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March 2017



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criminal minds prentiss deed's sake tenn

"Do you believe in the soul?"

Criminal Minds 4x17, "Demonology," written by Chris Mundy, directed by Edward Allen Bernero

Doors and lamps on either side.

Awkward conversation with ex-boyfriend is awkward. And manipulative. And he's lying.

Garcia's bubbliness does not survive contact with Emily's grief. Paget is good at her job.
"Is Hotch still here?"
"Oh, I'm pretty sure he lives here."
And Mom tries to nurture Emily, and Emily just wants permission to investigate. And the team is there for her in her moment of human need, which is nice.

And in a Spartan room, a priest burns a photograph.

The team is subdued. And the medical examiner dismisses the ligature marks.

"Do you believe in the soul?"
Reid gives her the look, and Rossi answers.

JJ's non-answer on the question of drug addiction is nice. Not a lie.
Emily Prentiss, bad influence.

Garcia cracks the case!
And Rossi spots the pattern.

"I know the bible just as well as anyone."
"It's possible the stress involved could cause a heart attack, especially in someone with a history of drug use." Nice glance down there, Reid.

"Not every priest believes in demonic possession."
"So if children are born innocent, at what point does evil enter them?" Thematic statement! Drink!
I love Jimmy the priest.
"Take good care of her. And you."

And the killer priest gets his orders. Bye bye, Patrick Cavanaugh.

Morgan, the voice of reason. How weird is that?
Emily, Emily. Well, that explains a lot about you, doesn't it?

Morgan *and* Reid all dressed up at the same time. How weird is that? (Also, Reid's watchchain cracks me up. Nobody's going to believe that a thing in late season SU got wrote lo these many months ago. I begin to think the CM folks are reading my brain. Where's my tingfoil hat?)

They're working this one on the D/L, and it's very cool the tensions it causes in the team.
Also, I love Hotch watching over his team from above. And Rossi's bulldog personality comes to the fore.
"It's about evil. We attack it with analysis and diligence."

Amusement value: Emily's hatred for politics means that she badly needs Hotch, who also hates politics, but he will play the game.
And Rossi is a good friend.
The Catholic and the lapsed Catholic (I'm interested that Emily turns out to have that background) make good focus characters for this ep.

"If we keep pushing you have to be prepared." Funny, didn't somebody say that to Reid earlier this season?
These guys can face anything.

"Even a priest can have a psychotic break."
Reid lunges for the door, and his cellphone.

Emily speaks Italian! Drink! Reid does not, also drink.

"Where's Hotch?"
"He's on the phone with the State Department."

"You know the power of evil. You've been fighting it a long time."
"Be strong. The storm's almost over."

Hotch stammers on the word "voluntarily."
Morgan said realpolitique!

Emily's trust in Hotch is very nice. She's furious, but she listens to him.
And Rossi dodges the system. ;-)
I'm really fond of Rossi in this episode.

Oh, look, crazy parents are bad for children. Drink!
Nice, Mom. Blame it on Emily.

And Rossi has a plan.

"Don't protect them. They didn't protect you when you were a little boy." Now *that* is an interesting line. Who is he talking to, and what's the referent?

"I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. In Italy."
Yeah, she is too, man.

"If you want my gun and badge, I understand."

"You've all just made the world a much more dangerous place."

"We all have to be certain."

"Don't tell me you do this job and don't believe [in evil]."
"I believe there are evil acts. But those are choices. Brain chemistry."
"I think deep down we're all capable of unspeakable things. Where it starts or what you call it, I don't know."
Thematic statement! Drink!

"Thank you."

Dueling Joyce quotes! And Rossi gets the one that disses the church.

And Emily walks to a cathedral, and can't go inside. And there she is, with her old photograph and her stigmata. In front of doors with lamps on either side.


In the Criminal Minds of Chris Mundy, God does exist. And he is not always a benevolent influence. I am moved to compare this episode with "Revelations," unsurprisingly, and with "Lucky" and "Penelope," and the arguments about the influence of religion we get there.

