Alex O’Loughlin #CriminalMinds episode discussion – The Big Wheel

I thought this post would be easy!! It was one of the hardest I’ve ever written mostly because I usually do everything with a bit of fun and sarcasm, but I *love* this episode so much, it’s really hard to be sarcastic and funny. So I hope that you are all OK with me being a bit more on the serious side today. You see, not only is this the role that made me an Alex fan (years before I knew who he was), I believe it’s just one of the finest hours of television ever made IMHO.   I’ve watched every episode of Criminal Minds since it started, but since this episode first aired in April, 2009, it has haunted me in the most marvelous of ways.  For a show that sometimes becomes a bit too dark and gruesome for my taste at times, this was an episode that haunted me because of the LACK of gore and brutality.  It uses what Alex does so superbly and that’s the unspoken word: the mannerisms and body language.  The minimal dialogue that was spoken was pointed, affecting and sometimes downright gut wrenching.

There is a BTS video somewhere (of course I can’t find it now) where it was said during taping the crew was just waiting around, huddled around the monitors watching filming and that’s when they knew they were doing something special. <<–yes, special indeed.

I have to give a special shout out to Shemar Moore who I think was the perfect choice to take the lead on this episode. He brought a real sense of strength, vulnerability and softness to this episode in the way he dealt with the young victim.  What a treat…

The Boy. **sigh** Jake Cherry plays Stanley…..he’s the male version of Lucy for H50 fans. You love his spunk and cheekiness but then he breaks your heart with a simple expression…

and you are never, ever the same.


**click on first pic and scroll through gallery for full size.

Here are some questions I had posed earlier:

1.  Did Vincent plan on killing the real estate agent or was she in the wrong place at the wrong time?

2. Vincent writes, “HELP ME”. Hotch says, “He could have just turned himself in.”  But could he??

3. What is the appeal of a Ferris Wheel to a child blind from birth?

4.  Alex said in an interview that Vincent needed redemption. Did he earn it?


I’m beyond excited that some of you watched for the very first time just for this discussion!! So please, the questions above are only a jumping off point.  Feel free to discuss any scene, any moment that moved you, that made you mad, sad or confused you.

I have a busy day planned so I will let you all have the floor for a bit to get started and will chime in later on Wed evening with my thoughts. I have LOTS of them! 🙂


87 thoughts on “Alex O’Loughlin #CriminalMinds episode discussion – The Big Wheel

  1. it’s great that Mizzoh didn’t delete that channel, and Angie, your site is great, I just went there and realized that i used it earlier, the dictionary on H50 site… ESS, I have no words left – it’s like you’re my twin sister, you totally described it the way I would. Just couple thoughts on your questions – I think Vincent never planned to kill that real estate agent, maybe she looked more like other of his killings. He coudn’t turn himself in, because it’s not in his OCD “plan” – i think. Children always love Ferris wheel, there’s no real explanation for this. And, yes, Vincent needed redemption, but IMHO from a person who’s also OCD and who could understand what’s going in his mind better than BAU or police.

    • Thanks for calling my site great – I’m glad you like it. And I absolutely agree that it’s great that some of Mizzoh’s YouTube channels still exist and hopefully will for a long time.

  2. Ohhh, so much, almost too much! First off, great site, Angie! And, pow! ESS in her own BAMF mode again. Awesome recap and just reading your recap and pics made me tear up. Kudos. I bawled like a baby when I first watched this ep. I have a love/hate thing with CM, but I was watching it back then pretty regularly. This ep was so different, and the best ever, IMO. It did not rely on the gross and over the top to tell its story. And it was a perfect role for Alex, king of the understated and the “just being” rather than “acting” on screen. Sigh.

    As to your questions:
    1. Yeah, I think he set out to kill the realtor. I think he booked an end of day appointment as “Robert,” in order to have a private moment and thus opportunity to kill. I imagine all his kills were meticulously planned, not spur of the moment.
    2. I think he did this realtor thing as opposed to just turning himself in. He wanted to redeem, but he didn’t have it in him to go confess. So this was his OCD twisted way of stopping himself. One last kill, sent to the cops with a cry for help. And he did it near Stanley’s birthday because the boy was leaving town soon. It was now or never for Vincent. Go time. With a built in sort of confessional to Stanley on the Big Wheel.
    3. Don’t know. I hate heights so I don’t get the Ferris Wheel symbolism.
    4. Was he redeemed? I think Stanley will have to make that decision. In a way, was he even more betrayed by Vincent by being manipulated into those final tender moments, where Stan wishes Vincent was his dad, than if Vincent just confessed and let Stan alone? And by dying–though Vincent did not mean to– he denies Stan any ability to now confront Vincent. But I cried like a baby when Vincent died. Because HE doesn’t get to know if he earned redemption. He doesn’t live to see.

    Now I was distracted a couple times in this ep by, well, Alex. He plays, perfectly, an emotional cripple. But he still looked like, well, Alex. And while Vincent’s “look” worked, with the buttoned up styling and Poindexter glasses, and let me see Vincent, I was totes distracted by the long-john pj’s. In those scenes, I could not help but constantly think, “Damn! Vincent works OUT!”.

    Not sure that was what CM was going for.

    • I was also wondering about the fit Vincent. He didn´t really strike me as the guy who works out. But I am not complaining, I really enjoyed the long john scenes and Ess´s bologna sandwich pic stuck to my brain 😀

    • GNP – I’m going to reply to most posts below but wanted to hit this one specifically to you.

      Maybe because I saw this before I knew who Alex was, I don’t see Alex in Vincent barely at all. Even when I was screencapping it and watching frame by frame, I rarely saw “Alex”. In fact, I was amazed at the transformation that even though he kinda looked like Alex, he was nothing like Alex in any of his other roles. At least in my opinion so it’s interesting that you saw Alex. I meant to pose that question to everyone.

      • I had seen this episode and never made the connection to “that hot guy from Moonlight”, it was more like who is this guy?
        I wish all the people who say Alex can’t act, or he’s wooden would have seen this prior to H50. This roll just proves he’s a lot more than a pretty face and an absolutely incredible fantastic phenomenal body.

