In the season’s harrowing twelfth episode, “Zugzwang,” the case-of-the-week is a personal one, as the BAU investigates the disappearance of Reid’s girlfriend. Will the agents be able to save Reid’s friend before it’s too late? And will the two finally come face-to-face? Read on to find out what the Criminal Minds writers have in-store for us this week.

Maeve Goes Missing

After an extremely disturbing dream in which he is about to marry a faceless bride, Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) wakes up and puts in a call to his mystery girl, Maeve. However, the person who calls back is not Maeve but someone named Adam Worth. That name, combined with the phrase ‘Adam’ utters before ending the call, sends Reid into panic mode.

Reid tells Hotch (Thomas Gibson) about Maeve’s stalker and explains that for the first few months of their relationship, Reid and Maeve would only communicate via letters and pseudonyms. ‘Adam Worth’ was one of those pseudonyms and the phrase the caller uttered was a chess term that meant Reid could bow out of the ‘game’ or play through to the bitter end. Reid knows Maeve has been kidnapped and asks for the team’s help in finding her. (I confess that the pseudonyms and chess terminology is a bit over my head but I imagine some viewers will catch on to the intellectual clues and be delighted by their inclusion.)

Bobby and Diane (Not the ‘NYPD Blue’ Couple)

Though Reid does not know Maeve’s last name, Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) is able to track her down through her work in genetics. The team looks into Maeve’s life and learns that she has a fiance, whom Reid knew nothing about. The fiance, Bobby, becomes suspect numero uno, especially when Reid recognizes him as the man he saw in the restaurant the night he was supposed to meet Maeve.

Bobby explains that Maeve broke off their engagement before she went into hiding and he tracked her down via a private detective. (Bobby is such a great guy, it’s a wonder Maeve broke things off.) But before the agents can declare him the Unsub, they learn Bobby was also being stalked and he is taken off the suspect list. (Though I still think he’s a creep.)

It looks like the team is back at square one until they discover that Maeve’s stalker is a woman. And that woman just happens to be Bobby’s new girlfriend, Diane. As the team closes in on her, Diane kidnaps Bobby and takes him to see Maeve. It turns out that Reid is now the focus of Diane’s obsession and she kidnaps Bobby to force Maeve to talk about Reid. (I don’t get it, either. Stalker-logic is very confusing.)

Reid Offers Diane a Deal

While Diane is using Bobby to get Maeve to reveal details about her relationship with Reid, Blake (Jeanne Tripplehorn) helps Reid sort through all of his conversations with Maeve. Eventually, Reid makes the connection that Diane might have worked in the same field as Maeve and the team discovers that Diane was a research assistant whom Maeve rejected as an applicant for a PhD.

Once Diane learns how Maeve captured Reid’s attention, Diane no longer needs Bobby, so she kills him. But before Diane can kill Maeve, Reid finds a way to send her a message and offers to trade himself for Maeve. When Hotch questions his actions, Reid says that the key in getting through to Diane is to recognize her as an equal and convince her that he loves her.

How it Ends

Once they locate Diane, Reid goes in alone as the others wait outside. Diane forces Reid to put on a blindfold before she brings him into the room where she’s holding Maeve hostage. Reid convinces Diane that he has chosen her over Maeve but Diane wants Reid to say that to Maeve’s face. Diane removes the blindfold and Reid and Maeve see one another for the first time.

Reid tells Maeve that he no longer loves her, but Maeve knows he is lying and goes along with his plan. In another attempt to hurt Maeve, Diane kisses Reid but Reid’s reaction to the kiss makes Diane realize he was lying about his feelings for her. Seeing Diane unravel, Reid reaches for the gun and a shot goes off.

When the agents enter the room, Reid has been shot in the arm and Diane is holding Maeve at gun-point. Reid tells Diane that the deal is still on the table and he wants to take Maeve’s place. Reid’s willingness to die for Maeve is the last straw for Diane and she pulls the trigger. Reid breaks down and as the camera pans around the room, we see that both Diane and Maeve are dead.

Have the Writers Gone Too Far?

Unless there is a twist in the next episode, the writers have killed off Reid’s soul-mate, making her another in the long list of loved-ones to die at the hands of an Unsub. And I have to say, I think the writers made a mistake in killing Maeve. While it will certainly give Matthew Gray Gubler some incredible material as Reid deals with his grief, I think it would have been more interesting to see the agent get some much-deserved happiness with the girl he loved.

Am I alone in this? Is anyone else hoping the writers will pull a bait-and-switch and reveal that Maeve miraculously survived her gun-shot wound? Or do you think Maeve’s death was the right ending for this storyline? Head to the comments section and let us know your thoughts on this incredibly emotional episode.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV