If “Criminal Minds” established one thing in the early going on Wednesday night’s season finale, it was that multiple lives were in the balance. Also, Hotch’s freedom was at risk.
At the start of the episode, we saw the character get arrested at what was actually a massive swatting operating designed to create a design-and-conquer approach on the BAU. Ultimately, it was a distraction so that another plan could be achieved: The release of a mass amount of dangerous criminals, and then another plan that was going to lead to the destruction of an entire city. Hotch eventually was able to get himself, which is great news since if he hadn’t done that, we feel like Tara Lewis may have been killed.
For a finale story, we did think that much of the violent conclusion was all style and not a lot of substance, mostly because it was gunfire and more gunfire. At this point, we’re almost a little numb to police shootouts where somehow, none of the good guys gets hurt.
The final minutes of the episode caused us to warm a little more to this episode, mostly because it was softer, quieter, and more character-focused. Specifically, Rossi convinced Hayden to stick around this time by allowing her to meet his team, and realizing that these people were his family, and there was an added reason for him to keep doing “the job.” He wasn’t the same guy he once was, and he proved that. The whole gathering was fun, especially Reid doing magic tricks!
We were fine with there not being a huge cliffhanger when it comes to the safety of any main characters; still, the talk of more serial killers escaping elsewhere (including Mr. Scratch!) should provide a nice enough teaser for season 12. That’s what we’ll take it as for now.
As a whole, we’d say this was a solid finale, even if it was one that did not reinvent the show by any means. Grade: B+.
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