      • Oh I agree that Alex rocked this roll, and was a totally original character. When I said I “saw” Alex, I was being literal, questioning wardrobe’s costume choice with the pj’s. Dude has a singular physique. Why, when Vincent was such an emotionally withdrawn, troubled, and awkward guy, and not a steely eyed muscle man, would they have chosen to put him in such form fitting pajamas? Every one of those scenes, though the awesome acting continued, I still could not help but be distracted by the gorgeous. And Vincent wasn’t about the looks. Call me shallow, I couldn’t help but be distracted. Baggy pj’s. Surely Vincent would’ve worn baggy, traditional pj’s. Not complaining, mind you, just saying. 😉

  3. I love this episode, too! It should have been nominated for an award so more people would know about it and watch it. I had chills the first time I saw it and every time I stumble on it on ION, it stops me dead again. So many people think that all Alex can do is take his shirt off! IF ONLY Alex could get this kind of role more often . . .

    • Agreed Joanie!! Alex spoke of it himself in several interviews I read, he talked of rarely getting the opportunity to play this type of role. He says that when you come into the business you get pinned in as either a character actor or a leading man and obviously he’s been chosen as a leading man. The downside to that is that these types of roles are few and far between.

  4. I watched this episode few days ago. For the first time. First time Criminal Minds. In the first few Minutes I was like: OMG…he´s crazy! I start giggling, cuz Vincent reminds me of my mum *lol* The way he puts the clothes on the bed, the way he is makin the bed and so on. I´m lil bit more chaotic 😉

    I´m not sure if he had planned to kill the real estate agent… But… I think so. Cuz he had planned everything in his life. But maybe was killing the real estate agent a…how can I explain this….ummhmm… It was, what he wrote down on the wall. HELP ME! Maybe he regret what he did in the past… Maybe he wanted to change… Cuz of Stanley. He learned to see….

    I wasn´t sure if something bad happens to Stanley, while I was watching this episode. The scene in the car…on the way to the big wheel… This conversation… I was like: OK…. nothing bad gonna happens to this lil boy. Vincent would never hurt this lil boy. Cuz he see himself at that age. Same feelings…Same pain….

    As I start watching this episode (and I´m not sure if I`ll watch it again) I was kinda scared. Cuz I´m not that kinda girl that likes that kinda stories…. It´s like a Horror Movie!
    And I wouldn´t watch Horror Movies. Never! Ever! Cuz I don´t like all that bloody stuff. And this stupid background music which drives me insane! Ok…maybe, but a very little maybe, I would watch a Horror Movie… At Halloween… With McG 😉
    BUT: this story kinda scared even more than some blood…. Cuz of the whole stuff Vincent did… like closing the door twice, using the soap and throw it away AND that sandwich thing. After he got shot. Kinda disgusting.
    I was like: Bread?!?! Are you serious?!? BREAD!?!
    But I´d laughed about it. Why? Cuz of H50 S2 Ep1. You all remember, don´t you?

    I didn´t like the end… Vincent dying… That´s not fair, cuz there are soooo many questions left… In the end I was like: WHAAAT? That´s it? Okay… I´m officially crazy… I´m waitin 43 minutes, always checkin when this episode will end. I was scared, shocked, breathless, amazed, touched, laughing, cryin. The episode ends and all I want is that this episode didnt end.
    Crazy??? Yeah I am 😀 Sumtimes. But in a nice way 😉

    Mahalo to ESS for makin me watchin this CM episode 🙂 thx gurl 🙂 But please, please dont make me watch Moonlight…I don´t like vampire stuff..
    Or, what it´s called? FEED ?!?! Heard ´bout it. I´m fine with that. Thanks 🙂
    I´ve watched GI Joe, cuz of that Navy Seal stuff. I don´t like Demi Moore that much. But the story is ok.
    and Act Of Valor, right, cuz of the Navy Seals. Anyone knows it??? Really emotional. But I´m OffTopic…. Sorry Ladies!!!

    So I gonna end ma thoughts on The Big Wheel… thx 4 readin 🙂

    • S!zZ, I love that you watched this episode to join in with us. THANK YOU! and I loved reading your response! I can’t say it creeped me out, but it did haunt me but I like that. That’s my kind of move/TV show and the fact that this is one of my favorites, proves how well it’s written and acted because I have lots to compare it to. I love the whole psychological terror thing, but agree with you that it can sometimes be scarier than blood and guts because it’s ‘real’.

      Well, I’ve been asked to do a group watch of Feed and Moonlight and Three Rivers will eventually be done here too. I promise not to MAKE You watch though. 😉 Join in only when you feel comfortable. So happy you joined us this week. “_

  5. Ess I am soooooo happy u chose to bring this ep up again, IMO, The Big Wheel, and Alex O’Loughlin’s unforgettable portrayal as Vincent, can NEVER get enough attention. Not only were we treated to see Alex in thermal underwear ,but more importantly, we witnessed possibly his most impressive performance ever. As to did he intend to kill the real estate lady, I definitely think he did , she physically suited his type. Perhaps he’d been stalking her already and waiting for the perfect time to get her isolated. I wish this had been a 2 hour special of Criminal Minds.

  6. My thoughts on your in-recap questions… The lotion is because he mast/rbates a LOT. Watching his videos. Hence the “sexual sadist” tag the BAU gave him. Thay may have been why he was in the closet back as a child, hiding his activity as well as hiding from his parents arguments. Then, the filming may have just been an unrelated hobby, but after Kim’s (his mother’s) murder, a vital component of his … Dysfunction. Whatever you want to call it.

    • I’d dispute the masturbation. He shows signs of piquerism, sexual arousal/pleasure from stabbing as a form of penetration. In general those who practice this extreme of piquerism (sp) – ie stabbing people to death – are unable to maintain normal sexual function. They can’t get erections, they can’t climax in the usual manner(s). The sex, the penetration, the climax is the act of stabbing itself.

      The videos I’d classify as trophies, typical in serial killers, something for them to be able to relieve the ‘high’ of the kill, and their sadistic fantasies over and over again.

    • SJ2, I only noticed the lotion this watch so I haven’t put tons of thought into it like other questions but I can’t seem to decide one way or the other. What you say makes sense as well as what Emerald says. At first I thought he mast/rbated a lot too…but then I thought he’s so worried about his hands being dirty, those 2 things don’t go together well. I also didn’t at first agree with the sexual sadist tag Rossi put on him because #1, they still didn’t really know much about him at the time and were kind of grasping at straw BUT with what Emerald says, it does kind of make sense.

