Awwwww yeahhhh, J.J.'s back.
Okay, so technically she was back for the season six finale, but still, it's nice to see her face again. Also returning, from the literal dead, was Emily Prentiss. And Hotch... from Pakistan of all places? This season premiere had everything a show could offer and more: murder, covert identities, Garcia in cat eye glasses, Morgan's biceps and Agent Rossi speaking unnecessarily slowly. Oh, it's so good to have new episode of Criminal Minds on my TV again.
First things first: Thank goodness CBS heeded fans' cries and brought about the return of A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster after their untimely exit last season. Cook gave us the inside track on what fans could expect (well, what she was allowed to reveal) and if you're like me you weren't disappointed by "It Takes A Village."The premiere finds the BAU team scattered about the globe, disrupting the chemistry that makes them the most (imaginary) badass team of agents on the planet. Hotch - looking damn fine with a little scruff - returns from Pakistan to inform the team that Prentiss is, in fact, alive and it's like all the air was sucked right out of that room. Garcia's shock ("She's alive?!?") was beyond endearing, even though it took Morgan and Reid a little longer to absorb the news.
Moments like these are what primetime television viewers live for.
So with J.J. and Prentiss back in the fold, the BAU team was left to defend its actions in the investigation of Ian Doyle and the recovery of his son, Declan. The trial was a fabulous vehicle to move us through the action, and let's face it, everyone loves a good flashback. Best part of the proceedings?
When Reid corrects the Senator and says, "It's doctor." Owww, way to put him in his place, Reid. Speaking of which, they're clearly trying to set up Matthew Gray Gubler's character's upcoming health problems this season because the circles under his eyes were just sad to see. And don't even get me started on his new haircut, there are no words.
Prentiss, for her part, is left to be the one who ultimately saves the BAU from further suspension and from being considered a "rogue team" liability. She faces off with Doyle and we are reminded why even a half-episode absence of her character is totally unacceptable. I enjoyed how Strauss wasn't the villain for once, but I can't say that I particularly enjoy her character, nor that of Agent Rossi. What can I say? I'm Team Gideon and I always will be.
Things that were surprising this episode were that it was let casually slip that J.J.'s home life may not be intact (the reference to possible marriage troubles was quick but I don't think I'm mistaken, am I?) and that, to a larger degree, we saw the team do something we haven't seen before: use a suspect as barter for another. Even though we'd watched Doyle wreak havoc on the team for months, it was a genuine moment when Declan watched his father die, and I may have even gotten teary eyed. Maybe...
It's obvious that, if the writing alone is any indication of what we're in for this season, the premiere set the tone for us to be riveted in the coming months. What's equally compelling as the profiling aspect on a show like Criminal Minds is the personal connection between the characters, and this group has it pitch perfect.
Without Prentiss or J.J., the BAU is missing something. Without Hotch's stoic-faced instructions, they'd be lost. And without the Garcia/Morgan flirtation (which initially grossed me out but now I love) it wouldn't be the same. Ending this episode with Prentiss reciting her oath was a fabulous touch, and I cannot wait to see what more we have to expect from the BAU this fall.
Wednesday nights just got a whole lot cooler again. For a look at what's on tap next week, check out the official Criminal Minds promo for "Proof."