The Criminal Minds finale snuck up on me this year and I only realised a few minutes before sitting down to watch that it was the last episode of the season.
If I hadn’t realised before watching, I would soon have done from watching the opening sequences. Criminal Minds loves nothing more than to highlight important episodes by bringing the family element on strong: Rossi/his ex-wife, Reid talking about his Mum, Garcia telling everyone about plans to visit Prentiss, and of course Hotch/Jack, JJ/Will and her real life children. It was nice to bookend the episode with some cute team family moments.
As to the case itself? I have mixed views. It was interesting, don’t get me wrong, but the setup and the links to previous episodes, particularly Antonia’s Slade son, was tenuous at best and not a lot of time was spent actually profiling and expanding on the anarchist, prison-breaking, bomb-obsessed perp. It was almost like they planned the episode around all the cool prison scenes and helicopter exploding and slotted in a reason for it all happening as an after thought.
However, TV is TV and having SWAT burst in and arrest Hotch in front of Jack, JJ and Henry was an arresting (pardon the pun!) start with the highlight of course the prison break.
The final scene with the setup for Season 12 was slightly unbelievable (who knew anarchists had so much power that they can stage several prison breaks at once – ‘Prison Break’ made it seem so hard!) but ultimately sets up a good plot arc for next season. Whilst Criminal Minds hasn’t been of the same quality as its earlier seasons of late, I would still hope there is still one more season left to go and it’s not put out to pasture in favour of its latest spinoff.