      Of course, Vincent used to be able to control his OCD and live a fairly normal life (except for the murdering thing) until he found out Stanley was moving and then he lost his balance. So…I’m basically still unsure. lol.

      Oh and the hiding in the closet and filming his mom with other men definitely is a first indicator that he might have some kind of sexual disorder/dysfunction/obsession, IMO.

      • If he’s a chronic hand washer, then the lotion could be for his hands. I don’t see Vincent being a sexual creature in the normal sense of the word. What got me about the OCD though was when he simply wiped his huge knife on a towel and put it back in the drawer. Not exactly sanitary, yet his other compulsion were hygiene related.

        • I think Vincent must have been born a little bit of a sadist / psychopath / whathaveyou. Lots of people (probably) accidentially see murders and don’t turn into serial killers. He was just the right/wrong combination of OCD, paranoid, detached, etc. and then seeing his mother’s murder kind of put it all together. Without that, he may have just been that weird guy down the hall or whathaveyou. Or who knows, maybe he was depraved enough on his own that without that trigger, he still may have killed or hurt people. Nature v Nurture man it’s a debate as old as the hills.

          • ACA Vincent was born with an innate nature for “evil”, for lack if a better term. I don’t believe you become a serial killer from witnessing a murder, even one that is highly personal. Something has to be flipped inside you to get to that point and it has nothing to do with OCD.

            • I saw the OCD as his coping mechanism for stress. And with his life, the things he saw & then the choices he made… lots of stress. OCD was not a contributor towards his sadistic behavior, just part of his personality (alongside all the bad parts, but not bad in & of itself, except maybe in regards to his bar soap budget).


  7. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, several times, but it bears repeating. Alex’s performance in this episode was so good, so accurate with the OCD scenes, that several mental health support boards had to put up trigger warnings on the episode, because people with OCD and other anxiety relate disorders were having difficulty coping with watching Alex’s performance – it was a little ‘too’ real.

    • Wow, Em! I did not know that! And yes, Sabrina, that boy absolutely should’ve gotten an Emmy nom for this. The performance was scary and heartbreaking all at the same time. You knew he was a horrible person, but you felt his pain, and you felt his remorse. And like I said, I cried like a baby when he died. Such a quiet, small death after such a life. Even more moving that way.

      • You mean with the support sites putting up trigger warnings? Yeah, I know, pretty full on and Alex thinks he’s just an average actor. Nah-uh, mate, not with performances like that. Just personally I had some issues with OCD as a child, and I’m still diagnosed with ‘OCD tendencies’ as well as a general anxiety disorder (amongst other things) and I have to admit there were a couple of times where I had to take a break from the episode and go and do my CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) techniques to get myself back on an even keel again, before I could continue. Now my OCD tendencies are mild, it’s not to the point that it interferes with my daily life, more of an occasional annoyance than anything – so if that was my response to some of the scenes, imagine how someone with full blown OCD/related Anxiety Disorders might have responded.

      • “Such a quiet, small death” <— yes, this! and in a literal way as well. When the wheel came back down and he was slumped against the side of the seat, he looked so small. No mean feat for such a big guy.

  8. This was the first time I had seen this.
    First thing to mention is that I was completely blown away by Alex! Next time ANY of my friends/colleagues suggest he’s ‘just a pretty face’ they will be sat down and promptly shown this – he was just phenomenal, I’m kinda freaked out at how believable it was. Wow.
    In terms of your questions: I believe he was ‘Robert’ and absolutely intended to kill the estate agent, she was just to close to his MO, for me to believe anything else. I think he wanted to be caught but didn’t know to stop, but knew on some level he needed to be stopped. I think the appeal isn’t so much the Ferris wheel, but how it allows Stanley to be close to the stars, and therefore, probably his mother. In terms of redemption, I have to agree that it is up to Stanley, but perhaps Vincent found peace in his final moments knowing that Stanley would know the truth.
    These are just my wee thoughts on this, and I must say all the other views are just fascinating… I’ve not been living with this as long as some of you (looking at Ess here for sure), so who knows what I’ll think after a little while and multiple viewings!
    What I do know is Alex atop that wheel, ‘I did some bad things, did some bad things’ is gonna haunt me for a while.
    Thanks again Ess. X

    • “Next time ANY of my friends/colleagues suggest he’s ‘just a pretty face’ they will be sat down and promptly shown this ” – Fi, Real love, not that fake internet crap. 😉

      “‘I did some bad things, did some bad things’ is gonna haunt me for a while.” – welcome to my world.

  9. You have said it perfectly. There is nothing I can add. It is a piece of exceptional tv and Alex is superb. Hope Alex gets to show more of his talent maybe something extra in the summer hiatus.

    • RITA!! I hope so too!! I would love to see him in some dark, ensemble piece where he gets to be 180 degrees different from McGarrett and the movie isn’t resting on his shoulders alone but with others where he can sneak up on the unsuspecting disbelievers and blow them all the FK away.

  10. 2. Vincent writes, “HELP ME”. Hotch says, “He could have just turned himself in.” But could he??

    Shades of William Heirens. William Heirens was a serial killer who wrote a message in lipstick on the wall of one of his victim’s apartments, “For heavens sake catch me before I kill more I cannot control myself”.

    Some serial killers also taunt police and even involve themselves in the investigation. Ed Kemper, the Co-ed Butcher, used to hang out at the local police bar and befriended a number of police officials even while he was killing. Ed Kemper also gave himself up, a rarity among serial killers, who more often than not act on compulsion – some serial killers feel tremendous guilt the first time, or even few times they kill, but it’s such an overwhelming urge/compulsion for them that eventually that part of the brain is completely overridden and they’re able to kill without compunction. Some allegedly have turning point in their lives where they apparently express remorse and wish to make amends to society (David Berkowitz aka Son of Sam, Joel Rivkin has willingly submitted to a number of brain scans in order to understand his own psychopathic behaviour and assist behavioural science in understanding the mind of a serial killer – both have expressed remorse for their crime, although how much of that is psychopathic manipulation is debatable.

    Being a fictional show I’d say they’ve taken a number of aspects from what is known of serial killer behaviour, and sort of created a composite.

    Btw, is this the behind the scenes video you mean?

