To be fair, the episode is shot, directed, edited, and especially acted very well. Incredibly intense, and most definitely, the character interactions and solid profiling -or rather, figuring out who they're dealing with- are wonderfully pleasant. There's a certain atmosphere of curious dread being successfully thrown over the viewer and which holds throughout the episode. It's the kind of high-quality episode which keeps fans on their toes.
But... You'd think that writers who create such a show would be more than able to keep track of what they've been writing, and not fluctuate so dangerously from the main plotlines they've created. Again, to be fair, the many things that I got caught up with while watching this episode did fade in the background and not prevent me from going along with the show. But those things are there, and in the end, they do take away a lot from the quality of CM.
First of all; the most inconsistent thing about the entire Prentiss' Interpol background line: when she introduces herself to Hotch for the first time back in Season Two, she says she's been with the Bureau for almost a decade. That was four years ago. Today, she says she's been with the Interpol seven years ago. That gives her at most three years with the FBI for the time she joined the team in Season 2. Unless she can work for the FBI and the Interpol at the same time, and highly doubt that she can, how can that be? Talk about a plothole. It's so big it can swallow the entire crew.
In the last few episodes Agent Seaver has been fairly easy to ignore; I even had somewhat moderate feelings for her, wanting to give her a chance to grow into her -unfortunately her- place. But in this episode I seriously wanted to slap her mouth and tell her to behave. Seriously? Seriously profiling with the team as though she's just as much qualified as the others? Last week she was portrayed as a trainee who asks her training agent questions, who admits she can't follow (i.e. Morgan explaining the cork). This week, she's suddenly confident enough to straightly join the profiling? (And especially in this episode she looked frighteningly like JJ and it was very uncomfortable to watch).
The biggest problem with the episode, however, is Prentiss not trusting the team. Before the Doyle plotline, did Prentiss have trust issues? No. She's been with the team for four years. We've seen her become very good friends with each person on the team. We've seen her confide in Rossi, in JJ, in Garcia; we've seen her too many times as partners with Morgan, and all of a sudden, as hearty as that conversation with Morgan in the car was, she's a loner who doesn't trust anyone?
What could otherwise be put aside as yet another character inconsistency remains largely problematic in this episode because the entire premise is based upon it. Yes, it's wonderfully acted, very emotionally intense, but even when everything's out in the open and the team is talking about Doyle to the entire BAU, Prentiss still doesn't feel the sheer pressure to spill the beans. The smart quote in the end about suffering alone doesn't make up for the absurdity.
And Reid, just because he's a "genius" and a "magician", can suddenly do anything. He restored a destroyed tattoo. Earlier, he suddenly became proficient in Russian. Honestly? If he were a novel character I'd dismiss him as a Gary Stu. In fact, I'm now convinced that the show writers have been reading a lot of really bad fanfiction. As much as I loved Reid's confiding in Prentiss, his line make me gag. "They'd make him feel like a baby." Really? Did he really just say that? Ugh! Straigt out of bad fanfiction! Someone, give these writers a good poke, shake them into their senses, please!
And yet, I rated the episode 8.5. It's probably that I've given up all hope of consistency and am just taking what I can get. It's a very good episode. Emotional. Great character interaction and team spirit. Intense. Stupid and illogical and slightly insulting, as this entire season has been, to old fans. But if I have to judge this show not based on its greatest seasons -two and three for me- anymore, then, as much as it pains me to say it, it's just fine.
Now I'm feeling just sad.