Mentalist Violets Review


N.B.: Unedited stuff! Procede with caution! :)

Synopsis

After an art gallery owner is shot by thieves, Jane (Baker) is intrigued by one of his paintings brought to the FBI building. His willingness to take over the case leads him to meet Agent Marcus Pike (Pedro Pascal), who quickly becomes smitten with Lisbon (Tunney)…

Concise Verdict

At long last Lisbon gets a serious admirer! At long last viewers get an emotional reaction out of Jane regarding his partner’s love life! And, cherry on top, the episode features an undercover operation full of funny moments, eye-catching clothes and harmonious teamwork! Great job, mister Jordan Harper!

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

VIS#1: Jane wants the case

Jane’s interest is picked when he sees a painting being brought into the FBI building to another team, so he finds a way to sneak his way into the investigation… mainly by barging in the interrogation room and addressing the widow…

From his first appearance, it’s perceptible that Jane is feeling good. His eagerness to take over the case in front of Abbott even though it doesn’t belong to his team contrasts with his resigned comment that there’s “no rest for the wicked” in ‘Grey Water”… Viewers can infer that he’s come to a form of reconciliation towards his past through the events of ‘White as The Driven Snow’. He’s feeling more confident in relation to the new team (planning an undercover job later) and overall he’s more joyful… Plus, another aspect of Jane’s inner peace concerns grief: it seems that giving an hand to his friends and Rigsby’s successful attempt at saving his wife might have helped to alleviate Jane’s pain regarding his past. He points out to the victim’s widow that her husband is not gone: “he’s alive as long as you remember him”. It’s probably the first time Jane is able to stay positive regarding afterlife, even in this rationalized form… and a rather intriguing detail is that it’s not the widow, AKA the distressed woman who catch Jane’s eye, like in ‘At First Blush’, but only the painting. It means that this progress doesn’t stem from the confrontation with someone whom he finds touching, but from a personal evolution which has freed him. He obviously started to achieve a form of closure: it has given him the capacity to find comforting words.

There are similarities between the case and Jane’s situation: like Angela, John Hennigan died because of his loved one, even if it’s obviously not Sylvia’s fault. Her image only attracted the killer’s attention, just like Jane’s show attracted RJ’s ire. Only the situation is reversed: the wife survived, the husband was killed here… And there’s no guilt involved, only a love memory and regrets. Plus, it may seem farfetched, but “John Hennigan” might indirectly refer both to Red John and to agent Hannigan from ‘Red Dawn’. It enlightens that it’s a new beginning, since Hennigan –and later Lisbon- had given him advice about moving on with his life: “you wanna find the son of a bitch and kill him, right? Yeah, well, what happens, it’ll drive you crazy. My advice you move away, far away, far away somewhere. Forget it, start another family. I know that’s tough, but it’s the best way”.

The interrogation also introduces the character of Marcus Pike, the long awaited potential love interest destined to shake Lisbon’s world. Pike is the peak in the ever growing list of Lisbon’s admirers. His first contact is through Jane, still: he knows Jane’s reputation and rather admires the talented consultant. Jane is very well known in his new workplace and Pike is not territorial with his cases: he tells the widow that “this guy is really good”. He’s open and secure while Jane feels obligated to reassure the woman: “I hate to seem immodest but I rarely fail”… When a zest of Lisbon is added to the mix, insecurity starts to surface, only it’s on Jane’s part. Indeed, when Lisbon and Marcus start to interact, it gets obvious they get along very well and Jane tries to interfere. Firstly, when Pike is briefing the other agents, Jane begins to tell he has a plan (« you can lead a man anywhere as long as he thinks he’s driving »); but when those two are alone and interacting nicely over the stolen paintings Pike is showing them, he interrupts them rather brusquely with “impressive, gorgeous, I love you agent Pike”. He’s acting like a child, wanting to have all of Lisbon’s attention focused on him: when he notices Lisbon is interested by Pike’s briefing, he kept the spotlight on him by mentioning a plan, then he refocuses her on it when she’s straying with the charming agent. It’s almost as if he wanted to prove he’s smarter than the other man (telling “yes, that’s the plan” when Pike remarks that high standard art thieves would know the paintings Jane has chosen had been stolen). By showing off his skills, Jane is betraying his insecurities toward the interest he’s detected in Lisbon, while Marcus who is more able to share, seems more quietly assured by comparison.

VIS#2: Wylie tells the others about Jane’s plans AKA teamwork in action

Again, the contrast between Jane and Pike is blatant when the consultant puts his plan into motion: he urges his team members to attend his briefing, just like the other man did at the beginning of the case. But Jane’s not here: instead he sends Wylie with a bunch of notes handwritten on yellow paper… Where Marcus showed professionalism and straightforwardness, leaving the jokes and charming manners to more private occurrences, Jane is devious, secretive and controlling since he didn’t even tell the whole plan to Wylie: the younger’s man explanation for the detail of the scheme is « and the fun really starts. That’s a direct quote”. Plus, sending the youngest and newest team member to give instructions to their superiors illustrates his irreverence toward Abbott’s and Kim’s authority; Wylie’s schoolboy attitude contrasts with Jan’s showman words… He wants to have fun with his new team and at their expense… and he implicitly may want to impress them too. And as much as he obviously enjoyed Marcus’ respect for his abilities, he took care not to invite him to the meeting…

On the other hand, in spite of his secrets, Jane has never been so open with his new team before. Among the many undercover jobs he took in the reboot, this is the most open he’s been with his coworkers. He wants to have fun and he probably wants the others to enjoy it too. He has Wylie hand Abbott some clothes and give him an assignment based on his knowledge of boxing –which an amused Abbott points out he never told him about. Cho unenthusiastically accepts his role. Wylie then comes to Lisbon, who’ll be playing “the inside man… err woman with Jane”, adding “he wants you to wear this”. Cue to Lisbon to look warily at a sexy short white dress. Kim makes fun of her but she gets a worse leopard-skin dress: she’s “the face” in Jane’s plan, the one who will lead their mark in the bedroom… It’s interesting that Jane probably handpicked those dresses and as sexy as they are, they might reflect something for him: Kim is the temptation who will lure their man to take the bait, just like she had been for him on the island. Giving her a dress which contrast with her usual style is a way to gently mock her… But it’s also somewhat intriguing that he chose such a dress for Lisbon too, as she doesn’t necessarily have to be so sexy to back up his cover… It’s a deliberate choice from Jane, who knows she’d be very uncomfortable, and it shows a mixing of seduction and innocence (the color white): it’s the same combo Krystal used to try to seduce him with her damsel in distress persona. Given that he’s showed that he finds Lisbon attractive, there’s no doubt there was an ulterior and more selfish motive for choosing this short and low-cut dress…

Still, the team follows Jane’s instructions to the letter. Wylie and Pike observe from behind the scenes as the plan unfolds. Jane’s influence is perceptible as Wylie explains to Pike that he tells that “if you wants someone to trust you, you don’t give them something, you get them to give you something”. The young man also decrypts body language based on his mentor’s tips. The plan goes seamlessly and Abbott and Cho show the same acting skills they displayed in ‘Grey Water’ and ‘Ring around the Rosie’: “the mark has been roped”…

VIS#3: the party

Abbott leads Pulaski to “his boss’ ” house. Jane has probably taken a lot of fun in subverting their usual roles: Abbott had to punched his subaltern Cho and is supposed to work for him (“Dennis, you old rascal!”); the composed Cho is the one who initiated a bar brawl; and modest Lisbon is displaying a lot of cleavage and a rather promiscuous attitude –which has her making a face and muttering when she’s alone… Plus, she’s playing his girlfriend and their complicity reluctantly shows when he gives her –again- some acting tips. The whole situation reminds of the past –forcing her in a dress by convincing Grace to choose her as her bridesmaid; putting her gleefully in an uncomfortable situation; bantering and teasing her acting skills… Yet, at the same time, it takes it a step further: they’re playing a couple and it’s so convincing to Pike that he feels like asking Wylie about them: “are they in a relationship? A couple?” Wylie answers: “no. I used to think so, but no. I don’t think…” The fact that Wylie wondered (and still does) suggests that, just like Jane’s abilities have apparently been discussed among the bureau, his relationship with his former boss is also observed by their new colleagues… Obviously, it’s a major question in the reboot: Abbott used to think they were together, Kim too. Grace, Cho and Rigsby know better but think they should give it a try… Everybody noticed that there was more than meet the eye between them. Plus, the detail that Pike asked just after Jane reacted to her fake interest to another man (“down girl”) hints that they’re heading to a love triangle. Pike is aware he has a rival in Jane, like Jane felt threatened enough to interfere with the man’s alone time with her. Only Lisbon seems rather in denial, but her behavior is still pretty ambiguous. But more on this later.

Such as it is, there are many hints that Jane and Lisbon are at a crossroad. It looks like Jane is not wearing his ring –it’s the first time in front of Lisbon- and she calls him “Patrick”. Plus, Jane remarks “that’s my bed” when Kim and Pulaski are about to kiss in the master bedroom –the same bed Lisbon will sleep on later- and, when they find Pulaski’s boss McKaye looking at the stolen painting, he adds “I keep finding strangers in my bedroom”… is that a way to foreshadow that a third party is about to barge in his ambivalent relationship with his partner? Anyway, possessiveness in again alluded to when McKaye tells Jane that he doesn’t want “competition” on his “territory”. Jane mocks him “are you telling me that town is not big enough for both of us?” The western reference echoes Kim calling Pulaski “cowboy”: like the boxing on TV when Abbott baited him, there’s the implicit idea of a fight between two men running through the episode: Jane is the one who has shown tendencies to be territorial with Lisbon and both he and Pike might end up fighting over her one way or another. Moreover, the same metaphor was used with Bertram in ‘Red John’: there was a western playing when he called Jane in order to meet up: back then too, the confrontation was the last step to a new stage of his life…

Indeed, Jane introduced himself to Pulaski by asking him if he’s “Pisces” (the other answers (“no Sagittarius”), which echoes the coincidence that a “pike” is also a fish. It’s probably only pure chance, but it’s amusing that the same symbolism used with Lorelei: now that there’s a new quest for Jane, to build a new life for himself, and Pike may pose a threat to this new goal… still, just like murderous brunette was the key to finding RJ, Pike’s interference might provoke them to clear the air. Same with the line “never take your work home with you. It’s the key to an happy life”: given what happened to his family when he took his “work home”, one can only infer from this casual remark once again that Jane’s taken a new step in the grieving process… Between the lines, he may have started to contemplate leading a happy life.

VIS#4: Lisbon’s night… busy or not enough?

When they’re alone in the house, supposedly late at night, Lisbon is going down to the living area, clad only in a rather short satin red nightie… only to find Jane sound asleep on the couch. Her outfit is oddly intimate to visit a coworker and we can also deduce that Jane may have handpicked her bedclothes too (it’s short like the jerseys in ‘Red Badge’ and in ‘Red Moon’, both seen by him). On the contrary, Jane is completely dressed, scarf included. Lisbon tenderly looks at him and lays a cover over his body.
When she’s back in bed, she calls Pike. She’s completely surrounded by the color red: her nightie, the linens, the painting over her head… which might or not mean that the moment is a threat to Jane. Either way, she starts flirting with Marcus under the pretence of talking about the case and they play with the idea of a date to eat pancakes, since she’s hungry. There’s an implicit comparison with Jane here: firstly, she called him because Jane was asleep when she went to him; symbolically, he takes his place. Plus, he tells her McKaye’s men are close, but adds: “you’re safe. I wouldn’t lie to you.” She answers “that’s a nice change of pace. It’s like everything I’ve done today is a lie”. That’s a very loaded thing to say: obviously, Jane’s lies to her are still a sore point. It goes further yet when she explains that she’s starving and there’s nothing to eat in the house: she’s been playing pretend with Jane, posing as his girlfriend but it left her emotionally empty and “starving”. Since the beginning of the reboot, Lisbon’s intentions to cater to her love life have been more pronounced: she was getting a drink at a bar alone when she met Kim in ‘White Lines’; she checked with Ardiles if their date was personal… Her previous attempts at getting Jane’s attention (mentioning the “date” with Osvaldo) failed: she’s feeling lonely deep down and Pike is offering to feed her feelings and acknowledgement.

Still, a very intriguing point is in which order the two moments are shown: she went to Jane, then called Pike. But what if it was the other way around? Writer Jordan Harper has hinted on Twitter that the order was changed… whatever the reason, Lisbon’s intentions regarding Jane could be easier to read then, if she was aware that there were no “prying eyes” –as Marcus put it- to witness her encounter with Jane. Being alone with him and half-naked suggest seduction plans… The final version plays more on ambiguity and wistfulness.

On the other hand, on Jane’s part, while he’s not been actively making a move on her, he’s come closer to it than ever… He doesn’t seem to wear his ring, he chose a couple of revealing dresses for her, he’s playing house with her, posing as her boyfriend and having her call him by his first name –something he deeply wants as it has been indicated in ‘Devil’s Cherry’… This investigation is the more elaborate undercover job he ever set and it revolves around his partner and him pretending to be lovers/accomplices. And as far away of Pike as he could get them.

Plus, later, when they talk with McKaye about stealing Manet’s Violets (the painting ‘Bouquet of violets’), Jane comments that it’s the symbol of a forbidden love: Manet painted it in reference to another painting representing his brother’s wife, ‘Berthe Morisot with a bouquet of violets’. He adds he expressed his feelings “in a different way, by painting”… Somehow, it’s what Jane has been doing with Lisbon: he’s expressed his attachment for her through his job, by getting her hired and doing his own art of solving crimes. In ‘The Golden Hammer’, he admitted that he used to be cheerful when they were together at a stake-out because he enjoyed spending time with her… in that episode, he acted and opened up because Lisbon had dangled the threat of a date with another man over his head.Still, it’s not strictly a “forbidden love”: he’s the main obstacle to his moving on, he’s the one who can’t allow himself to start again. In ‘Violets’, he started accepting the loss of his family, but the actual work of reconstruction is yet to come. At the same time, unbeknown to him, Lisbon is contemplating the possibility of dating Pike: Jane’s interest may thus be truly shunned away and he’ll only care for her from afar then. The whole subtext is deeply related to the undercover theme running through the last episodes: a thin layer of apparent normalcy hides latent tensions between the characters. Also, interesting choice of theme and flower here regarding Jane’s situation: violets are the flowers of modesty and faithfulness, but also of the symbol for tender love from someone too shy to confess.

