This week, many a Criminal Minds fan got what they for months have wished for. Reid has been freed from the clink — though he is far from out of the woods.
Based off of Reid’s frantic claims about his mother’s new caretaker being Season 3 abduction victim Lindsey Vaughn, the team gets digging and confirms that Lindsey in fact is the woman who took Diana away, and both are now missing. Further investigation into Lindsey’s activities reveal that she has been following in her father’s footsteps by working as a hit woman for cartels, along the U.S./Mexico border.
With Shaw and Reid’s other poisoning victims now out of the infirmary, the BAU knows the clock is ticking. To help his own cause, Reid crafts a shiv and tricks Shaw into stabbing him with it, landing Reid in solitary. Yet even there, it is made clear, Shaw has reach. And as Shaw just warned him, Reid “wont see it coming” when it’s time for payback.
Prentiss & Co. meanwhile burn the midnight oil to build a paper trail putting Lindsey Vaughn in the Right place (which comes easy), though linking her to the murder weapon proves tricky, if only because her pints are protected by WITSEC. Luke though leans on a “pal” to grease the wheels and get them what they need.
Prentiss has no time to waste and thus forces some face time with the judge, presenting the case they have built this far for Lindsey being Nadie Ramos’ killer — save for the matter of her fingerprints. It appears to not be quite enough, and it will take time for the court to verify what the BAU has put together. We then cut to Reid being pulled out of solitary and led to a room, where he comes face to face with… JJ! He is a free man.
Or, “free.” As the BAU hunts down Lindsey, they are led to an iPad that has a video cued up. A video of… Cat Adams, who reveals that she has been behind alllll of it (and frankly has grown tired of passing it off as Scratch’s handiwork). It is she who orchestrated the frame job, and if Reid wants to know where accomplice Lindsey is holding his mother, he will need to pay Cat a visit at the women’s correctional facility where she has been cooling her heels for six months.
Can Reid and his fractured psyche withstand the confrontation? Walker and others ask Prentiss that very question, wondering if maybe JJ should lead the profiling of Cat. But Prentiss says Reid is the only one to do it, or else Diana will be killed and they’ll in turn lose him forever. So take a moment of silence, she says, then push any worries out of your mind and focus on moving past faulty assumptions and zeroing in on Cat Adams.
Fun fact: I now realize that Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer teased Aubrey Plaza’s encore when I interviewed her back in January, saying on the topic of possible returns, “Oh gosh, yes — but if I said who, I would give more away than I want to give away. But yeah, we’re really acknowledging the history of the series and being able to bring back people that have made an impact, good or bad, on our characters. And we’re just having a really good time doing that.”
What did you think of Season 12’s penultimate episode?