‘Criminal Minds’ Heart-Stopping, Tear-Jerking Season Finale Recap and Review

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"Criminal Minds" ends Season 7 with an action-packed bank heist that leads to a wedding. The show typically has dark themes, but the two-hour finale is especially tense, bloody, and violent without much psychological profiling. Reid does not interject with his unintentional levity, and it is a long journey to the happy, yet bittersweet ending.

Weekend With the BAU

Will responds to a bank robbery and shoots one of the robbers. It quickly becomes a hostage situation, and the BAU has to come in on a Saturday. Somehow, they are interchangeable with the crisis negotiation team, which is overseas.

The robbers are pros and taunt the authorities through the surveillance feed. The injured robber dies, and his brother demands to see Will. He shoots Will, takes him hostage, and goes after Henry. Prentiss later diffuses a bomb strapped to Will's chest while J.J. saves Henry.


It is all in a day's work for Prentiss. She shines in this episode, but manages to avoid a long, dramatic goodbye. She already had a funeral, and it is nice to see her leave on a lighter note while the show focuses on the wedding celebration.


The relationship between the robbers is clear early on. Chris hovering over a wounded Oliver cinches their brotherly relationship while Izzy's aloofness and insincerity hint at her secret agenda. Matthew adds a slight twist, but his twitchy behavior in the bank seems suspicious from the start.

"Criminal Minds" usually adds a suspenseful, intellectual aspect to its unsubs, but supervillain Izzy fizzles. She is a globetrotting ghost, assassin, bomber, and sadistic killer with a mean, towheaded grandpa. Her taunting stares and bright red smile are more annoying than ominous. Viewers do not learn much about her motivation, except that she is a sick person.

Her global career mirrors Prentiss' and their two lives intersect on past cases. That could make for an epic battle between the two, but Izzy seems unaware of their connection. Instead, her presence reunites Prentiss with an Interpol pal, which leads to a tempting job offer.

J.J.'s Wedding

After Will nearly dies, J.J. decides it is time to get married. Rossi helps plan a surprise wedding for the happy couple. Penelope and Kevin eventually share an awkward dance. The team, including Prentiss, dances together, but it is uncharacteristically boring. Wouldn't someone make Reid fumble through the chicken dance? Shouldn't Penelope dance like a maniac or make a mad dash to catch the bouquet?

The whole episode lacks the signature humor from Reid and Penelope. Their Dr. Who garb at the sci-fi convention is priceless, and it is adorkable that Penelope compares herself to the president. However, her peppy phone banter, flashy fashions, and Reid's unintentional funnies are almost completely absent.

Good Things

"Criminal Minds" usually reveals the team's strong bond and personal lives in powerful bits and pieces. The previous episode, "Profiling 101," is a perfect example of how they understand the toll of their jobs and offer support to each other. The season finale replaces those nuances with a hefty dose of sentimentality.

Rossi gives a toast, saying that good things happen to good people, and the episode ends with lengthy scenes of the team celebrating. Prentiss' narration about endings being a new beginning demonstrates her hopeful attitude, although it is not clear where she is going.

Humor, heart, intelligence, and subtlety make "Criminal Minds" unique. This episode lazily creates a sense of stress instead of building anticipation. Adding a happy ending does not replace the steady humor, which is vital, especially in an episode with such a high body count.

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