Plus, it’s not the first time that paintings have been used in the show to convey Jane’s state of mind –the Rubens in ‘Bloodstream’, the symbolic marines and painted flowers in season 5… Here, the Violets and the victim’s red portrait of his wife form a curious diptych: the latter, which Jane takes special care to give back to the widow, represents a love interrupted by a violent death, like the one Jane shared with Angela. The Violets, with their different color, involve Lisbon, who’s at the center of the episode: she’s Jane meaningful relationship now, and the alluded secrecy reflects the lack of acknowledgement between them.

But Jane is slowly opening up, like he opens the safe in the bedroom, a past symbol of his obsession. As everybody around him has been commenting, his feelings are more visible: even McKaye remarks that he has a soft spot for his partner by the way he looks at her… And his mocking “au revoir” to the killer when he revealed everything was a trap, even the marching band playing ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’, took a particular meaning when he mentioned he had “someplace fabulous to go”. It was the word Lisbon used in front of Pulaski, which implies Jane plans to find her and spend some time with her after giving back the portrait. But, as Jane’s teasing McKaye about losing the game because he lost control, the situation Jane insisted he had a firm grip on is about to get out of control for him too…

VIS#5 closed case pizza

It’s official: the new team has definitely taken the place of the SCU, its spirit and its traditions. After working all together seamlessly as the combined elements of the bigger undercover picture, they celebrate together. The limbo Jane has been in with his new friends has come to an end and so has Lisbon when Pike make his move.
Indeed, the agent tells her he likes her and that he’d like to know her better. He invites her to pancakes, just as they talked of over the phone. He seems the perfect match for her: he’s a team leader (or at least an agent in charge of important investigations), just like she used to be. He’s seems honest and secure. He’s a coffee drinker. He’s seductive: his “dinner is the best time for breakfast” might discreetly imply that spending the night between those two meals together may come somewhere along the way. He’s offering a straightforward relationship, while Jane looks unsure of what he wants, is manipulative and wrap everything in lies: things with him are complicated.

Pike’s offer is tempting and Lisbon leaves with him… but stops at her desk to get her things just in time to meet Jane. He doesn’t immediately understand the situation and asks cheerfully “where are we going?”, then he immediately understands his mistake and backpedals, telling them “kids” to have fun. When he’s alone, he sits on his couch, his confident posture deflates and he drops both the act and his scarf while the music gets sadder. It’s a heartbreaking moment because such a depressing episode endings were usually related to his family, for instance at the birth of Ben Rigsby. Now, his sadness and loneliness are caused by Lisbon leaving him and he brought this on himself, he introduced Pike in her life. He screwed up big time. No doubt she’s aware of it given her timid voice when she told him goodbye…


Mentalist White as the Driven Snow Review


This review was supposed to be co-written, but Violet wrote the bulk of it and was quite comprehensive. All I had left to do was sprinkle my two cents in where ever I could. Everything was written by her, unless otherwise denoted by an “RB” to stand from my thoughts. Love you, Vi!- RB.

Synopsis
The FBI is rushing against time trying to find Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) after she has been kidnapped by Richard Haibach. Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) confronts Patrick Jane begging him to do whatever it takes to get his wife safely back.

Concise Verdict
With all the action that was part of this episode I thought it must have been written by Tom S. Or Daniel Cerone. I mean that as a compliment to Eoghan Mahoney, who gave both Righetti and Yeoman fantastic material to work and enough suspense (and character moments!) to keep viewers attention riveted. For the most part. 9/10.

VIS #1: the guys are at the bar
Picking up right where the previous episode left off, Rigsby’s enters the bar where he is having drinks with Cho and Jane after getting off the phone. The guys comment on how great his wife is. The happily married Rigsby agrees to which Jane tells him “A Price Above Rubies”.

RB: One of the reasons I loved how this scene was just chock full of allusions to previous episodes. One was the quoted phrase, a favourite episode of mine where we got to see the entire CBI team in black tie. Tunney fans will remember the black dress.

Violet: The phrase also underlines that the past is still weighting Jane down, since that episode took place just after Bosco’s death: it reminds how someone close to them was killed because of Jane’s actions (which will happen again here with Grace). Back then, Lisbon feigned being fine, just like she’s been doing with Jane since his return. Also interesting detail: back then the title may have referred both to the victim’s wife and to Lisbon as Jane put a tiara on her head… so even if she’s absent, she’s at the center of the scene.

RB: I agree. The men may be talking about Grace here and what she means to Wayne, but the allusion to that past episode makes and the fact that Jane is one who made the comment makes it easy to infer who he feels is priceless.

Violet: Rigsby then tries to play matchmaker by telling Jane that Grace and him “always” thought that Jane and Lisbon would end up together.

RB: I shouted at the television: FINALLY!! Ahem. I mean, after all these years it’s about time a character brought up the subject. And I don’t think it was a coincidence that another episode alluded to in this scene was Red Handed, the only other time we’ve seen Jane and the men at a bar. That scene four years ago was another time Rigsby might have ventured to ask Jane about his relationship with Lisbon, especially considering how hard Jane had tried to get Lisbon to keep an emerald necklace/earring suite he bought her at the time….but I digress…

Violet: It’s a very heartwarming touch to watch how the man who has been clueless about how to seduce Van Pelt for years is willing to help two friends find happiness. One may wonder if he doesn’t do it for Lisbon mostly, as much as he likes Jane.

RB: I like to think so. Rigsbon is a pairing I’ve always loved. In a strict older sister/younger brother chemistry which was shown on the show on several occasions

Violet: After all, he’s kept in touch with his former boss and listened to her when she claimed she had no regrets anymore about the past before running to Jane once again when the chance arose… Plus, that’s actually the first time someone of the team made a direct reference to the special bond between Jane and Lisbon. It was nice seeing that Wayne and Grace had been shippers all along, not to mention rather funny: the all time “official” couple of the show seems to have passed on the baton to the partners who are starting to send stronger romantic vibes.

RB: It is rather ironic, isn’t it?

Violet: While Jane chuckles to hide his surprise and embarrassment, Cho agrees with his friend.

RB: I also thought he seemed bashful, but in a pleased sort of way…

Violet: After a rather ironic “right”, he mentions the pony, a meaningful special gift he had given her….

RB: This just in case viewers didn’t automatically remember it after the last episode 

Violet: …after Jane showered his new team minus Lisbon with childhood reminders. The pony had been given at the beginning of the show, which put emphasis on the “always” in Wayne’s statement: the team watched many interactions between the two leads (“you’re blushing, boss” in S1; Jane touching her face when he was blinded in ‘Bloodshot’;

RB: Note, both incidences Wane was the sole witness. Methinks he was an early shipper…

Violet: Cho telling “Jane, right”, when Lisbon ditched their investigation to help Jane after Darcy stranded him; Jane’s remark about Lisbon being meaner to him at the end of ‘Something’s Rotten in Redmund’… Unlike with Bosco’s feelings for Teresa, they never really commented on it

RB: Probably because no one knew about them. If memory serves me right, even Jane was surprised when he found out about it, whereas Jane’s affections were more obvious to the team.

Violet: They observed and drew their own conclusion… It enlightens again how people tended to consider them as a possible couple, just like Abbott and Kim did at first.
Jane deflects the allusion to the past by wondering aloud where the pony may be now: things are not right between Lisbon and him and he’s way to secretive to pour his heart to the guys, obviously. That’s probably why he gratefully uses the pretext offered by the barmaid to leave them.

RB: Actually, I found it telling that he didn’t leave right away and instead told the barmaid that he was busy with his friends. I remember wondering if, in fact, Jane, given the opportunity, actually wanted to discuss his relationship with Lisbon with the two guys. I find the idea fascinating.

Violet: The friendly atmosphere at the bar compensates the mild coldness of ‘Grey Water’.

RB: Alternatively, Jane’s warmth towards Rigsby in this episode just makes the aloofness of his greeting to him in the previous one more bizarre.

Violet: Again, the encounter is also placed under the shadow of a darker past as alluded to subtly by the name of the hotel where Grace and Wayne are staying and where she’s taken from. As a threatening counterpoint of the bar ‘El Lazo’ –which the double meaning pointed out by Reviewbrain in the previous review-, the hotel is called ‘Rose Mountain Inn’, a color frequently used in title as a reference to RJ. Still, viewers are reminded that many things have changed. When Cho drives Wayne back to the inn, he tells him the FBI is offering both him and Grace a job. The other man is hesitant, because he and Grace have now kids. Their priority has shifted from being in the team (the reason for their break up) to protecting their family life.

RB: I like the reference here to how much their characters have grown up. The reminder is timely…

VIS #2: Jane confronts creepy Haibach

The parallels with the past events and particularly with RJ are even more visible when Jane and Lisbon start interrogating their main suspect, Haibach, who was unwittingly involved in Jane’s quest to get the serial killer. Firstly, the glimpses we got of Grace in a cellar, just like the one Hardy used to keep a young girl prisoner in the S1 finale and the one where RJ’s presumably first victims’ skeletons were found in ‘The Red Barn’; still, it may be also interesting to compare the choice of this place with Jane’s own kidnapping in ‘Ball of Fire’: that episode had the team worried for his life, as they are now for Grace, and its resolution ultimately led to an increased closeness with Lisbon…

Speaking about her, Haibach is pretty resentful towards the former CBI team leader and snarls “oh, you apologized. But that didn’t stop your planning, did it?” It draws an implicit comparison with her own attitude towards Jane: he apologized for his actions -in his last letter from the island, he mentioned being sorry for leaving her on the roadside- and he tried to make it up to her by getting her a new job, but she doesn’t seem to be able to completely trust his intentions anymore.
Plus, even though Haibach claims there is “no game” on his part –another allusion to RJ-, he obviously enjoy mocking them: when Jane asks if he knows where Van Pelt is, he replies “no, I don’t, how could I?” in a sing song voice… just before he “guesses” exactly her situation. Later, when an angry Rigsby launches at him, yelling that he’s an animal, the man yells back “you people are the animals”, because back then he did nothing and was still targeted because of them…
He’s right. Jane dismissed his kidnapping when Kirkland tortured him and Lisbon even chided her consultant for his indifference. But Haibach easily forgets his own crimes: he’s a paedophile and this was hinted at by the secret child bedroom he created in his house. He planned to kidnap a little girl when Kirkland targeted him, which foreshadowed Grace’s situation. He shows therefore the same logic as RJ, who took revenge on Jane’s family because the fake psychic had “slandered” him in the medias…

Haibach’s plan progressively takes form: he enjoys himself by playing his two enemies face to face -Jane ,who deliberately put his name on his fake list, and Lisbon, who came after him repeatedly- while revealing the vengeful motive behind his acts when stressed out. His meticulous planning is showed later when Abbott and Kim interrogate him as he’s able to provide a suspiciously detailed alibi (a video of him on the bus/his bus ticket/several witnesses): he’s obviously mocking them. Playing cat and mouse with his victim and hiding in plain sight were two of RJ’s favorite mind games too.

On the other hand, as a counterpoint to those allusions to the serial killer, there are several parallels with Jane’s situation regarding him. He understands what Wayne is going through as a father, and he tries to comfort and calm him by telling “you have children you need to see grow up”. Indeed, even through the younger man is in danger of losing his wife, he’s graced with the chance of knowing his kids are safe. Jane wasn’t as lucky and his imagining an adolescent Charlotte in ‘Devil’s Cherry’ showed how much he regretted it. Later, as Rigsby talks to his son Ben, the kid asks where Grace is… In addition of enlightening that the Rigsby’s form a harmonious family, since she’s only his stepmother, but obviously a loving one.

Rigsby goes and finds the clever consultant, begging for his help, “whatever it takes”. As a consequence, Jane barges in the interrogation room and threatens Haibach. He yells “you know me” and promises to track him down, alluding to his past quest to avenge his family and to the fact that he killed three men in the process. He shows again his uncaring and obsessive side: “I have nothing to lose. I have played with the house money for years. If I go to prison for what I’ll do to you, I don’t care”…

While it looks like he’s stuck in the same position than with RJ, it’s still interesting that he’s painted the almost exact image his co-workers must have had of him for years: a vengeful obsessed man with no string attached and willing to use them for all what they were worth… But this “been there, done that” vibe doesn’t really match the reality anymore : his “I have nothing to lose” contrasts with his loneliness and his letters to Lisbon, when he was writing that her absence was what made his situation awkward. Same with his willingness to recreate his nest at the CBI: that speaks of his fondness for his friends and the memories he shared with them. Therefore, this coldness hides a fiery defence of people he cares about. And he explains to a bewildered Abbot that he’s trying to work Haibach out of his comfort zone: again, he’s using the same strategy than with RJ. He’s trying to get the other to make mistakes, without caring for the consequences of his own actions. This dangerous game Jane is playing contrasts with Kim’s tentative approach to get Haibach’s lawyer to step back and help them: the insensitive woman accuses her of feeding her a « sob story » in an « unprofessional, disrespectful » manner. Like her client, she enjoys the power she has over the agents (telling them “ok kids, time’s up. Put your pens down” when she barges into Abbott’s office). This indicates that the legit route would take them nowhere to save Van Pelt.

VIS #3: Grace proves that she’s resourceful

Meanwhile, the redhead is making the best of the situation and manages to escape the cellar she’s locked in: she’s smart and determined. Soon, she’s alone in the wild and her isolation is further emphasized by the snow. Her dangerous situation reminds of her predicament in ‘My Bloody Valentine’. When a car stops by her, viewers may get a hint that the danger is getting closer: the driver, an inoffensive-looking woman, is listening to rather loud music, echoing ‘Redwood’ (the playlist the victims were listening to when a cruel killer attacked them) and ‘Red Gold’ (the killer changed the radio station in his victim’s car).

Van Pelt’s suspicions flare when she enters the woman’s cabin: she understands that there’s no electricity because there’s a fireplace, thus the woman was lying when she told there was a phone. Her observation skills hint at Jane’s influence, just like her resourcefulness… She also uses his technique to get the other to let her guard down: she tries to make friends by telling her to call her Grace; when it fails, she still manages to make her talk in order to buy time to try to escape. Her efforts are in vain, but it shows that she learned many things with the master of lies.