It's *always* more complicated.

Of course, we are just kind of making up the religion as we go along, but that's TV for you.

Boy, isn't this full of unanswered questions and an elegaic feel? Maybe too full of them: we didn't find out the truth, we didn't even really get the bad guy. We saved a life, but not the one Emily would have preferred to have saved.

Nobody gets any justice. Not the murdered men, not Emily. Not the audience.

But then, nobody ever did.

Must be the middle of the season. I'm calling that one a lose as well.


Definitely a lose.

I wasn't sure, coming out of this episode, whether or not I thought it was a good ep; solid, certainly, and Paget's performance was incredible (not that I expect anything less; anyone know if she's done anything else worth watching?). In hindsight, I do think it's at least a good ep, possibly a strong one. Perhaps not great.

What amuses me most is that there's still nothing in the episode that actually explicitly contradicts Prentiss being a lesbian. (As remains my pet theory, and, as I understand it, the theory of most of the fandom.) Gods know that I know enough of my gay friends who slept with the opposite sex in their mid-teens, either through confusion or that desperate desire, the one Emily herself cites, to fit in. In fact, I initially expected that THAT was why she was viewed by the ev0l!parents as a bad influence: because she's one of those bad-influence!lesbians who corrupted their pristine son with her ev0l!lesbian drug-pushing ways.
Pretty much yes to all this.
Two problems:

Problem 1) Stupid moving, can't take time to watch TV.

Problem 2) New martial arts class gets out at 2100 on weds nights. :P

My climbing gets in the way, too. Thank dog for tape delay.
Boy, isn't this full of unanswered questions and an elegaic feel? Maybe too full of them: we didn't find out the truth, we didn't even really get the bad guy. We saved a life, but not the one Emily would have preferred to have saved.

Very mournful. I need to unpick this one a bit in my head, but that was definitely the tone here. I'm not surprised at Emily's secret - I've thought for a long time that she had lost either a child or a younger sibling and I liked the way that her story is consistent with how she's been characterised.

Morgan, the voice of reason. How weird is that?

I didn't think it was too weird, to be honest. He seems to be often the doubter (A Higher Power, Doubt - going back to Extreme Aggressor) but what interested me was that he seemed to challenge Emily a little more than he challenged Reid in Memoriam.

Edited at 2009-03-12 09:02 pm (UTC)
Indeed. Mournful.

You are right about Morgan. I'm so used to him being an aggressive, driving force, that I sometimes forget he has this other side.
I really liked this episode. The Prentiss-background intrigued me, and I love that even the team members that didn't really believe that there was a crime (Morgan, for example) still ended up going along with it.

"Emily, Emily. Well, that explains a lot about you, doesn't it?"
A lot of this episode did. Well, we still don't understand her PTSD surrounding suicides, but you can't get everything in one episode. ;)

"I'm really fond of Rossi in this episode."
I was, too. I loved the scene when he finds out why Matthew was so important to her.
Hotch has the Pope on speed dial. Drink!
Things that I liked: OH EMILY OH PAGET (and yeah, those are separate things). Garcia, so fast on the uptake in a scene that shows it's not just that she can make a search engine sit up and beg. Hotch, supportive (instantly and unwavering) before he knew why she needed help.

Paget can do more with simple body posture than some actors can do with a full on death scene. She was hunched and foot-draggy and all 'my adolescent issues let me show you them' in the driver's seat of her car.

The part of the kindly uncle who takes the angsty kid for a walk and talk will be played by David Rossi. He was so good with Prentiss I wanted to send him an email and apologise for the bucket remarks. Also? Rossi with his friend the priest? Nicely done.

Delivering a profile to a whole room of clergy? And you thought skeptical cops were a tough gig.

Reid was so natty and sharp all I could think was 'Boy's either gotten a sweetie or a personal shopper'. Loved the watch chain. Morgan was all oh come on now! which is a nice nod to his own God/evil/religion issues without making it be all about him.

