In last week’s episode, the agents restored their reputations by capturing the Unsub who got away and we learned that Hotch will remain with the team, as he was taken out of consideration for the Section Chief position. In tonight’s episode, “Final Shot”, the BAU agents investigate an Unsub who may be driven by the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Read on to find out what the minds behind Criminal Minds have in-store for us this week.

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Long-Distance Serial Killer

After a mass sniper shooting, the team heads to Texas to help the local FBI with the investigation. At first, it appears that the Unsub is a bad shot because he only had a 50 percent success rate, but the agents quickly realize that was done as a forensic counter-measure to throw off the authorities. The Unsub is a trained sniper and a good one at that, as all of his victims were hit with kill-shots.

After a second shooting, the agents root out the intended victims and Garcia finds the connection between them. Both women worked with a local women’s shelter to help victims get away from their abusers via an underground escape network. The Unsub targeted both women to find the next step in the escape network and staged the seemingly random shootings to cover his tracks.

During the course of the investigation, the agents narrow down the list of women helped by the shelter’s network and identify which one the Unsub is after. The woman’s abusive husband is the leader of a para-military organization, but he has an alibi for both shootings, meaning that he hired someone to kill his wife and the Unsub is still at large.

I Did Not See That Coming!

As the team looks for the Unsub, viewers are shown scenes of two people on the run, a woman and her bodyguard. We eventually learn that this woman, Maya, is the one the people at the shelter helped disappear. The scenes between Maya and her bodyguard are very compelling — thanks in large part to the actors playing those roles — and I found myself hoping they would both survive the episode.

Imagine my shock when we learn that their scenes are not real and the “bodyguard” is actually the Unsub. It turns out that the Unsub created a fantasy of being close to Maya while lying in wait for the opportunity to kill her. This twist works because the writers did not reveal the Unsub’s identity right away, something fans have been complaining about for the past few seasons. I hope the writers continue the trend of not revealing the Unsub’s identity in the first few minutes of the episode, as it puts the focus back on the profiling instead of on the Unsub’s POV.

The team follows the shelter’s escape network to the next contact and learns where Maya is hiding out. As the Unsub prepares to kill Maya, he shows the slightest hesitation thanks to his fantasies of bonding with her. The agents arrive on-scene and Hotch showcases his own sharp-shooting abilities by taking out the Unsub during his moment of hesitation.

All in all, tonight’s episode is a big improvement over the first two of the season. The references to the JFK assassination give the episode added weight and I enjoyed the call-backs to season one’s “L.D.S.K.”.

Morgan and JJ Make a Good Team

One of my favorite scenes in tonight’s episode is the interrogation with ‘The General’, an early suspect in the shootings. JJ and Morgan question the former leader of the Southern Aryans and he claims to be reformed from his racist ways. Morgan does not believe him and makes a show of touching JJ in an attempt to rattle the guy. JJ plays along and when Morgan takes it even further and touches ‘The General’, his racism is clearly visible.

What I love about this scene is how well JJ and Morgan play off one another and it reminds me of how much I appreciate the way this show changes up the working dynamics so that all of the field agents get a chance to work together.

What do you think of tonight’s episode? Did you know that the scenes between Maya and her “bodyguard” were just in the Unsub’s imagination? Are you glad the show got back to its roots by holding back the Unsub’s identity until the second half of the episode? Which team partnership is your favorite? Hit the comments section and let us know your thoughts.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV