painting and a dinner. Sarah mentioned Tali was with her grandparents.
Byron led the team in prayer and a toast for Jess as “he had a family at home that loved him very much and one at work too.”
While the case itself was dark, the real emotion was watching the team deal with the loss of Jess in some rough ways but still coming together in the end.
FBI: Most Wanted Season 3 airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on CBS.