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Season 8 of Criminal Minds started with a new addition to the team: Alex Blake (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn). Let me start off by saying that I was hell-bent on disliking anyone who would replace Emily Prentiss, who’d left to take on a job at the Interpol office in London, England. Blake started off on the wrong foot with Agent Penelope Garcia by making a snarky comment about being “nice.” During her first episode with the team, she helps assist in finding an escaped convict who is dubbed “The Silencer.” She and Agent Spencer Reid work to deduce a meaning behind the messages left behind by him and when they finally track him down Blake uses her sign language skills to try to talk him out of shooting. Her attempts prove to be in vain when he commits suicide moments later. At the end of this episode, Garcia and Blake decide to wipe the slate clean and start anew.
Blake started to grow on me during “God Complex” (8×04) when she talks to Reid about Maeve. Reid asks Blake to drop him off at the payphone and she does and asks what’s going on. Reid tells her that he’s been calling a woman, Maeve Donovan and it could potentially be a romantic relationship. He tells Blake that he wants to keep this a secret, and Blake promises not to tell. At the end of the episode, Morgan knows Reid’s secret, but the one who [revealed it] was not Blake, but Garcia. Reid whispers a small and quiet thanks to Blake.
After this episode, I realized the Blake wasn’t the monster that everyone thought she was. She wasn’t the “the mean, cold, heartless agent who had replaced one of the most loved characters.” She does care about the team, just in her own way.
My feelings about her relationship with the team were confirmed during “#6” (8×22) when her husband James returns home to visit her. He tells Blake that he has good news for her: he has been offered a job as a professor at Harvard University, and he would agree to take the job if Blake could be a linguist professor there with him. Blake, however, turns him down, saying that she loves her job too much to leave him. James, however, already knew that she would say this, agrees with her terms that she could visit him on weekends and holidays.
In “Bully” (9×11), we are able to finally learn more about Blake’s family, about her two brothers and her father. Originally, there was tension between Alex and Scott (her younger brother), over her not visiting them enough. We then understand why: she feels that coming home brings up too many memories of her late mother and brother. They make amends as they celebrate with a barbeque at her father’s house with the BAU team.
It has already been two seasons but everyone still does not like her. Why? The reasons range from “She replaced Prentiss” to “She’s too cold and does not fit the team dynamic.” Really, guys? How does she not fit the “team dynamic”? She obviously does care about the team. The above scenarios already prove that she is loyal to this team.
Let’s face it, Prentiss isn’t coming back. Blake is here to stay, so get used to it. Being mean to Blake isn’t going to do anything. I understand that it’s hard to let go of Prentiss, because she was here for 6 years. She was family.
But Blake is a wonderful and smart woman. She’s not cold and mean. She deserves a chance! Hating on her isn’t going to do anything. It won’t bring Prentiss back to this team.
“The monsters don’t stand a chance.”
With linguist Alex Blake on this team, I’m very confident that the monsters won’t stand a chance!
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” –Richard Bach
— Fan Contributor Rachel Wong
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