Criminal Minds, Season 8, Episode 15: “Broken”

CAUTION: This post contains spoilers about Criminal Minds Episode “Broken,” which aired on Feb. 20, 2013. If you have not seen the episode, you may want to stop here.

TRIGGER WARNING: This synopsis contains themes that may be upsetting to some readers.

A recent episode of Criminal Minds has stuck with me for weeks, now. I also can’t hear Muse’s “Madness” without feeling like I may be sick.

The episode, in a nutshell, involves a killer who is targeting young men and women; when the bodies are found, they’re all wearing watches which are set to an inaccurate time. As is the norm, the episode flashes back and forth between the BAU and the killer. We as the audience got a glimpse into the killer’s background; he’s a young man who has a hard time performing sexually when he’s with women. However, when he’s with men, he performs just fine. Enraged by both scenarios, he kills his partners post-contact.

The episode was deep, but what got me the most was why he was so enraged by sex. As the episode progresses, we find out that the young man was enrolled in a “gay correctional facility” when he was young because his parents thought his feelings were “wrong.” We also find out that, while at this camp, the young men were forced to have sex with a female prostitute while their parents, who signed the consent forms for the children, watched. At the end of the episode, the team, who has figured what exactly is going on at Camp Willing, raids the camp and releases a group of young men who are being forced to watch straight porn. (This all is shown, in silence, with just Muse’s “Madness” playing over the action. Hence why that song gives me anxiety now…)

I’ve been told that many of the cases featured on Criminal Minds have some root of truth. If this is the case, then there is some effed up stuff going on in the U.S. I haven’t done much research on homosexual correctional facilities, but what I saw in this episode both shocked me and broke my heart. Some of the methods used to “fix” gay people are horrifying. And, in this case in particular, the young man who was subjected to these methods turned into a murderer, taking the lives of innocent people because he was haunted by his past.

The fact that we live in a day and age where people still believe gay people need to be “fixed” is awful. They do not need to be bullied. Bullying isn’t going to fix anything. They should not be kicked out of their homes for being “wrong.” There is nothing wrong about them. Young people should not feel the need to take their own lives because they’ve been made to feel like something about them is broken. They are not broken. They, too, are people.

I hope that this episode opened the minds of its’ viewers to the horrors that gay people are sometimes subjected to. I also hope that, someday very soon, we can live in a world where being gay is not seen as “wrong” in any way.


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