Things I was not in love with so much: JJ was Sir Not Appearing So Much. (ensemble cast, gonna happen).

Television Catholiscism often tweaks at my nerves. CM does better than most but still not quite right. If it got sideways of me the so-very-lapsed-Catholic it probably rang really hollow to practicing members.

Pursuant to above paragraph: The decline in numbers of young men called to the priesthood has been an ongoing issue for the Roman Catholic church for decades. That room full of priests they gave the profile to? My first gut reaction was 'too many young guys'.

It felt like the episode couldn't decide if it was about Emily's backstory or pursuit of this week's unsub. Neither fish nor fowl and the pacing suffered from the resulting jerkiness.

And all in all they never really sold me the unsub or the motivation. (typoed: souled. No, really.)

We were never gonna win this one, because it couldn't be won without a time machine and a clue by four. Oh Emily.
Just so.

Reid? Totally got a sweetie who is dressing him. It's the only explanation, because somebody is *ironing his clothes*. And Rossi and Hotch were gorgeous, standing up for Prentiss. Best team evar.

It's another one I like in pieces, even as it doesn't hang together particularly well as an episode. I think they're over-extended this season, and it's showing.

And I totally agree: neither fish now fowl. :-(
The bit with the nerve-gas-in-the-holy-water-or-maybe-not really irked me. If the BAU really thought that, there should have been a HAZMAT response to the last "exorcism". While presenting the profile to a room full of priests was cool, the priests themselves were jarring. (IANAC, not even a lapsed one, but don't Catholic priests on duty wear their collars?)

Wow, though, Paget's performance was wonderful. And that was a nice job of casting Pregnant-Teenage-Emily, too. Plus, any doubts that I had about that priest (Father Guido UNSUBducci?) evaporated when he started his final exorcism with a little breaking and entering.

As a bonus, we find out that next week Morgan will be the tacklee instead of the tackler. Sweet.

(Edited to fix acronym)

Edited at 2009-03-13 02:34 am (UTC)
I really liked the interaction between the priest and the ex-boyfriend at the end. Considering that he was so shifty, and the insinuation that he was the father of Prentiss's child, the choice of the demon Belial to be the one 'possessing' him is fitting - Belial is the demon of lies and guilt. Also interesting the fact that he answers back the priest not in a denial but in a challenge, putting forth the question - could he really be possessed?

And if so, is the nosebleed a sign that Prentiss has been taken over by the demon, seeing as she looked him in the eyes and interacted with him, as the priest had previously told family members not to?

In a show where they will never explicitly say one way or the other whether the influence of the supernatural is a real thing in the world of the show, I think the strong vibe of 'he might really be possessed here' was, if not a break from pattern, certainly pushing the boundaries.
The question of whether the possesion was real or not was really well done, I thought. What with creepy John making that comment about *somebody* not being protected by priests in their boyhood while looking at Morgan and him then kissing Prentiss on the cheek, very biblical.

John's contact with Emily also leads into the nosebleed which I thought was an amazing aspect of the story that worked on multiple levels. Nosebleeds are seen as one of the common physical symptoms of demonic possession and at least Matthew and John both had them during their exorcisms. Assuming that they aren't going to have Emily spewing pea soup all over the round table in the season finale she hasn't been possessed by a demon. However, the physical stress of possession is supposed to change the body permanently and so nosebleeds can reoccur later. So in the beginning we have Rossi pointing out that drug use is one of the most common afflictions mistaken for demonic possession and all these past drug users having their demons either past, or ungoing, damaging their body in the form of nosebleeds - just great. That and the fact that it was snowing while she had the nosebleed, snow=coke. We now know she and Reid are bonding over more than Star Trek.

Also, how cool was it that they played a slightly tweaked version of the theme of The Exorcist in the background, also set in DC, of course.

