Top 10 Criminal Minds Episodes That Kept Us Up At Night

Top 10 Criminal Minds Episodes That Kept Us Up At Night
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Cassondra Feltus
These "Criminal Minds" episodes still keep us up at night. For this list, we'll be looking at those particularly scary or disturbing BAU cases that still haunt us. Our countdown includes "Alchemy," "Lucky," "The Uncanny Valley," and more!

Top 10 Criminal Minds Episodes That Kept Us Up At Night

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 “Criminal Minds” Episodes That Kept Us Up At Night.

For this list, we’ll be looking at those particularly scary or disturbing BAU cases that still haunt us. Since we’ll be covering major plot points, a spoiler warning is now in effect.

Do you lose sleep over these episodes? Let us know in the comments.

#10: “Alchemy”

This episode, directed by none other than Matthew Gray Gubler, opens with a literal nightmare. A man follows voices down a creepy hotel hallway. He peels the wallpaper to find a slimy organism that swallows his arm. When he wakes up, his reality isn’t much better. Later, we learn that he is one of two men found dismembered in South Dakota. An autopsy shows a potent hallucinogen in his system, meaning he was seeing scary things asleep and awake. The unsub’s next victim has his own hellish experience. In the same hall, he sees a boy walking backwards and then crawling into the wall. Then an old woman stabs him in the neck. Luckily, the BAU saves him before he ends up like the others.

#9: “The Good Earth”

After four men go missing, the team travels to La Grande, Oregon. We see Emma Kerrigan (the unsub), a health store worker/farmer, force-feeding these men a brownish substance via a tube. This image alone makes us squirm, but it gets worse. Emma once had a skin disease that healed after she used her deceased husband’s ashes in her tomato garden. This led to her using healthy men as fertilizer, which she sees as the only remedy. She continues to hallucinate terrible lesions on her arms and face. This leads her to kidnap a pregnant woman to consume her placenta, which she sees as another possible cure. All of these acts are stomach-churning but yanking out one man’s feeding tube is painful to watch.

#8: “Reflection of Desire”

Rhett Walden (dubbed the Hill Ripper) is the son of old movie star May Walden. Since her death, he’s been trying to recreate a film she starred in called “Reflections of Desire.” When his first victim can’t get the lines correct, he takes her life, leaving her body in an alley. But he takes a trophy — her lips. While his second victim delivers the lines to his satisfaction, he has to remove parts of her body so she can literally walk in his mother’s shoes. His disturbing relationship with his mother — before and after her death — is reminiscent of Norman Bates. And considering Rhett also keeps his mother’s corpse and pretends she’s still alive, the similarities are glaring.

#7: “Proof”

Back in high school, Cy Bradstone had a crush on a girl named Lyla. She rejected him, later telling her friends that he was gross. As an adult, Cy exacts his revenge on surrogates of a teenage Lyla, dressing them in clothing from the 1980s. He uses sulfuric acid to attack their senses like sight, smell, taste, and touch. Cy turns his attention to his niece Tammy when he sees her wearing Lyla’s old homecoming dress. He’s even more enraged with Tammy, because he secretly despises his brother Matt for marrying “his girl” Lyla. It’s truly disturbing seeing him taunt Matt, laughing at his daughter’s pain. Trust us when we say this one is tough to watch.

#6: “Mosley Lane”

Cases involving the youth are always upsetting, but the unsubs in this one are especially creepy. Roger and Anita Roycewood have been taking them for over 8 years. Seeing anguished parents of the missing and what the victims go through as prisoners, is truly heartbreaking. What’s even more chilling is that we don’t know why the Roycewoods did this. We can speculate, but we’re ultimately in the dark. Knowing these abductors were able to get away with this for almost a decade makes our skin crawl. Without a doubt, it’s an episode that sticks with us.

#5: “Heathridge Manor”

The BAU travels to Oregon for a case involving a body found in an abandoned asylum. The woman’s elaborate period clothing and makeup are unusual, but it only gets weirder from here. James Heathridge is on a mission to rid the world of the “Devil’s wives.” He puts his victims through tests, where the only outcome is death. When he was a kid, his mother Catherine attacked a fellow actress, believing she was one of these wives. She then cut off her daughter’s arm, thinking that would make her less attractive to the Devil. Catherine was institutionalized and died in the asylum. Now she appears in James’ hallucinations, encouraging his witch hunt. The gothic tone of the episode, and open ending leaves us seriously creeped out.

#4: “Lucky”

One of the many cannibals the BAU comes across is Floyd Feylinn Ferell xin Bridgewater, Florida. His victims (at least, what’s left of them) are found with Satanic markings, leading the team to believe the killings could be ritualistic. When they finally arrest Floyd, he’s in his basement in front of a Satanic altar, appearing unfazed by the arrest. With a freezer full of bodies and a live victim, there’s no doubt this is the guy. Among his things, they find a human recipe book. The team realizes that Floyd runs a BBQ stand, and that he volunteered to feed the search party for Tracey Lambert, his victim. We’ll let you guess what the ingredients were.

#3: “The Uncanny Valley”

As a child, Samantha Malcolm was mistreated by her father. To keep her silent, he subjected her to ECT, giving her a set of dolls to ease his conscience. But when an adult Samantha sees her father give her special dolls to another little girl, she sets out to recreate them. Instead of actual dolls, she kidnaps petite young women, and keeps them in a drug-induced paralysis. She dresses them up to resemble her dolls, each with different hair colors and dresses. Her victims can’t survive in this state, so she then has to dump the bodies and “collect” new ones. From the traumatic childhood to the unsub’s method of killing, everything about this episode is a nightmare, to say the least.

#2: “To Hell and Back”

In a case inspired by the real-life serial killer Robert Pickton, this two-part episode takes the team to a rural pig farm in Canada. It’s home to brothers Mason and Lucas Turner, who are involved in the murders of dozens of people. Though Lucas is the muscle who carries out the murders, it’s Mason who has the brains and the power. For seven years, Mason has been paralyzed from the neck down. In an attempt to cure his paralysis, Mason has his brother kidnap transients and addicts, and bring them back to the farm to undergo gruesome experiments.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Eyes Have It”
An Unsub Removes the Eyes of His Victims to Use Them in His Taxidermy

“God Complex”
An Amateur Surgeon Performs Human Experiments by Amputating Their Legs

“Risky Business”
An Unsub Tricks High School Kids Into Playing a Dangerous Game… Only So He Can Revive Them

Saving Young Boys From a Conversion Therapy Camp

“A Shade of Gray”
A Disturbed Kid Kills His Little Brother...Because He Broke a Toy

#1: “The Lesson”

This bizarre episode is the stuff of nightmares. After an accident leaves him with brain damage, Adam returns to a childlike state of mind. He starts kidnapping people, dressing them up like two puppets from his childhood. He uses medieval-like devices to dislocate their joints, making for some hard to watch scenes. This allows him to manipulate their movements like a puppeteer. He needs the perfect puppets to reenact the night his father dies, because they need to save him this time. The marionette performance is simultaneously beautiful and completely horrifying.