As we know, this Season was quite an eventful one and not quite what we expected. The season began with a several months' jump. Kate Callahan (Jennifer Love Hewitt) wasn’t shown (as she resigned from the BAU in the Season 10 finale) and J.J is home on maternity leave for a few episodes, having given birth to another beautiful baby boy, Michael (her real-life son, Phoenix). This is the only season to date where Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gulber) is missing for a few episodes and yay… we got to see Morgan’s beautiful heartthrob again- Dr. Savannah Hayes (Rochelle Aytes). And there came a new member of the B.A.U; Dr. Tara Lewis(Aisha Tyler), a forensic psychologist who wanted to catch
criminals aside from studying them and bringing in her own
insightful contribution to the team. And in Episode 19-
Tribute; Paget Brewster reprised her role
as Emily Prentiss- now an Interpol agent.
Rossi meanwhile had a very awkward but much needed reunion with his second ex wife (Joy's mother), Hayden Montgomery- played by Sheryl Lee Ralph.
With just one more episode to go; let’s take a quick look at Season 11, or at least the most memorable episodes.
The first unsub was a hit man called Giuseppe Montolo (Robert Neary)- a member of a network of hit men, introduced in Episode 1- The Job. In a strange twist, it turned out he was killing off his past clients because one of them was responsible for the nasty gash on his jaw (he was shot there) preventing him from talking or eating properly. After his arrest, he wrote a cryptic note to Morgan (Shemar Moore) “The Dirty Dozen”, whom the agent first thought was The Network’s nickname but then surmised it was their next set of victims. Montolo added the taunt, “You will…never stop us”. The beginning of another mystery since Season 8’s “The Replicator” story line. It gave me a very eerie feeling too; you can order just about anything on the Internet and apparently, including assassins too- which is simply very disturbing.
In Episode 7- Target Rich- Montolo was more cooperative, telling Morgan that there were quartro other members (four) of the network of hit men and the next victims weren’t the case of whom but what. But before he could tell Morgan more, he suddenly coughed blood and collapsed, later dying. It turned out he was poisoned by a guard but no arrest was made because the same guard was found in his car, shot execution style.
Target Rich saw the return of J.J (A.J Cook) from her leave and the thirdappearance of Rossi’s daughter Joy (Amber Stevens West), who brought the episode’s case to the team. I liked the rapport she and Joe Mantegna shared, especially the part where he consoled her after she confessed a past (and unreported) trauma to him. As Rossi missed out on Joy’s childhood, it was heart warming how fatherly and protective he was with her; plus the stunned, delighted look on his face when he discovered Joy chose to use “Joy Rossi” as her professional name. However, at the end of that episode, Morgan is the first to find out who “The Dirty Dozen” is and straight from the horse’s mouth… a very frightened Penelope Garcia!
I’m sure most of us didn’t see that coming but it’s not the first time Garcia’s activities have gotten her into trouble. Who remembers Season 3, at the end of Episode 9- Lucky- when she was shot by a psychotic deputy? The following episode plus a flashback in Season 9, Episode 12- The Black Queen- we found out she became a technical analyst in the first place because she made a deal to work for the FBI rather than go to prison for hacking classified government databases. But while Garcia is talkative and half the time exasperating and nosy, we viewers don’t want her killed off! The Network apparently nicknamed her “The Dirty Dozen” because of her habit of using 12 botnets (some technical, computer term) when making her searches for The Network, following Hotch’s instructions. Apparently, her security filters weren’t solid enough and The Network knew who she was and everything about her; hence like the psycho in Season 3, they want to eliminate her because she’s a threat. And of course her best friend Morgan, vowed he and the rest of the team will not let anything happen to her. Eliminating Season 11’s other cases, here are the most memorable episodes.
The first, I would say was Episode 11- Entropy. Reid returned from his time away to help the team get rid of the hit men who were threatening Garcia’s life. The viewers watched as Reid was forced to play a nail biting cat and mouse game withCat (Audrey Plaza) whom Reid described as a “Black Widow Hit Woman”. Apparently, her thing was to kill the male clients who wanted their wives dead and of all the members of the network, she had the highest body count. Cat thought she was shrewd enough to match wits with Reid but she should’ve realised it was pointless matching wits with the smartest agent in the team. Every time she threw a taunt at Reid, he gave it right back at her- even with the gun pointed at him from under the table. The BAU managed to stay ahead of her, though the stupid woman thought she was way ahead of them! I liked how most of the scenario took place in the restaurant and the prior events told via flashback. By the time the episode ended, we just have to marvel at the BAU team’s resourcefulness and quick thinking (Reid’s especially) and breath a collective sigh of relief that our Penelope is safe at last. But we couldn’t help but feel sad for Reid, the revelation that his schizophrenic mother’s condition has evolved to Alzheimer’s and his recurring fear he might inherit her disease eventually.
Viewers got a nasty surprise at the end of Episode 10- A Badge and a Gun; when Morgan was drugged, set upon by some thugs and taken away. In the following episode, Episode 11- Derek; we are treated to a very special guest appearance,veteran actor Danny Glover- playing Derek’s father, Hank. At first I was puzzled on hearing who he was going to play in the show; Hank was killed in the line of duty when Derek was 10 years old, surely he wasn’t Glover’s age at the time! Was it possible Hank didn’t die after all? I was wrong, but the way it was played out, Glover playing the ghost of Derek’s father (how he would have appeared if he lived) was absolutely brilliant. Till now, I still can’t decide if Hank Morgan was a hallucination on Derek’s part or his father’s ghost truly appeared to him in his sub consciousness. Either way, it was a brilliant and heart rending episode that left me in tears half the time. Since Season 3, we got to see Morgan’s vulnerable side now and then, as he dealt with his two main demons: witnessing the death of his father as a boy and the molestation he suffered from Carl Buford.
