'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Episode 8: Thomas Gibson Replaced? Matthew Gray Gubler Shines [Spoilers]

Criminal Minds Season 12 is floundering quite a bit following the loss of two major characters. Ratings have dropped and writers are finding the absences hard to work with. Thomas Gibson's beloved Hotch and Shemar Moore's super sexy Derick Morgan are not characters that can be replaced.

To say Thomas Gibson has been replaced by Damon Gupton on Criminal Minds is a poor choice of words and offensive to Gibson's angry protesting fans, but that is exactly how it is being promoted. Tenacious twitter protesters at #NoHotchNoWatch are going to be furious.

Matthew Gray Gubler, Kersten Vangsness, and A.J. Cook are the only true Criminal Minds veterans of the show left. Paget Brewster has been coming and going through for a very long time as well, and fans have also become fond of Joe Mantegna.

Criminal Minds Season 12 newcomers, Adam Rodriguez and Damon Gupton, as well as Aisha Tyler who has been on the show for what feels like 10 minutes, have a tough path ahead to gain viewer interest and trust, much less appreciation. It may seem strange, but violent shows like Criminal Minds need viewer trust for their characters.

Meanwhile, Thomas Gibson's army of #NoHotchNoWatch is still holding loyalty and solidarity on Twitter.

Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore earned tremendous audience trust as Aaron Hotchner "Hotch" and Derick Morgan, who Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) suggestively dubbed "Chocolate Thunder." Long time Criminal Minds viewers felt confident that Hotch and Derick could support their fellow teammates in any situation.

Thomas Gibson and Kirsten Vangsness
Thomas Gibson and Kirsten Vangsness [Image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock]

Spoilers Ahead

Matthew Gray Gubler shines this season, filling in the big cracks since Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson are gone. Matthew Gray Gubler directed the Halloween Episode 6, "Elliot's Pond" and his character. Gubler will be featured in Episode 13, titled simply "Spencer." Spencer's Alzheimer-plagued schizophrenic mother played by Jane Lynch will return for at least two episodes.

Matthew Gray Gubler also has a host of young twitter supporters.

Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 8, titled "Scarecrow" will largely introduce Damon Gupton. According to The International Business Times, it is also going to be a super creepy episode that will break the usual pattern in a few notable ways. Overall, it sounds quite unsettling so viewers need to brace themselves.

Without Thomas Gibson's and Shemar Moore's Derick, this Criminal Minds episode is just terrifying for the remaining cast of characters to face. Episode 8 will feature a huge body count. According to Cartermatt the remains of 12 victims will be found in a creek bed for starters. The unsub wears a scarecrow mask and terrifies his victims and the viewers.

Matthew Gray Gubler as Spencer, A.J Cook as J.J., and Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss will be investigating this monster and hopefully putting him away for a long time. Thomas Gibson's Hotch and Shemar Moore's Derick will surely be missed in this action packed episode.

Criminal Minds cast
Criminal Minds cast [Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]

Criminal Minds co-executive producer Virgil Williams, generally not popular with #NoHotchNoWatch, wrote Episode 9 titled "Profiling 202, which should air on January 4. Virgil Williams is the man Thomas Gibson had an altercation with that led to his firing.

Matthew Gray Gubler still misses Mandy Patinkin who exited the show a decade ago, so the Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore departures probably feel like the end of the world for Gubler. Still, Matthew Gray Gubler is stepping up and using his pain in portraying an even more sensitive Spencer, who will soon have to deal with his mother's illness. Viewers should prepare for a good cry on Episodes 13 and 14.


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Criminal Minds character Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) is openly dissing the newcomers Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) and Steven Walker played by Damon Gupton. This is supposed to make the audience better able to cope because it echoes the viewers' feelings.

Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore's absence is deeply felt by viewers, and the writers are well aware of this. There are even rumors circulating that Thomas Gibson will return in Season 13, but there is no truly concrete evidence of that. There have been no official statements, just rumors.

Criminal Minds is facing the loss of Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore but Matthew Gray Gubler and the rest of the cast is putting on a brave face.

[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain]