The following contains spoilers from Criminal Minds’ Season 13 finale.
‘Member how in Criminal Minds‘ previous season finale, the lives of everyone but Reid and Garcia were left in jeopardy?
Well, the exact flip-side of that is what fans will be left to fret over this summer, given how Season 13 came to a close.
Having been led to a storage unit where FBI Agent Owen Quinn (Difficult People‘s James Urbaniak) had seemingly been left for dead, Reid and the rest of the BAU got to investigating the long-missing colleague’s claim of hunting and then running afoul of a team of serial killers. At first, it appeared that the VICAP-trained Quinn was the victim of a husband/wife team aiming to indoctrinate their son. But we then realized that the son had tried to stop his parents and save the agent’s life.
The BAU gradually came to learn that a cult led by “The Messiah” (Battlestar Galactica‘s Michael Hogan) was recruiting would-be serial killers, and burning their fingertips with acid as part of an initiation ritual. Quinn’s own burned fingertips — the result of alleged torture via butane torch — for a moment got the BAU to thinking that he was in on it all along. But as Garcia shared an elevator with Quinn and fellow VICAP Agent Mary Meadows (Galavant‘s Karen David), the actual truth revealed itself — Meadows was part of the cult! And with Quinn freshly shot, Reid was ordered to spring The Messiah from holding/”join” them, or else an abducted Garcia would get a bullet to her bean.
By design, Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer said of this year’s finale, “What we did was the people who were not in the cliffhanger last year are in the cliffhanger this year. Last year, [Reid and Garcia] were safe, this year they’re in danger.”
In the event of a Season 14 renewal (which at press time had not been officially ordered), viewers will learn who all makes it out of this predicament alive, and how.
“I felt [this cliffhanger] would launch us into a great conclusion in the 300th episode” aka the Season 14 premiere, Messer says. “I can’t think of a time when the stakes were bigger than Garcia being held captive and Reid compromised in a big way.”
Even if Reid and or Garcia get emerge from this crisis unscathed, could The Messiah’s cult be an ongoing threat in Season 14? “Yeah, it could be,” Messer answered. “I am working on [the premiere script] as we speak, actually.”