“I’m thankful for my years spent with this family. For everything we shared and every chance we had to grow. I’ll take the best of them with me and lead by their example where ever I go. A friend told me to be honest with you, so here it goes. This isn’t what I want but I will take the high road. Maybe it’s because I look at everything as a lesson or because I don’t want to walk around angry. Or maybe it’s because I finally understand. There are things we don’t want to have happen, but have to accept. Things we don’t want to know, but have to learn. And people we can’t live without but have to let go.” This was in JJ’s exit interview to Strauss, but I can’t help but wonder if this was more AJ Cook’s exit interview with Criminal Minds/CBS. In a surprise move this summer, AJ Cook was let go from CM due to contract issues…she is a fan favorite, she is excellent in her role, and worth a big salary. Therefore, they don’t want/need her anymore. I will talk more about this in a “Sound Off” post but the episode couldn’t be discussed without pointing this out. I think the writers did a pretty remarkable thing that I don’t think many actors have the chance to do in this situation….the character was able to say goodbye at the same time AJ Cook was able to say goodbye to the fans. And I like that the writers had her transferred against her will rather than leave to be a mom or quit because she had enough of that life. A transfer was perfect because it gave JJ/AJ a chance to say what they really felt…that this sucks and it isn’t what she wants but she will make the best of it and move forward. Class act AJ and this fan wishes you nothing but the best!!!! And if you are interested in the song playing at the end of the episode, “Let It Be Me” by Ray LaMontagne, here it is:
We start off in Hotch’s office with JJ and Strauss inside discussing something serious (because the shades are pulled) but the team doesn’t know what is going on. It turns out JJ has been offered a HUGE promotion, a liaison for the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. JJ doesn’t want it, she wants to stay with her team and Hotch agrees. Strauss can’t understand why she won’t reconsider but understands she can’t make her take the job. Strauss leaves and Hotch wonders why JJ didn’t tell him about this. She said he had enough on his plate and didn’t want to burden him when she isn’t considering it in the first place. When the meeting ends, JJ goes to the crew and she brushes off any discussions about what just happened….they have a case.
The case was about a young girl who has gone missing and is presumed dead. The suspects are 2 young men who were the last to be seen with her that evening. Kate was a good kid and something seems really off about her disappearance. The boys are lead to different interrogation rooms and, which seems very typical to me, one boy is cocky and obnoxious, while the other boy seems more reserved and nervous. The parents are also at the police station and they refuse to leave as long as the suspects are there. JJ is asked to keep an eye on them and softly question them about Kate. In her questioning, JJ learns that this family already lost one child to leukemia, their son. They know Kate has a good head on her shoulders and would never leave with 2 boys unless she felt comfortable. So Rossi and Reid determine she must have known them somehow. She had met them earlier at a dock where there are boat rentals and jet skis. According to each of the suspects, every thing that happened was consensual in nature and the cocky ass has the pictures to prove it. Scum bucket! They both offer to take a polygraph and this really raises Hotch’s eyebrow. But he consents and they take the test. What do you know they both pass! The BAU team cannot figure out how they both passed because they are sure at least one of them is guilty. The ass face also gives the BAU consent to view his cell phone where he has the pictures. While looking at them, the team realizes that in the pictures, Kate is obviously smitten with Syd the scuzz but not with Jimmy. This leads them to believe that Jimmy was behind this, but how? After going through the pictures herself, JJ sees Kate’s cell phone in the back of the car. But JJ just heard her phone ring in the police station when she was with her parents because that was taken as part of the inventory of her apartment. So the suspects dropped her off but someone went back to return the phone to her. After another session of questioning, it turns out it was Jimmy who returned the phone and asked her to come back to the dock with him to watch the fishing ships come in. That is also the time of night when lots of sharks circle the waters in that area. Jimmy had pushed her into water and left her to fend for herself against the sharks. That’s how they passed the polygraph, Syd really didn’t know what happened and Jimmy didn’t lie when he said he didn’t kill her (the sharks would have) and he didn’t know where she was (somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.)
Search and rescue is alerted and the search is on for Kate. JJ has a feeling they will find her and Hotch warns her that she has been out in shark infested water for 3 days, it isn’t looking good. Wouldn’t you know it, she climbed on top of a buoy and rescue was able to find her, alive!!!! That Kate IS a smart girl!!! In the hospital Billy Thomas, her father, thanks JJ for not only saving his daughter but saving his life. He didn’t think he could go through life losing another child. Come to think of it, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to lose 1 child let alone 2. But to then torture your wife by then killing yourself? So she loses her son, her daughter, and her husband? Coward.
Back at HQ, JJ has been informed that she has no choice and is being instructed by someone above Hotch and Strauss’ pay grade to take the Pentagon position. So JJ reluctantly takes the position. She tells her team about what has transpired and there is a pretty tearful goodbye (more on my part than their part.) Then privately, and this is what kills me, she says goodbye to Garcia, her BFF. It is a really touching scene between the friends and they promise to stay in touch. We are treated to flashback clips of JJ through her time on the show and the show ends with the montage above and JJ stepping into the elevator for the last time. Kleenex anyone?