  11. just watched…still amazed by his performance and by Stanley’s (Jake Cherry)..can we get this kid on H50 please! I remember watching this ep when it originally aired and being very moved/creeped out..I didn’t recognize Alex at first ( I had watched some ML eps) Did you notice Alex messed up once and ‘clicked’ w/ the R side of his mouth instead of ? Did Vincent ‘click’ before he met Stanley?? Alex’s depiction of OCD was amazing..then the blood&mess all over his apartment shows how badly he was injured..
    3. I think the appeal of the ferris wheel is the living it thru Vincent’s descriptions of it while they were building it.. and if you want to go all Lion King.. did it represent the circle of life to Vincent??
    4. Did Vincent earn redemption? I think he felt redeemed by seeing himself in Vincent “you helped me to see” ..not sure Stanley will forgive him tho.
    THanks ESS for the pic of the sandwich AND the bologna….. 😉

    He is definitely more than an ‘average’ actor but doesn’t seem to be in it for the awards/glory.

    • “Alex’s depiction of OCD was amazing..then the blood&mess all over his apartment shows how badly he was injured..” – ooohh! Good catch, D!!! You’re absolutely correct. It shows how off his game was that he left his clothes as well as a pool of blood in the middle of the floor.

      I doubt he clicked before Stanley. He picked this up as a comfort to himself. He only did it when at the height of his illness or at a stressor (watching the videos or being confronted).

      I didn’t notice the clicking on the right side but I did notice one time he opened & shut the fridge 3 times instead of 2. You know how I hate odd #’s. LOL! That definitely stood out to me!

      3. The Circle of Life – in the BTS video, Simon Mirren who wrote and directed this episode said similarly that The Big Wheel represented, “life goes on”. OOOOHhh good catch!! the appeal of the ferris wheel may have been living it through their process of building it!!<<<—THIS!! I was thinking they built the FW in respect to his desire to be on one but the desire to be on one could have come from the process of building it! ….D'oh!

      He's definitely not in it for the awards and glory….but he sure deserves some. At least here he did.

      • I think the clicking was a comfort and a coping mechanism. Stanley used it to navigate a world he couldn’t understand the way other people did, and after Vincent killed Stanley’s mother, his world changed into a place he didn’t understand either. The mechanisms he already had in place weren’t enough anymore.

        He so deserves awards and glory for this.

        • I agree that it was a coping mechanism. My uncle who has OCD has his own coping mechanism – not sure how to explain it but it involves sort of twitching one leg continuously. I’ve seen him do it over and over and so vigorously that the table he is sitting at starts to shake a bit.

          However, I don’t think you necessarily have to have OCD to have particular gestures or mannerisms that surface in times of anxiety or stress. I have a kind of ‘knitting’ thing I do with my hands when I am stressed 🙂

  12. sorry major Internet issue, downloaded finally but pic froze and couldn’t watch. Amazon resent but still can’t get it to work. I’ll keep up the good fight because I really want to see this. Sorry to miss the fun

    • Oh no Lexy!! I hope it works out for you. Don’t worry, there will still be comments made for several days I’m sure as some people are not around today to comment. Feel free to join in whenever you watch and can join in. I for one will be more than happy to come back and discuss with you! 🙂

  13. You guys!! Such great insight to the episode! You’ve given me several things to think about and even rethink what I thought on a few. I really can’t express to you how excited I was to learn this was Alex and how it’s lent itself to group discussion through him and the blog. Thank you all for participating! looking forward to reading more comments!

    For me, this is my thoughts on the questions… this moment in time. lol. (subject to change)
    1. Because of comments made about Real Estate Agent fitting his M.O., I am leaning towards it being planned also. That does make sense. I have always doubted this because #1, he doesn’t look like he’s headed there when he’s walking and in fact, stops and seems to have a debate with himself whether to go in. She’s standing in the doorway so he can see her (and see that she fits the bill???). I dunno. The hesitation always makes me doubt…but that could be his lack of ‘desire’ to kill a this point and it just being a ‘need’ for the release. Huh.

    2. I think he could have turned himself in. I don’t think he was so far gone that he couldn’t turn himself in. It was more that he wanted to stop but didn’t want to stop kind of thing. He knew right from wrong. Possibly he couldn’t turn himself in because he felt like he’d be taking himself away from Stanley, as twisted as that sounds.

    3. I think HeyD said it best about the Ferris Wheel though I also agree with someone who said it above (sorry forgot who!) that being close to the stars and close to his mother.

    4. I don’t think Vincent earned redemption. He tried and I guess that’s what the real story was, did Vincent himself feel as though he earned redemption? But for Stanley, one of the things that haunts me is the way Vincent so totally and completely fk’d this boy up. You lose your mother, then become so close to a mentor that you wish he was your real father and THEN you find out he’s the one who killed your Mother?? Stanley will live the rest of his life going “WHYYYYYYYYYYY?????” Ugh. Vincent manipulated this boy in the worst way and I doubt he will ever be the same after this. 😦

  14. I love Criminal Minds, it’s such a strong show. I rarely find the ‘unsub’ to be sympathetic however I couldn’t help but feel for Vincent.
    1. He’s so OCD and planned everything else in his life out, I kind of feel he was ‘Robert’ and intended to meet the real estate agent.
    2. I felt he realized what he was doing was wrong but hadn’t gotten to the point where he was able to turn himself in. Kind of like how I know I’m not supposed to hit up the vending machine at work for a candy bar, but I do it anyway.
    3. I don’t get the Ferris Wheel interest.
    4. I think he tried to earn redemption by being a ‘big brother’ to the boy of the woman he killed, but it doesn’t exactly make up for it so he didn’t earn redemption…but he tried.

  15. Reset the router and got the download to work. OMG thanks for getting me to do this download. Loved it and had never watched Criminal Minds before. For the love of Alex : )

    1. Real estate agent was a plan, Vincent had tried to quit killing (I think for Stanley’s sake) but was compelled to do it again when a loss of a “friend” was imminent

    2. Serial killers need to be caught and can’t turn themselves in. I think they hope to be killed in pursuit to end their reason for killing others.