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

 

Jane’s shadow can also be detected in the woman’s character: she’s Haibach’s sister and she feels anger and guilt because she couldn’t protect him… She’s seeking to rectify a past error to the extent of not caring if she hurts or kills people in the process.

VIS #4: Rigsby and Jane kidnap Haibach AKA saving Grace

Jane and Rigsby decide to take action and kidnap Haibach: while he’s leaving the FBI headquarters in a car with his lawyer. While Haibach is ranting to her bout making Patrick Jane suffer, Jane has disguised himself as their driver stops the car to let Rigsby get in. Jane’s grin and adorable driver hat is thus the sixth time in as almost as many episodes that an undercover job is featured –Kim playing a part in the island; Abbott asking Jane to pose as a psychic in ‘Green Thumb’; the dates with Krystal in ‘White Lines’; Lisbon wearing another black hat in spy fashion in ‘The Golden Hammer’; Jane sleeping in the community in ‘Black Helicopters’. One could even argue that, given his impassioned reaction to Grace’s kidnapping, his mildly indifferent greeting in the previous episode plays with false appearances as well.

Abbott realizes what the two men have been up to and wants to get some information out of Lisbon and Cho. Lisbon knows nothing (Jane’s good old “deniability”) and Cho adds “we have nothing to do with it, but we’d do it if they’d asked”. Again, it echoes their confrontation with Abbott in ‘Red John’, when Cho led the way to confront the man into letting Jane go. Their boss remembers: he is aware that they find Wayne and Jane “brave”, but that doesn’t stop him from threatening their jobs… That’s a curious reversal for Dennis: before, he was the one threatening the CBI, now it’s Haibach’s lawyer supported by an unfair law that protects a kidnapper who poses a threat for his new team.

Jane playfully leaves the lawyer stranded on the roadside, after exchanging his driver uniform with her phone and teasingly putting his hat on her head. It comes full circle with him leaving Lisbon without phone on that cliff, which was alluded to when he left Kim and drove away his Airstream at the market. This time, instead of being a hurtful gesture which probably caused her present mistrust, it proves that he cares: he won’t stop at anything to save Grace.

And the role reversal is even more obvious as Rigsby acts crazy and Jane is the one trying to calm him down (“talk to me, I have a plan, there’s another way”)… The usually untameable consultant seems very reasonable for once: he’s assuming Lisbon’s role when Wayne is channelling his inner Jane…his brutal streak.

Plus there’s a multiplication of references to RJ: Rigsby tries to set Haibach on fire (like Todd Johnson and echo to the bombing in ‘Fire and Brimstone’: fire is a recurrent image of RJ’s power); after the man took Wayne’s discarded gun and made them drive to the abandoned cabin, then to his sister’s house, he discovers that the guys used a trick on him: all along the gun had no ammunition and he’s the mercy of an armed Rigsby (it reminds of Jane’s trick with the pigeon, Lisbon’s gun and the other gun hidden in the church); Haibach threatening them from the back of the car, then being threatened by Rigsby ridding shotgun is a wink to the limo scene in ‘The Crimson Hat’ (RJ was talking from the back of the car using a phone attached to Luther, Jane was sitting shotgun and it was the first time Jane had been able to talk to him directly). In a way, this moment in the car with Haibach almost sums up Jane’s history with the serial killer because while it looked like RJ was more powerful, Jane overpowered him too with a clever trick… But Haibach and his sister get the upper hand again and are about to take revenge for his missing thumb by shooting Rigsby and deciding to chop Jane’s fingers too, in a double allusion to Lorelei who was ordered to cut off Jane’s fingers in the limo. The RJ vibe is even furthered by Haibach giddily telling that he wants to “play a little game” (again) with a terrified Jane. Fortunately, Rigsby proved more resistant and determined than the killers took him for: even gravely injured, he walks outside the house to shoot them. He was able to protect his wife and saved the day, what Jane always regretted not doing for his family… The implied glimpse into the past is closed when Jane lying in the snow sees the black helicopter sent to rescue them. It was what he asked to Lisbon over the phone in ‘Black Helicopters’: symbolically the nightmarish window on the past is closed and they’re back to the present situation. Wayne can start to recover physically, just like Jane may start to heal mentally from the loss of his family that he couldn’t yet overcome, since he still can’t allow himself to take his ring off for good.

VIS #5: at the hospital

When Wayne is resting on his hospital bed with his beloved Grace the atmosphere is much more cheerful: Lisbon hugs Grace while telling her how worried she was, then Jane hugs her too. The both of them are making a beeline for the door together –at long last!- when they’re interrupted by Abbott and Kim. Abbott compliments Rigsby (“you impressed all of us”), but both husband and his wife refuse heartily the job they are offered. Kim hands some flowers to the redhead and, last but not least, Cho, Wayne’s dear friend, pats Grace’s leg before leaving them alone too.

For the first time in what feels like forever, Jane and Lisbon are shown leaving the hospital while bickering. Lisbon reproaches that it was a “stupid idea”, Jane protests that it was “not stupid, simple but not stupid…” When she admits that she’s still angry for not telling her and she was really scared, he tells “I’m sorry.” She replies “no, you’re not. I can tell when you’re no being sincere », which refers both to their old friendship and to her past assumption that she could tell when he was lying in ‘Red Sky in The Morning’: both times, like in many others, the two partners are seen walking away bickering as the episode ends. It hints that at least part of their friendship is back: while those are pretty much the same things Lisbon reproached to Jane recently –taking decisions on his own, scaring her by running away and dismissing her as if she was his inferior- it’s very apparent that the intention behind her words is different. Jane has proven his affection for them taking huge risks for his friends: like before, even if his methods are questionable, he’s mostly trustworthy at heart.

That’s the most heartwarming aspect of the episode: Jane has paid his debt to the team for standing for him. Like in ‘Red Alert’, which featured Lisbon’s silent grief over Bosco’s death, and in ‘My Bloody Valentine’, when Grace refused to acknowledge the loss of her love, the conclusion of Haibach’s wrongdoings ended being a life-affirming experience. Jane’s decisions here showed that he cares about them: he hadn’t just using them for his quest. He made it up to them for his actions, which is probably why Haibach’s character was chosen to be the culprit: he had happened to be a casualty in Jane’s quest, just like the team and Lisbon had become at the end, as they had to deal with the consequences… Hence the catharsis: Jane considers them as his friends and he wants to protect them. In spite of not being truthful with his words or his motives, he was sincere in his affection for them. Sacrificing their careers at the CBI for him had been worth it.

Honorable Mentions

Writer Eoghan Mahony provided a touching homage to two great characters (Grace’s cleverness and Rigsby’s impressive determination were a last hint at character development since it enlightens how efficient they have become) At the same time, he masterfully used this goodbye to set things right in the new setting: Jane and Lisbon acting like friends again; Wiley takes a more prominent part in the investigation; Abbott is a by the book boss but he admits he’s impressed by Wayne. He doesn’t play a double game like Bertram, nor is emotional like Luther; he isn’t as unfair with Lisbon as Hightower used to be at first… If he keeps being this measured, he might even compare one day with Minelli… Same with Kim: like in the market when she interrogated the “peanut butter people” some time ago, she’s still pretty awkward in her role as a boss, but that doesn’t undermines her friendliness (talking to the lawyer, bringing flowers). And the old team is reunited no more as colleagues but as a family: it’s the first time they’re all together at the hospital at the same time… They weren’t together at Jane’s bedside (when he was in a fugue state/ drugged/ blinded by a bomb), neither at Lisbon’s (when she was shot by Craig/attacked by RJ even if there were flowers), neither at Grace’s (when she was shot in the earlier seasons) nor when Rigsby’s father was dying. But now, they are, because their closeness is caused by affection and devotion. It’s a rather beautiful conclusion to their story and a solid beginning for the new Mentalist.

rb: Owain Yeoman and Amanda Righetti were fantastic in the episode as well. I loved how physical their roles were, especially Wayne’s. considering his build it would have been a crime to have him leave the show without making use of his physical prowess (which, is rarely brought up : Russett Potatoes, Like a Red-Headed Stepchild). I can see both Righetti and Yeoman moving on to action films now.

Icings on the Cake

The beautiful, beautiful snow white setting of the episode denoting perhaps that the show was starting a new clean slate.

Pet Peeves

Violet: When Jane, Haibach and Rigsby get off the car to enter the cabin, there’s snow, but they don’t seem to mind the cold, even though they’re wearing light clothes and there’s no steam coming from their mouths. I may be overly picky, but this destroyed the illusion a bit for me…

RB: For me, the first was Grace getting duped by Hazel. After showing how awesome Grace is at managing to escape we’re supposed to believe that she’s careless enough to flag down the first approaching car without thinking that it might be the perp looking for her? Grr.

Then there is Hazel. I don’t know if it was the writing or the acting, but she felt like such a flat two dimensional character. Whether it was her telling Grace that she’ll tell on her to her brother (about how she tried to escape) or boasting how she knew Grace escaped, most of her scenes made me cringe.

Conclusion

RB: After being so happy that the RJ plot is finally over, I can’t stop thinking about the left over lackeys in the encrypted file. I still don’t get why no one (either in the original CBI team or in the FBI) thought an RJ fan might have been after the wire taps. Now they proved to have nothing to do with Grace’s kidnapping, I’m probably just being obsessive. But I will say this: while Haibach might have been the perp in this episode, there is still no proof that he is the one who put a trace on Ardiles and the CBI members. Haibach’s revenge might be red herring to deflect from the fact that (possibly vengeful) Blake association members still exist.

Finally, I am ecstatic at the surprise ending of this episode. I honestly thought Rigsby had been killed for a while and did not look forward to the result. I would have hated to see Jane set off on another guilty streak, this time for having his actions inadvertently cause the death of Wayne and Grace. I also loved how Rigsby was the ultimate hero, in every sense of the word. In this episode, he saved more than just his and Grace’s life. He saved Jane’s newly peaceful existence from shattering again. A worthy ending to a worthy character. Righetti, Yeoman, you will be missed.

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.

 

 


The Good Wife “Dramatics, Your Honor” Reaction


MAJOR SPOILERS. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE.

MAJOR SPOILERS. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE.

MAJOR SPOILERS. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE.

I have been watching The Good Wife ever since it first started airing. I have been in love with the show all this time and have watched with equal parts awe and trepidation.

The awe was at the sheer intelligence of a show that keeps giving me material to think about and the writers’ ability to consistently make me laugh. The trepidation was a result of the sad belief that eventually, like so many other shows, it will one day finally fail to do so.

But that day still seemed far off. When Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) left the firm to start her own with Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry), I was ecstatic. We’ve already seen her and Will have their romance. Having her remain at the firm was just risking the affair starting up again (the main incentive, viewers were led to believe, why the character left).

The fact is, the show is called “The Good Wife”. Having her run off into the sunset with Will Gardner (much as we might have enjoyed it) was just plainly never going to happen. A new direction had to be set for the series and having them become enemies seemed as good a plan as any.

Then another “uh, oh” moment came to me when they started reconciling. Were the writers really going to ruin the new-found status quo by reverting back to an old plot? I was so ready to be disappointed and comforted myself with the fact that there were other so many interesting characters with new relationships (finally!) coming together that will keep the show interesting (i.e. Eli/Natalie, Kalinda/Cary).

I feel so humbled now that I had underestimated The Good Wife writers so. I always knew they were good. Fabulous, even. But I never knew how good they were.

Just when I started worrying that Will and Alicia’s romance will start up again, they went and killed off Will’s character.

Will Gardner is dead.

This decision, which stemmed after Josh Charles informed the show runners he was leaving the series, was pure genius. In fact, I’ll go as far as to thank Mr. Charles for inciting it.

No words can express how utterly excited I am to see the affect his character’s death will have on the other players. When faced with a decision to get rid of the character, Robert and Michelle King went with the one that most made sense. Simply put, it’s the most interesting. Also, it conveniently solves Peter Florrick’s legal problem while creating a perhaps much bigger, more personal one for him.

How will Alicia react? How will Diane, Kalinda, and every other character who loved and respected Will Gardner?

I don’t know. But I sure as heck can’t wait to find out. Rest in peace, Will Gardner. You were a freaking awesome lawyer, passionate lover, and loyal friend. And no one can ever have as beautifully brooding eyes as you can. But you died defending a client you liked, whom you believed to be innocent, and whose mental capacities finally went to pieces during his trial. Like a soldier who wishes to die in battle, you died in the courtroom. In the arms of an opposing lawyer, no less, who tried to save your life (the wonderful Matthew Goode as Finn Polmar).

Can there be a better, more honorable, or original  ending for a major character?

I doubt it.

Click here to read Robert and Michelle King’s letter to The Good Wife fans regarding their decision. I agree with absolutely everything they said. More than that, I respect their utter transparency and loyalty to fans in sharing their thoughts. This is class, people.

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Mentalist Grey Water Review


Synopsis

Lisbon gets the case of J.J. LaRoche’s murder transferred from SF PD to the FBI, only to discover that the culprit is now targeting ex-CBI Agents Wayne and Grace Rigsby. The two join Lisbon, Cho and Jane in Austin, Texas as consultants and run down a list of possible suspects. Meanwhile Agent Kim Fischer investigates a murder of an anti-fracker in which the prime suspect is an anti-corporate group.

Concise Verdict

This episode was a bit of a roller coaster. It started off as a thriller and ended as one as well but was a bit slow in between.  There were plenty of nice moments, a couple of not so good ones, and a major peeves too.

Detailed Review

I’m slowly easing myself into writing again and took a more straightforward approach to this review. It consists of three main parts.

1- The Good (AKA what really worked in the episode)

I like the role-reversal at the beginning shoot out scene, having Wayne hide with the baby and Grace come in with the gun saving the day.

I enjoyed seeing the team work together again, narrowing down their list of suspects as suggested by Jane.

