Blame the instant-gratification payoff of all those Law & Order/Law & Order: SVU/Law & Order: Criminal Intent/Law & Order: Parking Violation Unit marathons we’re accustomed to, but “The Mind Its Own Place” seemed in comparison a spinning-wheels hour largely devoid of action—and arrests. Sure, Gibson is hoping Spector will lead her to Rose Stagg (dead or alive), but if, as Burns suspects, Spector knows they’re onto him, it’s doubtful he would be so careless. (Though, to be fair, he did return to Annie Brawley’s hospital room, so perhaps he is becoming reckless enough to do just that…)
We open with Gibson standing outside her hotel room, as techs dust for prints and bag evidence, which includes her laptop and what we come to learn is her dream diary. (I’ve never met so many people outside of a creative writing workshop or the premiere episode of The Vampire Diaries who keep a journal: Spector, Gibson, and Katie.) At the station, Gibson does an image search for the Gothic artwork Spector set as her wallpaper. It’s an 18th-century work by Henry Fuseli called—get this—“The Nightmare.” Fitting.
Gibson shows the image to Burns—who has come to apologize for his despicable behavior from the night before—and explains how Spector hid in her hotel room while they were both inside. Of course, Burns’ knee-jerk reaction is to worry about his own damning admissions.
“Oh, forget about your private embarrassment for a minute,” Gibson scolds him.
As she and the investigators comb through their files on Spector, including his bereavement counselor credentials, Gibson has something of an epiphany. She makes a few calls and her fears are confirmed: Paul Spector has been counseling Annie Brawley. In fact, he’s due for a session in about half an hour.
Poor Annie Brawley. She’s been violently attacked. Her brother’s been killed. Her would-be murderer has been visiting her under the guise of therapy. And now she can’t even get a decent haircut! Gibson arrives, shooing away the stylist Spector hired before she’s finished, and whisking Annie to the bathroom to hide as Spector ascends in the elevator. The copper stationed outside Annie’s room does a decent job covering; she makes up some excuse about Annie needing a treatment on her throat. But Spector isn’t convinced. He leaves, and lucky him, Sally-Ann happens to be downstairs looking for him and gives him a ride.
Gibson handles Annie carefully, proceeding with caution. She knows she can’t reveal Spector’s true identity or intent, so she lets Annie slowly work it out for herself.
“I really like him,” she tells Gibson. “He made me feel better about myself.”
“In what way better?” Gibson asks.
“I know it was only the once, but he was the most helpful anyone’s been… He just seemed—he listened. He was almost like a mirror seeming to reflect me back somehow. He wasn’t judgmental.”
But, then, it happens. The realization. After a beat.
“My god, he was there!” Brawley says almost in some sort of fugue state. “I remember him! In that bar. The night I lost my driver’s license. He’s the man that attacked me.”
Meanwhile, a body matching Rose Stagg’s description is found.
NEXT: The sky is falling