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Character Development: The Team Finds Out Prentiss is Alive, Criminal Minds 

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

I wanted to watch the first couple of Criminal Minds episodes before writing about the fallout of last season’s big storyline. Prentiss was murdered — or so much of the team thought. The loophole came at the end of the S6 finale when it turned out Emily was alive and Hotch and J.J. knew about it. She was given new identities — her friends none the wiser — and basically that’s the way Paget Brewster’s exit was handled. It was all good stuff made even better when it was announced Paget (and A.J. Cook) were returning to the show and the entire BAU team would be reunited in the Season 7 premiere after Hotch dropped the bomb.
Garcia: “She’s alive?”
Reid: “But we buried her.”
Hotch: “As I said, I take full responsibility for the decision. If anyone has any issues, they should be directed toward me.”
Morgan: “Any issues? Yeah, I got issues.”

You just knew there were going to be some hurt feelings when the whole team found out about Prentiss’ “resurrection,” right? In “It Takes a Village,” I thought the reveal was very understated yet powerful. Garcia was in shock but I loved Morgan’s response. He was stunned, elated and hurt — a whole mess of emotions that he managed to keep simmering underneath. There was just a hint of shock, hurt and awe on his face as Emily went in for the hug. He couldn’t quite give into the hug, it was as if she were a ghost or that he couldn’t quite trust that she was there right in front of him. However, the team didn’t really get much time to process things because Emily launched into Declan’s kidnapping straight away.

Plus, there was the fact the team was on the defense as their actions in hunting down Ian Doyle had been called into question. Too many things were going on for there to be proper time to let things sink in. So, on to the second episode of the season, “Proof.” I had been wondering if anyone was going to get on J.J.’s case. After all, she was one of the only ones to carry the secret of Prentiss’ alive status. And on top of that, she had been the one working alongside Morgan, Reid and Garcia through the time jump that started after Emily “died.” It had been months and months when the action picked up with the Senate hearing in the premiere.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

I really like the fact that Reid was the one to show the effects of the secret-keeping. He had no reason to think J.J. was hiding anything from him. Apparently, ten weeks in a row, he went over to her house and mourned for his friend. The whole time she said nothing; never gave him a hint of hope. I’m sorry but I don’t blame him, or Morgan for that matter, for being hurt. Yes, it was all to protect Emily and keep her safe but I see why Reid’s feeling so much pain over this. J.J. kept trying to talk to Reid about everything and he repeatedly denied her needs and offered some passive aggressive comments meant to sting. Then they finally got the chance to talk and Reid played the drug addiction card:

Reid: “I came to your house for ten weeks in a row crying over losing a friend and not once did you have the decency to tell me the truth.”
J.J.: “I couldn’t.”
Reid: “You couldn’t? Or you wouldn’t!”
J.J.: “No, I couldn’t!”
Reid: “What if I had taken Dilaudid again, would you have let me?”
J.J.: “You didn’t.”
Reid: “But I thought about it.”
J.J.: “Spence — I’m sorry.”
Reid: “It’s too late, alright!”

Later, Prentiss took it upon herself to talk to Reid. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that conversation. She understands why he’s angry and she brings up what she went through, which admittedly is a whole hell of a lot. She went through a horrifying nightmare. She says while he mourned one friend, she “mourned the loss of six.” There’s some logic to that but, in my opinion, you can’t downplay someone else’s pain. It’s their pain and it’s very real. She knew her friends were alive and well even though she couldn’t be with them. They thought she was dead. They went to her funeral. They worked to avenge her. I just want everyone to let them have their pain. Let them work through it on their own time table.

Emily did seem like she got through to Reid a little bit. He did show up for Rossi’s cooking lesson with the team. I don’t know if he’s completely over it, however. I guess we’ll find out as the season goes along.

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

Garcia, so far, seems like she’s on board with everything. She’s just glad the team is back together and whole again. In “Proof,” we found out Rossi had an inkling so he doesn’t feel that same sense of betrayal some of his other team members do. We also got the sense Morgan’s still harboring some hurt feelings but not towards Emily or J.J. I feel like there’s still some unfinished business between Morgan and Hotch. So, hopefully, the-powers-that-be at Criminal Minds will continue to mine this fertile storyline as the season continues.

Three Random Off Topic Comments about the first two episodes of Season 7:

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS
  • I’m kind of upset Hotch lost the scruff. Bring back the scruff!
  • Loved when Strauss gave Prentiss the option to the return to the team: “May I think about it?” “Of course.” “I’m in.”
  • The case in “Proof” was hella demented. The whole using sulfuric acid to take away the senses of the women the unsub captured was too creepy for words. But we’re used to that level of creepy on this show.

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays on CBS at 9/8C.

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1 Comment

  1. Blake Alcott

    Why would it have endagered Emily – or the team – if they’d known she was still alive? I don’t get that basic plot point.

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