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The Real Reason Criminal Minds Fans Hated Seasons 14 And 15

Fans of "Criminal Minds" are continuing to analyze and reflect on the positives and negatives of the series after its end in February of 2020. After 15 seasons, there's certainly a lot of content and character storylines to sift through, and like any great show, there will always be seasons that didn't hit the mark quite like others. Like many shows that perhaps overstay their welcome, many viewers would agree that the later seasons don't stack up to the magic of the early years. 

In defense of the writers, it can be really difficult to wrap up a show with an intense fan base after so many storylines have been exhausted. So it's no surprise that so many beloved shows fall short in their final seasons (we're looking at you, "Game of Thrones"). In a recent conversation on the show's subreddit, this is what "Criminal Minds" fans had to say about their disappointment with seasons 14 and 15 of the show.

The last two seasons lacked interesting cases

On the "Criminal Minds" subreddit thread, user iovoko criticized some of the choices the writers made in choosing case topics for each episode. They said, "I'm finishing the show right now and.... It makes me straight up angry how awful the writing is. Seriously. An ASMR video turning kids into zombies? A word for word copy of Donnie darko? It's so jarring. Laughable, even. Does anyone else feel this way? Better, does anyone know why?"

The reference to an ASMR video turning kids into zombies is from Episode 12 of Season 14, where the BAU team investigates three ten-year-old children that were abducted from Iowa on the same night. The kidnapper, Wayne Hollis (Sean Donnellan) had an interesting arc and motive, although his methods of hypnosis through ASMR on the internet seemed a little unbelievable and too writers-trying-to-be-relatable with the current times. User eli454 also noted that he thought the ASMR angle was "ridiculous."

For the "Donnie Darko" comment, that was in reference to Episode 7 of Season 15 titled "Rusty," where the team investigates a string of killings with ritualistic bruise marks that indicate the killer's intent to crossover into a supposed alternate reality. User iovoko finds too many similarities with that plot to "Donnie Darko," the 2001 sci-fi thriller that follows a troubled teenager influenced to commit crimes due to influence from a man in a rabbit suit. In this episode, the killer is influenced by a goat to kill, so swap rabbit for goat.

Problems with unsubs and the move to streaming

User A1i80 contributed the start of the fall of "Criminal Minds" to the introduction of unsub Everett Lynch, a.k.a. "The Chameleon" (Michael Mosley). Lynch was introduced in a self-titled episode in Season 14 and then brought back as the show's final unsub in Season 15. The user mentioned that Lynch in his first appearance "easily could have been one of the creepiest episodes of the entire series [because] of all the faces being around the house. But [because] of the weird directing and just cheesy feel of it all, it fell flat." They are referencing Lynch's disturbing choice to remove the faces of his female victims after their deaths, which is one of the creepiest unsub details ever, though it wasn't executed well. 

Users BallDontLie100 and sarverwest had lots to say about the show getting considerably worse in regard to writing and overall plot when the last three seasons began streaming on Hulu instead of airing on CBS. BallDontLie100 said they can't even watch those seasons, and they start the series over rather than watching the last three seasons. User sarverwest agreed that they didn't like the streaming change either, noting that "when the new production/network took over, everything changed. It's unfortunate. I was so excited to watch 13-15 when it went on Hulu but I was so disappointed, it was such trash." 

According to Subscription Insider, CBS made a deal with Hulu for live streaming content back in 2017, which is why the final seasons of "Criminal Minds" were moved over there, although "Criminal Minds” episodes are now all streaming on Paramount+ in a new deal with CBS. In the golden age of original streaming content, though, the move to a streamer is no excuse for the drop in quality.