    3.Ferris wheel – i think this was to be close to the stars or heaven where Stanley and Vincent’s moms were in their minds. I think for a blind person, the wind in their face and the feeling of weightlessness must be heightened and exhilarating. It also showed Vincent was unable to move past his childhood and needed to share this with another child

    4. Redemption – ehhh, only that he didn’t want Stanley to feel he should wish for death to suppress the sadness of the loss of his mom. He wanted him to be stronger than he was and not let the death of his mom effect the rest of his life. If Vincent looked like a crazy guy we would feel differently. It’s the Ted Bundy scenario where they don’t look the part.

    Of course I know nothing of serial killers except for what I see on TV but how fun to analyze as though I do. So much fun to discuss. I need to start recording CM!

    • ” If Vincent looked like a crazy guy we would feel differently.” – exactly, I tried really hard to put aside my feelings for Vincent being played by Alex or being acted so amazingly and think about the reality of his actions. That’s why I come to the conclusion he may have tried but there is no redemption for what he did and will continue to put that young boy through. 😦

      So happy you got it to work!!

  16. @Lexy.. I was trying to say something like that about the ferris wheel & a blind person’s heightened senses but couldn’t come up w/ the right words. thanks

  17. ACA with everyone re: AOL’s awesomeness. He was really good in this episode. And creepy. (More on that in a sec.) Interestingly, and perhaps because I love glasses so much, I thought he was super cute, at first. It was his acting and the way he showed the compulsion that made him undesirable. (Except in those dang long johns…)

    I also thought he was excellent at the OCD he needed to portray. I am really interested in how creepy the show made it–the colors, the drab apartment, the murdering–when so often it is played for comic effect, like in Monk. I suspect the truth of severe OCD is much less sinister and much less creepy. More frustrating to those around and, well, compulsive to those who have it. Sorry to get serious on you, but in the wake of Sandy Hook, I get nervous about how “the media” portray people with non-violent mental illnesses as psycho killers. Of course Vincent had a pretty traumatic childhood even to send him on his merry murdering way…

    As for your questions:
    1) I agree with all those who think he planned it. It seems he was trying to get attention, had a compulsion to murder and so he became Robert. I think this relates to question #2, so…
    2) I don’t know if he *couldn’t* or *wouldn’t* turn himself in, but I think in his own way, the Help Me and all that was his way of trying to stop. I don’t know enough about wither OCD or psychopathology to know whether he could’ve done it differently, but I do think he was trying to change.
    4) Redemption? Meh. I don’t know that I am qualified to assess that, but I *do* think he was, in his own way, reforming. Narratively, killing him might have made sense, but for the character, it was sort of a shame. What would he have done when given the chance to confess? Would he have been able to heal? I wonder.

    Thanks, ESS. I loved it!


  18. I have really enjoyed reading all your comments. I saw this for the first time about a year or so ago. I didn’t know who Alex was until half way through H5O S1 and fell for him hard and fast. After seeing him in Moonlight I realized he was much more than a pretty face and magnificent body. I then saw CM on YouTube and was blown away. After the long johns scene ..oh my..I became lost in Alex’s performance. I forgot it was him for a while and after it was over I fell in love with Alex, the actor, not the hot guy on H5O.

    I cry at the end every time, sometimes when he says to Stanley ” you helped me see” and sometimes I make it until the end when Stanley is calling out to “dead” Vincent. I never really thought about why it affected me differently each time. I guess I go back and forth whether Vincent should be redeemed or if he just really screwed this kid up forever.

    I find your discussion about his sexual behavior very interesting. I think the lotion is for his dry hands from washing so often. I did get “the look” he made when he stabbed his victims and again when he rewatched the tapes. That was creepy for me.

    Most of all, I think Alex was absolutely brilliant and I hope he gets many opportunities in the future to prove to all the h8ers that “this man can act!”

    • “lotion for the dry hands from washing so often” ……*smacks forehead* yes, this is probably it. Which would lead to him being aroused or getting ‘gratification’ from the act of stabbing and watching the videos, whether it is a sexual gratification or not is debatable.

      I’m past the point of crying usually but I still get choked up every single time! It’s either on the Ferris Wheel when Stanley says, “I wish you were my Dad” or Vincent says, “Forgive me” OR sometimes I make it to the end when Stanley asks Morgan if he killed his mom and he’s feeling his face for the truth. So.Much.Perfection!!!

      Also, to this day I still get a knot in my stomach as to whether Vincent is going to hurt Stanley or not. Does anyone else still get the fear that Vincent is going to toss him off the FW when he tells him, “I bet if you reach forward you can touch them”…..ugh. The writers did such a fantastic job of keeping us guessing….and well, the acting as we’ve said, it superb.

      Alex, you are NOT a mediocre talent!! You’ve only been subjected to mediocre writing.

      • Yes, the first time I saw him lean forward I thought “Oh no, he’s going to kill the kid!” I’m not sure if it was because he was bleeding to death, but Vincent seemed really anxious and his voice was breathy. It made me think he was in “killer mode.”
        So when he grabbed Stanley’s hand and told him to never wish to be dead, it was so unexpected, so well written and Alex “killed it!” 🙂 Stanley and Morgan …touching his face…*swallow & sob* ….

      • I got the knot in my stomach again. For me it’s when he says “remember when you said you wished he’d killed you?”. That was the creepiest moment in the whole ep. It really brought home the duality of Vincent’s character, that he’d formed this bond with Stanley but at the same time, he was a murderer and not in control of that part of himself. Just for that moment, you have no idea which part of him is doing the talking.

