This second part of the Criminal Minds Season Finale finally brought The Replicator to an end.  It was a  dramatic finale and the entire team was in jeopardy throughout, with a loss of one member.

The Breakdown

The Season Finale of Criminal Minds finally had The Replicator show his face, but not until after a bit of torment.

It started in New York where the team had been working on the drug overdose case, Brothers Hotchner.  After that case ended, an exhausted Section Chief Erin Strauss headed back to her hotel to relax.  Unfortunately for her, The Replicator had other plans.  He drugged her and then left her on the streets of New York.  When the team finally found Strauss, she was barely holding up.  Agent Hotchner spoke to her and held her until she took her last breath.

David Rossi took the death of Chief Strauss very hard as the two had a secret relationship for some time.  Rossi headed back to Bethesda with her body so that he could speak to her children.  The rest of the BAU team stayed behind in New York to try to catch The Replicator.

Once Garcia’s computers were hacked and The Replicator took over, they knew they were in real trouble.  But, they were able to determine from this as well as the fact that Strauss continued investigating him while the team was on other assignments, that it was an inside job.  The Replicator knew things that only and inside source could know.  The Replicator was part of the FBI.

Hotchner took steps to find out who was receiving his reports since some of the information The Replicator obtained came from there.  This allowed the team to narrow down the suspect pool.

The Replicator continued to taunt the team by sending a letter to Rossi.  Once Rossi returned to the office and sat in his chair reading the letter, Morgan popped in to make sure he was doing all right.  Rossi pulled a gun on him and accused him of being the one in Strauss’s hotel room.  Hotchner spotted this and explained to Rossi that he had been drugged.  Rossi was taken to the medical examiner and it was determined that the letter he received was from The Replicator had traces of a drug on it that affected Rossi.

After a lot of investigating, the team was able to narrow down their pool even further and come up with a name: Agent John Curtis.  Agent Blake had worked with him previously and after a case they both worked on with Chief Strauss, Curtis was demoted.  This was the trigger and Curtis aka The Replicator went after Blake, Strauss and the BAU team.

The team finally tracked Curtis to a remote area.  As their helicopters flew to corner him, he had controls in place to take down one of the helicopters.  Upon crashing and learning that everyone on the team was okay, they discovered that Blake was missing.  Curtis had her in his mini-compound chained to a chair.

The team found her but also found that the basement they were all in was rigged to blow up.  Between Blake’s chair being booby-trapped and the team barely making it out alive, they lost one member: Rossi.  He was still inside with Curtis but beat him at his own game and escaped before the place blew.

The BAU shared stories and glasses of wine after Strauss’s funeral in a touching conclusion to this season of Criminal Minds.

The Analysis

This episode of Criminal Minds was the best one of the season, in my opinion.  The Replicator case has been here and there throughout the season, so it was only fitting that the finale end with it.  Unfortunately, a member of the team went with it in Chief Strauss.  This made for a solid start of the episode as well as a heartfelt finish.

I think the story was thought-out in that The Replicator was actually a member of the FBI.  But, I did find it hard to believe that he appeared to be a genius in everything from biochemistry to computers to everything else he needed to torment the BAU team.  However, I still liked the concept and the episode.  Mark Hamill did a terrific job in the role of Agent Curtis.

As far as season finales go, this one really did have it all.  We went through emotions of loss and sympathy, was saw action with helicopter crashes and an explosion, and we felt the heartfelt closing when the team said a final good-bye to their friend and fellow agent.  I liked it and I am pleased with the way they really went out with a bang on this one.