Criminal Minds Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Published 5 years ago by , Updated May 27th, 2010 at 9:13 am,

criminalminds full Criminal Minds Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Compared to other television series, Criminal Minds has certainly had one of the most eventful seasons. From the start of the fifth season, the long-running series has been on fire.

Picking up from last season’s cliffhanger of Hotchner being attack by the Reaper, fans were left wondering if the BAU’s leader would make it out alive and after waiting out the summer, we finally got our answer. While Hotchner was badly hurt, he was purposefully left alive by the Reaper so that his pain could last much longer. At that point, fans did not yet know to what extent that pain would be, but as the series celebrated its 100th episode, it all become clear.

In one of the most shocking, emotionally disturbing and best episodes in the entire series, Hotchner’s wife and son were taken hostage by the Reaper. If that wasn’t bad enough, fans watched as Hotchner listened to his wife say her final goodbye before she was brutally murdered. With all this happening in the first 9 episodes of the season, one could only guess what’s to come as the series progressed.

As it turns out, nothing much. After a truly amazing 100th episode, the series more or less fell back into its old rhythm of the BAU solving a case per week. Sure, we got to catch a glimpse of the new Criminal Minds spin-off cast, but even that was somewhat uneventful compare to what we were exposed to in the first half of the fifth season.

Thankfully, it appears that all will change with tonight’s fifth season finale of Criminal Minds. In yet another cliffhanger episode that the series is known for delivering, the BAU will be on the hunt for a serial killer who focuses on murdering families while leaving one member left to remember. If that doesn’t sound exciting, maybe the fact that Tim Curry will be guest staring in it as well.


99203 ABCS 0558b Criminal Minds Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Through-out his career, Tim Curry has had the opportunity to plan many villains in television and on film, but his portrayal of a sadistic serial killer in the fifth season finale of Criminal Minds is easily his most terrifying. Gone are the endearing flourishes of his voice and charming nuances that have made him the go-to guy for casting directors looking for a sinister character.

Instead, we get a truly disturbed individual that revels in the murdering of families while leaving a lone survivor to forever remember the horrors that they were forced to witness. As the episode revealed, he was connected to the demise of more than two hundred families and becomes a truly great antagonist for the folks in the BAU. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives of the season finale end.

In all, the fifth season finale of Criminal Minds was an extremely weak entry in an otherwise strong season. For some reason, the powers-that-be decided to hinge the success of this episode on viewers caring about the local detective who was the first survivor of Curry’s twenty-year murder spree.

99203 ABCS 0147b Criminal Minds Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Sadly, the way in which his character is introduced and handled (before the reality of his past is unveiled) forces fans to draw their own conclusions about this so-called important piece of the puzzle. Caring, but extremely (extremely) annoying comes to mind.

Side note: (One thing I’ve never been fond of in the series is their use of memory regression. While it certainly adds more detail to the case at hand and helps to further the plot along, it always seems to take me out of what’s going on. For a show that’s based so much in reality, things like that have the tendency to appear cheap.)

For an episode that’s supposed to be a cliffhanger, viewers were left with anything but. While technically it is a cliffhanger because the entire story has yet to be told, all of the intrigue and anticipation that is supposed to be present in an episode such as this is almost non-existent. Blame it on poor writing, poor acting or poor planning, but this entire episode felt “off” from the beginning.

99209 D0301b Criminal Minds Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

That being said, we now have to wait three months to see the conclusion of this terrible episode, in hopes of moving on to something better.  For five years, Criminal Minds has consistently delivered quality programming that’s consistently above all the other procedurals on television.

But, if this is where the series is heading in terms of quality, maybe it’s time to start thinking about ending it here.

Final Thoughts

The fifth season finale of Criminal Minds was terrible, at best. Even an amazing guest star like Tim Curry was unable to save this lack-luster “cliffhanger.”

What did you think of the fifth season finale of Criminal Minds? How does it compare to the season premiere and the 100th episode? Are you excited for the fall return?

Tune into the sixth season premiere of Criminal Minds this fall on CBS.

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  1. I will be watching it later tonight .
    I cant wait!

  2. Since its premiere season, I’ve considered Criminal Minds to have a perfect knack for delivering the best cliffhanger finales. While it wasn’t as tense as most seasons, this was still a strong episode. Tim Curry was at his deranged and creepy best and I liked the ’80s horror movie vibe to the opening. But, in my opinion, it was Eric Close who carried the episode. The local LEOs typically take a backseat to the BAU. I enjoyed the change of dynamic as well as the chemistry his character shared with Robert Davi. I was glad to see a season finale where Hotch didn’t take the brunt of the abuse. Morgan seems to be the one BAU member we know the least about and, given his brief time as head of the BAU this season, it was nice seeing him get a larger role for a finale. Should make for a memorable season opener in the fall!

    As for the post-’100′ slump, I think that’s a wise decision on the part of the writers and not laziness or, simply, missing the mark. I think the show would become very difficult to watch if they continuously went darker than that episode. They’ve had some brutal stories thus far, so to dial it down a notch doesn’t bother me. They continue to deliver and rarely have ‘filler’ episodes.

