And the emotional hits just keep on coming on Criminal Minds for Derek Morgan. It was only two episodes ago that he was kidnapped and tortured and the last episode that he returned to work six months later only for a shot to ring out as he picked Savannah up for Lamaze classes. Now, in “A Beautiful Disaster,” he faces losing his wife and their child and finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun.
Following the cliffhanger shooting, Morgan rushes Savannah into the hospital, but when faced with just sitting there and waiting for news, not being on the case, he takes matters into his own hands.
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Can the Team Keep Morgan Off the Case?
After a nurse approaches Morgan to find out if there’s someone he’d like her to call, Garcia’s phone rings. When the team arrives on the scene, Morgan points out he was the easy target, the one facing the shooter. Garcia joins him in a waiting room, but her “blind optimism” isn’t helping him at the moment and it just gets worse when Hotch comes in to tell him he can’t work the case. He didn’t back off when it was Foyet, Morgan argues, to which Hotch counters, “And how’d that turn out?”
While everyone has been working on figuring out who was behind Morgan’s abduction, they failed to realize that Giuseppe Montolo’s father, who supposedly died, is actually alive — and not only walked out of the hospital right past the cops, but also was the one who called Garcia.
Hotch may have sent Reid to talk to Morgan in Garcia’s place because he’d be able to read her, but after Reid tells him that he can prove scientifically that Morgan knew he’d found the one in Savannah, his choice of words alerts him to the UnSub’s identity. The team will not stop until they find who did this, Reid assures him, but “a paternal instinct is a deadly bias.” Not only does Morgan figure out the UnSub is a father, but he correctly IDs him as Chazz Montolo as well.
After J.J. finds a note at the payphones where Chazz called Garcia, she waves Morgan into a room. She doesn’t agree with taking him off the case. Not when someone hurts a baby. Morgan reads the note (“How does it feel/do you see red/I see red”) and claims that it doesn’t mean anything to him, but that’s obviously a lie.
“Why leave a note so seemingly on the nose when every other move has been so calculated?” Reid wonders. It has to be a clue and has to mean something to Morgan. J.J. knows Chazz wants to drive Morgan to exact revenge, and they can’t help but note that he passed his evaluations to return to work — but they also wrote those questions.
Morgan stops in Savannah’s room to tell her that he’s sorry and it should’ve been him and kisses her stomach before leaving the hospital. The team can only watch him leave the hospital after the doctor comes to find him, and when Hotch calls him. Morgan says he can’t get anyone else hurt and, in his goodbye, calls him Aaron, before tossing his phone.
Where’s Morgan Going?
Morgan drives to a house with a red door, and inside, Chazz is waiting with monitors showing the hospital, Savannah and his team. If people don’t hear from him, he warns, they know who to kill first. He believes Morgan killed his son, and while he may not know what it’s like for his flesh and blood to be killed, there’s a very ominous “yet” tagged onto that.
Chazz loads one bullet into his gun (which makes me automatically think of when Reid was kidnapped and tortured) and asks if he killed his son. When Morgan says no, he pulls the trigger. Fortunately, it was an empty chamber.
With Morgan’s phone call their only lead, Hotch notes that Morgan never calls him Aaron and once again brought up that he should understand. Foyet had attacked in his home. Could Chazz be set up in one of the houses Morgan has renovated over the years?
It’s all about choices for Chazz. Morgan chose to study behavior for a living, and then many years later, he crossed paths with his son and so the decisions he made in these walls were the beginning of their journey.
Garcia looks into Morgan’s properties, and one just so happens to be rented to a C.R. Joseph; Joseph is the English translation of Giuseppe. A photo of the house shows that it has a red door. They have his location, just as Savannah is going in for a C-section and wants Morgan by her side.
His baby’s birthday will be on his headstone, Chazz taunts Morgan, who argues that he must remember what it’s like to want the best for his kid, to wonder if he’s doing things right. He had plenty of chances to get out of the criminal organization life, but he stayed, as did his son, so the real person to blame for Giuseppe’s death is Chazz. Chazz instead chooses to load another bullet and give Morgan a gift his son didn’t get: the chance to say goodbye. He calls Garcia’s phone and Morgan asks her to patch in the team.
“He’s got a gun, two bullets. Listen to me. I made a decision tonight that led me to this,” he tells them as Chazz pulls the trigger again and again. “This is my fault, you understand? No one else’s. And if this is how it ends, it was meant to be.” But after he says to look after Savannah and his baby, Morgan looks at the phone Chazz has been “checking in” on and then makes his move. The gunshot that everyone hears, that everyone fears kills Morgan? The gun goes off in the struggle, and Morgan is the one who ends up armed. No one was ever in danger because he knows the house doesn’t have a landline.
Now it’s Chazz who has to make a choice: get arrested and rot in prison, or pick up a gun and they end this. Chazz says he won’t shoot an unarmed man, taunting him to pull the trigger, that he won’t sleep a night until he’s dead, but this is Morgan, and he lowers his gun as his team moves in and Hotch cuffs Chazz Montolo.
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The Team Says Goodbye
Morgan and Savannah’s baby boy is born, and everyone’s smiling and happy and hugging, and you just know what’s coming next.
Hotch joins Morgan over the incubator that will be his son’s home for the next two weeks, and Morgan understands how six pounds and one ounce can knock him out. “Promise to take some time,” Hotch says. “About that…” Morgan begins.
Next, Rossi shows up at Savannah’s hospital room with his own words of advice, father to father. Being a father heals wounds, just being there for your kid. He may not have had the choice to be there, but Morgan does. And they go off to see the baby, whom Morgan already misses, and to introduce him to Uncle Dave.
The next goodbye is J.J.’s, as she gives Morgan a gift for the family: a framed photo of Morgan, Savannah, their baby and the team. “We’ll always be there for you,” she assures him as they hug.
Then comes Reid, in the round table room. He can’t imagine the room without him, Reid admits, and Morgan knows he hates goodbyes and change. “Don’t think about it,” he tells him. Morgan says that always going to be by his side and is just a phone call away. But Reid gets why he’s leaving and he couldn’t be happier for him. First, however, Morgan has to show him the birth announcement: Hank Spencer Morgan. Hank for his father, and Spencer for the best little brother anyone could ask for.
Finally comes Garcia, who’s packing up his office so he can leave “super fast.” She’d be pissed if he stayed, she says, because taking care of his baby is what it’s about now and keeping bad guys out of his life is a good plan. When he had been taken, she kept repeating, “he’s going to be okay” to herself, she admits, and that changed to “they’re going to be okay” after Savannah was shot. And they are. That can’t be blind optimism.
She’s partially responsible for his leaving, he points out. She has such a big heart, it rubbed off on him. Sure, but she thinks the real reason is the baby boy — and she’s glad it’s not a baby girl. No, that’s not wrong, because she’ll always be his original baby girl. And with that, they hug goodbye.
Morgan takes one last look at his team in the round table room, saying goodbye to the BAU, before getting on the elevator and leaving.
Criminal Minds season 11 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)