Watching this episode was difficult for me because I have liked the character of SSA Emily Prentiss ever since she first arrived in Hotch's office carrying her box of stuff, supremely confident that she had a job with the BAU. I am glad that she did and I'm very glad that she has become such an integral part of the team.
As I said in my summary, one of the biggest issues I had was the fact that long before the episode aired, every man and his dog knew that CBS was going to leave Emily's exit from the show open-ended because then, as now, it was not known whether or not the pilot for Paget's comedy series would be picked up and, if the pilot is NOT picked up, there is a very strong possibility that she may well return to "Criminal Minds" in Season 7. Of course, even if the pilot doesn't happen, she may choose not to go back given the way that herself and co-star A.J. Cook were treated by Ms. Tassler, Mr. Bernero and friends last summer.
As for the episode itself. I am very glad that Matthew Gray Gubler directed what could be Paget's swan song. Such a pity they didn't give the poor man (and the actors) a better script to work with for such an important airing with regard to the future of the show as a whole.
Seeing Emily's backstory was ok, but just about every piece of it was predictable and one could guess exactly what was coming next for the most part. That is not good drama and it certainly can't be rated as decent suspense. The whole plot revolving around the Prentiss story arc has been so much like a B-Grade movie with a bad cast (with even more appalling accents) that I found myself very annoyed that such a fine actress who is beloved by the fans should have had to work through something so cheesy. Then again, J.J's 'removal' from the BAU was just as cheesy so I shouldn't have been surprised.
Speaking of J.J. She seemed very cold, distant and almost uninterested right from the minute she stepped into the conference room. That is not the J.J. we all remember. Did the writers decide that, given her new exalted government job, she would think herself above her former colleagues? If they did, they don't know J.J. very well. She would never have been so matter of fact in the face of Prentiss possibly being dead or about to die. She was among friends and the cold exterior just did not sit properly. And why were they not at least mildly overjoyed to see her? I realise that Prentiss' life was in danger but these are the same people who ALWAYS refer to themselves as a 'family' and yet, when one of them returned briefly, there didn't even seem to be time for a proper 'hello'. Maybe Hotch has seen her since she left, but I doubt the others have.
I completely understood Morgan's anger at Prentiss because I would have felt exactly the same way and possibly said very similar things if I were in his shoes. He felt betrayed by a friend and that hurts. A lot. Also, his questioning why she didn't spill the beans about Doyle et al in the first place was what many fans have been asking all along.
We get that Doyle is a narcissist and I don't know about you, but I for one was thrilled to learn that Seaver knows all about them. I will sleep better at night knowing this. Poor Rachel Nichols. They are making her character insufferable and there is nothing she can do about it. She (Seaver) is arrogant, disdainful, opinionated and also, it would appear, the only person to whom the team can turn when they are in trouble and need 'fresh eyes' and mind boggling insight. The actress deserves better writing than that and the fans certainly don't deserve to be taken for fools either. She was on screen and talking almost more than anyone else so if that is going to continue, the "CM" people REALLY need to look at how they intend to develop the character for the sake of the show, the actress and, of course, the faithful viewers.
Rossi always being within a foot of Seaver is starting to become a little unnerving, even somewhat creepy, particularly with the hugging and hand holding. Not very professional there, Dave, and if you are trying to be a father figure, you need to back off. A lot, or people will start to think you have ulterior motives which would be just plain icky.
I'm afraid that Joe Mantegna, lovely man though he is, was not even in the ballpark when he stated that "Lauren" would "Make '100' look like a picnic" because it didn't. Not by the proverbial country mile. Paget Brewster did a superb job with a lousy script, but to even try to put it in the class of an episode like "100" is somewhat sad because to me, it means that "Criminal Minds" has truly lost its way.
On the plus side,I loved Garcia's voicemail message to Emily because, just as she did when J.J. left, I think she echoed the sentiments of the fans with her words and pleas. Terrific work by Kirsten Vangsness as well as Paget Brewster there.
The hospital scene was well done and good to see the chaps doing some blubbering too. Although I can't be certain, I think that J.J. said to Hotch "Emily is fine." As for Hotch, he looked like a man completely defeated. Was it because a member of his team whom he trusted implicitly had essentially lied about so many things and he hadn't noticed? As he obviously knew Prentiss was still alive, perhaps it was the fact that yet another of his people is gone from the unit.
The funeral was a huge disappointment. We didn't get a proper eulogy and, because of the music, heard nothing the priest was saying at all. And where in the world was Ambassador Prentiss? It is completely unthinkable that she would not be at her daughter's funeral, particularly as it is so very vital to Emily's future safety that Doyle believes she is dead. The 'Lauren Reynolds' persona had Paget done up to resemble Kate Jackson so perfectly that it would have been very poignant (and sensible) to have the Ambassador there. Hayley Hotchner got a bigger and better send off so you would think a person who has been with the cast for so long would be entitled to the same.
I have given the episode an 8.5 because I think Paget Brewster did excellent work. It was also marvellous to see (a very little) of A.J. Cook again and that little son of Doyle's was just gorgeous. Speaking of Doyle, has he vanished never to be seen again and gone off to learn a new appallling accent? Or will the team, at some point have a chance to catch him?
The trust issue for the members of Hotch's team will be enormous if and when they find out that Prentiss is still alive. None of them will feel they can trust their leader or J.J. again. That just doesn't seem fair.
Let us hope that Season 7 sees a return to the show for Paget Brewster AND A.J. Cook because I can't see it lasting into an eighth year if they don't bring back their actors and get some decent writers.
If you don't come back, Paget, thank you for all your great work, but if you do, I, for one, will be very glad to see you turning up with Emily's box of things again!