  3. The finale episode was really good. From this episode you can tell Season 6 will shape around Dereks mission to keep his promise. I’m hoping the writers surprise us. I can only hope it sticks to the epic writing like the 100th episode. As for the spin off I think Forest is perfect for the role & Apprentice new love interest.

    • Me too Tara. Like you I am hoping that Derek keeps his promise. I too want to be surprised. I am sure that the writing will be spectacular and of course the BAU will always have something up it’s sleeve to surprise us.

  4. That episode was amazing, but when is the continued part to it on!!??!?

  5. Great episode! Tim Curry creepy, but doesn’t compare to Foyet. Not sure why unsub killed Spicer and left 3 witnesses, since the setup was that only one witness survived. Not sure how this will impact Derek, but since Hotch’s stabbing and the death of his wife has had no major impact on him, maybe Derek will do just fine.

    Hotch/Prentiss stuck in traffic provides a opportunity for the characters to discuss Hotch’s past tragedies, especially since Prentiss was by his bedside in the first episode. I like Hotch and Prentiss together, so I hope they don’t put her with that dreadful British guy.

    • i don’t think so. prentiss will only be in a few episodes this season. they’re writing emily and JJ off.

  6. it definitely wasn’t the “scariest” CM episode like the producers wanted it to be. the Reaper was scarier than the Prince of Darkness. and during the whole episode i couldn’t help but curse the simple solution to the city’s problem that was a bit obvious – why didn’t they just change up the locations of the blackouts so that the UNSUB would lose his scheduled hunting ground? i mean, for what it was the episode was indeed entertaining. and i can’t wait til next fall to see what happens to Morgan!

  7. I went into this episode with high expectations. I have always loved Tim Curry and Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows. But the episode left me wanting more. Not as in the second part of the cliffhanger, but as in substance and emotion.
    While last season’s cliffhanger was worrisome, to me it doesn’t even compare to Season Three and not knowing whose car was blown up. That is the finale I will always remember.

  8. a major thing ScreenRant missed – is Robert Davi — I watched Profiler with my MOM and we love him — even though he did’nt have tons to do –he is amazing to watch — Criminal Minds did a Great job and having Davi on was brilliant —and he has the sexiest speaking voice — terrific show

  9. I also found it to be weak. Both my husband and I went “uhhhh…” when it ended because we didn’t feel like we really got anything out of it. We LOVE Criminal Minds but this finale was MEH at best.

  10. Criminal minds is one of my favourite tv shows, and this season finale was just uh-mazing…. I can’t believe you thought it was terrible… It ended exactly the same way it did last time when Hotch was attacked!! We’re left wondering if Derek will keep his promise and if the detective is really dead (I mean you never know)… Personnally, i Loved it and I can’t wait til next fall…

    • I thought is was a great. It was so hard wrenching and a shock to find out that Hotch’s wife had been murdered. It was a real tear jerker for me. Hotch is my favorite.I was in disbelieve that she was killed off. Though she wasn’t quite a regular on the show,it left me feeling very sad for Hotch. My heart just sank for him.

  11. Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows. I thought the cliff hanger was great!

  12. As somebody who Lives in L.A.,
    I thought they exagerrated the rolling blackout thing a bit.
    I had mixed feelings about it too.
    The young officers connection to the crimes ssemed to come out of left field.

    • Oh get with it Gary. There were actual “rolling blackouts” one year during the unusally hot summer in LA. Use your imagination a little when you go along for this joyous ride withe the BAU!!

      Either your a fan or a critic!!

  13. Well I for one thought the finale was fantastic. Sometimes much wants more, and so-called fans have an unrealistic expectation when it comes to their favourite shows. The reason why sometimes we enjoy particular episodes more than others is because the producers purposefully step it up, when they feel the time is right. However, too much of a good thing becomes boring, and if we were treated to the sort of finale that we got from season four every time, people would get bored and move on. Trying to shock for the sake of it, rather than to further the series would be a mistake I think, and would probably lead to fans deserting the show en masse.

    One mediocre apple doesn’t have to upset the whole cart methinks, so you should belt up. In the nicest possible way obviously.

    • Hey, Karen, I agree with you 100%.

  14. All great shows have consistently good episodes, and then those episodes that blow your mind. Criminal Minds qualifies as a great show. I’ve never seen a bad one. The story lines have been consistently good for five seasons. In my opinion, Tim Curry scored a 10 on the creepy scale, and that made the episode great in my book. I’m predicting that those who didn’t care for this episode might change their minds when they see the series premiere next fall. Think about the episodes “To Hell” and “And Back” (the pig farm). The second part was where the big story was. Keep it up “Criminal Minds.” Great show that can last if they stay away from a Hotch/Prentiss connection. That would be then end of a great show.

    • I feel a little emabarrassed and confused since I have seen every single episode of criminal minds, BUT i have no clue what you are talking about when you say the hotch/prentiss connection? Where did this even come from? What are you talking about? Details please : (

      • The only Hotch/Prentiss connection that I can see (and I don’t mean romantically, because I haven’t seen that either) is the fact that Prentiss was originally placed with the BAU to spy (for lack of a better word) on the team, but she didn’t do it – instead she was willing to give up her position and leave the BAU. Other than that, I don’t see a connection.

