Thursday, 12 March 2009

"Criminal Minds" Subtext Season 3, No.13-15

No.13) Episode 3x18 The Crossing
Don’t know if it’s subtext or not, but where’s the necklace JJ’s been wearing? The one she kept playing with every time she got nervous?

This is the episode after JJ “came out” as a Will lover. Her secret has been revealed, should she not be happy? Shouldn’t having told Will she loved him be bringing a shine to her eyes, a lightness to her steps? Instead she spends the entire episode as close to Emily as she possibly can (“JJ pulled me in early”).

As Carrie (the victim) rushes into JJ’s office Emily gets this adorably confused and slightly protective look in her eyes and the way she acts. It continues for the rest of the episode.

[To Protect and to Serve]

Emily’s concern for JJ is damn sweet throughout the episode, and I especially get a kick out of the scene where they are discussing the bureaucracy of taking on the case and JJ calls Emily by her first name. No pretences, no Prentiss, just Emily.

And throughout the episode JJ looks sad and is behaving generally lost. Something the others pick up on;

Morgan; “JJ okay?”
Emily; “Yeah, she will be”.

Isn’t it glorious how Emily is automatically supposed to know how JJ is.

Then finally the pregnancy news. JJ’s pregnant, and the look on her face when she tells Will (over the phone) is as enthusiastic as she was over telling her friends about their relationship.

[JJ celebrating her pregnancy]

(and if you're interested there's some more Rossi/Hotchner subtext in there)

No.14) Episode 3x19 Tabula Rasa
Nothing special, but now two episodes in a row Emily and JJ get to work together. Which is noticeable cause they are usually never out in the field together.

No.15) Episode 3x20 Lo-Fi
My prophecy is coming true. A marriage?! If they kill Emily I think Rob Tapert should sue. And it should be pointed out that JJ is once again less than brilliantly enthusiastic about Will, and this time about the prospect of marrying him.

Local police dude flirting with Emily; “So profile me, what am I thinking?” he says with a slightly lecherous smile.
She laughs and replies; “It’s never going to happen.”


Thus concludes the subtext in season 3. The story of a straight girl with an intense girl crush and a deeply closeted gay girl who’s in denial. It’s such sweet melodrama, if you care to see it. JJ falls for Emily, she flirts and the feelings grow, up until the moment where they actually scare the hell out of her and she then goes down the expected path when Emily shows no signs of reciprocating the feelings. Emily on the other hand is obviously gay, but as the good diplomat’s daughter that she is, she knows how to keep her private life far removed from her professional. As a proper lesbian she also knows to stay away from the straight girls and does her best to be nothing more than a supportive friend to JJ. However every now and then flashes of something else (fear, envy, longing, regret, wishful thinking...) appear on her face indicating that she probably does have a thing for JJ, but she refuses to acknowledge it to anyone, herself included.

[Emily and her reaction to Will in one brief unguarded moment (look at her eyes)]

The subtext truly exploded in this season and I’m now afraid I will be witnessing a backlash with season 4. There’s a baby on the way and the writers have already done the broken family with Hotchner, so I’m thinking they’ll try to paint white picket fences all around JJ, Will and the baby. It does not automatically remove subtext, but I’m afraid that they will be changing the characters previous behaviour (ie JJ will all of a sudden be thrilled about marrying Will and having his baby) in order to fit better with the new direction they’re taking it in. But as long as they don’t give Emily a token boyfriend (lets keep some of that ambiguity please) I think I will continue to enjoy the drama.


(enhanced screencaps from Oracle of Quantico)


  1. this is stupid emily prentiss is not gay why you say that

  2. I know, my gosh people. Get over yourself. If there was going to be anything to they would have done it long ago, Em isn't gay. They're best friends, they are all. They are bonded by the horrible things they see and go through to make it through each case/day

  3. Sometimes watching TV sucks if you are lesbian or gay, cause outside of "The L Word" & "Queer As Folk" there are few storylines and characters that we can relate to without having to buy into self-loathing.

    Reading subtext is a way of enjoying a culture not aimed at us. So please give us at least the courtesy to in our own homes and on our own blogs find that joy.

    And if you had read the blog information you would have known I was only offering an alternative interpretation, not stating an absolute truth.

    1. Six and a half years later this comment is still relevant.

  4. Great post! I'm a new fan to the series and currently catching up (just beginning season four). I've noticed the faint subtext but unfortunately I don't see them crushing on each other, albeit I could easily see Emily gay. She's commented on attractive guys before, but every closeted homosexual does.

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