Fan Theory: J.J. Blames Herself for Maeve’s Death

A show I like is drawing to a close and I’m done holding back all the thoughts.

Next week Criminal Minds will air an episode called “Truth or Dare” in which J.J. and Spencer will be held hostage and J.J. will be forced to reveal a shocking secret.

Fans of these two couples (shippers or not) are losing their friggin’ minds. And with the series gearing up to hit its series finale in 2020, I’m not keeping any of my fan theories to myself anymore.

Brace yourself, I’m about to throw a bunch of information at you that’s likely to make zero sense unless you watch the show.

The writers of this show do not shy away from adding characters/details to storylines retroactively.

Maeve herself was ever-so-subtly given a backstory that explained how Spencer’s chronic migraines (which he feared to be a sign of schizophrenia inherited from his mother) stopped being mentioned in his storyline.

The 300th episode did some flashbacks to the Luke Perry as Cult Leader episode that had me screaming “You’re better than this, Jasmine!” at my computer when I wasn’t shaking my head at the fact that I knew one of the Extras from that old episode in high school (she played Juliet, I was the Nurse, in guess what school play) and they used a close-up of her then and now and didn’t call her to partake in the cult resurgence at all.

Sometimes it works, sometimes I fuss for the fun of it.

Spencer’s old crush on J.J. has already been neutralized.

Early on in the show, a character named Gideon encouraged Spencer by giving him football tickets to be shared with J.J. For years fans wondered what happened because (gentleman that he is) Spencer told Morgan (who was still the Player on the show then) that he would never reveal what happened.

True to his word, Spencer never did. But when he and Garcia were kidnapped, J.J. told Prentiss she thought it was meant to be a group thing and invited Garcia along and then found out what Spencer’s intentions were and they both just agreed to move past it.

The revelation of what happened on the date also retroactively set the stage for why Spencer and Garcia were named godparents to J.J.’s son Henry (and her second child as well).

You can’t tell me that No One had a clear shot of Maeve’s stalker OR time to pull the trigger.

Maeve is the love of Spencer’s life who has managed to guest star in some super-weird/super-uncomfortable ways of late. If you watch the scene where she dies, be on the lookout for three things:

ONE — Before Maeve’s stalker manages to kill two birds with one stone, she’s only hold the gun to Maeve’s head, and the BAU is standing in a row behind Spencer poised to fire their weapons. Spencer is pleading for Maeve’s life still, so no one takes a shot. Fine.

However, a row of FBI agents in an enclosed space would not be sufficiently blocked by one agent who — if we’re honest — has the build of a scarecrow. There’s no way he’s blocking anyone from having a shot of a woman who’s holding her captive more to her side than as a shield. The cameras are very close to everyone’s faces to distract you from noticing this placement of their bodies, but it doesn’t stop the idea of no one having a shot from being ludicrous.

TWO — When Maeve’s stalker/killer decides to pull the trigger cheek-to-cheek with Maeve, she has to pull the gun away from Maeve’s head and bring it up to the opposite side of her own head before firing. There is enough time there for Spencer to yell the word “Wait!” and enough time for literally anyone on the team behind Spencer to pull the trigger. Suicide by cop happens all the time on cop shows, and several times throughout the run of Criminal Minds itself. It actually makes zero sense that the stalker was not shot.

Except that the episode was always going to end with Maeve dying. Had her stalker died and or brought to justice, Maeve’s one great flaw would have gone away disrupting the equilibrium of her and Spencer’s relationship. Sure, she’s awkward, but she wasn’t so awkward that she didn’t manage to be a leader in her field with a doting fiancee before all this stalker business happened.

I’ll go into a larger explanation of this (rife with tie-ins to Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene), but for now it’s enough for you to know that Maeve was doomed from the beginning. So no one on the team fired their weapon to save her.

THREE — After Maeve is killed, the focus is primarily on Spencer’s reaction which is intercut with the faces of the team as they process what they have just witnessed. And every time they cut away from Spencer, the first team member they cut to is J.J. It doesn’t matter the order of the other team members being shown, it always starts with J.J.

And, apart from Rossi, she’s the only member of the team still on the show who could make such a revelation to Spencer. And it’s sure to be something weighing heavily on her as Rossi is getting ready for his wedding. Something Spencer had a dream sequence of, but — given the expiration date of the show — is unlikely to ever have for himself.

Something Spencer has expressed a still-extant desire to pursue, a desire J.J. has marveled at in her conversations with other team members and encouraged on numerous occasions since Maeve’s death.

Yet in the end, none of this will matter.

In the 300th episode, Spencer spends a great deal of time meditating on thoughts of Henry. Whether he was willing himself to live to see Henry again or trying to focus his final thoughts on the person he cherishes most in the world, doesn’t matter.

What matters is that over the course of his career in the BAU he’s gone from wallowing in self-loathing when faced with his mortality to focusing on someone small and good and alive and full of only promise.

Spencer forgave J.J. for keeping Emily’s faked death a secret. Spencer forgave J.J. for inviting Garcia on a wouldbe date.

Spencer will forgive J.J. for being one of five FBI agents who failed to take down an unsub. Because she’s family. Because she’s crazy-strong and crazy-capable and he’s crazy about her and that little nugget who dressed up as him for Halloween one year.

Spencer forgives. It’s what he does. That’s my theory.