Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Debunks Those Big Prentiss Plane Theories (But I’M Still Worried)


The Paramount+ announcement of the Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 premiere date was accompanied by first-look photos that caused some panic from viewers, including myself, and while we now know why Prentiss wasn’t on the jet with the rest of the BAU team, the answer isn’t any less concerning. The Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 first-look photos published by Deadline included one of the entire BAU team on the jet, even Penelope, but no Emily Prentiss. Fortunately, the other photos ensured Emily would be in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2.

With a month between the first-look photos dropping and the Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 premiere, viewers had time to theorize why Emily wasn’t on the jet. Some viewers worried that the BAU unit chief had been kidnapped, and the team was on the jet to try and find her. This wasn’t completely unreasonable given Rossi got kidnapped the previous season. Others worried Emily had been fired or demoted, which wouldn’t have been the first time. Though Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 5 revealed she was physically fine, there’s still much to be concerned about.

Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Reveals The Real Reason Emily Isn’t On The Plane With The Team

Emily Interrogating Brian Was A Last-Ditch Effort To Save Her Job

The viewers who had theorized that Emily had been demoted weren’t far off. Brian falsely accused Emily of assaulting him and got her arrested in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 3. The charges were dropped and Emily immediately went back to work after a night in jail, but it came back to haunt her in episode 5 when the details of her arrest were made public. With the FBI trying to fix its image following Voit’s murder of Deputy Director Bailey, Emily’s arrest was likely a targeted move by “Gold Star” to keep her out of the field.

With her contentious relationship with FBI Director Madison, Emily knew she had about 24 hours before he’d find out and bench her. So, she put Rossi in charge and stayed behind at Quantico to hold Brian for a 24-hour investigation in a last-ditch effort to save her job and find out more about “Gold Star.” Unfortunately, Emily was unsuccessful, as she’d lost Brian’s trust and respect and ended up looking desperate at best. When the 24 hours were up, Director Madison placed Emily on restricted duty. Though I love to see Prentiss running the team, he made the right decision.

Emily’s Interrogation & Order To Rossi Proved She’s Not Fit To Run The BAU

Emily Might Be Infected By What Voit Called Social Contagion

Beyond Emily looking desperate in her interrogation of Brian, she also appeared to be losing her grip on reality. Emily has been spiraling since Criminal Minds: Evolution season 1 ended, with her determination to catch “Gold Star” and avenge Bailey’s death putting great pressure on her. Though Emily’s risen above pressure many times in the past, she appears to be buckling under it in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2. It’s affected her decision-making, which Rossi has already questioned, and her most recent order proved to me that she’s not currently fit to run the BAU.


With Voit joining the BAU in the field on their trip to Iowa to meet with Damian, Prentiss saw an opportunity to take him out. She vaguely warned Rossi to kill Voit if he tried to run. Voit didn’t try to run, but Emily wanted Rossi to take him out regardless. When Rossi returned, she realized it was a bad order and was relieved Rossi hadn’t taken the shot. Emily broke down in Rossi’s arms, telling him she’s “sold out every value [she’s] held dear,” and thus feels like she can’t trust herself to make sound decisions.

Voit claimed the BAU team was infected by “social contagion,” with Emily a potential perfect example. She spent so much time trying to get to the heart of “Gold Star” and Brian’s conspiracy theories, and now she feels she can no longer distinguish between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. Voit’s return in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 has caused major issues for the team, and they need a leader who won’t let him get in their head.

I’m Worried Nobody On Criminal Minds’ Team Should Be Running The BAU

The BAU Team Could All Be Infected Thanks To Voit’s Mind Games

While I know Emily’s currently unfit to run the BAU, I’m worried nobody on the team is. Emily left Rossi in charge in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 5, but his behavior has also been concerning. Rossi has been hallucinating Voit in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, and he is already struggling with having to work with him. Rossi also has a history of disobeying orders and going rogue, which is how Voit was able to kidnap him at the end of Criminal Minds: Evolution season 1.

The next most logical choice for interim BAU unit chief would be JJ, who has already served in that position. Yet, “BAU-Gate” and her unwillingness to talk about it and its effect on her make her mentally and emotionally unreliable as well. Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 is exposing a longstanding BAU problem that could leave the team without a proper leader. I don’t have much confidence in the BAU’s leadership in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, but hopefully someone can prove me wrong.