Just a point of note on the number of young priests in the room. Washington has Georgetown and and several seminaries as far as I know. I was surprised there weren't more priests in the room actually.

Never posted here before but I've lurked and loved your recaps. I'm a huge Emily fan and a theologian so this ep. was very fun for me.
I'm not particularly opinioned on the content of the episode, because I was SO blown away by Paget's acting there. It was unreal.

And we weren't sure at first, wether to like her or not...
Nothing against Lola Glaudini, but I just can't imagine her (or _Elle_ for that matter) acting like this.
Which is soo good.

And I totally support the theory that Emily is gay, although I wouldn't be able to convince a critic of that theory
...well, is this also maybe an anti-Elle episode? When it gets personal and Emily blows her top, she, well, brings her team and goes through channels. Elle goes shooting. One of these things is not like the other, etc.
*personally doesn't agree with the gay thing, but moves on*

1) Was there any reference to how old Prentiss is? I know Paget is 40 (Prentiss episode same week as Paget's birthday? Coincidence, Y/N?), but I don't remember if there was any approximation on how long it's been since Emily was 15.

2) So we are going by the assumption that the other, non-dead friend was the father, or at the very least an ex-boyfriend? Because that's how I felt, and it seems that that's how ya'll feel, too.
Class of '89. which makes her my age--37ish. Or very close to Paget's age.

Yeah, I think the non-dead friend was the father.
(Also, Reid's watchchain cracks me up. Nobody's going to believe that a thing in late season SU got wrote lo these many months ago. I begin to think the CM folks are reading my brain. Where's my tingfoil hat?)

Oooh. This bears wiki-ing.

Also, I love "tingfoil". Just in case anyone cares.
I exist to provide you with amusing typos. :-P
I agree with you on the episode, plot-wise and pacing wise. But damn was there some great acting. I was almost in tears before the opening credits and when Emily walks into Hotch's office he's just a rock. He just made you feel better. He's showing his own grief for a few moments, but he supports her unconditionally - awesome. This is an stellar episode for the team. They all had their resons to believe or not believe but the all had each other's backs. Someone, please submit this episode for Emmy noms. They so deserve it.

I also don't agree with the theory is gay. Or at least not exclusively. I'd think her more like bisexual.

I'm annoyed with all the open ends they left in this episode. Just not up to usual par.

I like the symbolism of Emily's nosebleed at the end. I think it was meant to say "her demons are still there". This hasn't helped her guilt and self doubt, just probably made it worse.

Is everyone in this show Catholic? I see Emily believing in God but completely mistrusting priests, but then again she's the one i see that could have a different religion. *has stuff to ponder*

The ep didn't say Emily was Catholic, merely that her mother went to the Catholic Chruch in Rome and took her daughter. I could see the Ambassador as being the type who was an athiest/agnostic (and therefore not connected to Judeochristianity) in Middle East, Protestant in New York, and Catholic in Rome, while making sure everyone saw her daughter was the same. :/

Not a favorite ep of mine, but not the worst. As a a former Catholic, I wasn't upset or insulted by the storyline because there is evil everywhere. Love Hotch's statement that basically says, who cares WHERE evil comes from, only that they STOP it.

The first thing I thought of when Emily talked about her pregnancy was Morgan finding the purity ring in the last episode, and how Emily knew what it was. VERY interesting in light of this week's ep. and Morgan's flip remark about how the unsub broke her promise to remain pure a long time ago...was Emily given one, and how did Morgan's remark really impact her?

Tho I loved how supportive Rossi was, I was more touched by Hotch's putting his career on the line (again) for his team than Rossi's - Rossi is rich and really doesn't need the job whereas Hotch has alimony and child support payments. And Paget can ACT - I was so impressed by her depth.

BTW, I noticed I used both dashes and elipses in this post :) what would Reid make of that??
Obviously a sign of mental instability.

Paget can act, Shemar can act, AJ can act, Matthew can act... you know, they're supposed to hire at least one or two people just to stand there and look pretty.