While I was never convinced that John Hutten was a realistic suspect I nonetheless enjoyed his storyline and scenes. Paul Schulze was quite engaging and having him escape from the feds to carry on an affair was a

Another thing I enjoyed was having the team back together again. Commenter Laura commented in the previous review that she missed the old bromance between Cho and Rigsby, rightly so as it has always been a great asset to the show. It was nice to see them working together again. There were a couple of nice moments whether it was Cho giving Rigsby a man hug or teasing him that he can’t drive while they run down suspects together.

I never realized how much I missed Wayne the investigator till I saw him in action. And it looks like he misses it too as he tell in seamlessly back into the role with Cho.

The burning water (due to the methane content) scene was a neat attention grabber.

Lisbon apologizing to Richard Haibach.

Grace and Wiley bonding over hacking software.

6x14

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

There were also some nice character insights: how trusting Wiley is (he just took Jane at his word that he had a court order), Abbott’s participation in catching the killer (the man can certainly act in a ruse), Wayne being more confident and self-assured than we’ve ever known him to be.

Speaking of Abbott, I like seeing how he had Lisbon’s back trusting her instincts on Haibach, despite his telling the man’s attorney that the investigation was closed, and having her make the aforementioned apology.

Guys’ night out. What I would give to be a fly on the wall wherever they were.

The end with the dark figure hovering above Grace was all sorts of spooky. Blake Neely might want to look into scoring a horror flick; tune at the end was really scary.

2- The Bad (AKA what didn’t work)

Somehow I just wasn’t really interested in the “cooperative” hacking group; don’t know why.

Acting of guy who played the victim was a bit over the top, as was the scuffle scene that resulted in his death.

After reuniting with his former colleagues after two years, all Jane can manage by way of greeting is a “good to see you, guys”? Really? Even Robo-cop Cho and formerly detached boss Lisbon managed to give both Wayne and Grace a hug when they arrived, but touchy feely Jane couldn’t? I mean, yes, he was drinking his tea at the time but that really is no excuse.

3- And the Ugly (AKA what sucked)

*I would’ve liked to see a reaction from Jane or Lisbon regarding LaRoche’s death. We know the man liked them both and it felt really wrong not to have them acknowledge his passing in a meaningful way. It’s a huge waste considering how fantastically developed the character was and how he and Jane had bonded. Couldn’t we at least have known whatever happened to his dog?

*When Lisbon updates Rigsby on the case, at the very beginning of the episode, she tells him that SF PD agrees whoever murdered Ardiles, LaRoche, and bugged the CBI team’s phones is someone that was once arrested by CBI and/or is holding a grudge.

Now Lisbon and the ex-CBI team know there is a number of RJ allies/lackey’s (members of the Blake association) still at large. And Jane knows this. Heck, one woman had tried to kill Jane during his face off with McCallister.  Now I could be wrong but wouldn’t THEY have a grudge on CBI and company? The fact that this didn’t occur to anyone, Jane especially, really bugs me. The team should be looking for their suspects in the encrypted list of Blake members.

One could argue that Ardiles had no connection to the RJ case. I’d counter-argue that the perp might blame him for RJ’s death. How so? Well, Ardiles was the one who prosecuted Jane’s case when he was charged with Timothy Carter’s murder. If Ardiles had won the case, Jane would be in prison and wouldn’t have been able to catch/kill RJ. It’s a bit of a stretch but INMO not as big as having to believe that NOT A SINGLE AGENT likes a Blake member (or even the entire association) for wire-tapping the CBI and targeting its past members.

Best Quotes

“In my day, if you had a problem with someone, you would just tell them. None of this computer hacking nonsense.” –Samuel. Cool line. Also reflects the teams’ current predicament with their unknown perp.

“Take a break. Get something to eat.” Aww! Grace knows how to make Wayne feel better.

Conclusion

I don’t speak Spanish, but couldn’t help notice the name of the bar Rigsby and the guys were meeting at: El Lazo. An online search tells me it means either link (as in bond) or lasso. I find both definitions interesting: while Rigsby and company are bonding at the bar, Grace is being lassoed in her motel room. Wonder if this irony was the intent behind the choice of the bar name. I like to think it was as that would be really cool.

Finally, GRACE BETTER NOT DIE!

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Mentalist Black Helicopter’s Review


Synopsis

The FBI are sent to Juarez, Mexico where a US Attorney is found dead. The investigation leads consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) to a free citizen’s farm in Gentry, Texas. Meanwhile, Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) enlists the help of ex-colleagues Grace (Amanda Righetti) and Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) to investigate the death of Osvaldo Ardiles.

Not so Humungous Review

(In which writer is under the residual influence of anesthesia and can’t be trusted to give a grade)

I can always count on Erika Green to bring a smile to my face. I enjoyed Jane’s interactions with his new team members and appreciated how we were cleverly given a chance to get to know them through Jane’s gifts to them: Jason Wylie (Joe Adler) got a Tamagotchi (electronic pets that were quite popular about ten years ago).  Dennis Abbott got a Voltron toy (based on the cartoon/anime series) while Agent Kim Fischer received a magic wand. Even Jane’s old comrade Kimball Cho received a gift in the form of jumping beans. One might wonder why Lisbon didn’t get anything. I’d just like to point out that way back in season one (Red Sauce) we were already shown what her secret desire was: the surprise pony Jane gave her for her birthday.. Also, it seems like the significance of the gifts was, as Abbott pointed out, was Jane attempting to fit into his team. Even Cho had expressed concern with that regards to Jane, hence his getting  a gift too despite having worked with Jane in the past. Lisbon has no such concerns.

The new dynamic between Jane and Lisbon, personified by the fact that she is no longer his boss continues to be a theme this season. In this episode it means that she will sometimes be delegated to tasks that exclude him. In this episode, Lisbon was stuck going through the victim’s files. Jane, when Cho and Fischer arrive at the crime scene without her, immediately asks where she is. Then back at HQ, he looks for her and we finally see him deposited on his new couch, with Lisbon working on her computer nearby. It’s a familiar scene, albeit less private than viewers are used to in Lisbon’s CBI office. Later Jane invites Lisbon to join him for a drive to Gentry, and when she refuses to ride his “silver bucket” Jane says “Fischer it is then”. Whether Jane’s intention was romantic or not, he was obviously trying to get a rise out of Lisbon. It was nice to see that she didn’t take the bait, calmly informing him that she was still working on a lead into Ardiles murder-waiting for a warrant from a judge. Jane then helpfully suggests she enlists LaRoche’s help whom we are told now works for internal affairs.

Pet Peeves

It’s no secret I adore LaRoche. I not only love the actor, but have found his character to be a major asset to the show ever since Daniel Cerone introduced him in Jolly Red Elf. That said, I don’t mind having him killed off (at least, not as much as I thought I would). But having it happen the way it did, with him leaving a nonsensical dying message was a real disappointment. As far as I could tell, LaRoche was killed by gunshot after he set off a trap rigged to shoot anyone who walked into it. So why the heck-how in the heck did he come to the conclusion that he was shot by Red John? Was there an RJ smiley that I somehow missed (all too possible since I’m not operating at full capacity at the moment). Or am I wrong in my original assumption that LaRoche said “Red John” right before he died? It just makes no sense. If I am wrong and LaRoche had in fact been saying something else, then the scene is just confusing, which is just as aggravating.

Fischer’s statement to Jane that he’s “sleeping on the job” was a bit grating. I mean, the man had been driving for five hours straight, Kim, during which you were sleeping (at least part of that time). Cut him some slack.

Best Scenes

The Winner: Dunbar and Swallow stole this one. When Fischer complains that Jane ditched her, Abbott seriously tells her that Jane is trying to fit in, brandishing Jane’s gift as proof. His boyish delight at Voltron “Not just a robot” was very funny…

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chiziruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain April, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

 

…as was Fischer reiterating “Dennis, he ditched me. Seeing how annoyed she was, Abbott tells Fischer “that’s not cool” to which she responds “No! No, that is far,  far from cool!”. These two are growing on me :)

 

First Runner Up: Grace and Wayne’s visit to LaRoche. His calling Wayne “young Rigsby” and the respectful manner in which he greeted Van Pelt charmed me, as did the couple’s clandestine smiles to each other at his plight of a new job. Like Lisbon said, he lost his job because of her team and despite his amusing wariness towards them, there was no real malice in their interaction. I’m glad he remained a likeable character until the end. Did I mention I’ve always loved LaRoche?

Second Runner Up: Kim getting grilled at the market and Jane’s rueful expressions at her rookie mistake dealing with the mistrustful locals. Really well written, well acted scene by all involved including guest stars Kevin Daniels and Cindy Pickett.

Icings on the Cake

Tim Kang’s smile when Jane gave Cho the jumping beans. Who doesn’t love jumping beans?

Kim’s statement that she thought she could “change so many things” when she was little if she just had a magic wand. This statement just screamed “divorced parents” to me. Now whether my assumption on what the subtext meant is true or not doesn’t matter. Each viewer is free to draw their own conclusion and that’s what makes the scene so clever, I think. Lisbon’s discerning look at Kim also made for a nice little moment between the two.

 Best Lines

“Bad as this job is, it’s drama free.”- LaRoche to Wayne and Rigsby. Poor LaRoche L

“Been there” –Jane, to Alex, regarding his alcoholism. It’s an interesting statement; we’ve had no reason to think Jane was ever an alcoholic and while it could have been a convenient lie to get close to him, I think Jane here was referring to addiction in general.

“With the peanut butter people?” Lisbon, to Jane.

“Are you ever coming back?” Lisbon, to Jane. This seems like an innocent question but it subtly recalls Jane leaving Lisbon. Twice. Methinks someone might have abandonment issues now.

“I’m gonna need a black helicopter and a tank”.

“You can’t be on the road forever Patrick you gotta let it take you someplace.” Alex, to Jane. Now that Jane’s killed RJ (we think?) where is his next journey?

*All material posted in this blog is the intellectual property of reviewbrain (unless otherwise stated). Readers are free to make use of the information provided they cite the source (this blog) either by name (reviewbrain’s blog) or by linking to it. Please extend the same courtesy to the authors of the comments as well (by mentioning their names) to ensure that credit is given where credit is due.


The Mentalist The Golden Hammer Review


Synopsis

After a half-naked man rushed into his office and died, Jane (Baker) and his team investigate a possible spy ring he could have been uncovering. Meanwhile, Osvaldo Ardiles (David Norona), the former ADA working with the SCU, contacts Lisbon (Tunney) and informs her that he thinks he might be spied on. As a result, Jane tries to get closer to his partner again.

Concise Verdict

‘The Golden Hammer’ signs definitely one of the most intriguing moments since the renewal of the show, mixing successfully comedy, a zest of emotional exploration from the characters and a thrilling cliffhanger. It also enhances that rules are changing again: the status quo that has been building up for a few episodes –enlightened by the detail that Emily Swallow (who plays Kim), has been promoted to one of the series regular- may only be transitory. Answers are to be revealed and decisions to make. Writer Michael Weiss proved a real talent to handle a worrying suspense by Kirkland in ‘Red Letter Day’ and expertly hinted at the subtleties of the heart with the conclusion of the doomed romance between Cho and Summer in ‘Panama Red’: his ‘Golden Hammer’ is definitely a striking new little number!

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (spoilers galore)

First arc: Jane and Lisbon…

After alternating between dressing-down and socks offering in ‘Green Thumb’, interactions between the two leads were surprisingly sparse in ‘White Lines’… Fortunately, the score is settled now as Lisbon once more rotates between rebuking to Jane and warmer moments.

VIS #1: … inside of the “aquarium”

Indeed, the very beginning of the investigation might hint at some interesting points: firstly, the four of them are gathered for a private briefing for the very first time since working together, at least in a non-life threatening situation. They’re starting to act as a real team and their disposition is pretty telling: on one side, the two more experienced FBI agents, while the two newcomers sit on the other. Jane and Lisbon are sitting together, showing that the slightly awkward atmosphere between them has passed: they seem more at ease with the other. Still, the idea of drugs which was brought up by ‘White Lines’ is again mentioned by the victim dying of an overdose of prescription drugs; moreover, the “crystal meth” might be a direct allusion to Krystal, as Rose pointed out in the comments for this episode…

The reproaches addressed after the sexy blonde had been arrested find an echo in Lisbon’s words when Kim is led outside by a pretty angry big wig. Teresa lets slip that she feels uneasy inside of the glass cubicle they’re in: she feels like everybody is watching her, like in an aquarium. This line has many layers: 1) it introduces the notion of being spied upon, which proves to be central later. 2) It hints that she still thinks she’s proving herself in her new job, plus Kim is pretty curious about her. Overall, her indication is a bit surprising, because her old CBI office was also made of glass panels, admittedly with blinds for privacy… it reminds of Jane’s remark about the FBI being cold: like him, she’s still struggling to adapt to her new life. Thus, in spite of her declared enthusiasm, her reaction to her new environment is still a bit mitigated and it enlightens once again the difference with her former job. No wonders then that she –finally- turns to her former best friend to open up on her impressions.

