After an erratic season, "Red Light" was a fairly respectable finale.
Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 22 was jam-packed with a resolution to the Diana kidnapping, Reid-and-Cat mind games, a Derek Morgan cameo and an unexpected cliffhanger.
I liked how the Reid-and-Cat scenes were handled. It was very reminiscent of their engrossing first meeting on Criminal Minds Season 11 Episode 11.
Best was how they were shown on a date in Cat's fantasy world instead of a grungy prison visiting room. It was a striking counterpoint to the life-and-death struggle they were actually locked in.
Not surprisingly, Reid was off his game after months in prison. Fortunately, JJ was there to keep him stable, giving him the support he needed while trying to out-think Cat, who obviously had plenty of time to plot her revenge. JJ got Reid to see that it was OK to do what he needed to do to survive while in prison.
Now, I'm still a little fuzzy about how Cat, in prison for a year, and Lindsey, an assassin working all over the country for the past five years, became lesbian lovers. Conjugal visits, I'm guessing. Cat used Lindsey to kidnap Diana, then the BAU showed Lindsey how Cat was using her to get Diana released.
It was pretty neat how the BAU arranged for Lindsey to have a front-row seat for Cat's attempt to bring Reid to the dark side. I guess Cat got so into her own head that she forgot about the camera.
The whole "Reid got me pregnant" gambit seemed a little far-fetched. Lindsey, pretending to be Reid's long-lost love, got a sample of his sperm while he was drugged and smuggled it back to Cat, so she could impregnate herself with, what, a turkey baster? She must be on the kitchen detail.
Reid and JJ found that to be preposterous, although it did raise some eyebrows, especially Garcia's, back at the BAU.
At least we finally found out why Wilkins was so mean to Reid, which had previously seemed inexplicable. Apparently, he saw Reid as a rival for Cat's affections. He must have had a lot of pull to get a federal agent moved from protective custody to gen pop. More than any guard should have.
Well, thanks to crazy little Lindsey, he won't be facing any accessory charges.
It was a sweet reunion for Reid and Diana, and thank God they weren't dragged through any other ordeal this episode. Now maybe he can come up with an effective treatment option for her that doesn't require mentioning.
Besides, there had to be some time left for Morgan's much-ballyhooed return.
Although it was slightly more than a cameo, it still had a Peggy Lee feel to it ("Is that all there is?").
It was great to get him and Garcia back together again, pulling her out of what seemed like a season-long funk. He even chastised her to go easier on Alvez.
He also played a crucial role in sending the BAU chasing after Scratch based on the phony text he received.
Yes, it would be great to have Morgan back full time. But, understanding the likelihood of type-casting, Shemar Moore has moved on. And we must also.
And we were still rewarded with a decent cliffhanger. I didn't see the spike mats/semi trap coming whatsoever.
It's been a while since they've used car crashes as a finale plot device. I'm remembering Hotch in an exploding SUV on Criminal Minds Season 3 Episode 20.
So now it's time to start a pool on which character will be in a coma at the start of Criminal Minds Season 13. (I figure if a character was getting written off, we'd have heard already.) My money is on Lewis, since, frankly, she'd be the least missed. Sorry, Aisha.
So the Scratch storyline gets carried over into a new season, because 22 episodes of name-dropping him just wasn't enough.
To recap this season, watch Criminal Minds online.
How did you enjoy Morgan's brief visit? How about Reid and Cat? Are you annoyed Scratch's storyline continues? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.