Spoilers ahead for the Season 14 finale of Criminal Minds**, called “Truth or Dare.”**
Criminal Minds is known for ending its seasons on crazy cliffhangers that can have deadly consequences, and that has been especially frustrating in the past when the show had not yet been renewed. Well, Season 14 ended on a cliffhanger of a sort that won’t result in any deaths, and there’s no concern of the show ending before Season 15. In the penultimate season finale, JJ dropped a shocking confession on Reid, and we’ll have to wait until Season 15 to see for ourselves how it plays out.
JJ and Reid spent a big chunk of the finale in grave danger, and JJ wound up in a situation in which she had to confess a deep, dark secret to save her own life. In a twist that few viewers could have seen coming, JJ told Reid that she’s always loved him but was “too scared to say it before.” Yes, the agent who seemingly has been happily married and the mom of two kids has apparently been harboring a secret love for Reid!
Reid and JJ got a private moment later at Rossi’s wedding, and he asked if she meant what she said. She claimed that it was an act to trick the UnSub, but there’s clearly more going on, and possibly not just on her side. Reid certainly had a look on his face that we don’t regularly see from him! Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer has teased how the bombshell confession will impact Season 15, saying this:
We didn’t want to play the ‘will they-won’t they’ or ‘she’s got to make a choice.’ It’s a little bit messier than that. When we meet them in the first two episodes of season 15, what we learn is they haven’t really talked about it because it’s made that much of an impact. Six months have passed story-wise and it’s time they talk about it. It gets muddy.
Well, in case you were concerned that hiatus would mean JJ and Reid’s conversation about the bombshell would take place off-screen, Erica Messer’s comments to ET indicate that the two agents spent the six months between the end of Season 14 and the beginning of Season 15 not talking about it. That’s not altogether surprising given these two characters and how their dynamic might have to change after all these years once they have the conversation.
The stakes are actually quite high for these two, as their friendship goes way back in the show. Along with Garcia, JJ and Reid are the only major characters still on Criminal Minds that have been around from the very beginning. Their relationship goes way back, and any changes that happen because of their conversation could impact the entire team and the whole show. What will happen? Can anything happen? Do they want anything to happen?
Well, the sticky wicket in this situation is of course JJ’s life with her husband and kids. Part of why her confession in “Truth or Dare” was so shocking is that viewers had no reason to think she was unhappy with Will or her kids, or that she yearned for somebody else, let alone Reid! Erica Messer went on to discuss what JJ’s confession means for her character moving forward:
Her confessing that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love the life she has tremendously. Without giving away too much of the actual dialogue that’s coming up, she’s been defined by the love in her life and the love in her life is Will and the kids, it’s Reid, it’s her friends, it’s the work that she does. There are a lot of things that define people and [Reid] is one of those things to her. Maybe if she had never met Will in season two, things would’ve been different. If in another time and place… There’s heartbreak to that but you would want to know that in a friendship or relationship. It’s complicated.
“It’s complicated” is putting it mildly, if you ask me! No wonder Erica Messer is glad CBS cancelled Criminal Minds the way it did. Judging by how Criminal Minds ended its penultimate season, the final batch of episodes will tackle character development rather than focus on the cases each week. The final season’s big bad has already been introduced, and the ten episodes that remain will have to tackle all the complications that come from him on top of the characters’ arcs.
That said, Erica Messer admits that the full final season isn’t totally planned yet, so there’s still room for twists and turns:
I have every character written out and a wish list for each one. It’s hard because I don’t know if we get it all done in 10 episodes. It’s also hard to imagine these guys won’t be in our living rooms every week. It’s a bittersweet assignment. It’s a big deal and I want to stay true to the series and also to the fans and to the characters
Wrapping up a series that will have been on the air for a decade and a half by the time the final credits roll is no small task, and Erica Messer undoubtedly has a lot of decisions to make, and ten episodes isn’t that many when there’s so much to be done!
Will the characters get happily-ever-afters? Will Hotch get one last appearance? Will JJ stay with Will, or will she and Reid give romance a shot? Will the BAU take down one final big bad? Will the ratings get a boost for the swan song? Can fans possibly all be satisfied with one final ending? At least we know for sure that one unforgettable guest star will be back.