Shemar Moore/Derek Morgan has left the show. Wow.
Some predicted it, and though there was a hint on Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 17, I confess: I simply did not see that coming.
This story was truly a labor of love on everyone's part, as shown by the fact that Kirsten Vangsness co-wrote it with Erica Messer, while Matthew Gray Gubler directed.
Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 18 picked up right where we left off.
Only now we know that it was Savannah who was shot in the hospital parking lot, not Morgan.
Also revealed was Morgan's mysterious enemy: Chazz Montolo, the head of a crime family, and the father of Giuseppe Montolo, the imprisoned hit man who was poisoned while being interviewed by Morgan. This happened on Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 7.
Chazz blamed Morgan for his son's death and had been waging a terror campaign against him all this time.
So, finally Chazz coerced Morgan into meeting him at one of the houses Morgan had remodeled and convinced him that if he didn't disarm and play by his rules, someone would begin killing the BAU team and Savannah.
Fortunately, Morgan remembered that the house hadn't been connected for landline access, and so, he gained the upper hand.
Man, was the scene between Morgan and Montolo intense, though! And that was some very fine acting by Shemar Moore again.
Knowing the rumors about Moore leaving the show, I truly worried that the gunshot we heard before the commercial break meant he'd been killed.
That's the second time the writers have fooled us with a gunshot before the ending of a scene in as many episodes. And they did it so well, too.
It's not like Morgan or Savannah couldn't have been killed. We all saw what happened with Reid's girlfriend on Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 12, didn't we?
No one on this show is truly safe.
The most compelling, bittersweet and heartbreaking aspect of "A Beautiful Disaster" occurred during the final fifteen minutes (which I confess I had to watch twice).
On "The Sandman," we saw Morgan looking at a picture of former BAU Section Chief Erin Strauss (who was killed on the season finale of Criminal Minds Season 8). Some drew hints from that scene that he was leaving the BAU.
Now we saw him again looking around the room at BAU headquarters. And then we saw him saying his goodbyes to JJ, Reid and Garcia.
All of the closing scenes were beautiful and sad (hence the episode title "A Beautiful Disaster"), and I'm certain every member of the cast had no trouble reaching for emotions at any point, as they were saying goodbye to a fellow cast mate as well.
This scene simply blew me away.
Morgan: I know you hate goodbyes, kid. And change. Hey, it isn't always a bad thing.
Reid: I just can't imagine this room without you.
Morgan: So don't. Don't think about it. Just know I'm always going to be by your side. I'm just a phone call away. I'm sorry I can't stay.
Reid: I don't want you to stay, because I know why you're leaving and I couldn't be happier for you.
Morgan: Well listen, we were going to mail these, but I wanted you to have a birth announcement first.
Reid: Hank Spencer Morgan.
Morgan: Yeah. Hank is for my pops. But Spencer is for the best little brother anybody could ever ask for. I love you, kid.
Reid: I love you.
The great news is that Morgan and Savannah had their baby. Hank Spencer Morgan. Now there's a name with a huge legacy attached. That kid's going to grow up to be pretty cool.
I am sorry to see Shemar Moore leave the show. I hate that he's going, as he represents one of the pillars of this cast. He probably has some good reasons though, and I'm sure we all wish him well.
- Garcia was glad the baby's a boy and not a girl. That's hilarious. I'm not sure why, it just is. She can only ever be honest, it seems. A trait she shares with Reid.
- Speaking of Reid, what a great conversation he had with Morgan when he was talking him down (or trying to, at least) from going after Montolo.
- JJ disobeyed orders and gave Morgan a clue. On re-thinking Reid's conversation with him, I now believe he did the exact same thing with Morgan, only he was far more subtle about it. He talked about how a paternal instinct is a deadly bias. No way did Reid not realize the hint he was giving.
- Be sure to join us next week when we review Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 19, entitled "Tribute."
- As always, you can catch up on any missed episodes when you watch Criminal Minds online.
Now it's over to you. What are your thoughts on this episode? What do you think of Derek Morgan leaving the BAU? Be sure to chime in, in the comments below!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.