Even so, Jane is focused on looking at the pair on the other side of the glass wall: he’s reading on their lips, a skill his partner didn’t know about. While it’s hard to state if he’s doing it to prove his value to as an asset to the FBI, to impress Lisbon –like his attitude at the crime scene in the previous episode hinted at-, or if he’s just trying to keep an eye on this still unknown workplace, one fact remains: he’s so concentrated that he doesn’t consider the implications in Lisbon’s admission. He only answers that she should consider it differently and use the glass to observe (like he’s doing) and, when she asks him in wonders if he’s reading on their lips, he snaps: “I would be if I hadn’t to answer your questions”. His attempt at humor doesn’t mask his superiority and his patronizing tone. Of course, she’s offended and gives him his second reality check by calling him “boss”… No doubt this choice of word is telling, as she has been called “boss” by her team even after they’d been suspended and Rigsby keeps slipping after two years: she’s been constantly and good-naturally rectifying that she’s not their boss anymore, but they’ve just been expressing a respect that Jane never showed towards her… He has never acknowledged that he had been working for her. Thus this is the third time Lisbon reproached him his attitude: she complained about his selfish ways in the plane in ‘Green Thumb’, about his lack of communication in ‘White Lines’ (and remarked to Kim that he was always enjoying himself, hinting that he’s not acting out of professionalism). Now, she’s telling him that he’s bossy and keeps ordering her around. In spite of his best efforts, he hasn’t really changed his ways since Barlow accused him of being secretive and controlling… But, like in the previous occurrences, Jane is shocked by her reprimand: “why would you say that?” She develops her idea, explaining that sometimes now it feels like he’s acting like if he has authority on her. It puts emphasis on the change in her perspective since he left and on the obvious fact that she’s no longer willing to put up with his domineering behaviour. He tries to correct her: they’re “equals”, even “partners”… Before, when he told that he was her equal, it was to enlighten that he wasn’t her employee (stating that he wasn’t above nor below, but on the side in ‘Red Alert’): now, he’s trying to make her realize that he values her. The “partner” notion was brought on by her when they grew closer in their quest for RJ and he started his infamous list of suspects: his insistence on the term is therefore another way to allude both to their past closeness and to what they went through… But Lisbon is not willing to trust him on his good words: she only comments that he’d better remember that and he answers “I will remember that, I will”…

Jane’s mind-set towards the case might reflect his mixed feelings after this talk. While he was curious enough to try to decipher what Kim and the other man were saying, when he’s told that he doesn’t have security clearance he colds reads the newcomer and tells him why he’s here in order to prove his skills, then accepts to leave and ends up provoking him. When he exclaims “excuse me?”, Jane replies mockingly “you’re excused”, adding in Lisbon’s direction that he’s a little slow. Given his lack of manners, Lisbon makes a face and Fischer wants to apologize. This makes Jane react: “no, no, hush don’t apologize. Don’t take it out on her, she didn’t do anything.” He wants to work on the case but he’s still smarting from what Lisbon told him. Even though he wants to appear unaffected, he’s taking it out on the first guy who opposes him. His difference in status only further indicates how Jane’s views on equality and partnership are subjective: he may consider Lisbon as his equal because he wants her to be at his side, but the fact is that she’s a regular agent, whose security clearance isn’t questioned unlike his. Of course, this point is as usual discarded when Abbott enters the room and solves the problem “just like that”… Again, Jane’s skills and leverage give him a golden boy status, which doesn’t go unnoticed by the other higher agent (“well, I guess this is all new… Carry on”): the only thing that changed is that for now Lisbon’s job seems no longer subjected to his shenanigans. And she’s happy for him since she smiles while discreetly lowering her head. Kim is relieved and Jane cheerfully hits Abbott on the shoulder while thanking him and teasing him. While they are progressively acting as a team, it doesn’t hide the fact that Jane has power over him…

Later, Jane’s attitude when interrogating the victim’s brother in Houston doesn’t really softens: he keeps poking the man to get the truth out of him. He points out that his family is rich but the late Charles didn’t fit in the banking world, even though his brother Curtis stresses out that he was “talented”. In a way, it might remind a bit of Jane, who didn’t really fit in with his team, his CBI family or his carnie background anymore for that matter: in the latter case, he has taken to work with cops while in the former ones, it’s his talent that sets him apart. Even later, when a colleague talk about him, Charles is said to have been “quiet or loud”, which also fits Jane who alternates secrecy and a taste for being under the spotlight. It puts emphasis on the fact that Jane is pretty alone and isolated from others.
Jane also comments on Curtis’ “very nice suit”. It’s interesting how the recent episodes have been focusing on clothes: socks, shirts and now a suit which reminds that Jane used to wear stylish three pieces suits which garnered him some compliments. All those clothes are charged with symbolism, as they alluded to the relation between Jane and Lisbon or to his past: indeed, both in ‘Green Thumb’ and in ‘White Lines’, there are many allusions to the past, pointing out that there has been a reset. Now, Curtis’ suit puts emphasis on Jane’s new outfit: he’s lost his vest (a representation of the armor which protected him from the world) and wears what seems like one of his old suits with his Venezuelan shirts. As KM remarked some time ago, he’s wearing on him reminders of his past (the suit sans vest), of his present (the shirts he has gotten with Kim before coming back) and hopes for the future (the socks Lisbon gave him)…

And things don’t get better as he keeps poking into the victim’s life: he sniffles the leftover pizza (one might wonder if he would have eaten it if it were fresher, just to piss Kim off as a wink for the hotdog) and acts rather antagonistic with Curtis, stating that « oh, he’s still a suspect » when the man starts exiting the room. He only explains himself with a dismissive « I was talking to my colleagues »… He clearly runs the interrogation. In the last case, Kim tried to keep him under her supervision when she went to interrogate Krystal–with rather poor results. Now, she brought Lisbon with them to the interrogation, but her presence doesn’t have a more calming effect than it did when Jane ran from them in ‘Green Thumb’… Since Kim is surprised and Lisbon arches an eyebrow, he adds “I’ll call you if I need you.” Fischer is flabbergasted as she turns to Lisbon repeating “if you need me?”

It goes without saying that Jane doesn’t tell them about his hunch that the stained newspaper found in the room has been a mean to communicate secret messages; instead he asks for Cho’s help. This shifting in his method is interesting, because he seems to make a point of not working directly with Kim this time, because she has Lisbon’s former role as his boss. He works with Cho and Wylie, like he used to team up with the Rigsby and his stoic friend to pull up a stunt and do the legwork in the first and second season… In a way, by dismissing Kim’s authority and going behind her back like he did for years with Lisbon, Jane indirectly avoids sending a message of superiority to his partner: he treats Kim’s his boss by provoking her. Teresa becomes therefore someone who’s outside of the power play he’s building with Fischer: in a way, she’s his equal by default since they’re both working for Fischer and Jane acts as a member of the team by calling Cho. It ought to be reassuring for Lisbon to feel that Jane’s rebellious streak is directed at someone else and, at the same time, he also gets some distance between him and Lisbon as well, at least for the moment.

Meanwhile, the two female agents keep investigating and discover that the victim may have discovered a security breach in his workplace: someone has been stealing data.

VIS #2: … in Kim’s car…

The more Teresa and Kim spend time together, the more it becomes obvious that they have a lot in common: Fischer displays some control-freak tendencies as she refuses give her gun at the entrance of the secured building and she argues that her phone is protected. Again, it enlightens how Lisbon has come a long way, because, though she used to be like this, she’s more lenient now. As they’re working the case, Lisbon also receives an unexpected call from Osvaldo Ardiles, the former ADA. who used to work with her team. The man knows that she now works for the FBI, but their catching up hints that they’ve not been in contact for a long time: as he comments that his new job involves “more work, more money”, Lisbon retorts that the FBI is only “same money, more work”. Again, her bright-eyed enthusiasm is fading away… But Osvaldo goes right to the point: he has a business issue to discuss with her and wants to take her to dinner. He’s so eager he plans to take a jet all the way from Chicago to meet her in Houston. His zeal sets Teresa’s suspicions aflame: she starts asking what the matter is, then outright enquires if it is really a business meeting or a more personal dinner. The music starting to play when she enters this line of questioning lightens the atmosphere and Osvaldo hurriedly reassures her that it’s strictly business… and one might wonder if his intensity at denying that he’s asking her out could possibly hide a tinge of regret… Either way, the return of his character is interesting in more ways than one: indeed, the lack of information on his fate after Lisbon blackmailed him into helping her get information on Volker made him one of the many loose ends left from the previous season. Now, Lisbon’s warm greetings indicate that he might have done something somehow reprehensible on a case but he wasn’t part of the Blake association… Also, it hints once again that Lisbon is at a point where she’s searching more actively for a male company, as her wandering at the bar in ‘White Lines’ may have suggested, or at the very least thinking about it. Not that she would necessarily be interested in Ardiles, but once she wouldn’t have thought that the request could have had a more romantic purpose (she didn’t seem to realize Haffner’s interest in her until he made it clearer… in a creepy way). Now, she’s more open to this kind of topic.

Later Libon receives a second phone call –or she has called with an excellent timing. This time, it’s Jane whose information on the case is as usual pretty uninformative but cheeky: “I’m on the scent of the murder like a bloodhound”. Yet, the fact that he’s talking to Lisbon and not Kim is pretty significant… When the two women get in the car while Lisbon tries to pry more details out of their consultant, they have a startling shock: the man has been hiding on the rear seat to make a practical joke. Everything is fine to keep the women in his life on their toes… hire a consultant, ladies: if he doesn’t get you out of your job he will scare you out of your skin! Jane tries to push his advantage and impress them by telling that he almost solved the case: he learnt his lesson since his near-death experience with Krystal and, while he still wants to maintain an air of mystery, he chooses to get the others to help him before getting himself in danger… Kim only comments that he seems awfully sure of himself, while Lisbon only confirms “always”: again, she makes sure to enforce that she’s the expert on Jane’s behavior…

And he’s keep trying to reassure Lisbon by getting their old camaraderie on the road: he’s planning a friendly night out: “tonight, I plan on painting Houston red” – an interesting expression as it alludes to RJ indirectly as one episode has been named ‘Paint It Red’. Lisbon assumes it involved Cho –hence confirming that he doesn’t have more romantic prospects – but it turns out but the male agent and Kim have something else to do. And Jane’s scheme to build up camaraderie in the new team is definitely ruined when Lisbon tells that she has a date. Jane’s reaction is laced with surprise and jealousy: “sorry, a date?” No less interesting is how Lisbon is checking his reactions to her phrasing. Like Jane did in ‘White Lines’, it seems like Lisbon is seeking his attention and trying to get a reaction out of him by rubbing in that she’s seeing someone else. Indeed, she knows very well that her appointment with Ardiles isn’t a “date” since she already clarified the situation with him. Like her outing at a bar back then seemed to be a reaction to the date with Krystal, her line here gives the impression that she’s getting her pay back… Somehow, it’s contradicts the impersonal attitude she tried so hard to maintain for years: she used to never talk about men with Jane, she never mentioned her attraction for Mashburn and it was pretty obvious she hadn’t kept Jane updated on her dates with other men (for instance after meeting with Greg again). Yet here she is rather smug to have something other to do than to cater to his plans.

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Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain March, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Nevertheless, the contradiction doesn’t stop here: when she manages to get an annoyed reaction out of him, she gets angry, because she chooses to understand that he’s implying that it’s impossible –and thus that he knows she’s lying- betraying that she’s not very secure about what he thinks about her. She knows she can attract men (she showed no real surprise at the bar and reacted with natural), so she’s insecure around him both professionally (as hinted before) and personally. And Jane understands he won’t catch flies with vinegar and immediately shift gears: he goes for curiosity instead of irritation, asking “in Houston?” He’s angling on a harmless detail, questioning the improbability of her meeting someone in Houston since they’re only there for investigational purposes. Lisbon then accepts to answer his implicit enquiry -“yeah, remember Ardiles”- and Jane jumps on the occasion to snippily undermine the other man’s appeal because he only tells “two words: tasselled loafers”… Kim tries to get them back on track by talking about the case but Jane will have none of it: “I, I’m sorry, you, you said err “date” and then the subject changed”. A grinning Lisbon shifts gears again by correcting her previous assertion: “ok, it’s not exactly a date, it’s a business thing… He’s flying all the way on jet from Chicago”. Jane ironically tells her that it’s “very impressive”, before pointing out that he must have an ulterior motive.

Lisbon’s shifting towards business and her willingness to give unnecessary details hint that she’s conflicted. She’s an honest person, so she wouldn’t let him believe a half-lie for long when it isn’t necessary, but there may be also a divergence between her emotions and her more rational thoughts. Anyway, by gradually changing what they first were saying, both avoided a confrontation, because otherwise they would be at an impasse since both keep refusing to talk about the elephant in the room. Yet, they are both nearing the point when they will really need to talk about some things left unsaid for too long. Their feelings were bought up at the forefront and knowingly pushed back many times before the debacle of McAllister’s murder –by Lorelei, Barlow, in ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes, during the sunset scene. Later, in the letters, emotions have been bubbling under the surface then pushed down by Lisbon when Jane came back into her life. The temptation to talk it out is here, but they both chose the safer solution of avoiding talking about things too directly… But it’s interesting that Lisbon alluded to them by trying to provoke a confrontation (unlike Jane who didn’t talk to her directly about Krystal): she made a half-hearted attempt at wrestling the theme like she did with his controlling issues, before she back-pedalled immediately. It’s definitely still a touchy subject…

Later, Lisbon is seen at a red-themed Japanese restaurant with Osvaldo. It is really a business dinner: he tells her that several times during meetings, his phone has gotten hot. He’s worried someone might be listening on him. Lisbon doesn’t take him too seriously but Ardiles convinces her by insisting: “I need the advice of a detective who I can trust one hundred percent”. Lisbon gives him Van Pelt’s number. Overall the confidential atmosphere reminds of some of the last steps of the investigation on RJ: for instance the last time Lisbon talked to Haffner in a diner and particularly the meeting between Jane and Hightower in a Chinese restaurant decorated with red lights… It hints at a threat and at a conspiracy.

