In last week’s episode, the team met their new Section Chief, Mateo Cruz, who has a complicated and as-yet-unexplored history with JJ. In tonight’s episode, “Route 66”, the agents investigate the disappearance of a young girl and an ailing Hotch has visions of his past. Read on to find out what the minds behind Criminal Minds have in-store for us this week.

‘Criminal Minds’ Recap: Why is JJ Lying to the Team?

The Show Must Go On

As the episode opens, Hotch is presenting the team’s latest case when he collapses in front of his colleagues and has to be rushed to the hospital. Hotch is suffering from internal bleeding caused by the scar tissue left over from the multiple stabbings he received courtesy of Foyet. The doctors cannot see where the bleeding is coming from, so Hotch needs an exploratory laparotomy. Rossi decides that Hotch would want the team to keep working, so they get on with the case while Garcia stays behind to watch over Hotch.

While Hotch is in surgery, the team heads to Wichita to help in the search for a missing girl. She has not been seen since her ex-con father showed up and attacked her boyfriend. The girl’s father, Eddie, is the main suspect in her kidnapping and the team has to figure out why he took her and where they are headed.

During the course of the investigation, the agents learn that Eddie and his daughter, Samantha, have been in contact for years. Eddie abducted Samantha because he believes they can have a real relationship together if they can just get somewhere safe. But since Eddie is running from both the cops and the mob, that safe future is not possible.

A Daughter’s Love

As Garcia digs into Eddie’s past, she learns that it is steeped in tragedy. Eddie’s father committed suicide when Eddie was just a boy and Eddie was the one who found his body. Eddie’s father took him on one last trip before he killed himself and JJ realizes that Eddie is trying to do the same thing with Samantha.

Once the cops track Eddie down, he takes Samantha hostage. The agents are worried about Samantha’s safety, but JJ knows it is Eddie’s life on the line. JJ gets Eddie on the phone and talks to him about her own experience with losing a loved one to suicide. JJ tells Eddie about her sister and begs him not to put Samantha through the same trauma they both experienced.

When Eddie tries to get Samantha to go, she realizes what he is doing and refuses to leave his side. She begs him to keep his promise and not leave her. Samantha’s words get through to him and Eddie surrenders. Though Eddie is arrested, Samantha will still have him in her life.

Life is a Dream

During surgery, Hotch has fantastical dream-visions of Hayley and Foyet. Dream-Hayley wants Hotch to stop beating himself up over her death. She also reminds him that Jack grieves differently than he does and needs Hotch to help him talk about his feelings. But because Hotch’s subconscious is not a shiny, happy place, things go downhill from there.

Dream-Foyet shows up during Hotch’s reunion with Hayley and shoots Hayley all over again. As Hotch tries desperately to save Hayley, she and Foyet joke around like old buddies. Hotch continues to fuss over Hayley’s non-existent gunshot wound while his memories of Beth and Jack play on a theater screen like some old-timey movie and Hayley and Foyet act like over-excited film-critics. These scenes are disturbing on several levels, but are also rather hilarious.

As Hotch’s dream-visions come to an end, Hayley tells him that happiness is a choice and he has to learn to listen to his heart. She advises him not to screw things up with Beth and tells him she still loves him.

Hotch’s weirdly awesome dream-visions end way too quickly for me because I wanted to see more of Hayley. As much as I enjoy Bellamy Young‘s Beth and the Hotch/Beth relationship, I still miss the Hotch/Hayley dynamic. These brief scenes prove that Thomas Gibson and Meredith Monroe still have great chemistry and will hopefully give Hotch some much-needed closure.

Hotch wakes from his dreams-visions with Garcia at his bed-side. She tells him that he is fine and he thanks her for staying with him. Hotch asks for a phone to call Beth and wants to see Jack. The episode ends with Jack visiting Hotch in the hospital and it seems like Hotch’s subconscious has finally decided to let him be happy again.

What do you think of tonight’s episode? Did you enjoy seeing Hayley and Foyet again? Do you think Hotch is finally ready to move on with Beth? Were you surprised to get that snippet of JJ-plot in the midst of a Hotch-centric episode? Hit the comments section and let us know your thoughts.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV