By Joyce Eng
So it was Luke Skywalker after all.
Criminal Minds' season-long unsub/stalker The Replicator was finally unmasked on Wednesday's two-hour finale as Mark Hamill's federal agent/biochemistry nut John Curtis. At the end of the first hour, Curtis breaks into Strauss' (Jayne Atkinson) hotel room, after which he forces the recovering alcoholic to drink before drugging her with "Doctor Death," the meth/ecstasy mix at the center of the case the BAU had just solved. He lets Strauss wander the New York streets, where the section chief dies on a bench in the arms of Hotch (Thomas Gibson) - not her BAU-member-with-benefits Rossi (Joe Mantegna).
So who is John Curtis anyway? And why was he targeting the BAU? It turns out Curtis worked in the Department of Justice, which receives the team's case reports, and like Blake (Jeanne Tripplehorn), he was screwed over by Strauss when they had to take the fall for a mishap in the Amerithrax case 12 years ago. Needless to say, he did not take it well that Blake managed to join the BAU all these years later. Strauss had actually been investigating The Replicator rogue after having told the team that the case was dormant in the 16th episode. Believing that The Replicator was on the inside, she doctored the team's case report from last week, listing a fake M.O. that The Replicator used on Strauss.
After kidnapping Blake when the BAU's chopper was forced to crash-land on his property, Curtis planned to kill the whole team via a bomb in his house, but Rossi - whom Curtis had drugged earlier to lead him to believe that Morgan (Shemar Moore) was The Replicator - instead locks Curtis in the booby-trapped room and escapes the room by using Strauss' sobriety chip as a wedge in the lock. The house explodes... but we never see Curtis' body.
So is The Replicator really dead? And why did Strauss have to die? Showrunner and executive producer Erica Messer answers our burning questions.
Read more about the season finale, why no cliffhanger, why Strauss, and what to expect for season 9 going to SeattlePI.com