Zugzwang, Mark Hamill

One of the last fall shows to end their season this year was Criminal Minds, bringing the story of ‘The Replicator’ to a satisfying conclusion.

For the past season someone has been trailing the BAU and committing murders that reflect some of the cases they’ve solved. This person has been highly obsessed with the group using the term ‘Zugzwang’ as their catchphrase. Zugzwang refers to a chess term meaning the opponent has a move to play but it is a move they’d rather not take or pass up on, in Criminal Minds, The Replicator likes to use it as a taunt directed at the team for their inability to catch the Unsub.

The first episode of the two parter was a run-of-the-mill case wherein we got to delve deeper into Hotchner’s family connections. His brother, Sean, was at the centre of this case causing Erin to take a small step back.

A new drug ‘Doctor Death’ was killing people through extreme blood loss from their eyes, nose, ears etc. Towards the end of the first episode the face of The Replicator is revealed to be Mark Hamill who is better known for playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars The Original Trilogy.

The Replicator takes Erin Strauss and forces her to drink alcohol which ruins her one year of sobriety. He also doses her with the same drug from the case beforehand but a slightly altered strain causing her to die a slower death. This causes David Rossi to spiral, he had some affection for her of which wasn’t all too obvious until the last case.

The BAU Team is hot on his trail, discovering he has to be working within the justice system to be able to know intimate details about the murders which in turn leads to his identity being discovered.

The final 15 minutes were the most eventful of the two-hour finale; the team tracks down where he lives and split into two teams before boarding the helicopters. Dr Alex Blake who is the newest member of the team has believed throughout the second episode that this has something specifically to do with her and a case she worked on. Blake is proved right when Hamill’s character hijacks the piloting system of the helicopter she’s in causing it to plummet to the ground.

She’s taken and chained up by The Replicator, leaving the other team members to rescue her.

They find her unharmed but The Replicator isn’t in sight. Knowing that it was all too simple to find and unchain her, Derek Morgan looks around for a secondary plan and he finds one in the form of explosives. He alerts everyone else but as Blake gets up she activates a pressure plate locking them inside the room.

Somehow they manage to get out, probably from the help of Rossi. Rossi doesn’t leave the building but instead goes back to the room to find The Replicator. He has a timer in his hand that’s still counting down so with Rossi in the room he activates the pressure plate. Luckily, Rossi places Strauss’ one year sober chip inside the locking mechanism enabling him to open the door with ease.

Rossi runs out of the building supposedly locking the door behind him, The Replicator inside. It explodes and everything is over for the team.

The season ends on a cliffhanger-less note, everyone is sat around a table laughing and remembering moments they had with Strauss. More of an emotional finale than nail-bitting.

So, who should be put in the position Erin Strauss used to hold? Promote from within, meaning Hotchner? Or an outside hire?

Either way it could make for some interesting casting.

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