After Criminal Minds: Evolution's Upsetting Reveal For JJ, I Totally Get A.J. Cook's Comments About 'Mind-Bending' Stakes Now

 A.J. Cook As JJ in Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2x03.
Credit: Michael Yarish /Paramount+

Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Criminal Minds: Evolution Season 2, called "Homesick."

Criminal Minds: Evolution is moving full speed ahead in Season 2 in the 2024 TV schedule, which longtime fans will know is actually Season 17 in the series overall. Evolution releasing streaming for Paramount+ subscribers has opened some doors for how dark the show can really get, and "Homesick" took JJ in particular to some dark and upsetting places after a Voit secret was revealed. After watching the episode, I found myself reflecting on what actress A.J. Cook told us that now makes a whole lot more sense.

What Voit Did To JJ

"Homesick" actually proved that Zach Gilfordwhose take on Voit resulted in some hilarious reactions from his co-stars – doesn't even need a ton of screentime in an episode for his character to wreak havoc on the BAU agents as the hunt for Gold Star continues. The reveal about JJ actually started early in the hour, with a conversation between Luke and Prentiss in which the former admitted what Voit had told him that resulted in his outburst in the previous episode.

Luke had learned that there's a website on the dark net called BAUgate that is comprised of pornographic deepfakes of the agents... or, more specifically, JJ. Prentiss shared that she actually inherited that particular problem and already knew about it, and ordered Luke not to tell JJ, which he didn't feel great about.

In fact, they didn't even reach Sydney's safe house yet before he broached the subject to JJ about whether or not she'd want to know what Prentiss is hiding, and she said that she'd only want to know if it involved a threat to her life and her kids' lives. By the end of "Homesick," however, Luke couldn't keep the truth from her.

Due to her years as a media liaison with the BAU before becoming a profiler, there is a lot of video available of her, which has been used to make some convincing deepfake pornography of her. Luke told her where to find the link to the site in case she wanted to see it for herself, and she ultimately decided she did. To access the site, she had to type in "injure jane fear," which she realized with disgust was an anagram of her full name.

What A.J. Cook Told CinemaBlend

I spoke with AJ Cook and other members of the Criminal Minds cast ahead of Evolution's Season 2 premiere, about topics ranging from the "dazzling" perks of streaming on Paramount+ to Tyler's fresh trust issues with the BAU. When I asked how high the stakes are in this new season, Cook responded:

I think the stakes for the whole unit in general [have] never been higher. In a way, it's a race to figure out this puzzle. It's us against Voit, and we've been asked to if we can't figure it out, we got to work with him. And I couldn't think of a bigger threat to the BAU. For these professional profilers to have to put him at their level, it's really kind of mind-bending to them that they have to ask him, ask his permission, ask his opinion.

While the first two episodes revealed that the BAU was going to have to work with Voit in the hunt for Gold Star, it wasn't really until "Homesick" that we could see just how "mind-bending" his influence could be by dropping just one big reveal on Luke. It also tracks why A.J. Cook said that she couldn't "think of a bigger threat" than this villain, given what he's already doing to JJ that can't really be undone. As was pointed out in this episode, Criminal Minds has established that once video is out on the internet, it's out forever. The actress continued:

So you're gonna see some not-so-happy agents about that. But yeah, the stakes are very, very high, because we've got pressure on us to figure this out. It's this and nothing else. We have to figure this out.

In the wake of JJ saying she only wanted to know what Prentiss was keeping from her if her life or her kids' lives are in danger, I have to wonder if this is an explanation for why Will won't be seen in Evolution Season 2. Actor Josh Stewart confirmed ahead of the new season that he wouldn't be back as JJ's husband after he had a key role in the first season streaming on Paramount+. If JJ is concerned about her kids, could she send them and therefore also Will away for their safety until the Voit/Gold Star problem can be resolved?

Only time will tell on this front, but I'd say that JJ is one of the agents having the worst time in Season 2 so far. Prentiss may have gotten the worst ending in "Homesick," though, after her attempt to rush to Brian's safety when he was attacked by three men ahead of their secret meeting concluded with him blaming her for it to the police. That said, Paget Brewster got my favorite line read of the episode just for her frustrated delivery of "Fucking Brian!"

For now, you can continue looking forward to new episodes of Criminal Minds: Evolution releasing weekly on Thursdays on Paramount+.