Emily had been a teenaged girl in The UAE. Four years of head covering and being chaperoned every where she went. Four years of listening to imams talk about submission and modesty. Four too many years. Rev. Talbot's congregation has taken the subjugation of women to a level even the imams might object to. The women sit in the back of the congregation, covered from head to toe in cape dresses and veils, hauling an endless stream of babies about. They are silent except to hush their young daughters. Emily wants to scream, to shout, to do anything, but that's not what the FBI pays her for.
The service is long, almost three hours. It feels foreign to Prentiss' Catholic childhood. The men wear suits and sit next to their adolescent sons. They sing, the women do not.
The case is easy to solve. The Reverend himself is their unsub.
They tell the Sheriff where to dig and his men find all four bodies.
Emily Prentiss looks at crime scene photos and wonders what the point of the fourteenth amendment is if men still treat women like disposable property. She's seen too many dead women, too many molested girls. Reid swears you can get PTSD from prolonged secondary exposure to trauma, but Prentiss doesn't think that's her problem. It's just getting hard to be outraged anymore.
In college it had been easy. Easy to be angry before she saw the bodies, day in, day out.
She'd seen violence against women before, of course. She's not sure where you'd have to grow up not to see it, maybe Mars. Emily Prentiss had grown up in places where men hurt women: Saudi Arabia, Romania, the Unites States. Now it's like a fact of life: men kill women.
In college though, she'd seen the recovery, known girls who called themselves survivors. At the BAU Emily rarely sees survivors, but she sees dead women every day. How can you get mad about a fact of life? Men kill women. Reid would say something about evolutionary biology, and Morgan would say that men can be victims, can be survivors too. Hotch wouldn't say anything, because his actions speak for him, and JJ would empathize if they talked about things like this.
Emily isn't sure when she lost her righteous anger, which dead girl, which unsub, maybe it was after Hankel. Reverend Christopher Talbot reignites it. Maybe it was middle school in The UAE that makes her sensitive to Talbot's words; maybe it's just having grown up in this world.
Emily knows that whether or not God exists, his plan wasn't for men to kill women. If He truly did want such things, he was no god of Emily's. Genesis tells the creation of humankind two ways. In the first, man and woman are created together, co-equal, and are given dominion over the world, in the second, man is created first, names the animals, and then woman is made from him, subordinated. Men like Talbot always prefer the second chapter of Genesis to the first. They revel in Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 2. In Adam as the King of creation with dominion over all the animals: the lions, the doves, the woman.
She sees how men like Talbot treat their dominion: a trail of dead bodies for her to follow. Talbot buried four young women behind his church, one of whom was his own daughter. The only mark of their passing: the stained soil. No one suspected him; none of the families reported the women missing. Better that the temptresses, the jezebels were gone. The BAU only gets the case because the locals don't want to touch it. The only reason they take it is because these women aren't going to get justice any other way and one very insistent state senator.
God isn't usually a pressing matter in Emily's life. She was raised Catholic, but that was politics, not religion. Church was where you went to seem like a good person. It was a social necessity. She only calls on God when she needs a good expletive or the situation seems hopeless. She's not counting on him to do anything, she just needs something to say, to scream. If God exists he is the God of "God helps those who help themselves."
Emily works with men who have been victims. Some things she'd figured out, some she'd been told by Garcia once she'd trusted Emily enough to know she'd use the information for good. Emily doesn't need to be a victim to be a good profiler; she's lived her entire life as a woman in this world. Even now that she walks around armed, she still walks to her car at night with her keys in her hand. She locks all her doors and sleeps with her piece in easy reach. Dead bodies may desensitize you, but they don't erase years of anxiety.
The Reverend fights the SWAT team when they bring him in. He screams that God has ordained his actions and that no earthly body may judge him.
They ignore him. Earthly justice will put him in prison until after his corpse rots in its grave.