VIS #3: … sitting on a bench…

After the startling revelation that Lisbon could have gone on a date, Jane tries again to get close to her, this time emotionally. Indeed, as they’re sitting in a park waiting for someone to pick up the newspaper with a coded message, Lisbon gives him a debriefing of her dinner with Ardiles: their old partnership expresses itself by a bit of teasing and Jane really treats her as an equal. Still, the setting alludes again to darker times: for their last talk before Jane killed McAllister they were sitting on another bench, feeding pigeons, when Bertram called Jane’s phone…
And Jane, who has been annoyed that Lisbon may be going out, keeps telling that the meeting might have had more personal undertones: “maybe he wanted to have a date with you. Did you consider that?” Lisbon’s answer is a tart: “PLEASE, STOP.” She seems to forget that she was the one who brought up this “date” thing first … And Jane insist that Ardiles always had a crush on her. She doesn’t answer, but takes his wrist to look at his watch (resting on the inside of his wrist): usually it’s the kind of gesture Jane would do. He used to touch her to help her in her jacket and to grab her wrist in order to look at the time or direct her torchlight (in ‘Blood for Blood’ for instance). But Lisbon wasn’t as familiar with him. Especially while talking about another man… Even if she avoids the topic, it looks like she’s encouraging him. Same when he comments that she has to have patience and she replies that she’d “rather have coffee” before asking him if he wants anything and sauntering away… Usually, he was the one who wandered away to get himself a cup of tea. The only time they reversed their roles like this, Jane took an interest on a woman accused of murder while she was buying a sandwich, thus threatening Ardiles’ cut-out case…

All in all, Lisbon’s been sending Jane mixed messages, alternating between familiarity (telling him she missed him; giving him socks; touching his wrist here) and distance (scolding him). Meanwhile, Jane has made sure Ardiles is not a threat and he falls back on his old pattern of poking in her private life. It’s a way to put emphasis on their bond. He’s trying to get the flirting/ best friend angle back, which was probably what kept men at a distance for years. Lisbon may be « peculiar and intense » in addition of having commitment issues but having Jane as her confident gives off an ambiguous impression. Abbott mistook them for a couple. With Bosco, the professional antagonism was laced with an underlying hint of jealousy (asking her if Jane’s case closing abilities is the only reason why she was putting up with him; Jane making her chose between them and commenting that the older agent was in love with her because “who wouldn’t?)”… Jane was even hovering at the door when Ardiles visited in one episode. It explains why Osvaldo never acted on his supposed attraction: he may have been stopped by her relation with Jane… indeed, once, after they tricked him, he stated out of anger that Jane wasn’t the problem, it was her. She was too lenient because of her closeness with the man. Moreover, there is no doubt that one way or another, the two last men who took her out were somehow interested in Jane more than in her: Haffner offered her a job over lunch, while trying to warn her against him. Like Kirkland during their coffee date, he was willing to get information on the consultant (and both ended up being suspects in Jane’s list). And since they were killed off as a result, it doesn’t bode well for Ardiles. Plus, again the ghost of the RJ investigation is visible: their debriefing after meeting Osvaldo reminds of the ones after her moment with the odd Kirkland and Haffner –and she had also accepted giddily the date with the latter over the phone in front of Jane.

While Lisbon is away getting her coffee, Jane spots their suspect and tricks him by snaking his phone into the man’s pocket and accusing him of being a thief. The man understands what he’s done, then laughs and comments “very good”. When Lisbon returns, she asks “what is happening?”, earning a rather enigmatic answer from the consultant: “a whole lot is happening”. Indeed, it is and on many levels: he has captured his prey, but he’s also realized that Lisbon trying to keep her distances threatens to remove the protection provided by their bond: she’s emotionally available now…

Later, the two partners team up again for another stake-out this time in order to catch the person who has been leaving the newspaper on the bench. Jane takes this opportunity to up his game of winning his partner back… Lisbon’s wearing a suspicious big black hat and sunglasses. Her mock spy attire (a nod at the classic spy movies since they’re investigating a spy network) reminds a bit of Audrey Hepburn’s falsely inconspicuous look in some movies, in addition of her youthful elfin features. Hepburn was wearing a stylish large-rimmed black hat and big sunglasses in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’ and Lisbon’s disguise is as discreet as the black lace mask the actress was sporting in a supposedly secret meeting with her partner in ‘How to Steal a Million’. In both movies, her character was at the center of a love story: in the former, she tried to get away the man interested in her out of fear to be emotionally involved; in the latter, the male lead put up a complicated plan (a heist) to help her because he fell in love with her… Now the question is: is Lisbon involved in a similar plotline and, in that case, which one?Anyway, her hat reminds of the film noir fedora worn by Jane in ‘Red Menace’: it’s amusing but it also enlightens her closer status. Lisbon is no longer a team-leader, so she can more easily get involved in this kind of over-the-top schemes without always being the voice of reason.

Jane seems to enjoy their time together as it’s just like their stake-outs of old: “you being skeptical and grumpy, me being confident and cheerful…” When she retorts moodily that he was “only being cheerful to irritate me”, he corrects: “I’m cheerful because I get to sit here with you in this park on this beautiful day”. Lisbon is fortunately dispensed to answer this affectionate statement because the suspect is coming their way…

As the blond secretary who has been divulging secret information and who killed Charles tries to get away, she starts running thought the fountain. Again, the notion of escaping is linked to water, like in the association between ocean and freedom when Jane was hiding from the law in his island, or when he’s jumped in the water to avoid being shot at by Krystal. Besides, the fact that the criminal is the overeager girl who received Kim and Lisbon when they visited the building where Charles had been working into explains in hindsight why Lisbon needed to disguise herself. Thought, Lisbon admits that she’s genuinely surprised by the identity of the killer: “I would have never thought it was her”. Jane’s answer is slightly ironic (“well, you surprise me, you have such good people instincts”) but she doesn’t catch on it and beams at the compliment, asking “really?” Jane teases her: “no, I was kidding”, then he corrects himself after she hit him on the shoulder playfully: “well, I was kidding when I was kidding. You have very good people instincts… it is your people skills that are so so…” Still, he’s careful to end their banter on a positive note, paying her a real compliment (“you look great in that hat”).

Nonetheless, things are definitely not as light-hearted as they seem: when Cho interrogates the girl, she starts explaining that her mom has medical issues and that she is dealing with drugs issues too herself. In a way, she seems like a much colder version of the casino employee who stole money to pay for her mother’s hospital bills in ‘Right Handed’. And it’s very intriguing that drugs keep coming up, both in this episode and in the previous one: before, drugs were a metaphor for Jane’s addiction to revenge. The disturbing connection with his past is further enlightened by the girl’s assessment that she was doing it for fun, because “it’s just a game”. The game was a way to characterize Jane’s interaction with RJ and Jane insisted before killing him that it was “not a game”. Lastly, the blonde’s assumption that she didn’t have a choice and the terrible manner she attacked her victim’s place her on the same level than the many unrepentant and cruel murderers from the end of the previous season.

Second arc: Jane and Cho

Jane has not only been interacting with Lisbon: he’s finally caught up with Cho as well –at least onscreen- and the stoic agent has taken this opportunity to give him his own version of a reality-check. Indeed, after having called him on his behaviour by commenting on his poor communication skills in ‘White Lines’, this episode also provides some more insight in what he’s thinking.

Firstly, he’s shown looking at Jane and his former boss when they’re semi-arguing in the “aquarium” room: he’s as inexpressive as always, yet the fact that he’s gotten a shot in a somewhat private moment hints that he’s observing them and getting to his own conclusions. Then, when Jane calls him for help with the code in the newspaper, he remarks that it could be just some “doodles”: he’s not blindly confident in Jane’s hunches. Or he’s aware that Jane’s going behind Kim’s back and he’s discreetly expressing his reservations… His uncertainties with Jane are again hinted at when the consultant sniffles the newspaper to get some indication of where he’d been found by Charles: when he offers him to do the same, Cho answers “no I’m good”. And Jane is aware that Cho is rather doubtful since when the younger man points out that it could be any bench instead of the one Jane spotted, the blond half-jokes “no need to be snippy just because I was right”.

But Jane keeps being pretty restless: back in the bullpen, Jane concocts another of his barely justifiable plans. Abbott tells him: “you can’t arrest people under false pretends”. Jane immediately counters that they can to which Abbott and Fischer answer a loud “No!”, because it’s illegal. But fear not: Jane guesses he has “to think outside of the box”, which is always a “bad sign” for Lisbon… And him thinking outside of the box involves getting to the brother again: as they wait outside of his office building, Jane notices that the Korean agent is pretty stiff. He tells him to relax; then, after the other states that he is relaxed, Jane adds that he’s“seen radio poles more relaxed”. This poking allows the stoic man to open up in order to let off some steam: he admits that Jane’s actions remind him of Jane’s early days and it makes him nervous…He explains that the blond was “crazy” back then. Jane appears to take it lightly, since he’s assuring that he’s not crazy anymore while tapping his face repeatedly. His best argument here is that these things need “calibrating”, hinting that he’s still getting his bearings in the FBI. By subtly interrogating him and turning tables on the notion of being relaxed, Cho expresses his worries, while at the same time their talk once more alludes to the earlier seasons, as it’s been said many times as well as in the review for ‘White Lines’… And, again, Jane’s scheme plays on an idea that has been used many times earlier (in ‘Cheap Burgundy’ for instance): it consists in whispering an outrageous insult to be hit by the victim’s brother to get a pretext to interrogate him… Curtis deals him a blow on the arm instead of the expected punch on the nose and Jane seriously asks his friend “do you think that will do?” After the agent impassively arrests Curtis, Jane is making a show of whining. He’s not even discreet about his intentions and after Curtis complains that he’s been “grossly insulted by that man” and that the aggression charges are bogus, Kim states calmly: “this is not about you, this is about national security and justice for your brother”. At last, her sense of duty explains why she was so eager to “use” Jane no matter how in ‘Green Thumb’ to Lisbon’s disapprobation (and probably Cho’s too to some extent). Yet Kim as the others are willing to cover up for their wayward consultant, since she claims that they’re “a specialized unit” when an indignant Curtis wonder aloud if that’s really how the FBI operates…

Third arc: Osvaldo discuss the case with Grace and Wayne

Cho isn’t the only former SCU member who gets special attention: as Ardiles follows Lisbon’s advice and contacts Van Pelt and Rigsby, we get a pretty nice insight on their new life. Osvaldo indeed visits them in the domestic setting of their living room. They have a house and they’re no longer wearing suits: that alone shows how much their daily routine has changed and how comfortable they seem to be with it. Plus, as indicated during their post-dinner friendly talk with Teresa in ‘My Blue Heaven’, they now have a baby of their own.
They’re also professional running their own business, which is why they’re reluctant to take the case because what Ardiles asks of them is “just not a service that [they] provide”. As their prospective client leaves, they express their doubts, because “like Lisbon said he seems a little out of it”, yet their comments indicate that they’re aware this might be a big case for their relatively new agency.

VIS #4: Rigsby goes alone into the alley

At the end of the episode, the domestic vibe surrounding the happy family is again perceptible as Grace calls her husband to ask him if he will be home for dinner. Just like in old times, Wayne is gulfing down a taco and they start arguing about food.

This light-hearted atmosphere is echoed by Jane sitting on his couch in his new bullpen, hiding under his cover not to be seen. He’s avoiding Curtis who ought to be still affronted by his insult, while looking at ads for an Airstream trailer. He’s like a kid, hiding not to be seen in a kind of “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me” logic and the fact that he’s been reading with a torchlight under the cover support this impression. When Kim addresses his choice of a new home, he’s enthusiastic and states wistfully that it could change his entire take at solving crimes. Violence is present still, because she playfully hits him for the third time when he accepts to whisper in her ear what he said to Curtis to make him snap. Interestingly, it seems that Fischer has definitely taken up one aspect of Jane’s triple relation with Lisbon: whereas Lisbon used to act as a parent/sibling/potential love interest to him,  it now looks like Kim’s doing the parenting so far and that she witnesses his most childish moments while also taking the brunt of his rebellious streak… which obviously leaves Lisbon with the more enjoyable part of being his partner and the object of some pretty deep but unsaid feelings. Still, there is a darker undertone to this funny moment between Kim and Jane, because even though sheleaves grinning, that may be a way to hint that a major blow is about to be dealt.

Meanwhile, Grace is searching through data on her computer and Rigsby is following a lead. He ends up in a spooky setting: he enters a dark humid back alley and the sounds of water running add to the nerve-racking ambience. Within seconds, Grace finds out something disturbing and calls her husband to warn him that someone has been searching all of “us”. This “us” involves several CBI agents and among them the five SCU team members and their ADA. On the other hand, Rigsby finds Ardiles’ body, tied to a chair and a knife stabbed in the middle of his blood-stained chest…

The first idea that comes to mind is that Ardiles has been watched and targeted either because of an old case (hence getting the ADA who was involved in the trial), or because of the former Blake Association that Jane’s team contributed to dismantle. But this particular theory wouldn’t explain why people outside of the SCU would be targeted… Anyway, this turn of events explains the many phones featured both in the previous episode and in this one (Lisbon getting a call twice and Jane doing a trick with his phone to instigate an arrest): there was a bigger trick with phones in play all along. Same with the foreboding spy theme and the structure of the storyline: the episode opened with a guy running on his last legs to alert his colleagues that he uncovered something big and dangerous to. Unfortunately for Osvaldo, it’s exactly what he has been doing himself from the start…

Plus, the cipher discovered by Jane in the newspaper was pretty indicative too: it was a mixing between three sorts of encoded messages featured in Sherlock Holmes’ stories. In ‘Valley of Fear’, Holmes deciphers a code involving letters chosen from a book –like the newspaper features circled letters. ‘The Red Circle’ provides the medium of the newspaper and the idea of an on-going communication. And in ‘The Dancing Men’ threatening messages were exchanged under the guise of child-like drawings (like Cho only saw ‘doodles’): in the short story, the cipher uses substitution, but it has the particularity of looking very innocuous. People can leave it behind or read it without drawing attention, like the spies did… In those three stories, a criminal organization is behind the case (in the first one, it’s Moriarty’s). Is it meant to hint that the Blake association might be behind Osvaldo’s murder? Anyway, each time Holmes rushed to the person in danger only to realise a murder has already been committed: poor Ardiles was doomed from the start…

Lastly, the ending seemed to play on the viewers’ fears for Wayne: him entering the alley reminded of Lisbon entering the empty house before RJ attacked her. She was alone, in a solitary location; both moments involved tracked phones and Grace tried to contact him like Jane had been leaving her a message to apologize. And of course, both found a man covered in blood. Is that just a thrilling way to play on emotions or does it hint that Ardiles’ death is a consequence of their biggest case ever?

Best Scenes

Second Runner up: the cliffhanger ending… it’s been too long since a zest of thrill and conspiracy theory has been added to the show. I could almost picture Death breathing down Wayne’s neck…

First Runner Up: the second stake-out. Because their banter is always cute and amusing and many viewers were missing this major aspect of their relation.

The Winner: “A date? Really?” At long last we saw a reaction out of the usually mocking and impassive Jane!

Icings on the Cake: there were so many funny moments. Jane whining; hiding under the blanket; snaking his phone on the spy’s pocket… And the cuteness was laced with heart-warming when Grace smiled at her baby. The upcoming episodes will probably get more anguished, so to was nice to get such light-hearted touches…


The Mentalist White Lines Review


Synopsis

Jane (Baker) starts his official career at the FBI as a consultant under the leadership of Fischer (Emily Swallow), along with the recently hired Lisbon (Tunney) and with Cho (Kang). While investigating the brutal murder of five DEA agents, Jane meets the gorgeous Krystal (Brianna Brown) and asks her out.