  19. First of all I also have a small problem with using a non-violent disorder as a serial killer profile, like Sage mentioned in her comment (a general characteristic of OCD sufferers is that they are scared of hurting people – very well depicted in the fact that Vincent was concerned about Stanley running over the cat with his little “scooter”)…..but then again in the words of Mick St John – “Anybody is capable of murder given the right circumstance”.
    I also have a problem with the use of “flashing scenes” editing (I do not know what to call it), just like in FEED, to manipulate the audience – for me Alex’s performance is good enough and don’t need those kind of “camera” tricks to get a feeling across. It was really annoying and it takes away the understated facial experience that Alex so adequately uses.
    I also felt like ESS said in one of her comments – you never see Alex, it is always Vincent
    I agree with Lurxgirl on the lotions – washing your hands a lot, needs a lot of moisture. And in my opinion using hand lotion as lubrication for sexual gratification is not a good idea.
    Then on the Real Estate Lady – He was not killing her as a person but as a profile – so in a sense she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. But he definitely planned her murder. He was wearing his “killing” glasses since waking up that morning……The whole day was just passing the time to get to his goal of dong his “ritual” to “calm” his OCD anxiety after he found out Stanley was leaving.
    One thing I think people don’t always get is that Vincent was hiding in the cupboard filming his moms’ infidelity in the first place……then dad walks in and kills mom. Double “WHAM” – both his parents “betrayed” him. Clearly he did not have the same loving childhood that Stanley did. Stanley’s disability also made him more mature and independent from a very young age. In a sense Stanley was Vincent’s “therapist” from the minute Vincent saw himself through Stanley’s eyes as the victim and not that of the “killer” like his father was and that he always thought he should be too.
    Vincent only started killing again because he knew he was losing his “therapy” with Stanley leaving town and he therefore also cried out for help, writing “HELP ME” on the wall. Stanley in a sense was his temporary cure and redemption until he was about to lose him.
    I think Stanley already forgave him by saying “I wish you were my father” – and he could well have been a happy family man, if he was not screwed over by his own parents.
    I have so many thought and feelings about this episode and will most probably not be able to help myself in commenting some more later on….
    All I can say is, Thank you Alex for sharing your many talents with us……hope there will be many more of these wonderful performances!!

    • Lexy – I think at that point it’s hand sanitizer.

      FOYeur – I don’t think they are profiling him as the OCD is making him a serial killer, it’s just a part of the profile the same as him being a white male, it is something that sets him apart like being a loner, someone who blends in and rarely makes a fuss and pays with cash. That’s what I got out of it.

      • I think my wording might have been wrong to explain my thoughts….What I meant to say is that it would be rare for a OCD sufferer to become a murderer and even more so a serial killer because of their general fear of hurting people. (It would be interesting to know if there have ever been a OCD sufferer that became a real life serial killer)
        In Vincents case the killing was his OCD ritual to control his anxiety…..therefor he could not stop it himself – he needed help and he realised it (to answer that question)

  20. When I first saw this episode I had no idea who Alex was. I didn’t really find him until H50. Then I was like oh that guy. So I have a different perspective, as I was not an Alex fan at the time. This was a fabulous episode. One of the few CM’s where I feel sorry for the killer. He makes him look so human while doing bad things(if that makes any sense). I think Vincent wanted to be helped but he didn’t know how to get it. I think he really wanted to get caught, especially after finding out the kid was moving. He showed remorse in taking care of the little boy. I think he saw some of himself in him. I don’t know. Since becoming an Alex fan I’ve seen the episode several times and I am blown away by Alex’s acting. Before I thought he was super hero, pretty face guy, but not any more. I have since seen almost all of Alex’s work, Three Rivers, The Oyster Farmer, Mary Bryant, Feed, and he really is a great actor. I have never seen the vampire work. i’ve never been a fan of the genre. Incidentally I believe a Criminal Minds and H50 crossover would be awesome.

    • Like you, I became a fan of Alex through H50 and watched his previous work later on DVD. However, I had watched the CM episode before H50 and remember that it was the one and only CM episode that left a lasting impression on me and stuck in my mind because of that absolutely stunning performance by Alex (and the boy). Like you, I also felt sorry for Vincent, and when he dies in the end it moved me to tears – and I’m not someone who usually feels sympathy with serial killers, believe me. I’m always on the side of the good guys. Anyway, I’m glad to read that quite a few fans felt the same way about Vincent and didn’t just see him as a cold-blooded killer because he wasn’t, in my opinion.
      By the way, I would also welcome a cross-over of CM and H50 – that would be two of my favorite shows combined – although H50 is my top-favorite because the comedy in it and the setting in sunny Hawaii makes it the perfect “feel-good” show for me whereas CM with its cruel murders is often quite hard to bear – I mainly watch CM because I like the team very much (esp. Matthew and Shemar).
      The main reason for my reply to you, however, is to let you know that even though I have never been a fan of vampire stuff, and a lot of it actually scares me, I absolutely love “Moonlight” and think you’re missing out on something great if you never watch it. I bought the DVDs of ML after seeing just a few clips of it on YouTube and haven’t regretted it a bit. ML is actually still my best friend’s favorite show with Alex even though she was the one who told me to watch H50 because of him. I’m forever grateful to her!

  21. 1. Did Vincent plan on killing the real estate agent or was she in the wrong place at the wrong time?


    2. Vincent writes, “HELP ME”. Hotch says, “He could have just turned himself in.” But could he??

    Of course he could have… but I think to a certain extent we all have weird things we do in life & we know we shouldn’t do but do anyway… what I don’t get is why he wrote “help me.” Why did he want help? He didn’t want to kill? For Stan? Knowing Stan didn’t stop the killing. I don’t know. I wonder what would have happened at the end of the episode if Vincent hadn’t gotten shot earlier in the day.

    3. What is the appeal of a Ferris Wheel to a child blind from birth?

    I would guess… the wind on your face. When you’re blind, I don’t guess that freely running as fast as you can is often sometihng you get to do. Or things that move you quickly like roller skating or skateboarding that sighted kids get to do. So it’s a physical stimulation that he doesn’t get to experience other ways. And I think for Vincent, the benefit was getting to see Stan experience something new. Someone above said that Victor never really grew after that moment when his mom was murdered… seeing Stan grow & change he is seeing a normal part of childhood he never got to have himself.

    4. Alex said in an interview that Vincent needed redemption. Did he earn it?


  22. Ok, just so you know how dedicated I am to the rewatch and discussion, I tried to DL the ep from my usual source twice and both times the file was corrupted and only made it up to Vincent wiping the knife, at about the 2 minute mark. I resorted to ‘borrowing’ from my daughter’s birthday iTunes card to purchase the ep. Hence my lateness to the party.

    I’ve always thought CM is a well written show but I’ve never been able to watch it more than sporadically as it disturbs me too much (this from someone who voraciously reads crime novels and pyschological thrillers). But, as Ess says, this ep is so good because it is understated and relies on Alex’s brilliant performance rather than loads of gruesome cruelty.

