Criminal Minds season 12 episode 21 review: Aubrey Plaza’s Cat Adams returns to torture Reid

Spencer Reid in jail has been one of the longer story arcs Criminal Minds has put out over the course of the show and while it was a valiant effort to try to change things up from the normal procedural layout the series typically has, this has been very polarizing for viewers. For us, we started out really loving this arc because if gave Matthew Gray Gubler some really meaty material and a chance to show us just how good of an actor he really is. That’s how we felt at first… now we are starting to feel that the story is a little too dark – even for Criminal Minds standards which has tackled some really dark content over the years. In many ways it’s been good to see such a harsh reaction to Reid being in jail, because it shows just how much people care about this character, but at the same time it’s not easy to tune in every week and watch him going deeper down the hole. With next week being the Criminal Minds season 12 finale, there’s not much time left to wrap this story up.

We will start this Criminal Minds review off by saying that while we understand that the show needed to bring Reid’s mother to the prison to bring back the Lindsey character, it felt really off to us. As someone who knows Alzheimer’s quite well due to our grandmother battling this miserable disease, even on her best days we wouldn’t consider bringing her to a prison. After learning that Lindsey isn’t a real nurse, and in fact that she’s someone from Reid’s past with some not so good intentions with his mother, it all makes sense.

Tonight’s episode started out with Reid telling Prentiss about Lindsey bringing his mom to the prison and the team discovers that not only is Reid’s mother missing, but Cassie (his mom’s actual nurse) is also gone. All hands are on deck to find Lindsey since not only is she behind Reid’s missing mother, but she was also at the scene of the murder Reid is being accused of. After learning that Lindsey was renting  the apartment down the hall from Spencer’s mother for 6 months, they discover that it’s filled with surveillance of Reid… also Cassie’s there and she’s dead.

With the team busy trying to find Lindsey, Reid is having to deal with the 6 inmates that were poisoned (including Calvin), because they are all back in Gen Pop and think he is responsible. To protect himself, Reid frames Calvin with stabbing him so he can be put in solitary confinement. Prentiss is happy to hear this, because it means he’s safe, but Garcia can’t deal with the idea of Reid getting hurt or dying in prison, so she hands in her resignation. Is she really going to quit? This seems legitimate and after seeing how broken down she is, we get why she’s checked out. Hopefully, with Shemar Moore coming back for the Criminal Minds season 12 finale (you can read more about that here) she will reconsider.

While Reid is temporarily safe, the team is working on finding Lindsey, her connection to Mr. Scratch and getting enough proof together to tie Lindsey to the murder in Mexico. Luckily, Prentiss has found a way to work a deal with the judge to get Spencer out of jail thanks to a match with Lindsey’s prints. Spencer is free, but his mom is still missing.

So was Mr. Scratch behind this set up on Reid? Turns out that Cat Adams was really behind all of this and even though she’s been in prison this whole time, she’s created enough of a web to make this happen from behind bars. We can’t say how excited we are to see Aubrey Plaza back in action even though it has been making our Spencer miserable. She’s one of our favorite villains on this show.

As we said at the beginning of this review, we have been having a difficult time watching the Reid story arc this season, but tonight we had that sweet relief we’ve been holding out for by seeing Reid leave prison and get that big hug from Garcia. We could feel that hug right through our television set! Now we just have to wait until the finale to see that Garcia/Morgan hug we’ve been missing so much. Episode grade: A-

What did you think of tonight’s episode of Criminal Minds and how do you want to see this season wrap up next week? Leave us a comment in the box below with your thoughts. If you want to check out what’s coming up on the Criminal Minds season 12 finale, then head on over to the link here for a preview. (Photo: CBS)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!