Concise Verdict

While amusing and entertaining, ‘White Lines’ is not the game changer ‘My Blue Heaven’ and ‘Green Thumb’ have been. The atmosphere is filled with less tension and the characters are still getting their bearing in a new environment and in new dynamics. After the flamboyant ‘Fire and Brimstone’, writer Ken Woodruff graces us with a enjoyable episode which marks his first contribution to the renewed Mentalist as a wink to his very first episode, ‘The Thin Red Line’, which also involved a drug-lord…

Detailed AKA Humongous Review (Spoilers Galore)

VIS #1: Jane and Fischer argue about the couch

The episode opens with the first steps in the willing collaboration between Jane and his new team-leader Kim Fischer. Indeed, she’s welcoming him by telling she has a desk ready for him… Yet the power play resumes when Jane briskly replies that he doesn’t need one: as Kim goes for humor by asking if he works standing up, he retorts “No, lying down. I need a couch”. He then launches into a passionate defence of the furniture: it “opens the mind, that’s why shrinks have you lie down”. Rather than her mind, this line opens a can of worms for Kim, who denies knowing anything about shrinks and urges that he cannot have a sofa here; unfortunately, this was the tell Jane was waiting for to cold read her further and he pounces on it: “interesting. That’s a lie. We’ll come back to that.” Even his calm and matter of fact tone has a therapist vibe to it… This poking in her private life has her retreating to the safer grounds of rules and she hides behind their immutability. It hints that underneath the better communication between them, both are still trying to control the situation… and Kim thinks she has an iron-clad case here: “only grade three employees and above can have sofas.” Jane is not fooled either by her categorization of the litigated couch nor by her attempt and characteristically looks for a loophole: “sofas, couches. Potatoes, po-tah-toes… What grade I am?” (Valiantly resisting the urge to reply that he at least acts like a third-grader,) Kim is discreetly gleeful when she answers that he’s just a consultant and she’s only grade four; she’s so sure of herself that she mockingly offers to get him an ergonomic chair for back issue if he has medical prescription… Interestingly, she’s making the same mistake she’s been doing in the previous episode: she thinks she has the upper hand because she’s certain she has him all figured out. But Jane has a trump card that she apparently still doesn’t know about: he’s made a deal with Abbot by blackmailing him which is why he can state so confidently “no couch, no me” and strongly disagrees with her when she protests that he doesn’t get to make the rules.

Still, Jane was right and her willingness to hide behind impersonal rules or behind a strict authoritarian persona in the previous episode indicate a more personal issue. She feels guilty because of her role in Abbott’s scheme to get him to come back… She took the bait Jane subtly dropped by alluding to shrinks and, in addition to giving her some character development, it shows that Jane was telling the truth when he said things were ok between them in ‘Green Thumb’. He’s also blurring the line by cold reading her and it plays on the fact that she obviously likes him, may it be as a man or just as a person: when he denies that she deceived him, she protests “great. I’m glad you feel that way. I didn’t intent to get so involved, I was just sent to confirm your identity and keep tabs on you. And then… we started talking and I… er…whatever. I’m sorry. I will attempt to make it up to you by being as honest as possible in the future.” Her professional façade is already crumbling and she systematically wavers between her boss persona and the woman underneath. Still, she shuts down when he pushes his advantage and tries to get further into her head. She states that there is nothing she’s ashamed of in her life, but it’s her life. That she went to a shrink or not is not his business… It oddly reminds of Lisbon chastising him for deciding for her. And, although the therapist angle and the willingness to open up a bit set her aside from Teresa, Kim displays a rather similar mixing of honesty and vulnerability hidden under a controlling nature. Like Jane said once to his partner, Fischer too is made of truth and lies entwined. It certainly adds depth to her character and hints that they can get along in the future, as Jane even cooperates at the crime scene later. Yet, for now he is not about to let go of the juicy topic that riles her up. After her formal attempt at getting back on professional ground, he simply asks as if nothing was said: “what did you see a shrink about?” And like that, she finally understands he won’t let go if she doesn’t step back and she agrees to get him a couch.

His description of his dream couch hints again that he wants to build himself up a nest like the one he had back then (“something I can really snuggle into. Just like the one I had in the CBI”). He told Abbott that the FBI was cold: he’s trying to get comfort and familiarity. It’s also visible at his behavior at the crime scene: while he still refuses to conform to the FBI standards Kim tried to impose on him (he’s wandering around the room and holding a beverage –certainly a tribute to the hotdog- while the others are serious), he gets to prove his skills and after Lisbon looks pleased and proud, he beams in her direction. He’s looking for a hint of their old bond and for her approbation.

VIS #2: Jane asks Krystal out

Still, it’s with Kim again that Jane gets to interrogate the victims’ coworkers. They learn that a mysterious ring-leader, Mister X, may be behind the murders. He’s thought to be “an intelligent and disappointed businessman” who Jane remarks may be “hiding in plain sight”. The real interesting clue is that “it’s like he doesn’t have any ego”. When scouring through the photos of the suspects, Jane immediately notices Krystal, the beautiful girlfriend of one dead suspect. It’s amusing that the moniker of the ring-leader reminds once more of the murder mysteries Jane pretended not to love so much when he first saw Fischer reading one: the criminal leader hiding his identity even from most of his employees is a frequent idea that has been largely used in the RJ storyline and that can be found in Christie’s ‘The Secret Adversary’ (“Mister Brown”) or in ‘The Man in The Brown Suit’ (“The Colonel”) for instance. For books lovers, it therefore points out beforehand the apparently harmless and friendly Krystal as a far shadier character. Besides, the fact that Jane singles her out in a photo reminds how he encouraged Lisbon to trust her instincts and chose a suspect for the San Joaquin killer case in ‘Blinking Red Light’ (another of Ken Woodruff’s episode). It contrasts with the investigation at hand then: Jane’s influence has made Lisbon into a better cop, more confident in her skills (that she’s been proving to the FBI), yet right now he is teaming up with Kim to talk to the DEA agents and follow a hot lead, while Lisbon does the legwork with Cho and Wylie stays at headquarters…

When meeting Krystal, still, Jane’s attitude implies that he’s in a more romantic mood: the ‘White Lines’ might refer to the three bands of white fabric crossing on the very flattering neckline of her dress when Jane is checking her out. Viewers are lead to believe that her looks had him interested even though there’s more to it. And their interaction adds to the flirty atmosphere: he asks for her phone number and, after she mistakes his attentions for him wanting to keep tabs on her, he self-deprecatingly tells that he’s out of practice… before coming up with picks up lines after Kim agreed to leave them alone again. When Krystal remarks that she never dated a cop, he answers “nor would you now, I’m not a cop. I’m not a what, I’m a who. And I’ll be happy to tell you which who over dinner.” The charming silver-tongued devil gets her number and further stresses out “I’ll call you”, to which she flirts back “maybe I’ll answer”. She gives off the impression of being charmed.

Fischer has been watching him from a distance and immediately confirms if he asked her out. She adds “good for you! I guess. I’m surprised. I wouldn’t have thought that she is your type”. Obviously the woman is still trying to figure him out and he keeps disconcerting her. She tries to rationalize “you think she knows more than she’s saying, that’s, that’s why you asked her out”; thus she’s assuming that his intentions are professional… just like hers were when herself asked him out actually in ‘My Blue Heaven’. And, again, Jane enjoys keeping her on her toes and guessing: “no. I asked her out because she’s just my type.” She only jabs back that he doesn’t seem like hers before Jane dismisses her comment by telling he convinced his soon-to-be-date he wasn’t a cop and urges her to get a move on with the car.

Kim’s surprise probably stems from her assumption that Jane has been involved with no-nonsense Lisbon, who seems the total opposite of the fashionable blonde. Yet, Jane correcting her on the fact that Krystal is his type of woman hints to various ideas for the regular viewer: first, Jane might actually be really attracted to the mindless beauty Krystal appears to be, since in his fugue state he was planning to leave with the pretty brunette, Tamara. There’s a possibility that he might chose a harmless and easy prey like her to hone his seduction skills and get a rebound before a more serious and stable relationship. Plus, there’s the fact her flirty wit implies that there is more to her. The second interesting point is that Jane is trying to divert Kim’s implicit questioning. To get her to leave the theme alone, he’s also using a notion a double implication, since Kim herself asked him out in the island… His statement about his type might then actually mean either that Lisbon is not his type (getting Kim off her scent, like the woman herself tried to do) or that he accepted the date on the island because he considered that Kim was as superficial as Krystal… Either way, he obviously doesn’t appreciate that much Kim poking in his private life, just like she didn’t like his shrink allusions. One may also wonder to what extent Kim knows his past: she must have read about Lorelei on his file, that with the FBI wanting the case back then, but does she knows about his lesser involvement with morally ambiguous Kristina and Erica? There’s something dangerous about his character that makes him sensible bad girls and it would be interesting to know if Kim is aware of that part of darkness in him…

Anyway, Jane presses his advantage by leaving a message while the team is about to barge in a warehouse to get a suspect. Of course, his love interest calls him back when he’s staring at the three corpses they’ve found inside and he answers her cheerfully and plans a dinner date as if nothing was amiss. The camera shows Jane talking in the background, with Kim and Lisbon silently reacting in front of the camera. Lisbon is not happy, she’s rolling her eyes, like Kim and even Cho. She’s displeased and incredulous. Later, both women are even more exasperated when lays on it thicker by insisting that he has “some plans”.

His exaggeratedly dismissive lack of respect for the investigation has the side effect of getting the three annoyed agents to work together as a close team for the first time on screen as they interrogate again – but this time together- the DEA agent. Meanwhile, Jane goes on his date.

VIS #3: the date vs. a girls’ night out, two perspectives

The very first moments into the romantic dinner already hint that Jane is far more in control than he was when eating with Kim. This time, he didn’t get his wedding band off but when she refers to his promise to tell her who he is, he smoothly answers: “oh, no; that’s a sell pitch. I never actually tell anybody who I am…” before launching in an explanation of how well matched his secrecy makes them: he tells “there’s a real Krystal that you know that nobody see”, “someone who’s honest and strong and down-to-hearth” and “that’s the Krystal I want to meet”. Krystal seems moved and her answer shows that she’s pretty witty herself: “that’s a pretty good line for someone who is out of practice… so what’s with the wedding ring?” Jane retorts that “that’s a long story”, while the scene shifts to Lisbon…

Indeed, while Jane is wining and dinning his blond sweetheart, the former CBI agent enters a bar. That makes for an interesting parallel. In fact, it’s the same story-telling device used during his date with Kim, as Lisbon was shown at the same time drinking wine and reading his letters… which too alluded to the comparison between Lisbon wandering alone and worrying about Jane and the man himself spending a night in Lorelei’s arms… Each time, Lisbon was left alone and thinking about him, but here a change is discernible as she is no longer passive; there’s been a shifting in her attitude towards him when she claimed she now wanted a real life. Still, as a paradox, the fact that she’s precisely choosing this night to go out herself suggests that it might be a reaction to Jane’s date, after he rubbed it on her face by accepting at the crime scene. She had been surprised and reprobating at the time by she was listening on him all the same… Indeed, she has changed her clothes to a black simple but stylish outfit, so she didn’t end up driving there after leaving the job. She meets Kim and, although they may have planned this up beforehand, their somewhat surprised attitude would rather hint that it may have been a nice coincidence. Thus, Lisbon may have decided to go out on her own to get a drink in order to unwind (like she was drinking wine at her home at night), or more probably she may have been searching for some (possibly male) company.

Either way, she seems rather pleased to end up chatting with Kim, who has also changed clothes. Once they’re seated, Lisbon directly asks her what’s up with Jane and the girlfriend. She’s been thinking about it and, when Fischer remarks that he certainly seems to be enjoying himself, she agrees that “he usually does”. Very soon, the two attractive women are offered a drink by “two gentlemen at the bar”. Lisbon mutters “oh boy” and Kim concurs (“oh, those gentlemen…”). As the two very ordinary and eager men tried to pick them up, they answer nicely but they take the first opportunity to precise that they’re cops. When the men chuckle and tell they’re kidding, Kim adds “no. actually we’re FBI…”, which gets the wannabe suitors turning tail: two empowered lady cops are too much to handle… Lisbon even comments “it never fails”: in addition to their status as leader and former boss, she and Kim share some understanding because they’re in the same kind of situation and have used the same subterfuge to get men to back off. They’re getting along and Kim goes even further in acknowledging her by handing her good-naturedly her new badge… Lisbon is now officially part of the FBI. As Kim comments on her staring at the badge: “you look surprised”, Lisbon explains “no. I guess it didn’t feel real… now it feels real. I’m in the FBI”. Kim welcomes her and Lisbon thanks her heartily: there’s a growing respect and appreciation for each other between them and Kim obviously treats her more and more as an equal instead of a subaltern, and even as a possible friend since they’re grinning at each other over the badge. Those two are rather similar to a point so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they end up bonding.

