It would have been even better had not everyone on our side of the screen who had been conscious for the past few months known that Emily would be returning. Indeed, the exchange of looks between Hotch and J. J. about the announced death of Emily last season had already signaled that she was alive, as did the brief scene of her and J. J. in a cafe a little later.
But it was a powerful episode anyway, with each character getting some good moments in the sun as the Senator questioned and chided them about the unorthodox operation that saved Declan and brought Doyle to ultimate justice. It was for the most part more like an episode of NCIS or 24, which was refreshing departure for the BAU crew.
But there's still unfinished business within the team, even though it is stronger than ever with J. J. and Emily back on the job. Morgan is justifiably bitter about Hotch not telling him (and the rest of the team) the truth about Emily, and Hotch has lied once again - a lie of omission - by not indicating that J. J. also knew the truth. He did this to nobly protect her, but with a high-powered, brilliant team like this, no good ever comes from hiding any truth.
Which is good news if we're looking for another tense, powerful season of Criminal Minds. One thing I did miss tonight were the opening and closing quotes. But it was a very different kind of episode - more about the team than the suspects - and we at least have that fine quote from Spencer.
See also Criminal Minds in Sixth Season Premiere ... Criminal Minds 6.2: The Meaning of J. J. Leaving ... Criminal Minds 6.3: Proust, Twain, Travanti ... Tyra on Criminal Minds 6.13 ... Criminal Minds 6. 17: Prentiss Farewell Part I ... Criminal Minds 6.18: Farewell Emily ... Criminal Minds 6.19: Fight Club Redux Plus ... Criminal Minds 6.20: Emily's Ghost ... Criminal Minds 6.21: The Tweeting Killer ... Criminal Minds 6.22: Psycho and a Half ... Criminal Minds 6.23: The Good Lie ... Criminal Minds Season 6 Finale
And Criminal Minds 5.22 and the Dark Side of New New Media
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The Plot to Save Socrates
"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News
"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book