Criminal Minds Season Finale: Momma Bears and Their Cubs

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This was, hands down, the best hour of TV I've seen this year - and certainly the best of Criminal Minds Season 9.

It had everything: violence, a corrupt police department headed up by the most evil unsub ever, heartbreak, two important revelations... and some heart-stopping moments when we weren't sure whether Reid was going to live.

Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 24 picked up where we left off at the end of last week's installment, with Reid and Morgan both shot, the dead and injured laying where they fell and bullets still flying back and forth. 

It didn't take the team long to put two and two together and realize that Preacher Mills wasn't the mastermind behind all of the violence, and that the second in command of the police force - Owen McGregor - was the actual unsub.

And that's where things really picked up.

A.J. Cook alluded to a bit of this in our interview with her. She also said there would be some revelations and that a major change would happen for one of the characters. 

At the end of Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 23, I guessed that the unsub was a member of the police department and that he had made the first shot which began the gun fight with Preacher Mills.

I also guessed that one of the BAU would end up being severely injured in the shoot out and that it was probably Reid. Maybe he would end up partially paralyzed, much like Tim McGee's girlfriend Delilah on NCIS.

Later on in the week, when Joe Mantegna tweeted that one of the team would be leaving, I thought for sure it mean Reid would not survive.

It is such a relief to be wrong, once in a while.

Blake and JJ's intense worry was keenly evident as they waited for news on Reid's condition. It seemed surprising that when JJ tearfully told Rossi that she had been scared, he didn't get up and hug her. I would have.

It was impossible to watch this episode and not be completely blown away by the terrific moves from Garcia! Of course, we realize that she is just not the badass type and that what she had to do to protect Reid was just not in her nature. 

Yet, she rose to the occasion and blew that guy away like he was yesterday's leftovers. Reid's focus on the fact that she saved his life brought her quickly back into focus.  What a great team they make!

Now we need to talk about the two team revelations:

The first was Rossi's explanation to Blake about the ending of his first marriage. What I liked about it was that it was entirely logical and believable that Rossi would consider saving lives to be a much bigger priority than smaller things like remembering anniversaries. 

You could see Blake taking it all in, too, as she realized the same could quite easily happen to her. Saving innocent people from vicious killers is huge - it would take a very determined, structured and disciplined person to assign the proper priority to things (yes, we're looking at you, Hotch). 

On a side note, maybe that's why we're not seeing much movement on the romance front for Rossi lately. He knows himself too well.

The second revelation came from Blake herself.

We did a double-take when Blake was trying to keep Reid alive by telling him to keep his eyes open - but kept calling him "Ethan."  This was not lost on Reid, as he later asked her who Ethan was. 

It seems she's begun to see Reid as a kind of surrogate son - something I certainly didn't see coming. We know they have a lot in common, are super-smart and are able to view evidence perhaps more dispassionately than anyone else on the team. Reid being shot startled her way too much. 

The memory of her son, and the discussion about Rossi's failed marriage, put the straw on the camel's back for Blake. It was enough, and now she's left the team.

Some will see that as a good thing, but I see it as sad. 

Final notes:

  • You have to wonder how Derek Morgan now sees Garcia. She kicked some major butt in this episode, and has proven her mettle. She's not just a pretty face anymore. She's a momma bear like no other.
  • I couldn't help grinning at Hotch's thousand-yard stare when that corrupt deputy grabbed JJ's arm.  Even after he let her go, Hotch's dead-eyed stare remained. You could almost hear him saying "come on. Let's go. I dare you."
  • McGregor was pure evil. When he learned about Rossi's escape, he shot the two deputies dead, and then shot the police radio for good measure. Someone obviously messed with his morning's Cornflakes.
  • The song that was playing at the end of the episode as Blake left Reid's apartment was "Maybe" by Lily Kershaw.

Let us know your thoughts on this finale.

What do you think about Blake leaving the BAU?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (62 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter



I like Jeanne Tripplehorn, and I think she fit in very well. Her role was different from Emily's, of course, as it should be. I'm sorry to see her got. I'm glad Reid is OK, and all the rest of the team. Great final few shows. I think working on the BAU for the FBI would be very emotionally draining. They see the worst of the worst. The way they care about and support each other's characters makes it possible to do this job day after day.

@ Susan

Didn't proof read in time. Sorry to see her GO.


Bring back Emily, Blake never fit in anyway.


You know they don't need to find a replacement agent. When Gideon was written off the show the episodes after were still awesome. One character leaving isn't going to tank the show. They have a strong ensemble regardless.


We don't know why someone had to leave, but if one person had to go, I'm glad it was her. The others are too familiar. I am very, very glad that they decided not to kill her. It's good to see someone leave by choice for a change.

