Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Episode 4 Ending Explained


Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 4 did what the series does best by answering “Gold Star” questions and faking out the audience and the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) Team. Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 3 ended on a cliffhanger that promised more answers about “Gold Star” in episode 4, which did not disappoint. The episode picked up where episode 3 left off, with Brian Garrity making another Criminal Minds: Evolution appearance. Thanks to Brian setting her up, Emily spent a night in jail, but she was fortunately bailed out in time to make some major discoveries.

Unfortunately, the fast pace of the series and there only being 10 episodes in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 to solve the “Gold Star” mystery meant some other important storylines fell by the wayside. Yet, they are sure to return sometime this season, or even potentially next season, as Criminal Minds: Evolution season 3 is also underway. This pace and the energy the characters were putting into solving seemingly different cases only for everything to come together at the end meant there were many easy-to-miss details in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 4.

Why Does Emily Let Voit Come To Quantico?

Voit Is Going To Be Working With The BAU Team

The BAU team leaders have made many controversial decisions, dating back to the start of the original 15 seasons of Criminal Minds. Emily’s decision at the end of Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 4 will surely be controversial, as she gives in to Voit’s demands before he can even make them. This, unfortunately, means not just continuing to work with Voit, but working with him like a regular profiler, free of a cell. Essentially, Voit could become the new Tyler in Criminal Minds: Evolution, except he’s an actual serial killer who tried to kill BAU team members.

As leader of the BAU, everything with “Gold Star” rests on Emily’s shoulders, and she’s trying to stop a dangerous, organized team of traumatized spree killers. Voit offers a strong opportunity to discover more about the “Gold Star Program” leader, Damian, and communicate with him. It’s a difficult situation, but only time will tell if Emily made the right decision. One X user, Lay, poses an important question. Did Emily ask the team or consult with them before inviting Voit to Quantico to work with them?

The BAU Unit Chiefs have a history of making decisions at the team’s expense, and Emily is no exception. The good news is they typically work out, but Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 has already shown some complicated BAU infighting. Criminal Minds: Evolution showrunner Erica Messer provided an update about “Gold Star” for season 2, episode 5, saying important answers provided in the episode. Hopefully, these answers don’t come with too many personal issues for the BAU team, but Criminal Minds: Evolution isn’t afraid of making its characters suffer either.

The Gold Star Program Explained

Gold Star Isn’t Just One Person

Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 4 started with a classic fakeout. The episode introduced Jade (Liana Liberato) as a killer who gouges out people’s eyes and takes their badges. When she’s done, she gives herself a stick-and-poke tattoo of an eye, representing the eyes she’s eliminated. However, she has only two tattoos at the start of the episode, so she appears to be a copycat killer. With the parallels between Voit and his daughter Holly, it seems like when her dad comes to her, he’s the real “Gold Star,” and she’s copying him as an act of rebellion.

However, by the end of Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 4, thanks to Garcia’s work with Tyler’s help on Sebastian’s cloned phone, they discover the truth behind “Gold Star.”

They had believed he was one person, but “Gold Star” is a program with five people behind it. There are five points to a star on a badge, five steps to a program, and five unsubs who must be stopped from going on another killing spree.

They now know the identities of the five team members, including Jade and Aiden Keller from the last episode, proving Prentiss was right. They all attended the Stuart House reform school, where the staff abused them, and their trauma has bonded them into becoming killers. Whatever their conspiracy is, it’s related to the staff and law enforcement. They believe Damien is the key to finding and stopping them, as Rossi killed Aiden in self-defense in the last episode and Jade is on the run.

Damien has the “gold star bullet” signature, making the BAU believe “Gold Star” was one person. By himself, to protect his friends, Damien killed all five strike team members, as each had been assigned to take out a different “Gold Star Program” unsub. He’s the most methodical killer of the five, making him the most dangerous. With Damien and Voit having previously made contact and their personalities seemingly mirroring each other, one can only hope Emily was right about him being the key to stopping Damien and thus the entire program.