    • “To Hell” and “And Back” was just down right disturbing. And since I’m a Criminal Minds junkie, all summer long I’ve been watching re-runs on ION Television and A&E. When that episode comes on, I have to turn it off. Excluding that episode, which by the way, was EXTREMEL WELL WRITTEN, I know have my son hooked on it too. (And my sister, and my mother, and the dog). There was an episode written by the actor that plays Reed (Matthew Grey Gruber?), that was excellent as well. This show is amazing.

  15. I came upon Criminal Minds while flipping through stations back in Jan 2010. The first episode I viewed was the one where the unsub was killing people w/his car. I immediately related to the characters. I think the actors are really into their characters and you “Feel” what they feel while solving cases.

    As far as the 100th episode went, my daughter and I were on the brink of insanity ourselves, when the Hotch’s wife and child were being held. The role was so emotionally wretching when Hotch and his wife were saying their good-bye’s. This show is a non stop winner. I do not understand some of the comments about the season 5 being “weak”. This show has a lot of life left in it and much exploration of the BAU unit’s staff to unfold.

    My hearty congratulations to the writers, producers and actors in this winning series.

    Hey, if you ever need a slightly overweight Black woman to play the part of an unsub let me know. Kristine P. Scott @ 630-987-9944.

  16. My mom and I watch this show each week and are elated when there is a marathon. I find the characters believable and original. When they are involved in solving a case they emotionally take you along for the ride. I love Penelopy Garcia, what a gal! She is smart, pretty, has a great sesnse of humor and a great job to boot!

    My congratulations and good wishes to the staff, the actors and producers of this outstanding show.

    Long live CRIMINAL MINDS.

  17. Hey Poppy (or anyone who knows the answer), I am somewhat ‘New’ to Criminal MInds – what is the Prentiss/Hotch connection

    • There is none – well not in my eyes. Some fans ship the pair but personally I see no chemistry there. I’ve watched every episode and I don’t see them as a couple at all :S

  18. I personally can’t belieev the author of this review put this finale down so much. Not every finale and one with a cliffhanger has to be absurdly action and drama packed. I thought this was a good episode and a good cliffhanger, and cant believe the author couldnt feel for the detective. I didn’t think there was anything cheap or low quality about this episode at all. I defnitely anxious and ready to see the new season, it sucks we have to wait three months! ugh

  19. I didn’t even realize it WAS Tim Curry until well into the episode, the way they filmed it his scenes were from the nose down. Seemingly the grossest most disgusting unsub ever. Then to find it was the heretofore charming, even in evil incarnations, Tim Curry was quite a revelation. Good Job Tim Curry. You really let it all hang out!

  20. I personally liked the cliff hanger as much as I like any cliff hanger. I generally hate them because I have to wait for the conclusion of the episode.

    In the case of Criminal Minds what makes me hate this particular cliffhanger is the fact that it will be AJ Cook’s final episode with the show as well as the reduction of Paget Brewster’s role and the introduction of a new female character I couldn’t give a crap about as the putzes in charge at CBS thought it would be better to bring in that ridiculous spinoff rather than keep established characters intact.

  21. I for one don’t see this season as ‘weak’. Yeah, we’ve seen better but this season hooked me on to the show as much as the other seasons. What bugs me is the fact that they are killing of the characters of JJ and Emily. Anyone knows why they are doing that? The show won’t be the same without those two.

  22. Hopefully, someone will come to their senses and bring JJ back.

    • I agree they should bring JJ back it was like watching the magnificent seven now there is six it just not the same. Why don’t there make a movie? Criminal minds has the fan base don’t want like the x files did.

  23. so are they cancelling the old criminal minds?, I have been watching the new spin off and I don’t like it as much as the old one.

    • i agree. they cant just change it. we all love the old ones alot more :)

  24. I personally belive if the new criminal minds**** criminal minds suspect beh…**** is going to beat out the old one because of a couple bad episodes, that is stupid. im only 13 and im attached to criminall minds and for someone to just switch it to some show no one is going to watch, you just lost all of your viewers well ones with good tast is shows. do you want csi to be #1?? think of that and think of the fans. is it worth the loss? is it worth givin up on the original ones? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so please please make more original episodes. and it is not just me talkin . it is everyone……….

  25. I cannot stand the new Criminal Minds. It is so boring.I agree they should bring back JJ and Emily. All the characters in the old show were so wonderfully unique and the team worked so well together. I really miss them.

  26. Anthony Ocasio is completely and utterly wrong! Criminal minds will always be loved by many fans. Hopefully they would bring JJ and Prentis back, but it doesn’t make the show lame. I love Criminal Minds! I’m a freak fan and this show is the best and most awesome television series in broadcasting history. And producer or director if ur reading this plz keep making Criminal Minds! I’ll never get bored of this show! Morgan u hot junk! Plz get together with Garcia! I LOVE CM!

  27. I belive Criminal minds will end with them solving a case on one of there own. Just me though. It only makes sense and that would definetly end the series perfectly!

    -Airman 1st Class Thao, Kevin