    I agree with Justine, that it’s a shame this was not widely seen by H50 viewers before Show came to be so that everyone who says Alex can’t act could be proven wrong. It’s nice to know that one of his best performances to date has been about flexing his acting muscles rather than his actual muscles (although I’m a bit partial to his actual muscles too). I also think that the boy who played Stanley was amazing (is he the boy from Touch?) and it’s the two performances in the ep that make it a standout for me.

    I think Alex is the ultimate chameleon. Even though I can see see the same handsome guy in every role, he still seems so different to me. Each character he creates he does so in such a unique way and these are all different to how I see ‘Alex’ too. I think this is all down to the way he so expertly conveys the character he is playing through facial expressions and gestures. It’s the same man but without even uttering a word, I can be drawn into a different person each time. IMHO Alex is one of the few actors who can do this so well.

    I find this ep really interesting from the OCD angle as I have an uncle with a severe form of this disorder. He is now in his 70s but was never able to hold down a ‘9to5’ job as his morning ablutions take so long that he could never get to work on time. I’ve witnessed on many occasions the obsessive hand washing, brushing teeth over and over, closing and opening doors and rattling windows to make sure they are shut and so on. I even remember seeing him affix a stamp to a letter and bash it with his fist about a zillion times to make sure it was properly stuck. It’s not sinister or creepy, just very frustrating for everyone around him and sad that he has had to live his life this way.

    I suppose I see anxiety disorders being tied in some way to the need to control things, like cleanliness and the exact time you eat your sandwich, when everything else in your life seems impossible to control. Vincent was powerless to prevent his mother’s murder (and whatever other nasty things had gone on in his childhood). By reliving his mother’s death by murdering himself he had control over how and when the women died. So even though I don’t think the OCD made him a serial killer, it reflects one aspect of his personality which may have combined with a genetic disposition and childhood trauma to make him a killer.

    I agree with the comments about Vincent intending to kill the real estate agent and the cry for help. I think he wanted to stop but it became a compulsion even though he was trying at normality through his friendship with Stanley. Vincent identified with Stanley as their mothers were murdered and he was able to connect to a more normal childhood than the one he had experienced. He visited often and helped Stanley construct models and the trip to the ferris wheel was all part of this (like the real experience of the model – the real experience of a childhood he never had). It was twisted of course, as Vincent himself created the situation in the first place by murdering Stanley’s mother.

    I think he wanted redemption and thought in some way that he had achieved it. He did try and that the final scenes are both disturbing and touching to me shows the complexity of the story and how it is meant to make the audience think, debate and forever jump between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. The shooting was a random act (as was the killing of his co-worker) and Vincent had no way of knowing that the FBI would find him so there’s always the question of what would have happened had these events not occurred.

  23. I too have a love / hate relationship with CM. I have watched almost every ep and I am normally disgusted and horrified by the unsub…and find myself rooting for the victims and the profilers. This is the ONLY episode where I felt genuine compassion for the unsub…and I know that sounds weird…feeling compassion for a serial killer…but that is the best word I can think of to describe the feeling that the Vincent character brought out in me…and there is NO doubt that it was due to Alex’s brilliant protrayal of this damaged human being.

    I believe that some killers are born and some are raised. We don’t really know what the first nine years of Vincent’s life was like…perhaps it was extremely traumatic. Or maybe, just maybe he was destined to kill…and that might explain why a nine year old child was hiding in a closet filming his mother’s affair…and then sat by her dead body for 24 hours…without calling for help.

    For me the eyes seemed to be a recurring theme in this episode and in Vincent’s life.
    – the first thing we see is his eye
    – he watched/filmed his mother’s affair and death
    – he made his living as a videographer
    – he was facinated with the eyes of his victims; zooming in on their eyes as their life was snuffed out
    – his mirrors were covered because he didn’t want to look at himself (or bear to)
    – he was drawn to a blind boy
    I think he was drawn to that child because he experienced the same trauma as him (‘witnessing’ his mother’s death). I also think that Vincent was envious of Stan because he WAS blind…he wished that he could be like him and not have seen such horrible things – his mother’s affair and murder and also strange as it sounds, the murders he himself committed. I also think that Vincent wished to be blind so as not to have to see the monster in himself. It is interesting that Vincent, although able to see, was the one in the ‘dark’ and it took a child in literal darkness to help him to see the light.

    I believe that Vincent was trying to redeem himself for Stan…in his own damaged way. He was still compelled to kill, however, unlike his past murders, his last victim was stabbed only once. He also was desperately reaching out for help (again in his own way) first by writing HELP ME and second by sending his video to law enforcement – I believe in the hope that they would use it to track him down and stop him (and yes, even kill him) Did Vincent find redemption in the end? I don’t think so…he was too far gone for that and I think he knew it.

    I think the ferris wheel was an object of freedom and a symbol for heaven for both of them. For Stan, it was a place where he was just like everybody else…free falling with the wind in his face…and it brought him close to the stars and perhaps a feeling of being closer to his mother. For Vincent, he too may have felt a sense of normalcy riding the FW and for him a way to feel close to heaven – a place he knew he would never see.

    This episode affected me deeply and I will always be haunted by the ending. Bravo to Alex O’Loughlin – no other actor could have elicited the feelings of the viewers like he did…his performace was BRILLIANT. He made me feel sympathy and compassion for a character that did not deserve it. I should not have cried for that person nor should I have cared that he died…but I did. I should not have wished that character redemption…but I did that too…and felt bad when it wasn’t his in the end. Like most of his other roles…Alex became that character…Alex wasn’t Alex playing Vincent…Alex WAS Vincent.

    I should also mention that Jake Cherry’s performace was equally amazing…his screen time with Alex and Shemar Moore (kudos to him too) were MAGIC.

    Thank you ESS for this forum…and allowing me the opportunity to express my views about this remarkable piece of television.

    • “I should also mention that Jake Cherry’s performace was equally amazing…his screen time with Alex and Shemar Moore (kudos to him too) were MAGIC.” – ACAxBL2I&B!!! Alex was amazing but he by no means is the only reason this episode was a standout. It’s one of those situations where everyone fires on all cylinders and it’s pure magic!!

      “Thank you ESS for this forum…and allowing me the opportunity to express my views about this remarkable piece of television.” – ABSOLUTELY!! Thank YOU for participating!

      • Jake Cherry was fantastic. The moment right at the end when he asks if Vincent killed his mother and then takes his hands away from Morgan’s (?) face because he already knows the answer and he doesn’t want to ‘hear’ it… *sob*

    • CG66, I really liked your perspective on the episode. I agree with your assessment of CM and also that this episode is one of few where I felt any compassion for the unsub.

