Do not read past this point unless you have watched at least episode 2 season 12 of Criminal Minds.
This was a sad episode. It had nothing to do with Mr. Scratch or the other escaped serial killers. This episode was based around the effects a certain case had on one of the members of the BAU, J. J.. The unsub is an arsonist who burns children alive, it is only natural that she would have some emotional attachment to the victims in this case. She is a mother after all.
The episode starts with the team flying home from the case in question. J. J.’s hand is bandaged. The new guy asks her if she is okay, she sends him away but not before he tells her that he is always there to talk. Then J. J. goes home to find her husband still up and her son who is sick. Her husband knows that something is up so he makes her sit down at the kitchen counter and tell him everything that happened.
This entire episode takes place after the case and shows how it effected J. J. as she tells her husband everything that happened. The unsub burned two kids alive which brings the team to Los Angeles. The unsub then kidnaps a 16 year old girl as she is walking to school while the team is investigating the last murders. After J. J. talks to the abductee’s family, the girls younger brother was kidnapped by the unsub. The two were then brought to Los Angeles and placed in an abandoned building and chained to cots along with the unsub’s former foster sister. J. J. and the new guy arrived at the building right when the fire started to grow. The two of them managed to save two of the victims as well as cature the unsub. However the girl who was abducted earlier ended up dying in the flames. Also J. J. burned her hand and inhaled some smoke.
J. J. could relate to the victims mother and brother. The mother was a working mom who worked a job with unpredictable hours and who was raising two children. The brother liked comic books just like J. J.’s older son and the brother reminded J. J. of her kid which is why she saved him first. She blames herself at the end of the episode because she was thinking about what would have happened had she saved the girl first instead of the brother. She thought that if she had done that then no one would have died. Her husband told her that she has to stop thinking like that with all the “what if”s. At this time J. J. is taking time off from work.
This episode shows how the BAU doesn’t always succeed at saving the victims. There are always victims who die in this show, but what I mean are the victims who they can save. Working at the BAU is a difficult job because of the fact that the team hunts serial killers. Also this was apparently Thomas Gibson’s final episode of Criminal Minds. This means next week there will be no more Hotch. There was no scene in this episode that would explain his sudden absence from the show. He wasn’t even in this episode for more than a few minutes when he orders J. J. to take some time off. I hope that next episode one of the other characters says something that could at least quickly explain away the absence of Hotch who is a very important character on the show.