I suppose the most diplomatic reason for why this season went the way it did was that CBS maybe sprung the cancellation news onto the writers suddenly, forcing a rewrite of what they already had. It could explain why we had Cases Of The Week in what was supposed to be the final run of episodes.
I also suppose that perhaps the writers didn't want to write a series of episodes that were "too far" from the kind of episodes they did before. It would explain why they concluded the series with a final scene that suggested things were going to operate like they did before- we would just not get to see those episodes.
I don't know. I largely agree that the ball was dropped and I had different expectations for how this season would play out. I didn't disagree with the choice to end the series with the implication that the BAU would still continue but they should have done something to indicate that, after the finale, a "new" era of the BAU was beginning. If they didn't want characters to leave the BAU they could have at least given the team awards or someone could write a book about the BAU thus elevating their stature.
I mean, in-Universe, catching the Chameleon was a big deal...why didn't the show recognize that?
As for the Chameleon himself, I remember saying in my initial assessment of him that they had thought him out a bit better, he could have been a more "iconic" character. For one, they should have cast a better actor, because for a "final villain" you should go all out meaning you get someone who's higher profile than Michael Mosley. No disrespect to Mosley but he's nowhere near the guy I would picture to be the guy closing out one of the longest running TV shows in American history.
(I mean, Hawaii 5-0 is getting Chuck Norris for its finale. Chuck freaking Norris. Why couldn't CM get him or someone of his stature?)
Secondly, I don't think he should have been introduced via flashbacks. We should have seen his first case in real time.
Thirdly, and more importantly, I believe he should have had a different MO other than "cutting people's faces off". That's a pretty unique MO for a criminal which would make him easier for the police to catch- even if he kills in different states, in today's 24/7 Internet news world, how would someone not think a series of murders where the face was cut off would be done by the same guy? Pretty easy to detect and corner, methinks.
Rather, I suggested that he changes his appearance by using items he stole from the people he murdered, like a shirt or a necklace or a tie. That would be a bit harder for a layperson to put together and would likely require someone of Rossi's calibre to figure out. It might be harder to write, but the show's final villain should be a unique challenge to the writers. He shouldn't be a rehash of someone they did before.
As for other parts of the finale- the writers should have thrown in a line or two discussing the other agents that have been on this team, at the very least Morgan and Hotch. Morgan, at least (given his history with Garcia), should have had a mention, since it's inconceivable that he'd miss Garcia's going away party unless he had a great reason to miss it, like being stuck on one of his restoration projects. Hotch, for his part, could have been away in seclusion with Jack, who may be becoming a great soccer player at this stage. Then there's Elle, Alex, Ashley and Kate...it might have been awkward to shoehorn them in to the dialogue but, at least for someone like Elle and Alex, who also had significant contributions to the team, they should have at least tried.
Finally...Garvez. I know I didn't say I bought the attraction between Luke and Garcia, and I still don't. I do want to say it has nothing to do with looks- I just think their personalities aren't a fit. Garcia, even in the most generous of character assessments, would be someone who'd be emotionally needy because she's very neurotic and likely needs a lot of reassurance. Garcia, then, would need someone who is not just patient but would be able to reassure her and calm her down- Morgan fit much better with her in this regard, especially since we've seen him do it with Garcia multiple times. Luke, while laid back, doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who'd want to put in that kind of "emotional" work- he'd rather have the simple life with a simple woman.
Which is why Lisa worked much better with him. Of course, if the writers wanted Garvez to be the end game, they had a chance to set that all up in "Luke" and develop the relationship instead of springing up haphazardly in the finale. It could have been a nice story for the last twenty or so episodes, but the writers dropped the ball.