      I like your explanation of the significance of the ‘eyes’. Vincent’s fascination with his victims’ eyes in their final moments before death certainly is chilling. There’s also the comment from Vincent about Stanley allowing him to ‘see’. I’ve always wondered about this comment and I like what you said, that “it took a child in literal darkness to help him to see the light.” Despite Stanley having experienced the same trauma as Vincent in the murder of his mother, Stanley was able to live out his childhood in a way that Vincent could not.

      I will always be deeply moved by the ending to this episode. I did wish for redemption for Vincent and like you, I was sad that he didn’t achieve it.

      And yes, Alex WAS Vincent.

  24. I´m still sooo catched by this episode… It´s been a week ago that I watched it. And I´m still thinkin bout few things.
    Like, why he killed women? Cuz of his mother??? For me, it doesn´t make sense… If he had killed men, that looks like his father, would makes sense. It´s kinda hard to explain…But I´ll try: if you love someone (and I´m sure Vincent loves his mum) and you see that someone (in this case,his father) kill the person you love. I would hate this person (of course) and wanted this person to be judged. Or killed. But killing women, lookin like his mother doesn´t make real sense to me.

    Maybe anyone of you is able to explain it to me…

    • I think it had to do with the affair(s) his mother had…perhaps in his young (probably damaged) mind he felt that she must have deserved it. It may have been heightened by the fact that it was his father that killed her…someone else whom he loved. And there are some things we just dont know about Vincent’s life…perhaps his mother was horrible and abusive to him….and maybe he was in contact with his father (in prison??) who may have brainwashed him into thinking that his mother was a bad person to excuse what he had done. There are just so many unanswered questions regarding Vincent…this ep really could have been a movie!

      • Thx 🙂
        This brainwashed thing makes sense!
        And yeah, we don’t know much bout Vincent..
        I’ve never seen a TV show/Movie that catched me that much. That makes me think bout it that much. Even when I’m at work I can’t stop thinkin bout it. Thought bout watchin this ep for a second time… But I’m kinda scared that I’ll go kinda insane *lol*

      • I think there was also some element of strange fascination with the death of his mother, given the way Vincent focusses so much on his victims’ eyes as they die. He sat with his mother’s body for 24 hours after she died and I’ve often wondered if, despite the fact that he endured so much trauma as a child, he had a strong bond with her that he kept reliving in a twisted sort of way each time he killed. He was there in the final moments of death and this seemed to be the main ‘thrill’ for him in the killings.

        • Well said Andrea….great insight into Vincent’s compulsion to kill his mother over and over again..and totally plausible.

            • I think so. I could be completely off base here, but I’ve always seen the murders not as punishing his mother but recreating the bond. That probably sounds a bit loopy but I suppose I mean that rather than seeking revenge or punishment, Vincent was seeking a way to make sense of what happened and to stay close to his mother (and as I said in a previous post, about control over his victims’ deaths when he had no control over what happened to his mother). It doesn’t seem to me to be the thrill of plunging the knife in but rather the fascination with the victims as they experience their final moments. Having said that, Vincent did stab most of his victims multiple times, didn’t he, but I guess that could just be part of his compulsive tendencies.

              • I wonder as well if he felt responsible in some way. His father said something like ‘with our son in the house?’ and children that young do sometimes take things like that the wrong way because their sense of morality isn’t quite developed yet. If his mother had had several affairs he might have thought of that as normal and assumed that the reason his mother was killed was because he was there, and blamed himself for it.

                I didn’t see any thrill for him in killing the real estate lady – more relief that the compulsion was satisfied. He didn’t seem to get any pleasure from it at all.

    • S!zZ, i still think about it 3 years later. Sorry babe. It’s in your head now. 🙂

      BTW I agree with what CG said below, he killed women who looked like his mom probably because he felt like it was her cheating that destroyed their lives so he’s making her pay over and over again. Damn, I watch too much crime TV. lol.

  25. Just reading a bunch of Alex interviews and came across this bit of him explaining himself what he thought Vincent was thinking :
    “ Turning to the April 29 episode of Criminal Minds: [Series creator] Ed Bernero told me that your serial killer reaches out to the BAU for “help” — and he put “help” in quotation marks.
    O’Loughlin: There are a few twists, and I can’t tell you what they are. But the thing that I love about this episode is that we find a very disturbed character — a guy whose life is run by obsession and by compulsion, and he can’t stop this pattern of killing. But he wants salvation. He finds a child, and the child represents perhaps the last bit of innocence within himself. This is what I drew from the character when I first read the script, and I hope that’s what we see when the show plays.”

  26. Pingback: Spend Some Time With Vincent (Before the Wheel) « Junk Kicker's #H50 Junk Drawer

  27. Wow, just wow.

    Every time I watch this, Alex O’Loughlin just blows me away. The way that he can make Vincent appear submissive, tender, almost quiet one minute and then a cold, emotionless, ruthless, psychopathic killing machine the next is just unbelievable. I loved Alex in this episode although I was left with a lump in my throat when Vincent died while on the ferris wheel. 😦

    • Agreed Leah! This was the first thing I ever saw Alex in and it’s still my favorite role. He was incredible as Vincent and takes the viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s a moment in time when the writing, acting and directing are perfectly delivered. To this day I still get chocked up when he says, “forgive me”. I think I always will.

  28. And might I say I have a weakness for Alex O’Loughlin playing villains? And Criminal Minds was no exception. And the way Vincent says, “Remember you said you’d wished he’d killed you”- the way Alex says in that dark, threatening tone sends shivers down my back.

    And of course, the violin music playing just as Vincent succumbs to his wound makes me choke up. To this day, I still believe that Vincent is one of a few criminals that the FBI didn’t arrest and I also believe that Alex O’Loughlin was the number 1 guest star to have appeared on the show. 🙂

  29. And yes, like you said, that moment where Vincent is studying Michelle Watson, the woman who he killed at the beginning of the episode is creepy.

    It’s like he’s tender, almost gentle and yet so cruel at the same time.

  30. Pingback: White Hot Wednesday #AlexOLoughlin #CriminalMinds | H50BAMF Tumblr

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