I confess that I wasn't in any hurry to watch this one, for a myriad of reasons. There would have been a time when to miss or delay viewing an episode of "Criminal Minds" would have been unthinkable for me but that was long ago when REAL writers were employed and the marvellous actors weren't made to behave like caricatures and puppets.
The whole Prentiss arc could have and should have been brilliant. It isn't, and that is the fault of the people who are writing this once-brilliant show. When a much-respected character has to film what will most likely be her exit from the show in what could easily pass as the 1950s B-grade spy thriller I have mentioned previously, something very radical needs to be done. Sadly, I think, for Emily Prentiss (and Paget Brewster) at least, it is too late.
It makes perfect sense that Prentiss is jumpy and on edge and acting like a deer stuck in the headlights most of the time. What does NOT make sense is the fact that Ian Doyle is being portrayed as invincible and, therefore non-catchable. This is ridiculous. Totally ridiculous. Having said that, what is MORE gobsmacking is the fact that Prentiss, a member of the BAU, does not feel that she can tell her colleagues of the danger that she and they are in from Doyle because of some warped belief that by not telling them, she is protecting them. A highly intelligent and highly trained BAU field agent coming to such a decision simply does not hold up under any kind of scrutiny.
What is even worse is the fact that Garcia, Morgan and Reid all noticed that something was dreadfully wrong with Emily and yet not ONE of them thought to tell Hotch or Rossi of their concerns. As for Rossi, who knows more about her past than anyone, he simply thinks she needs a vacation. Some much for astutely watching how a person behaves and deciding that all they need is a rest!
It was clear to everyone that Emily was, effectively, saying "goodbye", at least it was to Garcia, Morgan and Reid and yet still they did nothing and asked no pertinent questions or spoke to their Unit Chief. When she backed out of the room after the final briefing, they all just watched her, looking pensively at her and making no move to follow or enquire. These people are a FAMILY. They see more of each other than they do of anybody else (as Hotch learned, to his cost) and yet, NOTHING was done to get the truth from Prentiss and no deep and meaningful questions about her "contacts" from her Interpol days who knew so much about Ian Doyle.
Three seasons ago, Garcia would NEVER have let Emily speak to her that way in the bathroom without pushing further or going to somneone with more authority. If Garcia had been behaving like a terrified puppy, as Prentiss is, would Morgan have just let it slide? I think not. When Reid tried to get her to open up and she didn't, why did he not take matters further? This is all just ridiculous and completely out of character for these people. For example, when J.J. was "forced" to go to the Pentagon to work, they ALL tried to help stop it happen and rallied around her like friends should. Prentiss, it seems, is not worth that much of their time.
On the Season 5 DVDs, Nina Tassler and Ed Bernero both make a speech about the 'family' atmosphere among the cast and crew of "Criminal Minds". Maybe somebody should send a memo to the writers about that because I don't think they've been told.
Paget Brewster's acting was superb across the board. If she had been given a decent script to work with, it would have been stellar. As I have said before, this talented cast deserve far better than what they are being forced to spout week after week.
I'm not even going to mention Seaver. The character is not worth the bandwidth. I was pleased to see a little bit of profiling this time around, though, but it was upsetting to see Hotch practically emasculated. Invisible and emasculated. For a team leader, this is a very bad look.
My favourite line was when Rossi and Hotch were discussing whether Strauss had been briefed about what was going on given that she was on vacation at such a crucial time, it was obvious she would never take one again! Great banter.
And so, in two weeks, A.J.Cook returns for what just might be Paget Brewster's swan song. Whichever way you look at it, "Lauren" is going to be a sad episode. I hope TPTB look back in May and ask themselves whether 'Suspect Behavior' and whatever other excuses they have used for the carnage to "Criminal Minds" have truly been worth it. I'm sure there will be another season, but at what price? And if so, could they please puts ads in the trade papers right now for writers? That would be a good place to start.