Plus, Lisbon seems pretty excited by her new work: before, when she was talking with Cho and Wylie, she was impressed by the greater technical means offered by the federal agency and she commented on it with her former second-in-command who enjoyed her enthusiasm. As she told Jane, she’s really trying to get on with her life with a new job and new acquaintances –along with having gotten closer with Wayne and Grace during Jane’s absence. She has changed her perspective since the very beginning of the show: then, Jane accused her of keeping people (even potential female friends) at arm’s length. Her new attitude echoes Jane’s words to seduce Krystal into letting her guard down: everybody moves on at some point of their life. This is further hinted in Lisbon’s case by the detail that it was her entering the bar which caught the men’s attention and one even insisted “Teresa, beautiful name”. Kim is certainly pretty and attractive, but Teresa got a special treatment and that’s very telling… Yet, Jane’s shadow has been looming over her; in addition of being their first subject of conversation –as usual-, there’s an implicit comparison with Jane’s date since the two simultaneous nights out share some traits: Krystal has needed convincing to accept to date Jane because she was a cop, whereas the two men show a similar reluctance; the “type” idea is also played with since one of the men was obviously attracted to Lisbon, while neither women felt inclined to accept their attentions…

Meanwhile, Jane’s date is still going fine: he’s told Krystal about his sordid past and she took it well, stating simply “oh my god, that’s the craziest story I’ve ever heard. Did you kill him?” This new easiness to talk about the events involving what he went through has been revealed by his meeting with Kim in the island, but here he’s curiously more explicit and focuses on the man he killed and the closure he got rather than on his dead spouse. Back then, he told Kim that it was still difficult to take off his wedding ring, because he was still not ready to move on; he also took of his ring and the morning after he wasn’t sure at first if he had slept with Kim. His greater openness now clashes with keeping his ring on: he probably knows that things won’t go very far with Krystal on this night… He’s much more in control. Of course, that change underlines a progression, but, mostly it reminds that he used the same tactic with Lorelei. On their first supposed heartfelt conversation, he told her openly that he had killed a man, like now, focusing both times to some extent on the dark aspect of his personality right from the start. It’s like a kind of morality test, since a more naïve and innocent woman wouldn’t probably take the news so easily, even more on a first date… Anyway, once again the often-used moniker of “Red John” has not been mentioned on screen: most of Jane’s recounting takes place while the show focuses on the interlude in the bar. Even so and despite the romantic atmosphere, it’s interesting that the lights behind the both of them are red, just like in the Chinese restaurant where Jane had been meeting Hightower in ‘Red Listed’. RJ is dead, but he had a lasting impact and influence on Jane’s life.
Like he’s been doing at the beginning of the evening by talking about their real selves hidden behind smiles, he tries again to use a tidbit about him to get her to open up. It fits the personal side of a date; plus it serves him in convincing her that he’s buying her persona. As a paradox, by admitting that he killed someone, he’s proving her that he’s harmless to her, because he’s trusting. And his confession of murder offers him a golden opportunity to begin on the “moving on” notion –a favorite theme in TM 2.0. He gets her to talk about her feelings for her friend, how hurt she was when he was killed and as a consequence convinces her to make a deposition.

All in all, he’s manipulated her into thinking he had what he was after, may it be a date or information; all bases are covered up. Later, after she’s talked about another of the Mister X suspects to the FBI, he resorts to intimacy, telling her to trust him, driving her to her house afterwards and asking if he can walk her in; she plays along and replies «If you walk me in and I invite you in, I don’t know where it would lead… » She adds that he’s trouble and Jane affirms again that he’s “harmless as a fly”. She promises to call him the next day and kiss him on the lips, displaying a mixing of seduction and vulnerability. The same traits are expressed by her carefully chosen outfit, fully visible when she gets into the house; she’s wearing a black dress (she’s mourning her friend) but it’s pretty short and its sexiness is enlightened by the golden stilettos. She’s impersonating both a damsel in distress and a seductress, like the charming widow from S1 ‘Ladies in Red’ who was trying to fool Jane. Indeed, her true personality is revealed when she meets in her house Paco, the same suspect she’s trying to frame. She’s much more assertive than she has been when she let Jane dictate her who she might be: “I run this town. I’m the boss, show some respect”. It’s the same trick which was used in S2 ‘Blood Money’ with the gang leader being the fragile-looking and supposedly disorientated old lady. Krystal coldly admits that she’s framing him for the murder and therefore that she’s playing a game with the FBI through Jane. She’s been trying to use her charm on him to get her way, like Erica both in ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’ and in ‘War of the Roses’, two episodes written by none other than Ken Woodruff again…

This cruel manipulative aspect is further illustrated when Jane calls her while lying down on his new brown couch –or is it his old one? The two seem pretty similar anyway. The contrast between her sensual sweet voice and the man being tied up behind her is striking.

VIS #4: Jane asks advice to Lisbon and Kim in the bullpen

The morning after, it becomes clear that Lisbon’s desk is interestingly the closest to the couch when Jane barges on the two women with two shirts for his date and asks for their advice. The scene is pretty funny– even more since the shirts are both pretty similar to the each other and even to he’s wearing except for the slightly different pattern; clearly they’re part of the wardrobe the enthusiastic tailor made for him. Jane’s eagerness hints that his relationship with Krystal might become more serious since he’s making an effort to make a good impression. After all, he’s been grinning after getting a kiss and he later is seen buying her flowers –red, white and blue hydrangea-looking flowers which in an amusing coincidence match the colors in the titles of the more recent episodes: red, blue, a green garden-themed one and now white- and ironically, that’s the moment Krystal will choose for shooting Paco… He nevertheless templates this enthusiasm by insisting to Lisbon that he’s helping, which has her scoffing that he’s helping by going on a date. The women give him advice and Jane follows Lisbon’s forcefully expressed opinion: she asks “where did you find that one?!”, unknowingly condemning Kim’s choice, since her boss is standing behind her. It’s pretty intriguing, since he never asked for advice on a outfit and he’s been complimented on his stylish taste in clothes, even though he’s always been mindful of her critics (on his ugly white shoes in ‘Not One Red Cent’ and on his “homeless vibe” in ‘Red Dawn’). Moreover, one might wonder where he came from holding his shirts on hangers; we can only hope he’s gotten his trailer already and that it’s parked nearby, otherwise it might mean that he’s still living in his cosy detention cell, just like he holed up in the attic…

After he leaves, Lisbon comments that he must know something that he’s not telling, since he did it a “thousand times”. Just like Kim did, Lisbon states that Krystal is not his type and tries to change the subject when the other woman agrees and asks her what his type is. She just answers “I don’t know”, turns toward the computer and resumes concentrating on the footage video. So far, every talk they shared involved questions about Jane and this time again, Kim seems curious about Lisbon’s knowledge of him… and implicitly about her relation with him. Yet, it’s visible that the two women are getting along better and they have been following the same logic: Jane suspects something and he’s dating the blonde for an ulterior motive. Because she’s so not his type, obviously. Lisbon also seems a bit moody, which may be related to his frustrating habit of keeping things close to his (missing) vest or might perhaps be motivated by a more personal reason. She seems more unsure than she lets on, since she doesn’t really confront him on her suspicions: instead, she waits for him to leave her alone with her new friend to pour her heart out a bit. Moreover, if Kim has been assuming that Lisbon is his type, there’s a possibility that Lisbon has been too… After all, Lisbon should know which kind of women Jane likes: she saw that in his fugue-state he was attracted to harmless arm-candy bimbos and that he has shown more than once interest for more or less cunning women (Kristina) or even to more dangerous ones (Erica, Lorelei). He has expressed interest in brunettes and blondish to red-headed beauties (Kristina looks like a strawberry blonde or a red-head, while Grace, whom he tried to flirt with in ‘Fugue in Red’ is an outright red-head). There are plenty of reasons for her to discuss the choice of Krystal as being in-character or not, may it be physically or personality-wise. And viewers know for a fact that she knows what his type might be since she’s been privy to rather intimate tidbits: she knows that 1) Jane usually likes intelligent, challenging women – a criteria that Krystal doesn’t seem to fit, except that Jane’s attention should hint to them that she obviously has hidden depths and 2) through the matchmaking video, he told that he wanted someone better than him… and that wouldn’t correspond to the girlfriend of a possible drug lord. Neither Lorelei, by the way, which didn’t deter Lisbon from being angry when Jane got close to her… But here, her hasty refusal to answer Kim’s question implies that she may have though too that she matched Jane’s type herself. She’s still in denial publicly, but it’s obvious she’s been thinking about the situation and about Jane’s marks of affection towards her before running away (the emotional moment in the sunset), when he was in South America (writing letters to tell that he missed her) and even now (cofronting Abbott to keep her close).

VIS #5: Jane and Krystal go on a second date on her yatch

Even though he’s set on wooing Krystal, Jane’s influence is still discernible in the team’s way of investigating. Indeed, Cho spots the trick with the open window Krystal’s man has shot through to disguise Paco’s murder as the result of the shooting from the cops, just like Jane understood that the camera was hidden behind the mirror. Beside, Lisbon watches the video and spots Krystal looking at herself in said mirror too, hence she understands that she knew where the camera was and that she planned Paco’s death: she’s the ring leader and Jane’s alone with her at the marina.

The setting of the second date is more intimate, which is fitting for people eager to get to know each other better, but also alludes to the ocean. It has been previously linked to Jane’s double attitude, hesitating between obsession – Moby Dick- and the temptation of moving on (a duality visible in the sunset scene in ‘Fire and Brimstone’); since ‘My Blue Heaven’ and its beach, it’s the liberty aspect that has been insisted upon. Therefore, the fact that Jane gets a date on a boat further develops this idea. When a very worried Lisbon calls his phone, Jane doesn’t answer her. It’s characteristic of their lack of communication through the episode… Krystal jokes that she might get jealous and Jane states that it’s nothing important. Still, their conversation takes a far less romantic turn when he points out that they’ve been chasing “a man completely devoid of ego”. Those were the words that the DEA agent said before Jane started focusing o Krystal’s photography: he’s known all along and he’s been trying to trick a confession out of her. He adds: “in my life, I’ve never saw that”, concluding that every man seeks attention, so the ring-leader is a woman. Krystal admits that she killed the framed suspect herself, instead of ordering someone else to do the job (she’s take-charge ring leader, like former team-leader Lisbon and new boss Fischer). Jane then reveals that actually she confessed while he had Lisbon on the phone on mute… unfortunately, the effect is ruined when nobody comes to his help and he’s left at Krystal’s mercy while repeating comically that the FBI will be here “now” in a increasingly loud and worried voice… When Krystal tries to shoot him, he jumps on the water and swims out of reach. Amusingly he’s been making the jump with her in more ways than one: she’s his first case as a team member, his first casual relationship since coming back and now he’s not-so-metaphorically jumping on the water to escape her.

Later, he’s seen sitting while waiting for the others. He’s pitiful, soaking wet, wrapped in his blanket and his former date is ignoring him when cops take her to jail. It enlightens his loneliness when Lisbon runs to him a few steps ahead of the others.

Image by @Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain January, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

Image by Chizuruchibi. Copyright Reviewbrain January, 2014. Not to be used without permission.

She looks worried and calls his name before asking if he’s ok. Jane reproaches that he nearly ended up « here in the marina, like a… dead duck”, which has Kim state that she hopes he’s learned his lesson: “if you had actually told us about your plan in advance, we would have had time to get you”. Lisbon concurs “I’ve been trying to tell him that for years”… even Cho doesn’t give him any support: “you’re a terrible communicator”. He reluctantly admits that maybe he needs to work on his communication skills. They leave him behind and he gets up and follows them while muttering what he would have wanted to hear from them instead: “thanks for solving the case”. The camera follows the length of his blanket covered body down to his shoes: he’s wearing the socks Lisbon has given him. They’re barely discernible but they’re here. That’s the final shot of the episode.

Conclusion

One may indeed wonder: why did Jane refuse to share his plan? Lisbon has told Kim twice that he’s usually secretive of what he knows and that’s true to an extent. In the last months of their collaboration, he’s made an effort to be more open with her, especially concerning his investigation on his nemesis and treated her like a partner (remember that “it’s good to be needed” line). Are we to understand that his ultimate secret about McAllister being alive has been the nail on the coffin of Lisbon’s professional trust in him? She has chastised him for not telling her beforehand of his plans for Abbott and, even though they seemed to make peace at the end of the previous episode when he told her about his new fake list, it may explain their distance now. It’s indeed understandable that Kim wants to keep an eye on him, but here they never were together alone in the course of the episode even once, which is very unusual. It seems furthermore that he’s been counting on Lisbon to understand implicitly what he’s been doing all along, since 1) he dropped some hints (that he was helping indeed by going on a date), 2) he must know that she knows him well enough to have guessed that he was hiding something and she’s skilled in following his logic. That’s why he was waiting for her call on the boat.

It thus seems credible that Jane might have very precise reasons to keep his scheme to himself: first, he wanted to prove again to Kim that he was one step ahead. He showed that she has no control over his actions, which he implied during the couch incident. Toward Lisbon, it looks like his motivations are more complex: as he told Krystal, men have ego and that’s probably why he was seeking Lisbon’s attention. By keeping her out of his plan until the very last moment, he was answering the need for distance she expressed in the plane in ‘Green Thumbs’: he was letting her have some breathing space, since she told him that working with him was difficult. He stopped being controlling, needy, but at the same time, his actions scream for her attention. It’s a form of reverse psychology: he tried to get her to react by gloating about his date in front of her –he had to know that Krystal would call him at some moments in front of Lisbon in the warehouse, since he called her only minutes before entering. Since he already guessed she was the culprit, his enthusiasm was for show and he was broadcasting the news to Kim and Teresa. Hence his pushing further by asking them to choose his shirt. He’s been riling her up by rubbing in that he’s seeing someone else, in a pretty harmless and inconsequential way in hindsight since she’s a criminal… because if he wanted to use a real threat, he would have brought up his date with Kim instead… Jane has changed tactics to gain back her support: instead of being too pushy, he’s trying to manipulate her into getting closer on her own. After all, having an ulterior motive has always been part of his strategy with women: with Erica, it was a battle of wits; with Lorelei, he wanted to flush out RJ; with Kim, he was trying to overcome his loneliness… Is that then that implausible that he was counting on Lisbon to understand his plan and to rush in to save the day? Making her save him and getting an emotional reaction out of her would have been a sure way to get her to open up again. And that it failed to some point may explain his disappointment at the end…

Indeed, communication is at the center of the episode: Jane and Krystal call each other many times and she even ask her henchman to text her when he’s done. He only pushed her to confess after Lisbon called him too. And of course, there’s that ironic mention of his poor communication skills at the end. It’s been a central theme, just like the notion of moving on… In fact, both notions are linked to Lisbon in a curious way while Jane is interacting with Krystal: her presence in his life is suggested twice. When he told that he never tells anyone who he really is, he’s lying because he has let Lisbon in: it’s an indication that he’s playing the blonde, but also that Lisbon’s role sets her apart in his life and it’s interesting that she’s been implicitly alluded to for viewers in the very first seconds of the date scene; same with him falsely dismissing Lisbon’s call as nothing important while actually counting on her to save his life. Last, the focus on the socks in telling in hindsight: he’s been wearing them during the date. He was then in fact wearing two set of clothes that she choose for him: the shirt and the socks.

No extra categories this time, sorry: the review is already awfully long as it is. Please, feel free to share what you liked about the episode, your favourite scenes and your personal pet peeves on the comments! Thanks for reading! :)


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