But in Derek, we got to see the innermost part of Agent Morgan’s heart. How he still grieved over losing Hank that faithful day in November 7, 1965, his helplessness when he was molested, using his pain to help others and the realisation of just how much Savannah Hayes really meant to him.
Aside from Hank Morgan guiding his son through his ordeal, he helped Derek take a look at his life, why he was the man he was presently and what was in store forhim- which enabled Morgan fight his way out of his predicament, the iron will to live, in order to be there for Savannah, his mother and sisters.
The ending, where Morgan asked Savannah to marry him, simply sealed Derek being the most memorable episode of Season 11. We thought we knew Derek Morgan, but this episode we got to really know him and understand him all the more. Shemar Moore and Danny Glover had a lovely father and son like rapport that was so wonderful to see, both actors were simply, simply amazing. And of course there was the added bonus of the appearance of two Desperate Housewives alumni;Charles Mesure and Jonathan Cake.
Episode 12- The Sandman, was a 6 months jump; it’s revealed from a framed photograph Morgan placed on his desk that he and Savannah tied the knot (not fair we the viewers were cheated like that) and eagerly anticipating the birth of their baby. And the writers decided to give us another shock at the end, when we saw a gun aimed at the couple and a gun shot is heard, Savannah screaming Derek’s name and we see this….
No, No, No!!!
We find out in Episode 18- A Beautiful Disaster, that it was poor Savannah who was shot. This nail biting episode was full of drama and anxiety- will Savannah and the baby survive and who was the cold blooded coward who would shoot a pregnant woman? From what we heard at the time, apparently a member of the BAU was going to leave the show and it was obvious finally that it was going to be Morgan. But how was it going to be, will he have a face off with the unsub who shot his wife and he would be killed? That was probably the general fear that day- I can certainly say it was mine!
Morgan was understandably outraged when Hotch told him he was off the case, considering Hotch’s ordeal in Season 5 when he was too late to save his Hailey from George Foyet. All the same, Morgan didn’t back down- he went out to face the unsub after receiving the cryptic note J.J found in the phone slot.
The unsub manipulated the scenario in order for them to know who he was, Montolo’s vengeful father, Chazz (Lance Henriksen). Why was he after Morgan? Because he thought that Morgan killed his son, Giuseppe. I was like… are you kidding? That was the reason why Morgan was kidnapped and tortured and then Savannah shot??? All this time, I thought it was something much bigger and then we are treated to this revelation! Oh well, whatever.
Morgan and Giuseppe face off, as expected. The icy-cold old man smugly thought he had the upper hand and tried to force Morgan to confess before killing him, even giving him the opportunity to say goodbye to the team. But it all an elaborate bluff on the stupid man’s part, thanks to Morgan’s quick thinking about the non existent land line that saved his ass and overpowering Chazz. Then the quick rush to the hospital, on time to witness the birth of his son and the happy celebrationafterwards. But then, he draws Hotch aside to talk privately… and with heavy hearts we know what it is about. The team take it well but still...
The most affected of the team were of course Reid and Garcia. Poor Reid, abandoned by his father as a child and losing Gideon for good in Season 10. We see the touching goodbye as Derek presented him with the baby’s birth announcement and we are moved to tears at the baby’s name...
All through Season 1 to 10, we’ve seen Morgan tease Reid and get exasperated by him occasionally, but there’s always been a deep bond between the tough guy and the intellectual- we see that glaringly as they hugged each other goodbye.
Garcia, she took it braver than I thought but we see the tears on her cheeks as Morgan assured her she will always be his ‘original baby girl.’ Aww… poor Penelope, now she would have to find someone else to banter with!
Episode 21, Devil’s Backbone, we are treated to yet another special guest, Frances Fisher, playing incarcerated serial killer Antonia Slade. I’ve always seen her as a great actress but here she surpassed herself. While she was a child killer and not a cannibal, Antonia reminded me of Hannibal Lecter, the only other thing that made her different from him was that she lacked politeness. She treated the warden the same way Lecter treated Chilton, she was generally cryptic and disdainful and had an unnerving way of knowing something about the team before hand and demanding to know more about them. She was especially intrigued by J.J and Tara (Clarice Starling style) , called Rossi a bigger fool than his late colleague Gideon, was scornful of Hotch and Reid, even deducing Reid was unhappy about the loss of a friend. By the way, not trying to sound insensitive towards Reid (who we know has abandonment issues), but for God sake grow up… Morgan’s not dead!
The BAU needed Antonia’s help to catch an unsub who had abducted 2 boys and sent their bloodied clothes to her. She replied in cryptic messages for them to solve in return for a transfer (which of course was not granted) and the unsub killed himself after she whispered something in his ear. (Lecter-like again, in Silence of the Lambs, Lecter manipulated an inmate Miggs to swallow his own tongue because he flicked something disgusting at Clarice).
Back in her cell, after Hotch accused her of setting the last few days’ events in motion, she dared him to prove he was brilliant than he appeared. She lost her scornful look when he did so- revealing her deepest, darkest secret (she got pregnant at 14 and her stern father murdered her boyfriend). But when he asked what happened to the child, she refused to tell him. Instead, she turned to him and said in an ominous tone: “There’s a storm coming, Agent Hotchner, and you are about to be swept away.” And we see this again...
Judging from what Antonia told Hotch, there is big trouble coming his way. And she told J.J earlier, that she would make a better team leader than Hotch; making things sound very ominous indeed. Whatever Hotch is going to face, will he come out of it alive?
We will find out in Episode 22- The Storm- the season’s final episode.