@ Linda

Ditto to all of the above. I'm sad to see her go since this episode really took her relationship with Reid to a new level (I always felt like they didn't delve into their interactions nearly as much as they could have in the Maeve arc) and it would have been great to see that play out in Season 10. The dynamic of Reid never having had a stable maternal figure (as much as he loves his mom) paired with Blake never having been able to be a maternal figure (as well as what I saw as her unique insights into Reid) could have been really compelling. HOWEVER... I was so relieved that it wasn't Reid, Garcia or Morgan leaving that I accepted her departure much more easily than I might have otherwise. I will miss her character, but I thought they handled her departure well.


while jean tripphorne (blake) was a good addition to the cast she never was able to fill paget brewster ( emily prentess) role but just like when gidon and L left the dynamics of the cast changes in same ways the brought new life to the show we never really had a changes to get to know blake in it's only been 2 seasons that she was there it took almost 7 seasons to really know what morgon went throught as a kids but it was a great ending at least no one left cause they died theres always hope that we will see them again maybe one day we might see GIDON

@ megan

I doubt Mandy P. EVER coming back to the show after the way he left..........I find it unlikely he comes back for a one time appearance on the series finale when they have it............


Great episode. I am so glad Reid wasn't the one to leave I would have been so angry he's my favorite character besides Garcia. I was surprised that Blake was the one to leave she's still so new I didn't think she would leave. I really liked her character and have since the beginning and am going to miss her she worked really well with the team. I wonder if they'll replace her. I loved that Garcia shot the guy and she was freaking out then Reid told her she saved his life and that made her feel better. I wonder if we'll see anything in the next season about this like the aftermath of it what she's going through or if it changes her. Can't wait till the show returns next fall.


When Spencer pulled her credentials from his briefcase I realized it was Blake who was leaving. I'm sorry to see her go - her quiet confidence meshed well with the other, louder, brighter characters. I didn't expect to like her after Emily but I did like her even better, differently. I'm happy the show was renewed and now have to wait (not so patiently) to find out who, if anyone, will be her replacement. Is. It. September. Yet?

@ brooklyngurl

It doesn't matter who replace Blake the Emily fan would make her quit too


I don't know what I missed but I don't recall anything about Blake leaving. She said when Ethan died he was ready but she wasn't ready to say goodbye. I took it to mean that she was finally ready to say goodbye to Ethan.

@ Mary

There were 3 clues. First, Hotch got a text on his phone, told the others that it wasn't important, but then stared at Blake. It was most likely a text about her resignation. Second & probably the most obvious clue, she left her badge with Reid. Third, Reid looks out the window & sees her taking a taxi with a bag in her hand, with his voice in the background stating a quote about leaving a life we planned so that we can have the life that is waiting for us, symbolically signalling that she is leaving the team. My take on it at least...


am sad to see blake go. i love the relationship she had with reid. i hope we dont get another team member, i am tired of getting attach to characters only for them to leave a few seasons later.


Hi Douglas! I waited and waited on you last night to post this review!!!!! LOL!!!!!! I knew from the beginning when Blake called Reid Ethan and her subsequent reactions after the shoot out that she would be leaving. Blake and Reid had a connection and she was closer to him than anyone else on the team and now we know why. Kudos to the show for keeping her departure under wraps. I'm sorry to see Jeanne Tripplehorn go(is she going to be doing something else?).............I wonder if we'll see a new cast member--is another really needed? Perhaps Paget Brewster will return? I guess time will tell.......... We saw Garcia rise to the occasion and save Reid! Does this mean she'll start going out in the field with the team more?? I think Garcia better serves in her current capacity............ You mentioned Hotch's dead-eyed stare.........I loved that...........He's done that a lot in the past.........when he does that you know he means business............ If you've watched the show at all, Rossi's revelation shouldn't have been that much of a except that he opened up and shared it........... I don't agree with Hege and the comment about next season should be the last .......... as long as they keep doing episodes like these last should definitely keep going.........

@ Terrie

Doubt we'll see Garcia going out in the field anymore. I think what she did will still traumatize her for some time to come. Seasoned police officers often have difficulty when they have to fire on someone. Rossi's revelation wasn't a surprise - although it was quite interesting. We knew his first marriage had ended, and that it was likely because of the job. We never knew the details though - which is why that scene is so important. It also explains why he may shy away from having relationships at all. The job is still that important to him, and he still considers saving innocent people from monsters to be a major deal that is more important than the mundane day to day stuff most of us handle.

@ Douglas Wolfe

I agree......

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Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 24 Quotes

Reid: Have you ever had that feeling that you're future's somehow behind you?
Blake: All the time.
Reid: I did too. But it isn't.
Blake: Ethan would have been a lot like you.
Reid: Thank you for being there when I woke up. It meant a lot.
Blake: Of course.
Reid: Bye, Alex.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us - Joseph Campbell