How BAU-Gate Just Became An Even Bigger Problem

JJ Wasn’t Able To Talk To Emily In Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Episode 4


At the end of Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 3, JJ learned the truth behind BAU-Gate. The website wasn’t anime porn of the entire team as she’d expected, but instead, it was highly-realistic AI-generated porn of her and her alone. Her emotional reaction to it was heartbreaking, and she tried to talk to Emily about it multiple times in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2, episode 4. Due to everything with the “Gold Star” case, they never had time to talk.

Emily could hurt herself and her team if she keeps going down this path

This didn’t mean Emily dismissed JJ, she tried repeatedly to prioritize JJ, but the former media liaison didn’t want to distract the unit chief. This is far from JJ’s first time putting work above her pain. The scene where she looked at the BAU-Gate website was hauntingly similar to the scene at the end of Criminal Minds season 10, episode 11, when JJ first reads the files on Askari, the man who kidnapped and tortured her in the 200th episode. These are brilliant performances from AJ Cook, but JJ has been through more than enough in Criminal Minds.

The Criminal Minds showrunner has said Reid and Morgan will only return for an emotional storyline, not a case. JJ is one of only two original Criminal Minds cast members returning. If BAU-Gate triggers JJ’s PTSD and worries Emily, Rossi, and/or Garcia, they could call her old colleagues and friends for support in Criminal Minds: Evolution season 3. This would be nice for fans, but with Will’s absence this season and JJ’s trauma, her character has a bumpy road ahead. JJ having to work with Voit won’t help either.

Criminal Minds: Evolution’s Title Foreshadowed The Gold Star Program

Criminal Minds: Evolution Is Focusing On The Evolution Of Copycat Killers

The title Criminal Minds: Evolution is clever, as it’s an evolved version of the original series. Criminal Minds had 15 seasons that aired on CBS from 2005 to 2020. The series was revived in 2022 on Paramount+ with the new title, with the unsubs also evolving. Criminal Minds has adapted to the times throughout its long run, with the prevalence of technology and social media. The Voit storyline was built as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what the writers thought serial killers might have done or been driven to do because of it.

With the 10-episode streaming service format, the Criminal Minds: Evolution writers can focus on one storyline and flesh it out over one season. Some of the best Criminal Minds episodes have been about unsubs that received multiple appearances, such as 100 with George Foyet, “The Boston Reaper.” Copycat killers have been a repeated theme during Criminal Minds, and Evolution has taken it to the next level with entire networks and teams of them.

Damien is the clear ringleader of the “Gold Star” team, and he likely developed their signature. As Voit spoke about “social contagion,” Damien was able to use the other members’ trauma against them to help them become killers. It’s what Voit did with his network, equipping people with the tools to kill. Criminal Minds: Evolution continues to raise the stakes with copycat killing, social contagion, and the power of manipulation in the social media age.

How Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2 Has Emily Repeating Old Dangerous Patterns

Emily’s Desperation To Find Gold Star Has Her Repeating Decisions That Almost Destroyed The BAU

Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 has again shown how complex Emily Prentiss is as a character. With the many seasons she’s spent on the series, viewers have gotten to know Emily well, but she’s always revealing new sides to her, and like others, her past trauma informs her behavior, for better or worse. Emily has made many mistakes, with the FBI, Interpol, and the JTF-12 task force. She always wants to do things for the betterment of those around her, and she’s a strong, capable leader.

Yet, Emily and the rest of the BAU tend to skirt protocol and rules if they think they know what’s best. Criminal Minds: Evolution season 2 has seen Emily fall into dangerous old patterns to try and find and catch “Gold Star,” and letting Voit in is just one example. To get Garcia to clone Sebastian’s phone, she emotionally manipulates her, knowing just how to push

Garcia’s buttons after years of working together and friendship.

This was reminiscent of when Emily made Garcia break the law to help prove Spencer’s innocence, saying she’d take the fall for it. The laws Emily broke to help Spencer almost destroyed the BAU for good. Though Emily and the rest of the team managed to oust Linda Barnes in Criminal Minds, it took a lot to get there. With Criminal Minds season 3 already confirmed, we know the BAU isn’t disappearing, but Emily could hurt herself and her team if she keeps going down this path.