As suspense built up in last night's Criminal Minds episode — the finale of the CBS show's 11th season — it appeared that we were heading for a big cliffhanger, with the likelihood that one or more of the Behavioral Analysis Unit agents would be injured or even killed by a prisoner.
In the sequel to the previous week's episode featuring serial killer Antonia Slade, who helped the agents find an at-large unsub who had kidnapped two boys, we saw a risky dynamic. But Antonia, being a psychopath after all, manipulated the agents and made demands in return for the information. The episode "Devil's Backbone" ended with her ominous warning to Agent Hotchner that a storm was coming, and he was going to be swept away.
In the finale, appropriately called "The Storm," we saw a disaster unfold with the mass escape of violent criminals in a prison, with cell doors opening everywhere in a sophisticated security breach that criminals orchestrated. I bet that Antonia had some high-level involvement in creating this storm, although she only appeared at the beginning of this episode and her role was left unclear; however, her son was involved.
The scariest scene comes when Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler) pulls out her Glock to defend herself against a man in an orange jumpsuit (a former unsub) stepping out of his cell, only to see several others step out and surround her in a circle of doom. Lewis' fellow agents came rushing in to save her and outnumber the criminals. Meanwhile, the officials who had accused Hotchner of dirty law enforcement were revealed as fake agents and killers themselves.
So, except for the lack of closure about Antonia's role, the season ended without a cliffhanger. It actually ended quite peacefully, once all of the drama had passed. The final moments of the episode showed agents enjoying their lives and families. Meanwhile, CBS has yet to confirm renewal of Criminal Minds for a 12th season.
If a show hasn't been renewed, at least as far as we know, it means one of two things. Either the producers and network already have decided to cancel it and just haven't made it public yet, or they really haven't made up their minds. If the latter is true, I suspect that "The Storm" may have been an anticlimactic, just-in-case-this-is-it series finale, which at least doesn't leave us with a cliffhanger that demands a resolution.
I hope this is not the case and that we have not seen the last of Criminal Minds. Even with the departure of Shemar Moore, I believe the show can have a future and give us another year of creepy unsubs.
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