“Red Light” was hardly the runaway winner of the 15 finales “Criminal Minds” aired between 2005 and 2020, with the series’ Season 3 and Season 7 finales getting their share of love as well. As for the original poster on that Reddit thread, it seems the user’s own favorite finale was the show’s very first: “I’m partial to the season 1 finale The Fisher King. It just has a comforting and nostalgic vibe that I can’t explain.”
The Season 12 finale was immediately mentioned as a favorite in the comments section, however. And if you’re wondering why fans are partial to that episode, it undoubtedly has to do with the re-emergence of legendary unsub — and perpetual tormenter of Matthew Gray Gubler’s fan-favorite profiler Spencer Reid — Cat Adams (Aubrey Plaza, in full vamp mode). And indeed, Reddit user TvManiac5 admitted that pair’s ongoing tête-à-tête made the episode, writing: “Red Light from s12. The chemistry between Reid and Cat Adams is just *chef’s kiss*.”
As if the return of Cat Adams wasn’t enough, the cliffhanging “Red Light” also set the stage for the BAU’s final showdown with long-time foe Peter Lewis (aka Bodhi Elfman’s mind-flaying psychopath Mr. Scratch). Clearly, there was a lot going on in “Red Light,” with the episode fronting some serious narrative razzle-dazzle and some good, old-fashioned fan service. And in the end, that mix arguably made for as memorable a season finale as “Criminal Minds” ever conjured.