are you kidding? there is a huge difference here. The reaper has been torturing hotch personally with his family, he just killed his wife on the phone with him, and was trying to kill his son.
Emily just simply killed a man because… she screwed up. What she suffered was not nearly as bad as what Hotch did. Sit down.
[tw: rape, discussion of assault]
In the original sides for Elle’s character, it was stated that she was a rape survivor. Even if you don’t want to take that for canon, Elle is still a woman who has worked sex crimes for large portions of her career. She works day in and day out with people who have their lives shattered by others who have decided to just take what they want with no thought to how it could hurt someone else. She has seen the aftermath of rape time and time again, and she knows how the system works.
Elle is a survivor of assault in canon—because what the Fisher King did to her was assault. He shot her and put his hand into her chest so that he could paint the walls with her blood. Elle nearly died, and it all happened in the one place where she was supposed to be able to feel safe—her home. She gets to live in the place where she was horrifically assaulted and nearly killed, day in and day out. She gets to go to work to co-workers who, despite their best intentions, cannot relate to her because they don’t (yet) understand what that kind of trauma feels like. She loses her faith in her team—her co-workers, her family.
Every single case in season two up to this point deals with rape. Every last one. And it’s on purpose—Elle is constantly being forced to deal with reminders of what she went through, what she will never be able to forget was done to her.
And then, when it’s time to use someone as bait for a rapist, Hotch and Gideon send her in. They put her in a house alone and waited for a man to walk through the door and try to assault her. She full on had to relive her assault, because the people who were meant to be looking out for her weren’t.
What Elle did was not a good thing. It was not an honorable thing. She screwed up, yes. She took the considerable amount of authority that she had as an agent and used it to kill someone. But you can’t tell me that Elle’s trauma and the rate at which she is expected to deal with triggering reminders of it don’t make what she did understandable.
Hotch and Elle’s paralleling trauma narratives are not a way of saying one of them was right and one was wrong. The trauma that they had suffered and the PTSD that was present in both cases both played major roles in them taking justice into their own hands in ways that neither of them are proud of.